What Is the Connection Between Mansa Musa and Mecca?

Mansa Musa was the emperor of Mali when he made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324. He exhibited piety and generosity during his journey, and he earned the respect of the local populations in Egypt.

Mansa Musa's entourage stunned Europeans and Middle Easterners by its magnificence. He reportedly brought 60,000 men, including 12,000 slaves, all clad in Persian silk and brocade. He had 500 slaves who carried golden staffs. He spent so much gold in Cairo that it caused an economic crash, which was still felt 12 years after his visit.

The largest impact of Mansa Musa's journey was in Mali itself, which became a religious and educational powerhouse based on the great number of exceptional people Mansa Musa recruited upon his return. He instituted mosques at Timbuktu and Gao. During his reign, Timbuktu became an important trade stop for caravans in the region, and an educational center that evolved into a university where history, law and theology were supported by royal funds. His influence on his people was to instill Islam into their lives, so much so that his subjects became educated in religious as well as secular matters. His influence until his death in 1332 was a tribute to the strength of his faith.