Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhay by Assistant Professor David C Conrad

By Assistant Professor David C Conrad

Starting approximately 1200 CE, the Mali, Songhay, and Ghana empires unfold their sequential effect around the western horn of Africa. This identify discusses the very important function salt and different normal assets performed within the improvement of the empires, the wealthy and numerous cultures, and the effect of the Islamic Empire on each day lifestyles.

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Extra resources for Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhay

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Thousands of people are said to have accompanied Mansa Musa. The king took along his senior wife, Inari Kanuté, who had hundreds of her own servants and slaves. There were also Muslims from among the Mali court officials and merchant community, soldiers to protect the caravan, camel drivers, servants, and slaves. There were thousands of camels and donkeys to carry food, water, and other supplies. The caravan is said to have included 80 loads of gold dust. In addition to the animals, there were slaves to help carry the loads.

This enabled trade from North Africa to flourish and increased Mali’s prosperity. Sakura also expanded the empire into new regions. He pushed the eastern frontier into the Songhay lands. It was probably during his reign that Mali also took control of the kingdom of Gao. Unfortunately, Sakura was killed on his way back from the pilgrimage. Since he was not a member of the royal family, the kingship passed on to two of Sunjata’s descendants. Neither of them left any memories of important deeds. After their reigns were over, the power passed to descendants of Sunjata’s brother Manden Bori.

These goldfields had been one of the main sources of gold for Ghana in earlier centuries, and they became important for the Mali Empire, too. The chief of Farakoro was Maghan Konfara (maghan means “chief” and Konfara was the town he lived in). Like all chiefs and kings of his day, Maghan Konfara had diviners whose job it was to predict the future. One day, the diviners told Maghan Konfara that he would be the father of a great hero, but that the woman who would be the hero’s mother had not yet been found.

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