Mali means "hippopotamus" or
"where the king resides". Mali began as one of the
districts in the Kingdom of Ghana. Around 1230 CE, Ghana collapsed
and Mali took over. In time, they grew to be larger than Ghana.
The new king, Sundiata, was a very good king.
He was young and strong, courageous and clever. He kept the drums and storytellers busy with tales of his achievements
and accomplishments. Sundiata the Hero was soon nicknamed the Lion
Strength: He built a strong military to protect
the routes. He had his army clear farmland to help the people get
back on their feet. He introduced cotton.
During the war with Ghana, trade had just about disappeared. Trade was the way to wealth and he knew it. He
sent messengers out across Africa saying, "The invaders are
gone! Let us open up the trade routes!" And they did. Muslim
merchants and scholars began to come to Mali.
He was a Muslim. He
believed in one god - Allah. But he offered his people religious
freedom. He allowed his people to worship many gods in the tradition
Reduction of Slavery:
He allowed slaves to work for their freedom and to
become an important part of the new Kingdom of Mali. If you were
bright and capable and hard working and honest, he wanted you on his
He took a kingdom and made it an empire. He ruled for 25
years, and his people loved him.
Ancient West African Kingdom of Mali
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