Mali Empire: West Africa: 13th to 15th century

Mansa Musa
Our empire


Islamic Empire
Kingdom of Ghana


We have horses and gold. We have spears called tambas. We have bows and arrows, and we even have flaming arrows. We have poison javelins and chainmail armor. We have copper and iron.


Our classes include ruling elites, military nobles, administrative officials, religious authorities, wealthy merchants, artisans, business entreprenuers, common people, peasants, and slaves. People do work based on age and gender. We do not have private property. People measure their wealth through slaves. We like to tell stories and sing songs.
This piece of artwork depicts our empire.


We practice Islam. Some of us have more traditional beliefs and worship a creator god and nature spirits.


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Our empire was built by the lion prince, Sundiata. Sundiata had a difficult childhood because he was crippled. When his father died, the kingdom was invaded and all the royal offspring were killed except for Sundiata because it was thought that Sundiata's physical condition would prevent him from becoming a threat. However, Sundiata grew strong, so his enemies exiled him. He grew even stronger in exile and even developed an army, with which he returned and established the Mali empire.
blog 2, 1350
We are very involved with trade. We control and tax almost all trade passing through west Africa. Our capital city, Niani, attracts merchants, especially those wishing to enter the gold trade. We trade with the Muslims. We have market cities such as Timbuktu, Gao, and Jenne.
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Mansa Musa was one of our great emperors. He was Sundiata's grand-nephew. Mansa Musa was muslim, and he observed Islamic tradition by making his pilgrimage to Mecca. He had a large caravaan of soldiers, attendants, subjects, slaves, and camels carrying gold. Mansa Musa gave gifts to all who hosted him on his way. On a three-month visit to Cairo, Mansa Musa distributed so much gold that its value decreased by 25 percent in local markets. Mansa Musa built mosques and established religious schools.

The Wall

Hi there, Mali Empire! We almost want to detest your existence because you were the next owner of our territory, but you appeared just as we were vanishing, as in, we had basically collapsed already, so, it's understandable that you claimed our land, no hard feelings. We just wanted to give you props for your trans-Saharan trade and respect for Islam - way to be, my friends, way to be. Although, we don't get why Mansa Musa was so into Islam, since we were really in it for the business, but whatever, to each his own.Love, Kingdom of Ghana
Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Ziegler. Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.