The Mali realm

Established by King Sundiata Keita, recognized as the “Lion King,” the Mali Empire carried wealth, culture, and also Islamic faith to West Africa.

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Kirina, Mali

Modern work Kirina, this town offered to be one of the main strongholds that the Mali Empire. The pivotal battle of Kirina was combated here in 1235 C.E.

Photograph through Werner Forman


From the 13th come 17th century, West Africa was home to the an excellent Mali Empire. Created by King Sundiata Keita, the kingdom united several smaller, Malinké Kingdoms close to the upper Niger River. Safeguarded by a well-trained, royal army and benefiting from gift in the center of trade routes, Mali expanded its territory, influence, and society over the course of 4 centuries. Wealth of gold dust and also salt deposits aided to increase the empire’s commercial assets. Mali consisted of the city the Timbuktu, which became known as an essential center of knowledge. Mali also developed right into a hub because that the Islamic confidence before poor leadership caused the empire’s ultimate decrease in power and also influence.

The rise of the Mali empire can be traced back to Sundiata, or the “Lion King,” together some dubbed him. ~ seizing the former capital of the Ghana empire in 1240, Sundiata and his men consolidated control while proceeding to expand the Mali Empire. Frequently times, the policemans of his court wielded an excellent power, which was an important to maintaining the empire strong during periods of negative leadership.

Mali had actually kings, referred to as Mansa. The Mali empire would with a height of strength during the regime of Mansa Musa I. Ar expansion corresponded with social advancements, particularly in architecture, and the empire flourished. Using his big army, Musa double the empire’s territory. This allowed the kingdom to gain the services of being at the center of trade in Africa. In 1324, Musa took on a pilgrimage to Mecca during which the spent and gave away every one of his gold. Together a result, story of the riches of the Mali king spread out far and also wide.

Spanish cartographer Abraham Cresques even featured Musa in the Catalan Atlas, a popular source for europe explorers. Cresques included photo of Musa wearing a yellow crown, holding more gold in his hand. This photo would be the catalyst because that explorers to search for the city that Timbuktu in wishes of detect Musa’s riches. Today, some believe he can have to be the richest male in history. Islamic discovering centers, schools, and universities, and also the grandest library in every one of Africa to be a direct result of Mansa Musa’s rule and also made Mali right into a multilingual and also multiethnic kingdom.

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Following Mansa Musa’s death around 1337, the empire fell victim to decreasing influence approximately Africa. Various other trade centers developed, hurting the commercial wide range that had once so openly surrounded Mali. Bad leadership set the kingdom ~ above a route of polite wars. The neighboring Songhay realm would overcome most of the Mali kingdom by the late 15th century, leaving tiny remaining the the as soon as proud Mali Empire. By the 17th century, the Moroccan empire occupied the area.