Section 2 “Empire of Mali” p. 136-141 Essential Question/Big Idea: How did the wealthy and powerful Mali Empire rule West Africa after the fall of Ghana?



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Chapter 6 “West African Empires” AD 1000-1600

Section 2 “Empire of Mali” p. 136-141

Essential Question/Big Idea: How did the wealthy and powerful Mali Empire rule West Africa after the fall of Ghana?
7.4.3 Describe the role of the trans-Saharan caravan trade in the changing religious and cultural characteristics of West Africa and the influence of Islamic beliefs, ethics, and law.

7.4.4 Trace the growth of the Arabic language in government, trade, and Islamic scholarship in West Africa.


Sundiata Makes Mali an Empire

Main Ideas/Questions

Language of the Discipline



Notes / Details

Who was Sundiata?



According to legend, he was a mighty warrior and magician who became Mali’s first ruler

What steps did Sundiata take to turn Mali into an empire?



  • Sundiata built a huge army and won Mali’s independence

  • His army conquered nearby kingdoms including Ghana

  • His army took over the salt and gold mines

  • Cleared farmland and introduced cotton, onions, beans and rice, soldiers farmed

How did Sundiata consolidate his power?



  1. Sundiata takes power away from local rulers (mansas)

  2. He now controlled religion

  3. Later rulers convert to Islam

What is a mansa?



In West Africa, local leaders with both political and religious roles in society


Mansa Musa

Who was Mansa Musa?



A Muslim king under who’s rule Mali reached its height (1324)

How did the world learn about Mali?



Mansa Musa takes a hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) with a caravan of 30,000 pounds of gold and 60,000 people

How did Mansa Musa spread Islam?



  • He gave away $100 million worth of gold so the world would know about Mali

  • He sent scholars to study in Morocco

  • Scholars later set up schools in Timbuktu

  • Built many mosques

  • Practiced religious tolerance


The Fall of Mali

How did Mali’s growth eventually weaken the empire?



  • Weak rulers

  • Empire too large to control

  • Invaders (Tuareg burned Timbuktu in 1431)

  • People in empire broke away—Internal rebellions (Songhai)




    1. 6.2 Summary

    2. Terms p. 105


How did the wealthy and powerful Mali Empire rule West Africa after the fall of Ghana? (Use and underline these terms: Sundiata, Mali, Mansa Musa, decline or fall)

The wealthy and powerful Mali Empire ruled West Africa after the fall of Ghana. Sundiata,the first emperor of Mali, helped Mali gain its independence and then conquered Ghana. He also took over the salt and gold mines and cleared farmland. Sundiata took power from local leaders, or mansas, and then took control of religion and later kings converted to Islam. Mansa Musa, was a Muslim king who took Mali to its height. Mansa Musa took a hajj which showed the world how rich Mali was because he gave away 30,000 pounds of gold. He made Timbuktu a center for learning, built mosques, and practiced religious tolerance. Due to weak rulers, too large an empire, invaders, and internal rebellions, Mali fell in the 1400s.

Name Date #
Chapter 6 “West African Empires” AD 1000-1600

Section 2 “Empire of Mali” p. 136-141

Essential Question/Big Idea: How did the wealthy and powerful Mali Empire rule West Africa after the fall of Ghana?
7.4.3 Describe the role of the trans-Saharan caravan trade in the changing religious and cultural characteristics of West Africa and the influence of Islamic beliefs, ethics, and law.

7.4.4 Trace the growth of the Arabic language in government, trade, and Islamic scholarship in West Africa.


Sundiata Makes Mali an Empire

Main Ideas/Questions

Language of the Discipline



Notes / Details

Who was Sundiata?



According to legend, he was a mighty warrior and magician who became Mali’s first ruler

What steps did Sundiata take to turn Mali into an empire?



  • Sundiata built a huge army and won Mali’s independence

  • His army conquered nearby kingdoms including Ghana

  • His army took over the salt and gold mines

  • Cleared farmland and introduced cotton



How did Sundiata consolidate his power?




What is a mansa?






Mansa Musa

Who was Mansa Musa?



How did the world learn about Mali?



How did Mansa Musa spread Islam?






The Fall of Mali

How did Mali’s growth eventually weaken the empire?






How did the wealthy and powerful Mali Empire rule West Africa after the fall of Ghana? (Use and underline these terms: Sundiata, Mali, Mansa Musa, decline)






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