Mali Empire

explanatory Essay
1067 words
1067 words

During the 13th and 14th centuries, it was the Mali Empire, also known as the Manden Kurufa, stood as West Africa’s eminent civilization. It was twice as big as any European Empire of its time, being roughly as large as the whole of Western Europe. But, like all other empires, it met its own fate. We will be exploring the epic story of this empire, from its rise to its fall.

Who were the people of Mali Empire: The Mali Empire comprised of many different African Ethnic Groups. Much of their original population was constituted by Mandé peoples (more specifically, the Malinka Peoples). But they also comprised of peoples that came from their vassal kingdoms.

Geography: The Mali Empire dominated much of North-West Africa (as seen in the picture) and is just South of the Sahara Desert. The Mali Empire was mostly Savannah but due to the Sahara Desert being in close proximity to it, it became dryer up north and more fertile to the south (the south was near the Niger River). The area it encompassed during it’s height at 1312 was near 1.29 million square kilometers.

The capital of the Mali Empire was the city of Niani.

Nowadays, the Mali Empire is part of Mali, Senegal, Niger, Ghana, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Guinea and many other countries in North-West Africa.


Birth: Before the Mali Empire ever began, it was a Kingdom in Mali that was near the Empire of Ghana. In 1234, the new king by the name of Sundiata lead Mali’s Mandinka Kingdom through an audacious revolt against the dominant Ghana Empire. A year later, Sundiata won a decisive victory at the battle of Kirina against the King of Ghana, Sumangaru. From thereafter, the Mali Empire would supplant the Ghana Empire as the dominant power of West Africa.

Rise: Ever since it’s...

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...ed at around 1610. Oral traditions say his 3 sons would engage in a struggle for the throne. The battle for succession was to none’s avail and the Mali Empire never saw a Mansa again. It would split into chiefdoms in the 1700s.

What of them today: Nowadays, the Mali Empire is part of many places in Africa that are unfortunately poor. While not much of the Mali Empire remains physically intact, famous sites like the University of Timbuktu remain and many objects from the Mali Empire have been excavated.

In a sense, the Mali Empire lives to this day though. Griots continue to tell of the epic events that occurred in the Mali Empire and the Empire continues to inspire pride from many Malian people.

The Mali Empire was all in all, one of Africa’s most successful civilizations, maintaining dominance longer the preceding Ghana Empire and the succeeding Songhai Empire.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the mali empire, also known as the manden kurufa, stood as west africa's eminent civilization during the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • Explains that the mali empire consisted of many different african ethnic groups, including the mandé peoples and the malinka peoples.
  • Explains that the mali empire dominated much of north-west africa and is just south of the sahara desert.
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