Mossi Kingdoms

The Mossi Kingdoms were a number of different powerful kingdoms in modern-day Burkina Faso which dominated the region of the Upper Volta River for hundreds of years. Increasing power of the Mossi kingdoms resulted in larger conflicts with regional powers. The Kingdom of Yatenga became a key power attacking the Songhai Empire between 1328 and 1477, taking over Timbuktu and sacked the important trading post of Macina.

When Askia Mohammad I became the leader of the Songhai Empire with the desire to spread Islam, he waged a Holy war against the Mossi kingdoms in 1497. Although the Mossi forces were defeated in this effort, they resisted attempts to impose Islam. Although there were a number of jihad states in the region trying to forcibly spread Islam, namely the Massina Empire and the Sokoto Caliphate, the Mossi kingdoms largely retained their traditional religious and ritual practices. Being located near many of the main Islamic states of West Africa, the Mossi kingdoms developed a mixed religious system recognizing some authority for Islam while retaining earlier African spiritual belief systems.

7 Medieval African Kingdoms Everyone Should Know About

http://www.laaf.me/en/west-africa/kingdoms-and-empires/mossi-kingdoms.php

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/393822/Mossi

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/393828/Mossi-states

Songhai Empire

The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was the largest state in African history and the most powerful of the medieval west African states. It expanded rapidly beginning with King Sonni Ali in the 1460s and by 1500s, it had risen to stretch from Cameroon to the Maghreb. In 1360, disputes over succession weakened the Mali Empire, and in the 1430s, Songhai, previously a Mali dependency, gained independence under the Sonni Dynasty. Around thirty years later, Sonni Sulayman Dama attacked Mema, the Mali province west of Timbuktu, paving the way for his successor, Sonni Ali, to turn his country into one of the greatest empires Saharan Africa has ever seen.

Perhaps, it’s most popular leader was Muhammad Askia the Great. At its peak, the Songhai city of Timbuktu became a thriving cultural and commercial center. Arab, Italian and Jewish merchants all gathered for trade. By 1500, the Songhai Empire covered over 1.4 million square kilometers.

http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/12/05/7-midieval-african-kingdoms/2/

http://www.blackpast.org/gah/songhai-empire-ca-1375-1591

http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/songhai-african-empire-15-16th-century

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/sghi/hd_sghi.htm

Mali Empire

After the fall of the Kingdom of Ghana, the Mali Empire rose to dominate West Africa. Located on the Niger River to the west of Ghana in what is today Niger and Mali, the empire reached its peak in the 1350s.

The Mali Empire was founded by Mansa (King) Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa. He was the grandson of Sundiata’s half-brother, and led Mali at a time of great prosperity, during which trade tripled. During his rule, Mansa Musa doubled the land area of Mali; it became a larger kingdom than any in Europe at the time.

The cities of Mali became important trading centers for all of West Africa, as well as famous centers of wealth, culture and learning. Timbuktu, an important city in Mali, became one of the major cultural centers not only of Africa but of the entire world. Vast libraries and Islamic universities were built. These became meeting places of the finest poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East.

The Kingdom of Mali had a semi-democratic government with one of the world’s oldest known constitutions – The Kurukan Fuga.

Read more: http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/12/05/7-midieval-african-kingdoms/2/

http://www.blackpast.org/gah/mali-empire-ca-1200

http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/resources/mali/

The few written accounts about ancient Mali were recorded by Arab travelers and scholars. One of the most famous travelogues is Rihlah by the African-born Ibn Battuta (1304-1368/9), a great Arab traveler of the time. Rihlah describes life in Mali between 1352 and 1353/4 and records his travels to Anatolia (current-day Turkey), Crimea, east Africa, Persia (present-day Iran), India, Cylon, Sumatra, North Africa and perhaps China. Although other written accounts of the ancient West African empires exist, Ibn Battuta is one of the few who actually traveled to this area and wrote from personal experience.

http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/resources/mali/

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/mali/hd_mali.htm

Kingdom of Ghana

Centered in what is today Senegal and Mauritania, the Kingdom of Ghana dominated West Africa between about 750 and 1078 A.D. Famous to North Africans as the “Land of Gold,” Ghana was said to possess sophisticated methods of administration and taxation, large armies, and a monopoly over notoriously well-concealed gold mines.

The king of the Soninke people who founded Ghana never fully embraced Islam, but good relations with Muslim traders were fostered. Ancient Ghana derived power and wealth from gold and the use of the camel increased the quantity of goods that were transported. One Arab writer, Al-Hamdani, describes Ghana as having the richest gold mines on Earth. Ghana was also a great military power. According to one narrative, the king had at his command 200,000 warriors and an additional 40,000 archers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/africa/features/storyofafrica/4chapter1.shtml

http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/12/05/7-midieval-african-kingdoms/

http://themedievalages.weebly.com/africa-ancient-ghana.html

http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-ancient-history/ancient-ghana.html

http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/history/ancient_ghana.php

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/ghan/hd_ghan.htm

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