Century global skills

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3. Empire of Mali

  • Located along the upper Niger River with fertile soil. The Niger River helped people trade resulting in a rich and powerful empire under the ruler Sundiata.

  • Sundiata conquered Ghana and took over the salt and gold trade. He worked to improve agriculture in Mali, had new farmlands cleared for beans, onions, rice and other crops. He even introduced another crop- cotton. From cotton fibers, people made clothing that was comfortable.

  • Sundiata took away power from local leaders. The local leaders had the title mansa a title Sundiata now took for himself. When he died in 1255, rulers of Mali took the title mansa where most of them were Muslims.

  • Mansa Musa: Mali’s most famous ruler allowed it to reach the height of its wealth, power, and fame in the 1300s. Because of Mansa Musa’a influence, Islam spread through a large part of West Africa. He ruled for about 25 years where he added many important trade cities to its empire including Timbuktu. He supported education and hired architects to build mosques throughout his empire.

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