Mali: An African Nation and Its Rise and Fall Essay

Mali: An African Nation and Its Rise and Fall Essay

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The Kingdom of Mali was an African hub of wealth, trade and education for over 225 years. Mali is an Arab version of the Mandinka word that means, “Where the king dwells”, and was vitally important in spreading trade, education, religion and culture along the Niger River. The rise of Mali into an Empire occurred in the early 13th century, when Sundiata defeated his enemies and won control of the West African gold mines. In 1312 Mansa Musa became ruler of Mali. During his reign which was known as Mali’s, “Golden Age”, he introduced Islamic beliefs to many communities along the Niger and enhanced education after his historic pilgrimage to Mecca. Mali’s rise was attributed to the Trans-Saharan Trade routes leading to and from Western and Eastern Africa. These trade routes contributed to the rise and fall of powerful African Kingdoms for hundreds of years, but for 250 years, Mali was the crown jewel of Africa.
The fall of Ghana left a power vacuum that in 1050, the Almoravids, Muslims of North Africa tried to fill, but were ultimately taken over by the rising Kingdom of Mali. The man, who laid the foundations for the Mali Empire, was Sundiata, who belonged to the Keita Clan of the Malinke people in the Kingdom of Kangaba. Sundiata had 12 royal brothers who were heirs to the throne, but Sumanguru, the ruler of the neighboring state of Kaniaga, overran the Kingdom of Kangaba. Sumanguru had every one of Sundiata’s brothers murdered, but spared Sundiata due to his sickly appearance. This was a huge mistake by Sumanguru, as Sundiata would grow strong and eventually assemble an army that would challenge him and Kaniaga. In 1235, Sundiata would have his revenge, defeating Sumanguru at the Battle of Kir...

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...ifferent shapes and materials were used by ethnic groups to match their beliefs and culture. In the major cities of Timbuktu, Gao and Djenne, mosques built in the 13th century displayed the emergence of Islam through Musa and others. These were made from rice husks, earth and water and lasted for hundreds of years.
By the late 14th century, and early into the 15th century, disputes over territories and succession began to weaken Mali. In 1460, Gao, one of the great trading cities within the Kingdom of Mali, became the capital of the West African Kingdom of Songhai. For 200 years, the Kingdom of Mali was the center of wealth in North Africa, its governing style allowing for growth, peace and prosperity. Sundiata and Mansa Musa were rulers who were made great strides in society and education, but like all Empires, they rise and fall.

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