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Mapa do Império do Mali, c. 1337 dC

Mapa do Império do Mali, c. 1337 dC


Mapa do Império do Mali, c. 1337 dC - História

O Império de Gana estava localizado no que hoje é o sudeste da Mauritânia, oeste do Mali e leste do Senegal, e derivava seu poder do controle do comércio transsaariano, particularmente do comércio de ouro.

Objetivos de aprendizado

Descreva o Império de Gana e a fonte de sua riqueza

Principais vantagens

Pontos chave

  • O Império de Gana, chamado de Império Wagadou (ou Wagadu) por seus governantes, estava localizado no que hoje é o sudeste da Mauritânia, oeste do Mali e leste do Senegal. Não há consenso sobre quando precisamente se originou. Diferentes tradições identificam seus primórdios entre 100 dC e o século 9, com a maioria dos estudiosos aceitando o século 8 ou 9.
  • O desenvolvimento econômico de Gana e sua eventual riqueza estavam ligados ao crescimento do comércio regular e intensificado transsaariano de ouro, sal e marfim, o que permitiu o desenvolvimento de grandes centros urbanos e incentivou a expansão territorial para obter controle sobre diferentes rotas comerciais.
  • Acredita-se que a capital do império fica em Koumbi Saleh, na orla do deserto do Saara. De acordo com a descrição da cidade deixada por Al-Bakri em 1067/1068, a capital era na verdade duas cidades, mas & # 8220entre essas duas cidades são habitações contínuas & # 8221, portanto, elas podem ter se fundido em uma.
  • O Império de Gana ficava na região do Sahel, ao norte dos campos de ouro da África Ocidental, e era capaz de lucrar controlando o comércio de ouro transsaariano, que transformou Gana em um império de riqueza lendária.
  • Gana parece ter tido uma região central e era cercada por estados vassalos. Uma das primeiras fontes observa que & # 8220 sob a autoridade do rei & # 8217s estão vários reis. & # 8221 Esses & # 8220 reis & # 8221 eram presumivelmente os governantes das unidades territoriais frequentemente chamadas kafu em Mandinka.
  • Embora os estudiosos debatam como e quando Gana declinou e entrou em colapso, está claro que foi incorporado ao Império do Mali por volta de 1240.

Termos chave

  • os almorávidas: Uma dinastia imperial berbere de Marrocos que formou um império no século 11 que se estendia ao longo do oeste do Magrebe e Al-Andalus. Fundada por Abdallah ibn Yasin, sua capital era Marrakesh, cidade fundada por eles em 1062. A dinastia se originou entre os Lamtuna e os Gudala, tribos berberes nômades do Saara, atravessando o território entre os rios Draa, Níger e Senegal.
  • o povo Soninke: Povo Mandé descendente dos Bafour e parentesco próximo com os Imraguen da Mauritânia. Eles foram os fundadores do antigo império de Gana c. 750–1240 CE. Os subgrupos incluem Maraka e Wangara.
  • Koumbi Saleh: Local de uma cidade medieval em ruínas no sudeste da Mauritânia que pode ter sido a capital do Império de Gana.

Origens Disputadas do Império de Gana

O Império de Gana, chamado de Império Wagadou (ou Wagadu) por seus governantes, estava localizado no que hoje é o sudeste da Mauritânia, oeste do Mali e leste do Senegal. Não há consenso sobre quando exatamente ele se originou, mas seu desenvolvimento está ligado às mudanças no comércio que surgiram ao longo dos séculos após a introdução do camelo no Saara Ocidental (século III). Na época da conquista muçulmana do Norte da África no século 7, o camelo mudou as rotas de comércio anteriores e mais irregulares em uma rede de comércio que ia do Marrocos ao rio Níger. Esse comércio transsaariano regular e intensificado de ouro, sal e marfim permitiu o desenvolvimento de grandes centros urbanos e incentivou a expansão territorial para obter controle sobre diferentes rotas comerciais.

A dinastia governante de Gana foi mencionada pela primeira vez em registros escritos em 830 e, portanto, o século 9 é às vezes identificado como o início do império.
Nas fontes árabes medievais, a palavra & # 8220Gana & # 8221 pode se referir a um título real, o nome de uma capital ou de um reino. A primeira referência a Gana como uma cidade é feita por al-Khuwarizmi, que morreu por volta de 846. Pesquisa no local de Koumbi Saleh (ou Kumbi Saleh), uma cidade medieval em ruínas no sudeste da Mauritânia que pode ter sido a capital do Império de Gana, sugere começos anteriores. O primeiro autor a mencionar Gana é o astrônomo persa Ibrahim al-Fazari, que, escrevendo no final do século VIII, se refere a & # 8220o território de Gana, a terra do ouro. & # 8221 Do século 9, autores árabes mencionar o Império de Gana em conexão com o comércio de ouro trans-saariano. Al-Bakri, que escreveu no século 11, descreveu a capital de Gana como consistindo em duas cidades separadas por seis milhas, uma habitada por mercadores muçulmanos e a outra pelo rei de Gana. De acordo com a tradição do povo Soninke, eles migraram para o sudeste da Mauritânia no século 1, e já por volta de 100 dC criaram um assentamento que acabaria se transformando no Império de Gana. Outras fontes identificam os primórdios do império em algum momento entre o século IV e meados do século VIII.

O Império de Gana em sua maior extensão

Quando a Costa do Ouro em 1957 se tornou o primeiro país da África Subsaariana a recuperar sua independência do domínio colonial, ela foi renomeada em homenagem ao antigo império do qual se acredita que os ancestrais do povo Akan da atual Gana migraram.

A capital: Koumbi Saleh

Acredita-se que a capital do império fica em Koumbi Saleh, na orla do deserto do Saara. De acordo com a descrição da cidade deixada por Al-Bakri em 1067/1068, a capital era na verdade duas cidades, mas & # 8220entre essas duas cidades são habitações contínuas & # 8221, portanto, elas podem ter se fundido em uma. De acordo com al-Bakri, a maior parte da cidade se chamava El-Ghaba e era a residência do rei. Era protegida por um muro de pedra e funcionava como capital real e espiritual do império. Continha um bosque sagrado de árvores usadas para os ritos religiosos Soninke, nos quais os padres viviam. Também continha o palácio do rei & # 8217, a estrutura mais grandiosa da cidade. Havia também uma mesquita para visitar as autoridades muçulmanas. O nome da outra seção da cidade não é registrado. Era cercado por poços com água doce, onde eram cultivados vegetais. Tinha doze mesquitas, uma das quais destinada às orações de sexta-feira, e contava com um grupo completo de acadêmicos, escribas e juristas islâmicos. Como a maioria desses muçulmanos eram comerciantes, essa parte da cidade era provavelmente seu principal distrito comercial.

Economia e Governo

A maior parte de nossas informações sobre a economia de Gana vem de al-Bakri. Ele observou que os comerciantes tinham que pagar um imposto sobre o dinar de ouro nas importações de sal e dois nas exportações de sal. Al-Bakri mencionou também cobre e & # 8220outros bens. & # 8221 As importações provavelmente incluíram produtos como tecidos e ornamentos. Muitos dos artigos de couro feitos à mão encontrados no antigo Marrocos também tiveram suas origens no Império de Gana. Tributo também foi recebido de vários estados tributários e chefias na periferia do império. O Império de Gana ficava na região do Sahel, ao norte dos campos de ouro da África Ocidental, e era capaz de lucrar com o controle do comércio de ouro transsaariano. O início da história de Gana é desconhecido, mas há evidências de que o Norte da África começou a importar ouro da África Ocidental antes da conquista árabe em meados do século VII.

Muitos testemunhos sobre o Gana antigo vêm de visitas registradas de viajantes estrangeiros, que, por definição, poderiam fornecer apenas uma imagem fragmentária. Os escritores islâmicos costumam comentar sobre a estabilidade político-social do Império com base nas ações aparentemente justas e na grandeza do rei. Al-Bakri questionou mercadores que visitaram o império no século 11 e escreveu sobre o rei ouvindo queixas contra oficiais e estando cercado por uma grande riqueza. Gana parece ter tido uma região central e era cercada por estados vassalos. Uma das primeiras fontes, al-Ya & # 8217qubi, escrevendo em 889/890 (276 AH), observou que & # 8220 sob a autoridade do rei & # 8217s havia vários reis. & # 8221 Esses & # 8220 reis & # 8221 eram provavelmente os governantes das unidades territoriais frequentemente chamados kafu em Mandinka. Na época de al-Bakri & # 8217, os governantes de Gana começaram a incorporar mais muçulmanos ao governo, incluindo o tesoureiro, seu intérprete e & # 8220a maioria de seus funcionários. & # 8221

Declínio

Dadas as escassas fontes árabes e a ambigüidade do registro arqueológico existente, é difícil determinar quando e como Gana declinou e caiu. De acordo com a tradição árabe, Gana caiu quando foi saqueada pelo movimento almorávida em 1076-1077, mas essa interpretação foi questionada. Conrad e Fisher (1982) argumentaram que a noção de qualquer conquista militar almorávida é apenas folclore perpetuado, derivado de uma interpretação errônea ou de uma dependência limitada de fontes árabes. Dierke Lange concordou com a teoria da incursão militar original, mas argumentou que isso não exclui a agitação política dos Almorávidas, alegando que a morte de Gana deve muito a esta última. Sheryl L. Burkhalter
argumentou que, embora a ideia da conquista não fosse clara, a influência e o sucesso do movimento almorávida em garantir o ouro da África Ocidental e distribuí-lo amplamente exigiam um alto grau de controle político. Além disso, a arqueologia do antigo Gana não mostra sinais da rápida mudança e destruição que estaria associada a quaisquer conquistas militares da era Almorávida.

Supõe-se que a guerra que se seguiu empurrou Gana ao limite, encerrando a posição do reino como uma potência comercial e militar por volta de 1100. Ela desmoronou em grupos tribais e chefes, alguns dos quais mais tarde foram assimilados pelos almorávidas, enquanto outros fundaram o Mali Império. Apesar das evidências ambíguas, é claro que Gana foi incorporado ao Império do Mali por volta de 1240.

O Império do Mali foi um império na África Ocidental que durou de 1230 a 1600 e influenciou profundamente a cultura da região através da disseminação de sua língua, leis e costumes ao longo das terras adjacentes ao Rio Níger, bem como outras áreas consistindo em numerosas reinos e províncias vassalos.

Objetivos de aprendizado

Avalie cada período da história do Império do Mali

Principais vantagens

Pontos chave

  • O Império do Mali, também historicamente conhecido como Manden Kurufaba, foi um império na África Ocidental que durou desde c. 1230 a 1600. Foi o maior império da África Ocidental e influenciou profundamente a cultura da região através da disseminação de sua língua, leis e costumes ao longo das terras adjacentes ao Rio Níger, bem como outras áreas consistindo de vários reinos vassalos e províncias.
  • As tradições orais modernas registram que os reinos Mandinka do Mali ou Manden já existiam vários séculos antes da unificação. Essa área era composta por montanhas, savanas e florestas, proporcionando proteção e recursos ideais para a população de caçadores. Os que não moravam nas montanhas formaram pequenas cidades-estado.
  • As forças combinadas do norte e do sul de Manden derrotaram o exército de Sosso na Batalha de Kirina em aproximadamente 1235. Essa vitória resultou na queda do reino Kaniaga e na ascensão do Império do Mali.
  • O Império do Mali cobriu uma área maior por um longo período de tempo do que qualquer outro estado da África Ocidental antes ou depois. O que tornou isso possível foi a natureza descentralizada da administração em todo o estado. Seu poder vinha, acima de tudo, do comércio.
  • O Império do Mali atingiu seu maior tamanho e floresceu como um centro comercial e intelectual sob as mansas Laye Keita (1312–1389). o
    A área total do império inclui quase todas as terras entre o Deserto do Saara e as florestas costeiras.
  • A batalha de Djenné em 1599 marcou o fim efetivo do grande Império do Mali e preparou o cenário para o surgimento de uma infinidade de estados menores da África Ocidental.

Termos chave

  • mansa: Uma palavra Mandinka que significa & # 8220sultão & # 8221 (rei) ou & # 8220 imperador. & # 8221 Está particularmente associada à dinastia Keita do Império Mali, que dominou a África Ocidental do século 13 ao século 15.
  • muezim: A pessoa indicada em uma mesquita para liderar e recitar a chamada à oração para cada evento de oração e adoração. A postagem do muezzin & # 8217s é importante, e a comunidade depende dele para um cronograma de oração preciso.

Introdução

O Império do Mali, também historicamente conhecido como Manden Kurufaba, foi um império na África Ocidental que durou desde c. 1230 a 1600. O império foi fundado por Sundiata Keita e tornou-se conhecido pela riqueza de seus governantes. Foi o maior império da África Ocidental e influenciou profundamente a cultura da região por meio da disseminação de sua língua, leis e costumes ao longo das terras adjacentes ao rio Níger, bem como outras áreas consistindo de numerosos reinos e províncias vassalos.

Mali pré-imperial

Tradições orais modernas registram que os reinos Mandinka de Mali ou Manden já existiam vários séculos antes da unificação por Sundiata, um mansa do Mali também conhecido como Mari Djata I, como um pequeno estado ao sul do império Soninké de Wagadou (o Império de Gana ) Essa área era composta por montanhas, savanas e florestas, proporcionando proteção e recursos ideais para a população de caçadores. Aqueles que não moravam nas montanhas formaram pequenas cidades-estado como Toron, Ka-Ba e Niani.

Em aproximadamente 1140, o reino sosso de Kaniaga, ex-vassalo de Wagadou, começou a conquistar as terras de seus antigos senhores. Em 1180, ele havia subjugado Wagadou, forçando o Soninké a pagar tributo. Em 1203, o rei sosso Soumaoro, do clã Kanté, chegou ao poder e supostamente aterrorizou grande parte de Manden, roubando mulheres e bens de Dodougou e Kri.

Depois de muitos anos no exílio, primeiro na corte de Wagadou e depois em Mema, Sundiata,
um príncipe que acabou se tornando o fundador do Império do Mali, foi procurado por uma delegação de Niani e implorou para combater o Sosso e libertar os reinos de Manden. Retornando com os exércitos combinados de Mema, Wagadou e todas as cidades-estado rebeldes Mandinka, Maghan Sundiata, ou Sumanguru, liderou uma revolta contra o Reino Kaniaga por volta de 1234. As forças combinadas do norte e do sul de Manden derrotaram o exército Sosso na Batalha de Kirina (então conhecido como Krina) em aproximadamente 1235. Esta vitória resultou na queda do reino Kaniaga e na ascensão do Império do Mali. Após a vitória, o Rei Soumaoro desapareceu e os Mandinka invadiram a última das cidades do Sosso. Maghan Sundiata foi declarado & # 8220faama of faamas & # 8221 e recebeu o título & # 8220mansa & # 8221, que se traduz aproximadamente como imperador. Aos dezoito anos, ele ganhou autoridade sobre todos os doze reinos em uma aliança conhecida como Manden Kurufaba. Ele foi coroado sob o nome do trono Sunidata Keita, tornando-se o primeiro imperador Mandinka. E assim o nome Keita se tornou um clã / família e começou seu reinado.

Mali Imperial (1250-1559)

O Império do Mali cobriu uma área maior por um longo período de tempo do que qualquer outro estado da África Ocidental antes ou depois. O que tornou isso possível foi a natureza descentralizada da administração em todo o estado, mas o mansa conseguiu manter o dinheiro dos impostos e o controle nominal sobre a área sem agitar seus súditos à revolta. Funcionários em nível de aldeia, vila, cidade e condado foram eleitos localmente, e apenas no nível estadual ou provincial houve alguma interferência palpável da autoridade central em Niani. As províncias escolhiam seus próprios governadores por costume (eleição, herança etc.), mas os governadores tinham que ser aprovados pelo mansa e estavam sujeitos à sua supervisão.

O Império do Mali floresceu por causa do comércio acima de tudo. Continha três imensas minas de ouro dentro de suas fronteiras, e o império tributava cada onça de ouro ou sal que entrasse em suas fronteiras. No início do século 14, Mali era a fonte de quase metade do ouro do Velho Mundo & # 8217, exportado das minas de Bambuk, Boure e Galam. Não havia moeda padrão em todo o reino, mas várias formas eram proeminentes por região. As cidades do Sahel e do Saara do Império do Mali foram organizadas como pontos de parada no comércio de caravanas de longa distância e centros comerciais para os vários produtos da África Ocidental (por exemplo, sal, cobre). Ibn Battuta,
um viajante e estudioso muçulmano marroquino medieval observou o emprego de trabalho escravo. Durante a maior parte de sua jornada, Ibn Battuta viajou com uma comitiva que incluía escravos, a maioria dos quais carregava mercadorias para o comércio, mas também seriam negociados. No retorno de Takedda para o Marrocos, sua caravana transportou 600 escravas, o que sugere que a escravidão era uma parte substancial da atividade comercial do império.

O número e a frequência de conquistas no final do século 13 e ao longo do século 14 indicam que os Kolonkan mansas (que governaram na época) herdaram e / ou desenvolveram um exército capaz. No entanto, passou por mudanças radicais antes de atingir as proporções lendárias proclamadas por seus súditos. Graças à receita tributária constante e a um governo estável a partir do último quarto do século 13, o Império do Mali foi capaz de projetar seu poder em todo o seu próprio domínio extenso e além. O império manteve um exército semiprofissional em tempo integral para defender suas fronteiras. A nação inteira foi mobilizada, com cada clã obrigado a fornecer uma cota de homens em idade de lutar. Os historiadores que viveram durante o apogeu e declínio do Império do Mali registraram consistentemente seu exército em 100.000, com 10.000 desse número sendo composto de cavalaria.

O Império do Mali atingiu seu maior tamanho sob as mansas Laye Keita (1312–1389). A área total do império incluía quase todas as terras entre o Deserto do Saara e as florestas costeiras. Abrangia o Senegal moderno, sul da Mauritânia, Mali, norte de Burkina Faso, oeste do Níger, Gâmbia, Guiné-Bissau, Guiné, Costa do Marfim e norte de Gana.
O primeiro governante da linhagem Laye foi Kankan Musa Keita (ou Moussa), também conhecido como Mansa Musa. Ele embarcou em um grande programa de construção, erguendo mesquitas e madrasas em Timbuktu e Gao.
Ele também transformou Sankore de uma madrassa informal em uma universidade islâmica.
No final do reinado de Mansa Musa & # 8217s, a Universidade Sankoré foi convertida em uma universidade com equipe completa, com as maiores coleções de livros na África desde a Biblioteca de Alexandria. Durante este período, havia um nível avançado de vida urbana nos grandes centros do Mali. Sergio Domian, um estudioso italiano de arte e arquitetura, escreveu o seguinte sobre esse período: & # 8220Assim foi lançada a fundação de uma civilização urbana. No auge de seu poder, Mali tinha pelo menos 400 cidades, e o interior do Delta do Níger era densamente povoado. & # 8221

Extensão do Império do Mali (c. 1350): O Império do Mali foi o maior da África Ocidental e influenciou profundamente a cultura da região por meio da disseminação de sua língua, leis e costumes ao longo das terras adjacentes ao Rio Níger, bem como outras áreas consistindo de vários reinos e províncias vassalos.

Colapso

Mansa Mahmud Keita IV foi o último imperador de Manden, de acordo com Tarikh al-Sudan. Ele lançou um ataque à cidade de Djenné em 1599 com aliados Fulani, na esperança de tirar vantagem da derrota de Songhai e # 8217. Eventualmente, o exército dentro de Djenné interveio, forçando Mansa Mahmud Keita IV e seu exército a recuar para Kangaba. A batalha marcou o fim efetivo do grande Império do Mali e preparou o cenário para o surgimento de uma infinidade de estados menores da África Ocidental. Por volta de 1610, Mahmud Keita IV morreu. A tradição oral afirma que ele teve três filhos que lutaram pelos restos mortais de Manden. Nenhum único Keita governou Manden após a morte de Mahmud Keita IV & # 8217s, portanto, o fim do Império do Mali.

O antigo núcleo do império foi dividido em três esferas de influência. Kangaba, a capital de facto de Manden desde a época do último imperador, tornou-se a capital da esfera norte. A área de Joma, governada por Siguiri, controlava a região central, que abrangia Niani. Hamana (ou Amana), a sudoeste de Joma, tornou-se a esfera sul, com sua capital em Kouroussa, na Guiné moderna. Cada governante usava o título de mansa, mas sua autoridade só se estendia até sua própria esfera de influência. Apesar dessa desunião no reino, o reino permaneceu sob o controle dos Mandinka até meados do século 17. Os três estados guerreavam entre si tanto, senão mais, do que contra estranhos, mas as rivalidades geralmente cessavam quando confrontados com a invasão. Essa tendência continuaria na época colonial contra os inimigos Tukulor do oeste.

Manuscritos Timbuktu, c. Século 14: Timbuktu tornou-se um assentamento permanente no início do século XII. Após uma mudança nas rotas comerciais, Timbuktu floresceu com o comércio de sal, ouro, marfim e escravos. Tornou-se parte do Império do Mali no início do século XIV. Em sua Idade de Ouro, os numerosos estudiosos islâmicos da cidade e sua extensa rede de comércio possibilitaram um importante comércio de livros. Junto com os campi da Sankore Madrasah, uma universidade islâmica, isso estabeleceu Timbuktu como um centro acadêmico na África.


2: Comércio Transsaariano. Origens, organização e efeitos no desenvolvimento da África Ocidental

As conexões da África Ocidental com o mundo mediterrâneo são muito antigas, muito anteriores ao surgimento do Islã no final do século 6 EC. Vários séculos antes da ascensão do Império Romano, o historiador grego Heródoto (c. 484-425 AC) escreveu sobre povos na África. Heródoto escreveu repetidamente sobre os povos do vale do Nilo, enfatizando que muitos deles eram negros africanos e sugerindo conexões com pessoas mais a oeste. A arte rupestre desse período, e mais tarde, sugere a existência de carros de rodas ao sul do que hoje é o Saara, e sugere uma conexão com o mundo mediterrâneo.

Figuras zoomórficas. Período da cabeça redonda (9.500 e # 8211 c. 7.000 BP). Argélia. Tassili n & # 8217Ajjer. Tan Zoumaitak. Wikimedia. Fondazione Passaré, Fondazione Passaré V1 057, CC BY-SA 3.0

É importante saber que o deserto do Saara em si não era tão severo nesses tempos antigos como se tornou mais tarde e é hoje. A arte rupestre do deserto do Saara é abundante, e algumas delas têm até 12.000 anos. Um bom exemplo é o Tassili n’Ajjer, ao norte de Tamanrasset, no Saara argelino. Este é um dos exemplos mais antigos de arte rupestre do Saara. Outro bom exemplo está no Maciço Tibesti, no Chade, que também possui arte rupestre dessa época. Essas pinturas antigas mostram áreas que agora estão no deserto como férteis, ricas em animais que não podem mais viver nessas áreas desérticas, como búfalos, elefantes, rinocerontes e hipopótamos. É importante ter em mente que esta era de fertilidade no Saara coincidiu com a Idade do Gelo na Europa. A Idade do Gelo não foi um problema na África e, na verdade, esta parece ter sido uma época de fartura.

O Saara parece ter começado a desertificar mais rapidamente por volta de 3.000 anos aC, mas permaneceram fortes conexões com o Mediterrâneo até um ponto posterior. Isso é mostrado pelo general cartaginês, Aníbal. Cartago era um império baseado na Líbia [o império mais poderoso do Mediterrâneo até a ascensão de Roma], e por volta de 220 aC Aníbal embarcou em um ataque às forças romanas na Europa que envolvia a travessia da alta cordilheira dos Alpes. Seus suprimentos militares eram carregados por elefantes, e estes eram elefantes africanos ligados aos povos e regiões ao sul do Saara.

A desertificação aumentou e as fronteiras geográficas tornaram-se mais difíceis de cruzar. Na época da ascensão do Islã, no início do século 7 EC [de c. 610fl., Com o estabelecimento dos primeiros califas, c. 610 CE], havia menos conexões. Mas o crescimento de poderosos reinos islâmicos no Marrocos e de centros de aprendizagem baseados no Cairo, em Trípoli e no Oriente Médio viu o crescimento do comércio de caravanas. No século 9 dC, o império de Ghāna [também conhecido como Awkar] foi fundado no que é hoje a Mauritânia [as primeiras referências históricas vindas de c. 830 CE], com capital em Koumbi-Saleh [a rota comercial de Ghāna estava concentrada no Saara Ocidental, com seu término em Sījīlmassa]. Por volta do século 10 EC, havia assentamentos separados para aqueles que praticam religiões africanas e aqueles que praticam o Islã em Koumbi-Saleh, indicando o grande número de comerciantes norte-africanos que estavam chegando. O comércio de ouro já estava se espalhando para influenciar o comércio e a sociedade no Mediterrâneo, e foi por volta de 1000 dC que o ouro da África Ocidental foi cunhado pela primeira vez para os mercados da Europa.

É importante entender como os eventos na África Ocidental foram conectados aos do Norte da África e até mesmo na Europa por volta do século 11. Uma mudança vital ocorreu nesta época, liderada pelo movimento almorávida. Eles parecem ter crescido de muçulmanos berberes que migraram do rio Senegal para o norte em busca de uma forma mais pura de islamismo após meados do século XI. Eles conquistaram o Reino do Marrocos, fundaram Marrakech em 1062 e então invadiram Al-Andalus no sul da Espanha na década de 1080, onde defenderam o Califado de Córdoba da reconquista liderada pelos reis cristãos da Espanha. Córdoba já havia se dividido em muitos mini estados diferentes no sul da Espanha conhecidos como estados da Taifa na década de 1030 no século 12, estes foram superados pelos almóadas, que também vieram do Marrocos, derrubando os almorávidas em 1147.

Na África Ocidental, as mudanças mais importantes ocorreram em Ghāna. Até 1076, muçulmanos e adoradores de religiões africanas coexistiram lá, mas naquele ano os almorávidas saquearam a cidade e Ghāna entrou em declínio. Mali não subiria até o século 13. Posteriormente, o comércio de ouro foi a peça central do comércio transsaariano. O dinheiro foi a causa do interesse inicial dos comerciantes árabes na África Ocidental, que de fato era conhecido por eles como "o país dourado". A influência do comércio transsaariano de ouro nas sociedades europeias pode ser vista, por exemplo, na derivação do Palavra espanhola para moeda de ouro no século 15, maravedí, do almorávida Murabitūn dinar.

O comércio de ouro viu o surgimento de impérios poderosos como Mali, Bono-Mansu e Songhay, a expansão de centros urbanos como Kano e o surgimento de classes comerciais poderosas como Wangara. O árabe tornou-se cada vez mais influente com a disseminação do Islã e seu uso como uma escrita para a administração. Por volta do século 15, quando o comércio atlântico começaria, o comércio transsaariano florescia há pelo menos 5 séculos e já havia moldado a ascensão, queda e consolidação de muitos estados e sociedades da África Ocidental.

Fatores-chave do comércio: meio ambiente, ouro, cavalos e a organização do comércio de caravanas

Um dos principais elementos na criação de redes de comércio é a geografia. O comércio tende a ser em produtos que não podem ser encontrados em uma área e que são trocados com aqueles que são necessários em outra. Por exemplo, as sociedades que vivem em áreas com produtos florestais podem trocá-los por sal de áreas desérticas e plantações de grãos de áreas de savana. Por sua vez, os povos da savana e do deserto podem adquirir produtos florestais. Assim, um fator vital no surgimento do tecido social da África Ocidental foi o deserto do Saara.

Onde as barreiras geográficas entre as diferentes zonas climáticas são extensas, as redes de comércio necessárias para movimentar as mercadorias devem ser mais complicadas. Para prosperar, as sociedades precisam desenvolver novos meios de acomodar comerciantes estranhos. Onde a barreira é tão grande quanto o deserto do Saara ou o Oceano Atlântico, o tecido social se entrelaça com essas complexas redes de comércio. Isso ocorreu na África Ocidental com o comércio transsaariano e as estruturas sociais que surgiram com esse comércio tornaram-se influentes na formação do comércio transatlântico inicial. Portanto, é difícil entender a importância do comércio transsaariano sem entender sua importância para a sociedade, em termos de organização e crença.

Um fator climático importante na formação das sociedades da África Ocidental foi a disseminação da mosca tsé-tsé. Em zonas de floresta úmida, a mosca tsé-tsé, que causa a doença do sono, dificultava a sobrevivência de animais de carga. Camelos, cavalos, burros e semelhantes não poderiam sobreviver facilmente em áreas onde a mosca tsé-tsé pudesse viver e prosperar. Isso significava que a sociedade precisava ser organizada para que as pessoas cumprissem esse papel e pudessem carregar cargas de ouro, nozes de cola, marfim e muito mais. Isso se tornou significativo à medida que o comércio de ouro transsaariano se tornou cada vez mais importante a partir do século 11 em diante.

Havia duas zonas principais para a localização de ouro na África Ocidental. Um estava no alto rio Senegal, especialmente no afluente do Falémé. O outro estava nas florestas da Costa do Ouro. Estar perto da fonte de ouro foi, sem dúvida, um grande prêmio político, e é significativo que as áreas próximas a Falémé e às florestas da Costa do Ouro tenham assistido ao surgimento de sistemas políticos estáveis ​​por muitos séculos. No Falémé, era o reino de Gajaaga [conhecido pelos franceses como Galam], que teve um governo estável por 8 séculos [segundo o historiador senegalês Abdoulaye Bathily]. Na Costa do Ouro, isso ocorreu em uma série de poderosos estados Akan, começando com Bono-Mansu no século 14 e continuando por Denkyira e Akwamu até 1700, todos os quais dependiam do comércio de ouro.

Na Senegâmbia, a fonte de ouro de Falémé ficava em uma área semidesértica onde a mosca tsé-tsé não conseguia se desenvolver [mais tarde, perto do centro do reino de Bundu]. Isso favoreceu a criação de poderosas forças de cavalaria e, portanto, uma das principais coisas comercializadas pelos comerciantes norte-africanos no comércio transsaariano foram seus famosos cavalos “árabes”. As cavalarias eram importantes para o processo de formação do Estado e controle militar em áreas como o império Jolof no norte da Senegâmbia e em Borno e Kano mais a leste. De fato, uma das primeiras áreas do comércio transsaariano que os europeus copiaram foi a instituição do comércio de cavalos, com cavalos criados nas ilhas Cabo-verdianas e comercializados com a costa da África Ocidental já na década de 1470.

Em Bono-Mansu, entretanto, os cavalos não podiam florescer por causa da mosca tsé-tsé. Isso significava que o papel dos carregadores principais era vital para garantir o bom funcionamento do comércio de ouro. O ouro foi extraído das minas nas florestas a 160 quilômetros ao norte da costa do Atlântico e, em seguida, transportado para o norte até o terminal do comércio transsaariano em Oualata [na atual Mauritânia], Timbuktu [no atual Mali] , Kano e N'gazarzamu em Borno.

Esses centros urbanos eram vitais para a organização do comércio transsaariano como um todo. Eles tiveram que desenvolver uma infraestrutura complexa de prestação de serviços para os comerciantes de longa distância. No século 15, cada uma dessas cidades tinha hotéis para cavalos e comerciantes, câmaras de compensação para os animais retornarem para o comércio de longa distância de volta ao Mediterrâneo, and markets where the wherewithal for the trade could be bought: saddlery and other kit for camels and horses, huge stocks of grain (millet, rice, and cous) to feed the slaves and traders crossing the Sahara, skins for water, dried meat, and more. Some, such as Timbuktu, had also become centres of learning for the scholars who accompanied the caravans for Islam was also becoming ever more closely related to the success and transformation of the trans-Saharan trade.

Traders and Diasporas

The traders who specialised in linking up the different centres of the trans-Saharan trade were known as the Wangara. By the 15 th century, the Wangara formed an important trade diaspora, stretching from The Gambia in the West to Borno in the East they also had connections in the Mali empire, and as far south as Bono-Mansu, and some of the Akan states on the southern Atlantic coast of what is now Ghana.

As we have seen, Islam had become closely connected to trans-Saharan trade: all of the traders from North Africa who came with the caravans were Muslims, and they preferred to trade with Muslims only. The rise of the Almoravid movement in the 11 th century, and the fall of Ghāna, made it clear that those rulers who converted to Islam would fare better in the trans-Saharan stakes.

At the same time, Islam remained the religion of the nobles and the trader class. It was not the faith of everyone, and some would resist it strongly. Thus West African rulers who wanted to succeed in the trans-Saharan trade had to develop a complex strategy. On the one hand, they had to be seen as Muslims in order to be able to entice the trans-Saharan traders: and yet at the same time, they had to be able to relate to their subjects, many of whom were not Muslims.

This commercial reality contributed to what historians call “plural societies”. A plural society can be defined as one in which more than one religion is allowed and tolerated where people can mix across ethnic and religious lines, and where the ability to respect more than one faith is an important part of political and social life. This can be seen through the oral accounts of key rulers such as Sunjata Keita of Mali, many of which emphasise the place of musicians in the court of Mali. The balafon was a royal instrument, which can be seen through its relationship in oral accounts to the sorcerer-king whom Sunjata defeated, Sumanguru Kante. Sumanguru was also reputed as a “Blacksmith king”, in tune with the supernatural powers of smiths and previous political regimes. Thus even Islamic rulers such as those of Mali showed their respect of African religions [and this may also explain why political leaders from Mali explained in Cairo in the 1320s that it was not possible to convert the producers of gold to Islam].

The Wangara diaspora of traders gradually became more and more important in creating a common culture across different parts of West Africa. Their arrival in Borno by the 15 th century showed how the pluralism of society, the spread of Islam as a scholarly, religious, and commercial religion, and the arrival of more and more global influences were all coming together across a wide part of West Africa.

Arabic, Literacy, and Scholarly Production

One of the impacts of the growing trans-Saharan trade was the spread of Arabic as a written language in West Africa. Arabic became not only a language of faith and religious scholarship, with the many mallams, shereefs, and other seers who came to the region. It was also a language of government and law. The many manuscripts now housed in the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu are testament to the spread of literacy in West Africa from an early time, and certainly it had become important by the 13 th century.

Rulers of important West African empires such as Mali and Songhay of course maintained existing indigenous frameworks of rulership. However they borrowed Islamic bureaucratic forms, religion, scholarship and legal structures to govern the new states, and the complex international relationships which they were developing through trade with the rest of the Islamic world. Taxation, law, and state offices all developed alongside the literate class which became vital to the functioning of the states of the Sahel.

By the 15 th and 16 th centuries, certain desert clans were renowned for their learning and scholarship. In Western areas such as Mauritania, these were known as the zwāya, and in the later 17 th century they would have a major role in the Islamic revival movement which spread in the 18 th century.Desert clans such as the Masūfa also migrated to Timbuktu from Māsina in central Mali, bringing special areas of learning in Islamic law (fiqh).The high status of these scholars is shown by the fact that the great Timbuktu scholar Ahmad Baba had as his main shaykh or religious instructor a scholar from Djenné on the Niger. [Ahmed Baba lived from 1556 to 1627, and wrote over 40 books in his lifetime he has the reputation of being Timbuktu’s greatest scholar].

The spread of Arabic has been studied by some historians through the spread of the use of Arabic on tombstones. The Brazilian historian PF de Moraes Farias spent his career studying these funerary inscriptions in cemeteries in Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. What he found was a more integrated history of Songhay, Tamasheq, Berber and Mande peoples than traditional histories had suggested. Arabic was not only an elite language of learning, but also became a language used by many to pay homage to their departed family members.

Headless figure, Jenne-jeno, Mali, 900-1400 AD, terracotta – National Museum of Natural History, photograph by Daderot, United States – DSC00413, CC0 1.0.

An important feature of this rise of Arabic was the spread of scholars from North Africa in centres of learning such as Kano and Timbuktu. Indeed, this was also an exchange, since scholars from West African cities moved to learn, study, and preach further afield. One was Al-Kānemī, from Kanem-Borno, who lived and taught in Marrakesh c. 1200, before dying in Andalusía in Spain. By the 14 th century, annual caravans took pilgrims from West Africa to North Africa and then to Mecca, and there was in Cairo a hostel to accommodate only those pilgrims who came from Borno while Askia Mohammed, who became ruler of Songhay c. 1495, instituted a garden and lodge for pilgrims from West Africa in Medina [a holy city of Islam, in Arabia], during his own hajj.

Tomb of Askia, photograph by Taguelmoust, 2005, CC BY-SA 3.0

The frequency of such presences of West Africans in the wider Islamic world is shown not only through the spread of Arabic, and the number of documented journeys made, but also by oral accounts. For instance, [the Gambian theologian Lamin Sanneh notes that] one of the most important strains of Islam in this period was that of Suwerian Islam. The founder of Suwerian Islam, al-Hajj Sālim Suware, is said in oral accounts to have made the pilgrimage to Mecca seven times in the early 13 th century. This is unlikely to be true, given just how difficult this journey was [and also as the Qur’an lonely requires it as a duty for Muslims to make the pilgrimage once in their lifetimes if possible]. However, the story reveals just how normal these journeys were, and how often they took place.

By the 15 th century, the growth of the gold trade had gone hand in hand with the emphasis on scholarship. The last 15 th century Sarki of Kano, Mohammed Rimfa, invited large numbers of scholars to settle in the city, and one of them – Sherif Abdu Rahman – came from Medina. Rahman brought his own library and many learned followers. The city walls of Kano were built, and the Kurmi market established, which showed just how much urban developments, learning, and the growth of the trans-Saharan trade had become interconnected.

This was also very apparent in Timbuktu. Timbuktu grew a reputation as a city of learning, and yet during the reign of Sonni Ali (c. 1464-93) of Songhay, its scholars felt undermined and slighted. After Sonni Ali’s death, many mallams from Timbuktu complained at his rulership and departure from orthodox Islam, and the ways in which they claimed he had persecuted the mallams. In the 16 th century, a succession of Askias ruled who followed a more orthodox path of Islam, and the city’s reputation as a centre of learning reached its peak. But this would fall with the Moroccan invasion of Songhay in 1591 [after which time, many of its scholars would disperse west, to Mauritania which is why many scholars of Islam in Mauritania see this as the centre of Islamic scholarship in the Sahel by the 18 th and 19 th centuries].

Mali and Mansa Musa

Perhaps the most famous and influential kingdom linked to the trans-Saharan trade was that of Mali. Mali was founded by Sunjata Keita in the 13 th century, defeating the blacksmith king Sumanguru Kante. However, in Mali, the ruler who reached world renown at the time was the Emperor Mansa Musa.

A ttributed to Abraham Cresques, Catalan Atlas BNF Sheet 6 Mansa Musa, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

Mansa Kankan Musa Keita was the son of Mansa Aboubacarr II the Navigator who in the 1300s sent out an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean from River Gambia to discover new territories. His son Mansa Kankan Musa Keita better known as Mansa Musa ruled Mali from 1312-1337. His reign lasted barely quarter of century but the whole 1300s are still called the Century of Mansa Musa because of his lasting legacy.

This legacy came out more for his exploits on his way to Mecca to perform his pilgrimage 1324-1325 than in any wars he fought and won or lost. He apparently did not want to perform the pilgrimage as he was still a nominal Muslim but when he accidentally killed his mother, he decided to perform the Hajj to purify himself and atone for his capital crime. He took along the entire court of his to Mecca including doctors, princes, griots and an army of body guard which numbered 8000 men! He left he Capital of Mali and traversed the Sahara through Walata in present day Mauretania, then Libya before entering Cairo. From Cairo he entered the Holy city of Mecca.

This pilgrimage had economic, political and religious consequences.

Economically, Mansa Musa dispensed so much gold on his way to Mecca that he has since then been called the richest ever human being to live on this earth. He also cemented trade ties between Mali and the Middle East and Cairo such that from 1325, caravans of over 10,000 camels traversed the Sahara into Mali at Gao and Timbuktu. Religiously, Mansa Musa and his huge entourage returned from the hajj renewed Muslims who now wanted to strengthen the religion and spread it far and wide. The Malian masses which were mostly animist then, were soon converted by the fresh pilgrims. Also, Mali opened up to more Arab scholars who were attracted by the immense wealth Mansa Musa displayed. These Arabs built fabulous mosques and courts for Mansa Musa. He also brought along great scholars who helped him establish the famous libraries in Gao, Jenne and Timbuktu. The hajj became one of the world’s greatest PR exercises! Politically, Mali became well known and Mansa Musa earned international repute. His pilgrimage put Mali firmly on the map. Indeed, before his death in 1337, Mansa Musa has expanded Mali into a sprawling empire with over 400 cities extending from the Atlantic in the West to the forest zones of the south. All the known states of the time such as Songhay,, Ghana, Galam, Tekrur formed part of Mansa Musa’s Mali. Mansa Musa indeed gave Mali her glory and Mali also gave Mansa Musa his glory!

Political reorganization in the 15 th century: Bono-Mansu, Mossi, Kano, and Songhay

The growth of the trans-Saharan trade from the 10 th to the 15 th century led to profound transformations across West Africa, and this can be seen through a whole range of transformations that took place in the 15 th century, from West to East and from North to South. It would be political, economic and social transformations in West Africa that would drive globalization and Europe’s role in this, not the other way around.

A good example are events in Nigeria. In Borno, the growth of the gold trade from Bono-Mansu would lead to the movement of the capital away from the old centre of Kanem, further south to Gazargamo (Ngazargamu) in Borno circa 1470. In Kano, there was the establishment of a new system, the Sarauta sistema. Meanwhile, the 10-metre deep earthworks known as “Eredos”, built around Ijebu in Yorubaland, have recently been dated [by the archaeologist Gérard Chouin] to the period 1370-1420.

In other regions similar transformations were afoot. In Mali, the Dogon people of the Bandiagara escarpment probably moved there in the 15 th century. At the same time, in the 15 th century, the Mossi kingdom rose in what is now Burkina Faso, linked to the profits to be made from taxing the onward gold trade.Al-Sa’dī describes Mossi attacking the town of Mâssina in this period.It was also at this time that Bono-Mansurose to prominence. Meanwhile, the key gold-trading centre of Bighu, also on the Gold Coast and which was to become very important in the 17 th and 18 th century, is mentioned by al-Ouazzan (as Bito) in the 1520s, suggesting that it too rose to prominence in these decades.

Meanwhile, in Senegambia, the rise of the major military leader Koli Tenguela at the end of the 15 th century coincided probably with an attempt to control the gold trade which came from the kingdom of Wuuli, on the north bank of the Gambia river. Tenguela, a Fula, would eventually lead an army south across the Gambia river to the Fuuta Jaalo mountains in Guinea-Conakry and establish a new polity there. This would lead in turn to the establishment of Fuuta Tooro on the Senegal river.

In other words, all across West Africa, from Borno to Fuuta Tooro, political transformations were taking place well before trade with Europe had begun. West African mining technology, economic transformation, and political reorganization grew. This helped to create the framework in which European powers sought to expand their knowledge of the world, as they began to sail along the West African coast in the 15 th century.

The most remarkable example came in northern Nigeria. Kano grew very rapidly in the 15 th century, sending out military expeditions to the south and becoming a regional hub linking trading networks from southern Nigeria to what is now Mali and beyond. [The Kano Chronicle gives some details of these changes]. In the reign of Kano’s Sarkin Dauda (c. 1421-38), we are told of the connections between Kano and the province of Nupe. The major power between Kano and Nupe was Zaria, which conquered a large area of land. The Kano Chronicle says, “at this time, Zaria, under Queen Amina, conquered all the towns as far as Kwararafa and Nupe. Every town paid tribute to her. The Sarkin Nupe sent forty eunuchs and ten thousand kolas to her…in time the whole of the products of the west were brought to Hausaland [of which Kano was the capital]”.

Just as European power was beginning to expand along the West African coast in the 15 th century, therefore, so the impact of the trans-Saharan trade reached its zenith. The 15 th century was not just the time of European expansion, but of global expansion of networks, trade, productions, and the manifestation of this power in more complex states, in West Africa and beyond.

Koli Tengella and Tekrur

Tekrur was another of the states which thrived largely as a result of the Trans-Saharan trade. It was founded in the 7 th century, and was located in present day North-East Senegal in the valley of the Senegal River. For many years, Tekrur laid quietly as a vassal of the Ghana and Mali empires. Tekrur had largely Serahuly and Mande speaking populations, but in the 15 th century, the Fula became powerful and removed the ruling Mande class and established the Janonkobe dynasty. They were led by a warrior the Senegalese historian Ousman Ba called ‘the great hero and saviour of the Peulh’ named Koli, the son of Tengella. He formed and mobilised a vast army and ravaged through Fouta Jallon, Mali and Jollof to make Tekrur the unvanquished power in the region. Koli was crowned as Satigi or emperor over the vast lands now under the control of his Fula armies. His capital was at Gode, near the present day Matam.

Koli is remembered in the Fouta Toro legends as the big chief of the Fula animist aristocracy who lived on war and slavery, catching especially of the Fula and Tukulor Muslims of his empire. No doubt then in 1776, the Muslims headed by Sulayman Bal revolted against Koli’s oppression to found the Muslim state of Fouta. How did Koli benefit from the trade across the Sahara? Simply put, by trading grain in exchange for firearms. He was able to build a strong army which maintained Tekrur’s dominance for many decades. It is clear from what has been said above that the trade across the Sahara helped to build strong states and also to destroy them as weapons became readily available and the lucrative trade also generated envy and the desire to dominate.

Ghana and Songhai Empires

Ghana was one of the most famous and earliest of the West African empires. It existed between the 5 th and 13 th centuries in the modern Mali and Mauritania, and was heavily connected to the trans-Saharan trade. The Ghana empire with its capital of Kumbi Saleh in Mauritainia, is not to be confused with modern Ghana with its capital at Accra, which was named after it. The principal inhabitants of Ghana were the Serahuli, also called Soninke, who were part of the Mande-speaking people.

Ghana owed her progress and prosperity and influence to the strategic role it played in the Trans-Saharan trade. British historian Kevin Shillington was categorical in this: ‘…Ghana’s position with regard to the trade…. made it grow powerful and its rulers became rich…. It seems likely that trade was a major factor in the growth of Ghana from the very beginning’.

Ghana was located half way between the sources of the two Trans-Saharan trade items: salt from the desert up north and gold from Bambuk to the East. Ghana played the enviable role of middleman. The introduction of the camel as carrier of goods in the trade was a massive boost to the exchange between Ghana and the desert peoples such as the Berbers.

Ghana’s glory could not be hidden simply because it was well traced and chronicled by the Arabic traders who came there. As early as the 11 th century an Arab geographer called al-Bakari visited Kumbi Saleh, the capital and described the fabulous wealth he saw and the well advanced form of administration run by the Ghana ruler. He observed that Kumbi Saleh had two separate wards: the foreigners’ quarter where Arab trader resided and the main ward where the king and his people lived. The dumbstruck Arab visitor also described in glowing terms how well dressed in gold the Ghana king was, how he was able to raise an army of 200,000 men and how he allowed both Islam and animism to be practised in Kumbi Saleh. Of course, our Arab writers only met the royals, nobles and traders as they were interested only in gold. They said little about what the ordinary people did for a living but we can glean from the writings that they fished and farmed along the banks of the River Senegal to survive.

Ghana’s glory rested on trade and so did its collapse. When the Almoravids started to wage war against other Berber tribes, the trade routes to Ghana became unsafe and trade was affected. Dry weather conditions also affected Ghana’s ability to feed herself and her vast army this seriously weakened the state. Also, by the 12 th century, vassals like Mali had began to rebel to gain freedom from Ghana’s dominance.

Songhay, on the other hand lasted from the 11 th to 16 th century. It rose to prominence as a result of the Trans-Saharan trade. As early as the 14 th century Muslim traders were settled in Gao, the principal trade town of Songhay. Gao became the hub for the Trans-Saharan trade for the central and eastern Sahara. The farmers and fishermen of Songay ensured the traders were well fed.

Songhay collected the bulk of her revenue from the taxes levied on trade caravans. One of the great Songhay emperors was Muhamed Ture also called Askia Muhamed who introduced Islam in to Songhay and increased the empire’s reaches. Like Mansa Musa of Mali, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca where he showed how rich and powerful his kingdom was. The Trans-Saharan trade helped to make Songhai rich and prosperous.

It should be noted that the trans-Saharan trade continued to be important into the 19 th and even the 20 th century, as the continuing trade and human traffic shows. The desert is a geographical barrier which requires complex organisation to cross – those who crossed it laid the foundations of some of the most important states in West African history.

Factbox:

3000BCE: Sahara starts desertifying

220BCE: Hannibal of Carthage crosses the Alps with West African elephants

400 CE: City of Jenne-jenò in the Middle Niger has grown to 4000 inhabitants

900AD: Gold from the forests of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire found in North African mints in increasing quantities

1062: The Almoravids from the fringes of the Senegal river valley conquer Morocco and establish Marrakech.

1076: Almoravids sack Koumbi-Saleh, capital of Ghāna

1080s: Almoravids sweep into southern Spain

1070-1100: The kingdom of Kanem-Borno converts to Islam and becomes important in the trans-Saharan trade. Regular pilgrimages to Mecca via Cairo of the Borno kings begin in the 1100s.

1200: Kano’s city walls completed by this date

1200-1250: rise of the Mali empire under Sunjata Keita, founded on trans-Saharan wealth

1322-5: Pilgrimage of Mansa Musa, emperor of Mali to Mecca via Cairo

1330s: Djinguereber mosque built in Timbuktu using the architect As-Sahili from Andalusía in southern Spain

1350-1390: Wangara traders bring Islam to Kano with trade

1433 – 1474: Emergence of Songhay to rival Mali for imperial power with the loss of Timbuktu to Songhay in 1468 to their ruler Sonni ‘Alī

1470s: The capital of Borno moves south to the fortified redoubt of Ngazargamu

1492: Death of Sonni ‘Alī, ruler of Songhay. He is replaced by Askia Mohammad in 1494, who inaugurates the great age of Songhay

1490s-1510s: Rise of Koli Tenguella, founder of Futa Toro on the northern bank of the Senegal river

1591: Fall of Songhay to the forces of Morocco


Growth and Urbanization of Malinké

Mansa Musa—Mansa is a title meaning something like "king"—held many other titles he was also the Emeri of Melle, the Lord of Mines of Wangara, and the Conquerer of Ghanata and a dozen other states. Under his rule, the Malinké empire was stronger, richer, better organized, and more literate than any other Christian power in Europe at the time.

Musa established a university at Timbuktu where 1,000 students worked towards their degrees. The university was attached to the Sankoré Mosque, and it was staffed with the finest jurists, astronomers, and mathematicians from the scholarly city of Fez in Morocco.

In each of the cities conquered by Musa, he established royal residences and urban administrative centers of government. All of those cities were Musa's capitals: the center of authority for the entire Mali kingdom moved with the Mansa: the centers where he was not currently visiting were called "king's towns."


Mali Empire (ca. 1200- )

The Mali Empire was the second of three West African empires to emerge in the vast savanna grasslands located between the Sahara Desert to the north and the coastal rain forest in the south. Beginning as a series of small successor trading states, Ancient Ghana, the empire grew to encompass the territory between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Chad, a distance of nearly 1,800 miles. Encompassing all or part of the modern nations of Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad, at its height in 1300, Mali was one of the largest empires in the world.

The Mali Empire was strategically located between the West African gold mines and the agriculturally rich Niger River floodplain. Mali’s rise begins when the political leaders of Ghana could not reestablish that empire’s former glory following its conquest and occupation by the Almoravids in 1076. Consequently a number of small states vied to control the salt and gold trade that accounted for Ghana’s wealth and power.

In 1235 Sundiata Keita, the leader of one of these states, Kangaba, defeated its principal rival, the neighboring kingdom of Susu, and began consolidating power in the region. Sundiata’s conquest in 1235 is considered the founding of the Malian Empire. Under Sundiata’s successors Mali extended its control west to the Atlantic, south into the rain forest region, including the Wangara gold fields, and east beyond the great bend of the Niger River.

At its height in 1350 the Mali Empire was a confederation of three states, Mali, Memo and Wagadou and twelve garrisoned provinces. The emperor or mansa ruled over 400 cities, towns and villages of various ethnicities and controlled a population of approximately 20 million people from the capitol at Niani. The Malian Army numbered 100,000 men including 10,000 cavalry. During this time only the Mongol Empire (China) and the Russian Empire exceed Mali in size. The mansa reserved the exclusive right to dispense justice and to tax both local and international trade. That trade was centered in three major cities, Timbuktu, Djenne and Gao.

Between 1324 and 1325 Mansa Musa, the most famous of the Malian Emperors, made an elaborate pilgrimage through the current nation of Sudan and through Egypt on to Mecca in Arabia, bringing thousands of followers and hundreds of camels carrying gold. Through the highly publicized pilgrimage and indirectly through an elaborate trade that sent gold to the capitals of Europe and Asia, Mali and its ruler became famous throughout the known world.

Mali’s power however was eventually weakened by palace intrigue that prevented an orderly succession of imperial power and by the desire of smaller states to break free of its rule to reap the benefits of the salt and gold trade. The first people to achieve independence from Mali were the Wolof who resided in what is now Senegal. They established the Jolof Empire around 1350. In 1430 the nomadic Tuareg seized Timbuktu This conquest had enormous commercial and psychological consequences: a relatively small but united group had occupied the richest city in the Empire and one of the major sources of imperial wealth.

The greatest challenge, however, came from a rebellion in Gao that led to rise of Songhai. The once vassal state to Mali conquered Mema, one of the Empire’s oldest possessions in 1465. Three years later they took Timbuktu from the Tuareg.

Beginning in 1502, Songhai forces under Askia Muhammad took control of virtually all of Mali’s eastern possession including the sites for commercial exchange as well as the gold and copper mines at the southern and northern borders. Even the desperate effort by Mansa Mahmud III to craft an alliance with the Portuguese failed to stop Songhai’s advances. In 1545 a Songhai army routed the Malians and their emperor from their capital, Niani. Although Songhai never conquered what remained of the Empire of Mali, its victories effectively ended Malian power in the savanna.


Regions of Mali Map

Mali has been divided into 10 administrative regions. In alphabetical order, these are as follows: Gao, Kayes, Kidal, Koulikoro, Menaka, Mopti, Segou, Sikasso, Taoudenni, Tombouctou (Timbuktu) note - Menaka and Taoudenni were legislated in 2016, but implementation has not been confirmed by the US Board on Geographic Names

The country also has one capital district, Bamako. It is the capital and largest city of Mali.

With an area of 496,611 sq. km Tombouctou is the largest region of Mali by area and Sikasso is the most populous one.


Mansa Musa, King of Mali

King Mansa Musa is famous for his Hajj journey, during which he stopped off in Egypt and gave out so much gold that the Egyptian economy was ruined for years to come. Mansa Musa was the great-great-grandson of Sunjata, who was the founder of the empire of Mali. His 25-year reign (1312-1337 CE) is described as the golden age of the empire of Mali (Levztion 66). While Sunjata focused on building an ethnic Malinke empire, Mansa Musa developed its Islamic practice. He performed his Hajj in 1324. According to Levztion, the journey across Africa to Makkah took more than a year and it took a powerful king to be able to be absent from his kingdom for so long. Mansa Musa journeyed along the Niger River to Mema, then to Walata, then through Taghaza and on to Tuat, which was a trade center in central Africa. Tuat attracted traders from as far as Majorca and Egypt and its traders included Jews as well as Muslims.

When he arrived in Egypt, Mansa Musa camped near the Pyramids for three days. He then sent a gift of 50,000 dinars to the Sultan of Egypt before settling in Cairo for three months. The Sultan lent him his palace for the summer and made sure that his entourage was treated well. Mansa Musa gave away thousands of ingots of gold, and Egyptian traders took advantage of this by charging five times the normal price for their goods. The value of gold in Egypt decreased as much as 25 percent. By the time Mansa Musa returned to Cairo from Hajj, however, he had run out of money and had to borrow from local Egyptian merchants.

While Mansa Musa was devout, he was not an ascetic. His imperial power was widely respected, and he was feared throughout Africa. Ibn Battuta s accounts show that Musa expected the same traditional etiquette of reverence to be performed for him as for any other king. These included demonstrating one s submission before the king. People who greeted him had to kneel down and scatter dust over themselves. Even in Cairo, Mansa Musa was greeted by his subjects in the traditional way. No one was allowed into the king s presence with his sandals on negligence was punished by death. No one was allowed to sneeze in the king s presence, and when the king himself sneezed, those present beat their breasts with their hands (Levtzion, 108).

Another custom was that the king would never give orders personally. He would pass instructions to a spokesman, who would then convey his words. He never wrote anything himself and asked his scribes to put together a book, which he then sent to the Sultan of Egypt. However, Mansa Musa had to face his own test of humility because it was required, when greeting the sultan, to kiss the ground. This was an act that Mansa Musa could not bring himself to perform. Ibn Fadl Allah Al-Omari, who spent time with Musa in Egypt, reports that Musa had made many excuses before he could be persuaded to enter the sultan s court. In the end, he made a compromise by announcing that if he had to prostrate on entering the court, it would be before Allah only, and this he did.

Mansa Musa stood in a long tradition of West African kings who had made pilgrimage to Makkah and, like his predecessors, he traveled in style. Ibn Battuta recorded the display of wealth, which included a large presence of bodyguards, dignitaries, saddled horses, and colored flags. He traveled with his senior wife, Inari Kunate, who brought with her five hundred maids-in-waiting. The senior wife was also respected and feared, and rulers of different cities paid their tributes to her. However, Ibn Battuta recorded that in Mansa Musa s court, the Shari`ah was rather informally practiced in matters of marriage. He records that Ibn Amir Hajib, a member of the Mamluk court, noted how Mansa Musa strictly observed prayer and knew the Qur an, but had maintained the custom that if one of his subjects had a beautiful daughter, he brought her to the king s bed without marriage. Ibn Amir Hajib informed Mansa Musa that this was not permitted under Islamic law, to which Mansa Musa replied, Not even to kings? Ibn Amir Hajib said, Not even to kings. Henceforth Mansa Musa refrained from the practice.

Mansa Musa s Hajj had a significant impact on the development of Islam in Mali and on the perception of Mali throughout Africa and Europe. He was later accompanied back to Mali by an Andalusian architect, who is said to have designed the mosque at Timbuktu. He also invited back with him four descendents of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), so that the country of Mali would be blessed by their footprints. According to Levtzion, Mansa Musa s pilgrimage is recorded in many sources, both Muslim and non-Muslim and from both West Africa and Egypt. Mali also appeared on the maps of the Jews and Christians in Europe. In Mali, Musa is known for building mosques and inviting Islamic scholars from around the Muslim world to his empire (Levtzion 213).

- Levtzion, N. Ancient Ghana and Mali. London: Methuen & Co., 1973.


Africa 979 CE

North AfricaIn North Africa, the Islamic religion has taken root, and a Shiite movement, called the Fatimids, now rules most of that region from Egypt.The Christian civilization of the Nubian kingdoms in the Nile Valley .

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What is happening in Africa in 979CE

Norte da África

In North Africa, the Islamic religion has taken root, and a Shiite movement, called the Fatimids, now rules most of that region from Egypt.

The Christian civilization of the Nubian kingdoms in the Nile Valley continues to flourish, while the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia is under fierce pressure from surrounding pagan tribes.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Islam is also now spreading across the Sahara desert into West Africa, carried by merchants and missionaries, although at this date the great bulk of the population have their traditional religions. West African civilization continues to advance, and other kingdoms have appeared beside Ghana, notably Songhai and Mali. Further east, the development of a more easterly trade route across the Sahara has led to the rise of the kingdom of Kanem, on the shores of Lake Chad.

The maritime trade between the east coast of Africa, Arabia and India is also expanding, and is leading to the rise of a coastal society, predominantly black by race and Muslim by culture, which will later be given the name “Swahili”. There is evidence for the beginnings of urbanization in this period along the coast.

In southern Africa, the Bantu herding cultures are thriving, pushing the pre-Bantu hunter-gatherer peoples further and further into inhospitable desert areas.

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Darkness and Light: Europe in 962 CE This series of timemaps shows a portion of North Africa.


Map of the Mali Empire, c. 1337 CE - History


An African emperor who ruled Mali in the 14th century discovered America nearly 200 years before Christopher Columbus, according to a book to be launched this month.

Abubakari II ruled what was arguably the richest and largest empire on earth - covering nearly all of West Africa.

According to a Malian scholar, Gaoussou Diawara in his book, 'The Saga of Abubakari II. he left with 2000 boats', the emperor gave up all power and gold to pursue knowledge and discovery.

Abubakari's ambition was to explore whether the Atlantic Ocean - like the great River Niger that swept through Mali - had another 'bank'.

In 1311, he handed the throne over to his brother, Kankou Moussa, and set off on an expedition into the unknown.

His predecessor and uncle, Soundjata Keita, had already founded the Mali empire and conquered a good stretch of the Sahara Desert and the great forests along the West African coast.

The book also focuses on a research project being carried out in Mali tracing Abubakari's journeys.

"We are not saying that Abubakari II was the first ever to cross the ocean," says Tiemoko Konate, who heads the project

"There is evidence that the Vikings were in America long before him, as well as the Chinese," he said.


The researchers claim that Abubakari's fleet of pirogues, loaded with men and women, livestock, food and drinking water, departed from what is the coast of present-day Gambia.

They are gathering evidence that in 1312 Abubakari II landed on the coast of Brazil in the place known today as Recife.

"Its other name is Purnanbuco, which we believe is an aberration of the Mande name for the rich gold fields that accounted for much of the wealth of the Mali Empire, Boure Bambouk."

Another researcher, Khadidjah Djire says they have found written accounts of Abubakari's expedition in Egypt, in a book written by Al Omari in the 14th century.

"Our aim is to bring out hidden parts of history", she says.

Mr Konate says they are also examining reports by Columbus, himself, who said he found black traders already present in the Americas.

They also cite chemical analyses of the gold tips that Columbus found on spears in the Americas, which show that the gold probably came from West Africa.


But the scholars say the best sources of information on Abubakari II are Griots - the original historians in Africa.

Mr Diawara says the paradox of Abubakari II, is that the Griots themselves imposed a seal of silence on the story.

"The Griots found his abdication a shameful act, not worthy of praise," Mr Diawara said.

"For that reason they have refused to sing praise or talk of this great African man."

Mr Diawara says the Griots in West Africa such as Sadio Diabate, are slowly starting to divulge the secrets on Abubakari II.

But the research team says an even bigger challenge is to convince hard-nosed historians elsewhere that oral history can be just as accurate as written records.

Mr Diawara believes Abubakari's saga has an important moral lesson for leaders of small nation states in West Africa, which were once part of the vast Mande-speaking empire.

"Look at what's going on in all the remnants of that empire, in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea.

"Politicians are bathing their countries in blood, setting them on fire just so that they can cling to power," says Mr Diawara.

"They should take an example from Abubakari II. He was a far more powerful man than any of them. And he was willing to give it all up in the name of science and discovery."

"That should be a lesson for everyone in Africa today," concludes Mr Diawara.


7b. Mali: A Cultural Center


Mansa Musa, greatest king of Mali, is shown on this Spanish map of Africa.

What would life be like if a magician ruled the land? The history of ancient Mali gives us some hints. The founder of this West African kingdom was well known among his people as a man of magic with more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

Before the sorcerer's reign, and the Malian kingdom's birth, years of competition and fighting took place in the lands west of the upper Niger River. A series of fierce battles took place, and in the 13th century C.E., a group known as the Soso emerged victorious. The Soso's new lands, which had once belonged to the kingdom of Ghana, were like giant pots of gold. But before the Soso could settle in and enjoy the wealth, the great "sorcerer-king" Sundiata moved in to take over.

The Lion King

Sundiata claimed that Mali was his by right of inheritance and in 1230 A.D he defeated the Soso and took back the land. According to legend, Sundiata's rival, King Sumanguru, was also a sorcerer. Sumanguru conjured up the heads of eight spirits for assistance. Sundiata had stronger magic. He defeated the eight heads and then shot an arrow, which grazed Sumanguru's shoulder, draining him of all remaining magic. With a pat on the back, Sundiata declared himself ruler, or mansa, of the region and set up capital in the city of Niani.


The mosque at Timbuktu was the heart of the kingdom of Mali. The empire of Mali expanded after the fall of Ghana, reaching its height under the rule of Kankan Musa (c. 1312-1327 C.E.). Many monumental mosques were constructed during the reign of Mansa Kankan Musa who is still remembered as a great Islamic ruler.

Sundiata, also known as the "Lion King," was determined to make changes, and indeed he did. He decided to assign specific occupations to particular kin groups and developed a social organization similar to a caste system. For example, if born into a family of warriors, one was destined to be a warrior. If born into a family of djeli , or storytellers, one was destined to join the djeli tradition. Choice of destiny was not an option.

This system conveniently meant that if born into a family of mansa, one was part of the ruling dynasty &mdash the Keita. It was one of Sundiata's "tricks" to keep power in the family.

For the most part, the system worked. However, for a short time, power escaped the Keita hands and landed in those of a former slave. The disruptive reign of the ex-slave, known as Sakura, paved the way for Sundiata's nephew, Mansa Kankan Musa, to back the throne. Best known for his wealth, his generosity, and his dedication to Islam, Mansa Musa took the kingdom to new heights.

A Golden Pilgrimage

Through involvement in the gold trade that swept through Africa and reached all the way to Europe, Mansa Musa led Mali to great riches. The region's prosperity was nothing new, but based on Egyptian records, Mansa Musa's display and distribution of the wealth was unprecedented.

In 1324, the great Mansa Musa set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Decked out in his finest clothes, he passed through Cairo with 500 slaves, each of whom carried a six-pound staff of gold. Backing them up were 100 camels, carrying in sum over 30,000 more pounds of the precious metal.


The African gold trade was indeed a lucrative one, as shown by this gold from Ghana.

Surely this was a sight to behold, and the accounts left behind say that the show got even better. While cruising through Cairo, Mansa Musa reportedly handed out gifts of gold to bystanders. He entertained the crowds and made a lucky few suddenly rich.

In Mansa Musa's Hands

Aside from being generous, Mansa Musa made an important mark in Mali by introducing the kingdom to Islam and making it one of the first Muslim states in northern Africa. He incorporated the laws of the Koran into his justice system. Cities such as Timbuktu and Gao were developed into international centers of Islamic learning and culture. Elaborate mosques and libraries were built. The university arose in Timbuktu might well have been the world's first. The cities became meeting places for poets, scholars, and artists.

Though not everyone accepted the new faith and culture, a strong relationship between religion and politics quickly developed. Mansa Kankan Musa ruled with all the ideals of a fine Muslim king. He died in the mid-14th century, and Mali was never quite the same. Internal squabbling between ruling families weakened Mali's governing and its network of states started to unravel. Then, in 1430, a group of Berbers seized much of Mali's territory, including Timbuktu.

Though the wealth and power that Mali possessed was swept up quickly by the next great empire, its legacy stands proudly. The pioneering spirit and groundbreaking accomplishments of Mali's kingdom make its rise and fall an important chapter of African history.


Assista o vídeo: MALI Los Antiguos Astrónomos de Tombuctú - Documentales (Janeiro 2022).