The organization Ghana. Like any other organized society, Ghana was organized politically, economically and socially as seen below;
- The empire was headed by the king who had both political and religious powers as was considered the chief priest of the empire.
- The king was assisted by the council of ministers in the administration of the empire. The majority were Moslems and others pagans.
- Ghana was divided into two i.e. Ghana proper (metropolitan Ghana) and improper Ghana (provincial Ghana) which were conquered states.
- Ghana proper or metropolitan Ghana was directly ruled by the king and his cabinet.
- Provincial or improper Ghana which consisted of the conquered states was left under the control of their traditional chiefs but had to pay annual tributes to the king of Ghana.
- To ensure loyalty of the conquered chiefs, the king ordered them to surrender their beloved sons each to his royal court at Kumbi Saleh.
- The king stayed in the capital Kumbi Saleh where the high offices existed, it was divided into sections i.e. one used by the king and another used by Moslem traders in Ghana.
- Succession to the throne was matrilineal i.e. when the king died it was the son of his sister to become the next king.
- Ghana had a strong standing army which was under the command of the king. It was an army of about 40,000 soldiers.
- The administration of justice was the responsibility of the king i.e. people who were not satisfied with the judge of other administrators could appeal to the king.
- The king controlled the traders and levied taxes in order to get money to pay the cost of administration.
- Other important offices in Ghana includes the court interpreters, the state treasurer but many of these were educated Moslems.
- The palace was guarded by the soldiers and dogs wearing colours of silver and gold as a sign of wealth.
- The empire was also divided into divisions which were 16 (sixteen) in number each under a chief and a linguistic (one who knew many languages), a treasurer to attend to local problems.
- The opening of a royal at council meeting was announced by drum (deba) at the sound of the drum (deba) people gathered when the king appeared, they could kneel and throw dusts on their heads which was away of greeting their king.
- Participated in the Trans-Saharan Trade It carried out agriculture.
- Imposed taxes on traders.
- ‘The Soninke practiced iron smelting Cloth wearing was practiced.
- Annual tributes from the vassal states
- Ghana was a pagan state with many gods worshipped and made sacrifices to the dead
- The Moslems were later allowed to worship as long as they obeyed the law.
- Unity existed among the Soninke people due to the common language, custom and culture.
- They buried their kings with all their properties and in well- constructed tomb.
Why Ancient Ghana Survived Up To The 12th Century
- Favourable climate i.e. reliable rain fall.
- Strategically located in fertile soils ie savanna belt.
- Participated in Trans Saharan Trade.
- It had a lot of gold controlled by the king.
- Imposed taxes on the traders.
- Clear succession system.
- Good policies on conquered states.
- Practiced iron working
- Competent leaders ie Basi, Tunkamanin.
- Good system of administration
- The existence of justice.
- Strong army
- Weak neighbors
Factors for the decline of ghana.
- It became too big which made administration difficult.
- External attacks ie Tuaregs
- Death of capable leaders.
- Outbreak of civil wars. •
- The political and cultural division due to many tribes.
- The breakaway of conquered states.
- The empire lacked natural geographical barrier ie lakes, rivers. The Almoravids under Abu Bekil in 1076 invasion ie they were fanatic Moslems from North Africa.
- The depletion of trade items like gold.
- The rise of Mali in 1240 under Sundiata Keita conquered the remaining Ghana. ^
- Although Islam led to its rise, it also led to its collapse because Moslem administrators wanted to build mosques in the Soninke quarters which led to fighting.
- Decline in trade ie. Wars in the empire affected trade and revenue.
- Outbreak of famine ie activities of the Almoravids diverted people attention.
The Empire of Mali
- It was the second empire to develop in Western Sudan.
- Mali Empire developed as a small state of Kangaba which late developed into Mali which meant where the king stayed.
- The founders of the Empire of Mali were the Mandika speaking people who were middle men in gold trade.
- The empire was founded in around 10th Century.
- Mali was located in the savanna grass land between R. Niger and R. Senegal extending west to the coast.
- When Ghana became weak, Sumaguru Kante of Kangaba captured Ghana in 1203 but the state of Kangaba was already growing powerful.
- Its capital was in Jeriba and this is where the king stayed. Kangaba carried out agriculture because of its location in savannah regions and grew crops like millet, cassava, rice, sorghum etc.
- The prosperity of Kangaba annoyed Sumaguru Kante of Kangaba who invaded it and annexed it in 1224.
- Sumaguru Kante killed the eleven (sons) children of the king of Kangaba and left prince Marijata
- Because he was crippled Prince Marijata went to exile in meama and later became a great hunter and soldier.
- It is said that Sumaguru Kante’s rule was so harsh ie capture the Mandika girls, imposed heavy taxes.
- Sundiata’s stay in Exile made him to organize an army which fought Sumaguru Kante and defeated him in 1235 at the battle of Kirina and liberated Kangaba.
- After the liberation of Kangaba Sundiata conquered Kanaga and also the remains of Ghana ie captured Bure, Bambuk hence creating the Empire of Mali.
- Sundiata became the ruler of Mali in 1235 – 1255 after Kante in 1235.
- Unlike Ghana, Mali started and ended as an Islamic State.
Factors That Led To The Rise And Development Of Mali
- It participated in Trans Sahara Trade.
- It had capable leaders e.g. Sundiata Keita, Mansa Musa etc.
- Strategically located in savannah belt.
- The collapse of Ghana.
- It had gold e.g. Bambuk etc.
- It was an Islamic state hence it could not be attacked by the fanatic Moslems.
- It imposed taxes on traders.
- It had a strong army (100,000 soldiers).
- It had a good system of administration headed by the king, ministers.
- Good foreign relationships i.e. Egypt, Morocco, Arabia hence weapons for expansion.
- Weak neighbours
- Good succession system.
- Divided into provisions and districts.
Sundiata Keita (Marijata) (1235 – 1255)
§ He was one of the strong rulers of Mali who ruled from 1235 – 1255.
§ He was the only one left or spared when Sumaguru Kante killed 11 of his brothers because he was crippled.
§ He later became a famous soldier / hunter; he fought Sumanguru Kante and killed him at the famous battle of Kirina.
How sundiata keita contributed to the growth of mali or why is he remembered in the history of mali’
- He laid the foundation of Mali after defeating Sumaguru Kante.
- He expanded the empire i.e. Wangara, Bure, Bambuk etc.
- He divided the empire into provinces each under the governor. Created peace (army)
- He transferred the capital from Jeriba to Niani which was called Mali from which the empire got its natne Promoted trade.
- Improved agriculture
- Conquered gold producing Bambuk, upper areas.
- Strengthened the revenue of the empire.
- Encouraged education by building many schools;
- Promoted Islam by building many mosques.
- He liberated the people of Kangaba from the bad rule of Sumaguru.
- He established textile industry by introducing cotton growing and weaving ie Mali.
- He died in 1255 after laying the foundation of Mali.
- United the people through Islam.
Mansa Kankana Musa (1312-1337)
He was the greatest and famous king of Mali and he was a grandson of Sundiata Keita who ruled Mali for 25 years i.e. from 1312-1337 and at times called Mansa Musa.
Achievements / Contributions of Mansa Musa
- He expanded Mali i.e. Walata, Timbuktu, Goa, Taghaza.
- He built a strong army.
- Built schools and others were sent to morocco.
- Encouraged peace and stability.
- Promoted trade Promoted Islam.
- Promoted international relationships.
- Promoted Justice in4he empire
- He centralized the government and divided into 14 provinces.
- He improved on the standard of architecture by employing Spanish a architects.
- Employed Moslems as civil servants hence won the support of Moslem countries.
- Protected the consumers from traders.
- Made pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324.
- He introduced a system of national honors of trousers to the civil servants.
- United the people of Mali.
- Introduced cowrie shells
- Encouraged industries i.e. making hoes, arrows etc.
- Improved the revenue through taxes imposed on traders.
- Built many schools and the five pillars of Moslems were observed.
- He conquered gold and salt producing areas
- He died in 1337 after achieving a lot for Mali Empire.
- He introduced sheikh’s schools in commercial centres.
Organisation of mali:
Like any other West African Empire, Mali was organized politically, socially and economically as seen below;
- Mali was headed by a king who had a title Mansa Musa meaning leader.
- The king’s word was final / had all powers.
- The king was assisted by ministers appointed by the king himself.
- Mali was divided into fourteen provinces each under a governor called Kiri.
- Mali was divided into two ie metropolitan and provincial Mali.
- Metropolitan Mali was ruled by the king himself while provincial or conquered states were left under their own chiefs but paid tributes to the king of Mali maintained fair judgement in courts of law and the king was the final man.
- The empire had an army of around 11,000 soldiers
- Promotion in the army was based on merit or hard work ‘
- Mali maintained fair judgments in the courts of law and the king was the final judge.
- Some provinces like the Berber provinces were ruled by their own chiefs. .
- Participated in trade especially Trans-Saharan trade
- Taxes imposed on traders, crops etc
- Agriculture ie maize, millet, rice etc
- Iron working
- Animal rearing.
- Fishing on R. Senegal and R, Niger.
- Tributes from vassal states.
- Islamic state.
- Disunity due to different tribes i.e. between those of Sumaguru and Sundiata.
Factors for The Fall And Decline Of Mali Empire
- Death of capable leaders.
- The empire had become big.
- Power struggle among members of the royal family created disunity.
- The rise of weak and incompetent leaders who lacked Administrative skills ie Mansa Mighan, Mansa Marijata etc.
- Civil wars after the death of Mansa Musa war broke out among the contestants to the throne.
- External attacks ie Tuaregs in the North, Mossi in the south. Financial crisis due to extravagancy.
- The rise of Songhai
- The loss of gold producing areas weakened Mali economically
- Lack of Natural geographical barriers ie big forests.
- The army became weak.
- Break away of the vassal states.
- Religious conflicts between Moslems and non-Moslems