The map of Mali Empire in the year 1337. Source :

Mali Empire was one of the most greatest empires to have ever existed not only in West Africa, but in the entire African continent. The Empire existed for over four hundred years, presumably from about the 13th century to 17th century. The territory of the Empire spanned into the modern days countries of Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Mauritania, and Guinea Bissau. The Mali Empire was an Islamic empire that gave Islam a very good priority.

The Empire collapsed around the year 1670.


Before the foundation of the Mali Empire, there were different local tribes of Malinke living in the area. However, all these tribes were under the rule of the Sosso Empire.

Around the year 1235, a powerful Prince or King called Sundiata Keita merged fought the Sosso Empire, free up, and united the local tribes of the Malinke peoples. Gradually, the Empire became strong and even overpowered the great Ghana Empire.

From many of the sources including some written sources by the Arabs have indicated Sundiata Keita to be the first King of Mali Empire.

Greatness of the Empire

The Mali Empire was a great Empire that became the most powerful during its time. The Empire was already founded along the River Niger which gave her a great advantage. The Empire controlled and influenced much of the sub-Saharan trade.

The Kings of the Empire were powerful, charismatic, and wealthy. They were officially referred to as ‘Mansa’. The Empire started becoming great during its most greatest king called Mansa Musa. Mansa Musa was a great King and wealthy who made a lavish pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) in 1324. Mansa Musa came to the throne in 1312. When Mansa Musa returned from the pilgrimage trip, he came back with many ideas for the improvement of the Empire. As part of the ideas, Musa invested heavily in the architecture and scholarly activities. He built the famous Sankore University in Timbuktu and empowered Islamic scholars in the Empire. Also, during his time, the Empire was expanded especially eastward.

Collapsed of the Mali Empire

The Mali Empire reached its peak during the reign of Mansa Musa. While the declining process of the Empire began during reign of Mansa Suleyman. Mansa Suleyman came to the throne of Empire in 1341 after he deposed Mansa Maghan I. Since then, an internal problem began to arise. Different weak rulers followed and ruled the Empire.

By 1600, the Empire was in ruin, losing many of its territorial possession. By 1670, the Empire totally collapsed when its capital of Niani was burnt down by

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