The empire of songhai
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The Empire of Songhai - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Empire of Songhai. Similarities to Mali and Ghana. Songhai was made rich through trade. They owned important salt mines. They were located on important trans-Saharan trade routes. They worked with Berber caravan leaders. Songhai’s leaders were Muslims.

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Similarities to mali and ghana
Similarities to Mali and Ghana

  • Songhai was made rich through trade.

    • They owned important salt mines.

    • They were located on important trans-Saharan trade routes.

    • They worked with Berber caravan leaders.

  • Songhai’s leaders were Muslims.

  • Songhai depended on the Niger River for water, trade and travel.

Conflict with mali
Conflict with Mali

  • Mali and Songhai occupied roughly the same area.

  • Mansa Musa (the great leader of Mali) sent his army to conquer Songhai. Mali absorbed Songhai into their empire for a short time.

  • As Mali began to fail, Songhai was able to regain independence.

Sunni ali
Sunni Ali

  • Sunni Ali became leader of Songhai in 1464.

  • He strengthened Songhai and added territory (including much of Mali).

  • He conquered the wealthy trade cities of Djenne and Timbuktu.

    • He had been asked by Mali’s leaders for help against Tuareg invaders.

    • He drove off the invaders and kept the cities for himself.

  • To promote peace, he participated in both Muslim and traditional African religions.

Sunni baru
Sunni Baru

  • When Sunni Ali died in 1492, his son (Sunni Baru) took the throne.

  • Sunni Baru was not a Muslim, even though most of the people in his empire were.

  • Fearing that Songhai would lose power (and trading partners) with a non-Muslim leader, the people rebelled against Sunni Baru.

  • The leader of the rebellion against Sunni Baru was a general named, Muhammad Ture. After defeating Sunni Baru, he took the title askia (a military rank).

Askia the great
Askia the Great

  • Askia the Great was a devout Muslim.

    • Like Mansa Musa, Askia went on a hajj.

    • Askia made many laws which were similar to other Muslim nations.

      • The picture is the 16th century mosque built by Askia the Great in Gao.

Askia the great cont
Askia the Great (cont.)

  • Askia the Great promoted education.

    • He made Timbuktu a world-famous education center once again. People came from all over to study at the University of Sankore.

    • Djenne became a world-famous center of medicine.

  • Askia reorganized the government.

    • He divided the empire into 5 provinces.

    • He appointed governors and removed local leaders.

    • He created government departments to oversee certain areas.

  • He had the first standing army in West Africa.

Fall of songhai
Fall of Songhai

  • After Askia the great, other askias ruled for a short time.

  • Morocco invaded to take control of Songhai’s salt mines.

    • Morocco needed money after years of fighting with the Portuguese and Spanish.

    • Morocco marched on Songhai in 1591. Some of Morocco’s soldiers were actually Portuguese and Spanish war prisoners.

    • Morocco had superior firepower. They carried the arquebus (early form of the gun) and even some cannons.

    • They attacked the trading cities of Timbuktu and Gao.

  • The destruction of trade finally wiped out Songhai.

Collapse why do civilizations fall mali and songhai
Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fall: Mali and Songhai

  • Explores the rise and fall of Mali-Songhai.


  • Questions for exploration:

  • After the reign of Mansa Musa, the history of Mali-Songhai continued, but eventually the region was conquered and suffered decline. How did the riches of the region and of the great city of Timbuktu serve to summon its own destruction? What sources are used to trace the rise and fall of Mali-Songhai?