The BAMANA EMPIRE (also BAMBARA EMPIRE or SéGOU EMPIRE) was a large
West African state based at
* 1 The Coulibaly Dynasty * 2 The Ngolosi * 3 Economy and structure * 4 Literacy and the N\'ko alphabet * 5 Jihad and fall * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links
THE COULIBALY DYNASTY
In around 1640, Fa Sine became the third
Faama (Mande word for King)
of a small kingdom of
In the early 18th century,
Mamari Kulubali (sometimes cited as Mamari
Bitòn) settled in
Fortifying the capital with Songhai techniques, Bitòn Kulubali built an army of several thousand men and a navy of war canoes to patrol the Niger . He then proceeded to launch successful assaults against his neighbors, the Fulani , the Soninke , and the Mossi . He also attacked Tomboctou , though he held the city only briefly. During this time he founded the city of Bla as an outpost and armory.
Mamari Coulubali was the last ruler to be called Bitòn. All future rulers were simply titled Faama. Bakari, the first Faama after Mamari reigned from (1710–1711). Faama De-Koro ascended in 1712 reigning until 1736. The kingdom had three more faamas with unstable 4-year reigns until falling into anarchy in 1748.
In 1750, a freed slave named Ngolo Diarra seized the throne and re-established stability, reigning for nearly forty years of relative prosperity. The Ngolosi, his descendants, would continue to rule the Empire until its fall. Ngolo's son Mansong Diarra took the throne following his father's 1795 death and began a series of successful conquests, including that of Tomboctou (c. 1800) and the Macina region.
ECONOMY AND STRUCTURE
The Bambara Empire was structured around traditional Bambara institutions, including the kòmò, a body to resolve theological concerns. The kòmò often consulted religious sculptures in their decisions, particularly the four state boliw, large altars designed to aid the acquisition of political power.
The economy of the Bambara Empire flourished through trade, especially that of the slaves captured in their many wars. The demand for slaves then led to further fighting, leaving the Bambara in a perpetual state of war with their neighbors.
Mungo Park , passing through the Bambara capital of
The view of this extensive city, the numerous canoes on the river, the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding countryside, formed altogether a prospect of civilization and magnificence that I little expected to find in the bosom of Africa.
LITERACY AND THE N\'KO ALPHABET
A study on the
JIHAD AND FALL
At the Battle of Noukouma in 1818, Bambara forces met and were
defeated by Fula Muslim fighters rallied by the jihad of Cheikou Amadu
(or Seku Amadu) of Massina. The Bambara Empire survived but was
irreversibly weakened. Seku Amadu's forces decisively defeated the
The real end of the empire, however, came at the hands of El Hadj
Umar Tall , a Toucouleur conqueror who swept across
Bambara language : a Mande language, spoken by 6 million people in
* ^ Quoted in Davidson, Basil (1995). Africa in History. New York:
Simon & Schuster. p. 245. ISBN 0-684-82667-4 .
* ^ Malenfant, Colonel (1814). Des colonies et particulièrement de
* Djata, Sundiata A. K. (1997). The