Gold from Mali in West Africa has supplied the Islamic World and Europe with wealth for over a millennium. In 1327, Mansa Musa, the richest man in the history of the world, made a pilgrimage to Mecca and spent so much gold in Cairo the price of the metal dropped for the next twenty years. The name Mali became synonymous with gold and wealth, attracting Arab and European empires who sought to dominate Mali’s wealth.
As Mansa Musa returns to present-day Bamako in part I, he dreams of how his gold transforms Inaré Konté, his wife. He has become the God of Gold.
Gold is caused by debris from supernovas that have embedded into the earth’s soil. When humans embellish themselves with gold, it causes them to shine and feel both beautiful and powerful. But this desire to feel power and beauty goes hand in hand with jealousy and greed, for wherever gold is found, one also finds stories of despair, destruction, and blood.