ROCKDEEP Mansa Musa Mali Crown Sneakers
Upper: Microfiber / Knit
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Mansa Musa was rich and seen at times as extravagant. However he made sure his indentured servants were well dressed and treated well.
This colorway is a nod to his crown royalty and how as a ruler of many he was also a philanthropist and loved by all who followed him.
Musa I, or Mansa Musa, was the tenth Mansa of the Mali Empire, an Islamic West African state. He has been described as the wealthiest individual of the Middle Ages. At the time of Musa's ascension to the throne, Mali in large part consisted of the territory of the former Ghana Empire, which Mali had conquered.
The Musa Pilgrimage:
Musa became ruler of the Mali Empire in 1312. Musa’s rule came at a time when European nations were struggling due to raging civil wars and a lack of resources. During that period, the Mali Empire flourished thanks to ample natural resources like gold and salt.
And under the rule of Musa, the prosperous empire grew to span a sizeable portion of West Africa, from the Atlantic coast to the inland trading hub of Timbuktu and parts of the Sahara Desert. As the territory grew while Musa was on the throne, so did the economic standing of its citizens.
It wasn’t until 1324 that the world outside of Mali’s border would get a glimpse of the king’s expansive wealth. Musa set off on a journey to Mecca for his Hajj pilgrimage.
The voyage, which would span an estimated 4,000 miles, was travelled by Musa and a caravan that included tens of thousands of soldiers and heralds, draped in Persian silk and carrying golden staffs. Although records of the exact number of people who participated in the voyage are scarce, the elaborate convoy that accompanied Musa marched alongside camels and horses carrying hundreds of pounds of gold.
Of course, this spectacle was noticed by residents of the territories that Musa passed through—after all, a group so massive was impossible to overlook. The impact the Malian emperor left on the Egyptian people would reverberate for more than a decade.
Word of Musa’s wealth and influence only spread beyond Africa after his voyage to Mecca. Tales of his enormous convoy and generosity continued to be passed on long after his death, which is believed to have taken place sometime between 1332 and 1337. By the late 14th century, Musa had been drawn in the 1375 Catalan Atlas, an important resource for navigators of Medieval Europe. Created by Spanish cartographer Abraham Cresques, the atlas depicted Musa sitting on a throne with a gold scepter and crown, holding a gold nugget.
From the abundance of natural resources he cultivated to the growth and development of communities that he left behind, Musa has a legend that could give the fictional Black Panther a run for his money.
As far as wealth goes, it is nearly impossible to quantify the riches that Musa had during his lifetime.
The vastness of Musa’s land and material holdings, University of Michigan associate history professor Rudolph Ware, seems downright incomprehensible today: “Imagine as much gold as you think a human being could possess and double it, that’s what all the accounts are trying to communicate,” he said. “This is the richest guy anyone has ever seen.”
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