The Songhay Empire (1464 - 1591)

Map of the Songhay or Songhai Empire


Mali Empire
Islamic Empire
African Slaves


We had a very effective military and and imperial navy which patroled the Niger River,
which was a very important commericial highway in our empire.


We participated in the trans-Saharan trade and recieved salt, textiles, and metal goods
in exchange for slaves and gold. Emperors of our empire supported mosques, built
schools to teach the Quran, and maintained an Islamic university at Timbuktu. The
capital city of Gao was very prosperous and held about seventy-five thousand residents.
The city helped us recieve a lot of imports.

external image malimap2.gif
Map of the trans-Saharan trade. (We took over the Mali section)


The emperors of our Songhay Empire were all Muslims. Islam was valued by us
because of our interactions with Muslim merchants and Islamic states in north Africa.
It's true that Islam was taken mostly for business, so we also kept our own traditions
such as pagan diviners and magicians.


Blog Entry One: 1400 C.E.
We have good news. The Mali Empire has begun to weaken. Our
state of Songhay has been longing to expand and our time has come. Today we have
refused to accept the Mali authority that has been trying to take over our trading city
of Gao. We are now able to start raids in their territory in hopes of gaining power.

Blog Entry Two: 1464 C.E.
I, Sunni Ali, have started to gain power for the Songhay Empire. I have
been leading a campaign against our neighbors so that we will be able to expand. I
have also gained control of Timbuktu and Jenne. Hopefully the wealth they will give to
my empire will gain us dominance of the central Niger Valley.

Blog Entry Three:
It is the year 1591 and we have faced a terrible defeat. The Moroccan
army began to attack us with advanced weaponry. We were showered by poen fire
from muskets. The Moroccans came from across the Sahara and we had no previous
knowledge of their plans to attack us. We were not able to hold our own against them
and it will be difficult for the Songhay Empire to recover from such a defeat.

The Wall

Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Ziegler
Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. New York: McGraw-Hill,
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