Mali did not take over without a fight. Mali
fought Ghana for control, and they won. Sundiata was the first king
of Mali, after Mali took over as the leader of West Africa.
was a great king. He was young and capable. He had great plans. He
put his plans quickly into place. The drums and storytellers told
many a tale about his achievements. He was first nicknamed Sundiata
the Hero. But soon, people were calling him the Lion King.
away, Sundiata built his strong army to a more powerful level. He
needed the army to guard the trade routes and his people. Trade had
fallen off during the war between Ghana and Mali. He needed to prove
to the traders that it was safe to come back.
put some of his army to work clearing fields and planting crops. He
needed the farmers to get back into the business of growing
He was a Muslim, but he
offered all his people religious freedom.
offered slaves freedom from slavery in exchange for their work. He
needed a huge work force. But he didn't want slaves. He wanted free
men who knew they were working together to build an empire.
ruled for 25 years. His people loved him!
Ancient West African Kingdom of Mali
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