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This article starts, "The Mali Empire was . . . from the 14th to 17th centuries." Then later describes the decline and ultimate demise of the empire beginning somewhere around 1360. Also the list of names stops in the 1300's. What happened to the 200+ years leading up to the 17th century? Also, would be nice to know some details around the civil war.Mali also had good security and justice to then people. The sultan showed no mercy to anyone who is guilty of a crime. Which shows people taht they didnt want to get in trouble. also this article will tell you alot you need to know

Unknown Mansas?

What exactly does it mean? And did the guy really ruled for almost 150 years??? Pavel Vozenilek 19:16, 15 February 2006 (UTC)


No, those are multiple unknown Mansas


Is it true that information like this was obtained from greot's or is this sientific fact? (not saying that Greot's reconstruction on events are wrong but over the senturys things can be retoled and confused and by doing this the history the storys tell changed)


Also one question: is Kankan Musa or Mansa Musa? Thanks DamSom (talk) 21:27, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Scientific Fact/Griot

In reply to "Is it true that information like this was obtained from greot's or is this sientific fact? (not saying that Griot's reconstruction on events are wrong but over the senturys things can be retoled and confused and by doing this the history the storys tell changed)"

Nearly all the info on the Mali Empire was obtained by griots, the french term for djelis (traditional Mandinka historians). You're right that over the centuries things can be changed or confused, but that occurs with written and oral documents. there's a saying, "part of writing history down is concealing it". I think the djelis can be trusted on most matters however since they performed a highly uniform function and only 4 clans or families were allowed to record the info (Kouyate, Diabate, Jobate and another I don't remember right now). Plus, the info we've gotten from djelis over the last couple of decades syncs up very well with written arab sources of the same time. So I guess it uses both literary and oral sources to put this stuff back together scientifically.--Scott Free 16:30, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

TERRITORY

900,000 sq miles instead of 9,000 sq miles

The territory given should be 900,000 sq. miles, not 9,000.

More like 439,000 sq. miles

I hope whoever wrote the above will sign in the future. i'm not taking a jab at you. im actually glad you caught that. I added the 9,000 originally because I found it in a publication. I removed it once I realized how wrong it was. I added the new square miles by looking at the map and seeing how many nations could fit inside. I don't think Mali covered quite 900,000. More like 439,000 square miles. The nations of Guinea, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin and Senegal all fit pretty neatly into the area portrayed on the map with room to spare. Combined, those nations have a sq milage of just under 439,400. This is an obvious assessment using the given map. Can you site a reference that gives Mali's area at 900,000 sq miles. It would be very helpful. thanks in advance and i appreciate your interest. Scott Free 18:17, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Well Done!

This Article is great, this should be at last a A-CLASS article. Caribbean1 09:19, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Seconded! //roger.duprat.copenhagen —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.243.125.169 (talk) 03:33, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

New Format and Info

Hi everyone. As you probabaly know, I've been working on this page for a while. It's my passion and has really captured by imagination. My studies in all things related to Mali has compelled me to make some drastic changes to this article so that it better reflects current research on the part of the experts (Ki-Zerbo, Niane, Thornton, etc.) The main thing i wanted to address was the very existence of the state and how its situation changed via successive rulers. The best way to approach this is to center the article not on western connotations of "empire" but on the "kurufa" which was established by Sundjata (Mari Djata I) in 1235. There are three possible dates for the end of Sundjata's state.

1. The Empire ended after loosing control of all its last subject kingdom.

     This date would be 1559, when Fouta Tooro captured Takrur from Mali

2. The Empire ended when Niani ceased to be the capital

     This date would be 1545, after Mansa Mahmud III moved the capital north

3. The Empire ended once there was no single mansa controlling it (tri-partition)

     This date is unknown but must've occured with the death of Mahmud IV (1600s)

4. The Empire ended once the Kurufa (federation) could no longer function

     This date would be 1645 after the Bamana cut the area in half

5. The Empire ended once the Mansas loss control of Niani

     This date would be 1670 after the Bamana sacked and burned the city

I opted for the 1645 date, because there is a concrete event linking the destruction of Manding unity under the banner of Sundjata. If someone has a better idea, holla at me. Till then, I think it is best we keep with 1645 until someone publishes a better alternative. I've run across about three sources putting the demise of Sundjata's creation in 1645. By the demise of Niani in 1670, that city was already close to abandoned. I figure as long as the Manden Kurufa still functioned (even under tripartion) Sundjata's creation still existed. Let me know what y'all think

Scott Free 02:33, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

GOOD WORK

I havent read it all but it looks like a respectable article.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ 14:01, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

forget it sucker — Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.0.152.106 (talk) 05:05, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

FANTASTIC ARTICLE!

There is a great deal more information here than when I checked about a year ago. I have questions about the empire you may be able to help with....

Your article has a great deal of information on the history, government, economy and military of the Empire of Mali, but I'm looking for some smaller scale information. Specifically, can you help me with information on the indigenous religions of the Manden people? I am a writer who would like to base historical fiction on the Mali Empire, but I find very little information in English about the religions followed by the majority of the empire's population. I can use as much as possible about the beliefs and practices of peoples from any region that comprise the Manden.

Also, I'm looking for information about how the people of different clans and different levels of society lived on a day-to-day basis... what food did they eat and how did they prepare it, what types of tools and furniture did they keep? What rites of passage did the males go through to reach manhood?

If you have reference sources in English for those sorts of questions I'd be happy to research and supply the information for inclusion in your article.

Thanks in advance!

Abu Bekr

This article says that Abu Bekr lead a military campaign in 1076, but the article linked to his name says he lived 573-634. 2:36, 27 March 2007 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 128.192.206.19 (talk) 06:35, 27 March 2007 (UTC).

Good Catch

Thnx for bringin that to my attention. I fixed the link. I don't know who linked it earlier. There are a lot of Abu Bekrs. Scott Free 15:56, 27 March 2007 (UTC)


Abubakari II

It is good to read about Abubakiri as there seem to be people who want to minimize his greatness. There is a special article on this great ruler here on the Englis, but it has been invaded by racist presumptions. Someone claims that Abubakari never existed, even though it is attested by renowned scholars like Ivan Van Sertima (They Came before Columbus.) The point is, not even Van Sertima seems to know really much about Abubakari's African career, though he claims he based his account on oral traditions, - but which? You, on the other hand, even have the emperor's traditional Mande name. I guess it is from newly-discovered epics, as Malian historian and novelist Gwaouro Diawara, who has recently written a full-scale biography of Abubakari II says that there are no oral traditions about him. In the BBC report you quote under ref 21. he states „that the Griots themselves imposed a seal of silence on the story“ because his story was a real shame. Only the short reference by al-Umari gives us some information, he adds. I understand from your references that you have the information from Djabril Niane. Could you please give me the exact page, as I am not fluent enough in French to read page by page. Thanks a lot in advance (HatschiHalefOmar) 172.158.254.55 09:50, 11 July 2007 (UTC)


PeterKremer went into the Abubakari II section to cast doubt on the ruler's existence (as if he is qualified to do such). The original version of the section (written by me) was fine by itself and didn't need elaboration. There was nothing even remotely questionable about its contents or controversial. Thus, I reverted Mr. Kremer's edits. Any1 feel like challenging me on this bring it on.Scott Free 16:24, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Kudos

Very well done. I've been trying to create a good Ashanti article, but haven't had enough time. This article is very well done though

What the hell!

How it go from a GA grade to B grade? The article hasn't changed accept for positively (i went thru and fixed some links and spelling) No offense to Yellowfiver, but why is he able to grade an article when he doesn't seem to have a page? By the way what are the criteria for being able to grade. I personally would grade this as a GA. Somebody please holla back at me ASAP. Scott Free 22:41, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

You're grading your own article? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Yellowfiver (talkcontribs) 21:45, 3 April 2007 (UTC).--Yellowfiver 21:45, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
  • hi. No I'm not grading my own article. I'm just putting back the original grade until I get some answers. Also, I'm not sure if it is really MY article, though I appreciate the compliment.Scott Free 13:29, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm adding some much needed pictures. You said you had some, and they would complement the article. But the length...--Yellowfiver 04:17, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Good job with the pics!

Scott Free 13:29, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

yeah, I'm not finished yet, I think this article has great potential to become a featured article, and requires some images. However, I'm concerned about the length of the article with the addition of the pictures. I won't cut anything out though. --Yellowfiver 21:52, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Just wanted to show my appreciation for this article as it is the best written article I've seen on and so far the most extensive over view on Old Mali that's I've came across. It definitely deserves the A that it has..Taharqa 07:01, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Cuts

i'm going to take yellowfiver's advice and cut the article down some. these cuts will come from the Gbara section mostly. Great work everyone! Scott Free 14:27, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Timbuktu Manuscripts

Apparently there are 700,000 documents from the Mali Empire that have only started being looked at. These texts go back some say as far as the 700 ad. most are written in Arabic, a few in Hebrew. Imagine if someone poured millions into researching what every single document has to say. Maybe someone should look further into the Mali Manuscripts and write about them, maybe me...--Yellowfiver 08:40, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Agreed

I concur. I too am aware of the manuscripts. There is at least one organization spending bukoo bucks on safeguarding the remaining text. I know the library of congress has a couple. Check out the Sankore university page. I believe I added some links about it. Good luck :) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 4shizzal (talkcontribs) 13:46, 23 April 2007 (UTC).

http://www.timbuktufoundation.org/manuscripts.htmlMahmud II 01:45, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

If you believe in what the Timbuktu Educational Foundation spreads around you must also believe in Peter Pan and Santa Claus. Seven hundred thousand manuscripts or books - where could they be stored presently? Has Umberto Eco's "Tower of the Books" moved to the banks of the Niger? Serious scholars like John O. Hunwick agree that there may be 100,000 to 200,000 manuscripts scattered over parts of Mauretania, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, but the figures given by the TEF guys are ridiculous. There is not a single manuscripts dating from the 7th century - unless you mean 7th century AH. Documents older than a thousand years would have been destroyed by the climate or by the termites long ago. Every figure above 200,000 is - at least on the basis of present data - wishful thinking or simply a myth spread by people from the Muslim wing of the Afrocentrist front. You may stone or tar and feather me for this remark, if you like, but I'm not going to accept fairy-tales even if they balm certain people's souls. Peter Kremer 09:03, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

If you believe in what the Timbuktu Educational Foundation spreads around you must also believe in Peter Pan and Santa Claus

^I believe that no one cares about your Original research and Eurocentric rants/suspicions that you bring with you to every thread dealing with African accomplishment.. The sources say what they say, take it up with them..Taharqa 01:07, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


I did some digging and came across some good numbers. They come from the following website, which has been misquoted many times by other sources.

Here are the facts. There are currently 20,000 manuscripts accounted for with 700,000 pages. There is an estimate of 300,000 manuscripts in Timbuktu and the surrounding area still to be discovered. That's way more than 1-2 hundred thousand. The "fairy tale" of 700,000 manuscripts seems at least partially true since a manuscript can be one page or several. The manuscripts that have been preserved so far must average about 35 pages each to equal the 700,000 pages. I think Mr. Kremer is simply trying to make sense of a discovery his own preconceived notions just won't accept. If the number of manuscripts keeps growing, Mr. Kremer, it is only because there are more discoveries. Stop trying to minimize other cultures and contribute something to a page rather than tear it down. And we don't tar and feather people here. That's something your people have way more experience in.Scott Free 02:14, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

I've also posted a short rebuttal to Kremer on the page dealing with Sankore.. A very brief examination of the overtly available research will easily falsify his claims of even the 700,000 figure being fabricated and erroneously spread exclusively by the timbuktu foundation. I've pointed out to him that this so-called "myth" is also spread by the National geographic society, the president of the timbuktu heritage institute, relevant professors and the timbuktu project.. In the source you give, they estimate 300,000, the estimate given by the timbuktu foundation gives a number specifically between 400 - 700,000, that doesn't seem too far off to me, we're working with in a general area. To sum it up we may even conclude based on these various sources that mainstream estimates dabble in between the area of 300 - 700,000.. Not far fetched at all...Taharqa 02:44, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Population Question

Someone has recently inquired to me about the facts on the population figure for the Mali Empire. I put the figure of 40-50 million because I got it from the following site which seemed pretty reputable

The site is a teaching tool affiliated with the museum of african art. I am worried about the accuracy of such a figure (40 to 50 million people), because I can find it no where else. Believe me I've looked! I recently got a nice reference book (Africa: A short history) which puts Africa's entire population at only 47 million circa 1500 AD. If that is true (and I have no reason to believe other) Imperial Mali's population couldn't possibly be 50 million or even 40 million. The average size of its cities was probably around 20 thousand people. That's still incredibly urban for Africa at this time. The capital of Niani had as many as 50,000 people at one time. I'm guessing the population was probably around 10 to 20 million at its height. Still extremely impressive, but far beneath the 40 million mark. If you guys/gals can find some more figures for me about Africa' population (specifically West Africa) it would be a great help. I really want to safeguard the factual integrity of this page. It has come a long way. Scott Free 14:08, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I recently replaced the single-use infobox for this entry with an {{Infobox Former Country}}. The population fields used here must be numbers only. This is because calculations are made with these values (density). That is why the infobox simply says 50,000,000 at the moment instead of a range since that would break the display. But I have noted your citation in the infobox, so you can easily change it if you find some different information. - 52 Pickup 10:01, 27 April 2007 (UTC)


New figures. I'm not gonna post this info on the main article because as far as I'm concerned it is technically independent research. I've scoured the net and can find no other data (not even estimates) on Africa' population or population density. It seems most authors are really speaking out their a$$ cuz there is no way of really knowing since most of Africa didn't keep written records. 50 million COULD be possible, but I think its unlikely. Africa's total population would have to be a lot more than 47 million in 1500 for that to be possible. Urbanized civilzations in Africa tended to be really REALLY urban so a dozen such civilizations could put Africa's total population around that time on par with western Europe.

Still I digress. We're interested in the population of the Mali Empire and not the rest of the world or even the rest of Africa. Let's take a look at what we do know

  • We know by examining the maps of the Mali Empire it covered around 439,400 square miles.
  • We know, according to Ibn Battua's Rihla (Journey) in chapter 10 (The Kingdom of Mali and what appertains to it) that "It is all inhabited except for a few places."
  • We know the Mali Empire was a highly developed state (economically, militarily, politically) by the beginning of the 14th century

Based on these tidbits, I believe that imperial Mali must have held a population of no less than 8.7 million, no more than 55 million and probably around 20 million. This is purely conjecture based on medieval population densities of the period.

The math works like this

  • Well developed (that would definately be Mali) states in tough climates should have 30 folks per square mile (439,400 * 30 = 13 million)
  • Well developed states in good climates with a bit of luck on their side may boast 120 people per square mile (439,400 * 120 = 52 million)

This is where the problem comes in. Africa has been historically underpopulated according to the only reputable source we have (Collins' "Africa: a short history"). His info for the chapter relating Africa's really small population comes from

  • "The Languages of Africa" by Joseph Greenberg (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1970)

The above book is so old I'm willing to bet that new research would reveal bigger population numbers for Africa at the end of the 14th century. Still, virtually any book you pick up will tell you Africa is always on the short end of the list in terms of population. As far as regions go however, West Africa has been the more urbanize portion of Africa south of the Sahara. I have no doubt in my mind that the Mali Empire would have a population density of at least 30 inhabitants per square mile. Our friend Battuta says most of the empire was inhabited except for a few places. That being said, and knowing West Africa is historically more populated than other areas of the continent, a population density of 50 per square mile is within the realm of sanity. This is far below the 120 mark, but this is Africa we're talking about. So, take a look at this last figure I have to offer and you tell me what you think.

  • 439,400 sq miles * 50 = 21,970,000 (I strongly suggest we change the population to 20 million)

Scott Free 22:21, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

There are all sorts of implausibilities in your assumptions. For example, it would be quite extraordinarily unusual for a state where the capital has only 50,000 people, for the average city to have 40% of that number. The statement by a traveller that it was "all" inhabited is wretchedly thin evidence. This state didn't cover the more fertile parts of West Africa, so it isn't appropriate to make guesses based on the density of population in the more fertile parts now. There is hardly any archaeology suggesting a highly urbanised society. The claimed size of the army (100,000, which is far more likely to be overstated than understated, as any familiarity with critical appraisal of traditional military history across all continents will confirm), is not consistent with the forces maintained by pre-modern empire with populations in the tens of millions. E.g. The Roman Empire and Han China both had about 1 soldier per 100 hundred inhabitants. In conclusion, we don't know what the population was, but even 20,000,000 is very inflated in my view. Luwilt (talk) 21:58, 20 February 2011 (UTC)


40 million is an fanciful number. It would indicate that the Mali Empire include 90-95% of the whole population'continent (North Africa included). ABSURD An accurate number: between 2 000 000 and 5 000 000 (high pick) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.112.252.46 (talk) 22:09, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

ah the source for the 40 to 50 million claim comes from The Cambridge World History of Slavery: Volume 3, AD 1420–AD 1804 pg 655 WILLIAMSRD33 (talk) 11:26, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Its also cited in the book Encyclopedia of Black Studies Sub-Saharan Africa By Lisa Zamosky Francophone African Cinema: History, Culture, Politics and Theory The West African Empire of Songhai in 10 Easy Lessons Mali: Crossroads of Africa Front Cover Philip Koslow WILLIAMSRD33 (talk) 11:28, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Also lastly the population of Mali's capital Niani was estimated by UNESCO to be around 100k WILLIAMSRD33 (talk) 11:33, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Currency

What is meant by the use of gold dust for a medium of exchange, I would presume that the Barter system would have been more prevalent in this empire!. IS there any material relating to the ecomomy of the time? Enlil Ninlil 00:18, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/gold/hd_gold.htm this gives an idea that cowie shells were used for local trade with gold and salt for long distance trade. Also the Songhai supposidly used uninscribed gold disks.

http://mdmd.essortment.com/timbuktumalire_rnln.htm says that in Timbuktu says gold nuggets were used by the Songhai around 1468.

Hi. Thnx for your interest in the article. No, the currency system was pretty wide spread in Mali. Songhai and Mali, as I'm sure you already know, are two entirely different empires both physically and idealogically (probably misspelled that, lol). There was a "dumb barter" system used but that seems to have been between merchants only and I think only in the Ghana Empire. If it was held over from the Ghana Empire it was not practical for everyday transactions in Mali. In the dumb barter as it is called, merchants would leave a product on the shore of a bank (usually salt) and leave. The gold trader would show up and put gold by the product and leave. Then the merchant would return and if the sum was acceptible he'd take the gold and leave the product. If not, the waiting game would continue. As you can see, that just wouldn't work in a regular society. There are written records, cited here, that gold dust was the main currency. The empire had developed beyond simple barter systems.Scott Free 11:55, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Language and other info

Hi every1. Just wanted to clear something up on the language. Mandingo is not a language (just like Usher is not a genre of music, lol). For real tho, Mandingo is a term that didn't develop until after the Portuguese made contact with the Mali Empire in the mid to late 15th century. Here's a formula for understanding some things about the language

  • 1. Everything derives from the name of the kingdom (MANDEN)
  • 2. Ka is a suffix in most instances meaning "people of" so Manden-ka means "people of Manden". The language is spoken rather quickly so it sounds like Mandenka or MandINka.
  • 3. Kan is a suffix for languages meaning "those who speak", which still incorporates the "people" aspect (i guess that's why the "ka" is still there. Thus, we end up with Mandenkan or Mandinkan. Some times the word for the people can be substituted for the language i.e. Mandinka language as opposed to Mandinkan language.

If we want to be real simple, we can simple say they spoke a "Mandé" language. Bamana was pretty common in the empire too.

Mandingo COULD be used for both the people and language, but in this context it's not really appropriate. The Mandinka obviously weren't referring to themselves as Mandingo in 1235.

Flags and Coat of Arms

I know Manden used flags and standards according to ibn Batuta and the Epic of Sundiata. Flags were called Bandari and were used at the royal court and in battle. I have not found any info on what exactly was on these flags. They were colored. Arabic writing on the flags probably wouldn't be a stretch. Might see animal symbols on them as well since each clan had a totem.

The royal standard was a golden bird mounted on top of a parasol (guess like an umbrella). THat info also comes from ibn Batuta. No coat of arms exists to my knowledge. It's probably safe to delete the request for one. i'll keep diggin for descriptions on a flag. Scott Free 15:13, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

This medieval European map shows Mansa Musa with a type of flag that repeats a common pattern: brown or dark red background, with some type of black and white triangle in the middle; there is also a golden ball on the top. I don't know how much accurate can be this drawing, but the Almohad banner shown above Morocco is correct. Some versions (like the second one I posted) seem to have changed the Mali flags for white ones.--Menah the Great 17:31, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Excellent observation, Menah! I never thought to look at the map cuz i figured it was inaccurate, but since the Almorhad flag is accurate there may be something to that. I'll check around and see if i can find some better images of the map for a closer examination of the mali flag. Once again...BRAVO.Scott Free 18:37, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Found this info here (http://books.google.com/books?id=HwV2a-lPB70C&printsec=frontcover&dq=General+History+of+Africa#PPA60,M1) on page 60 of this very reputable publication about the flags of Mansa Musa described during his famous pilgrimage. It was apparently a red flag with some sort of yellow (maybe that triangle) on it. Maybe the search of a Mali Imperial flag isn't that fruitless after all. :) Scott Free (talk) 07:41, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
We must be careful, though, not to identify a royal standard with the flag of the Empire. The first would be tied to the king or the royal family. On his pilgrimage, the Mansa was not on state business, so the Imperial flag should not be expected to have been flown.  --Lambiam 11:18, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree. We don't know for sure if the flag was simply HIS standard or that of the empire. It could or it could not, but we can't say for sure until we get more info. Also, the hajj for the emperors of Mali seems very much state business. They had been going on hajj since Mansa Uli (second emperor of Mali) and it seems to have been more PR than devotion. Mansa Musa was travelling with a bunch of army guards, too, along with servants, so it's reasonable that the imperial flag would have been flown. The author doesn't mention more than one standard, either. I'm not saying you're wrong, mind you. And thanks for bringing that up. I am saying we can't assume for sure that this wasn't the imperial flag. Glad folks is still paying attention. CHEERS :) Scott Free (talk) 23:47, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

What I was trying to avoid

Yo, T, no need to bug out. I'm glad you caught the grammar mistakes. I just reverted one edit, which as clearly wrong. Mandingo is not a language anywhere in Africa. Never has been. Get over it. I was just fixing one little thing you did. Then I went to the pain of explaining why I did it on the talk show SO THAT I WOULDN'T PISS YOU OFF. Don't be such a baby about sh!t.Scott Free 03:31, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

MY BAD

I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE TO TARHAQA FOR THE PERSONAL ATTACK. I thought he was being a smart a$$ and took it upon myself to check him. Complete misunderstanding and i'm sorry for turning an honest mistake into bs. Keep up the good work every1.Scott Free 06:57, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

^Thank you for doing that publicly, small misunderstanding that was mostly my fault as I apologize also.

Now I'm more worried about our most recent editor who seems to be applying his/her own Original research. This isn't acceptable and I'm glad that you reverted it, things like that should be addressed on the discussion page.Taharqa 00:56, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Polite Concern

I know I may sound kinda winy, but frankly I don't care at this point. This article's come too far for any of us (myself included) to make careless errors. Recently some1 took a big a$$ chunk of the page out and made a separate article (pre-iperial Mali). I can understand why they did it...This article is massive. But in cutting out those three sections it really messed with the flow of the page. Certain things stopped making sense and elements crucial to the formation of the Mali Empire were left out. I think the person (i didn't bother to find out who) that made the changes had their heart in the right place...that being said I AM NOT DOWNING YOU. I thank everyone here for their efforts. This page wouldn't be possible without your support. On another note, we need to discuss certain things here (on the talk page) before making edits of that nature. I personally believe that a pre-imperial mali page is a good idea and I hope it is expanded soon. But history teaches best when presented as a narrative and cutting out certain portions will leave the reader lost. I'm gonna leave it at that and make efforts to put this page under protection. I can't imagine too much more that can be done to make it better. holla back here or at my talk page with any concerns or comments.Scott Free 15:46, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Referencing and citation: not checked

Hi :) I put in virtually all the references and citations in this article. There's one for virtually every fact. Who do I talk to make sure that this is acknowledged and checked in the criteria. If there are any spots that need more reference, please holla at me here or on my talk page. I'll get right on it. Thnx in advance.Scott Free 21:09, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Try leaving a note on talk:WikiProject Africa.  --Lambiam 22:40, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Thnx, Lambian. will do.Scott Free 17:25, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Definnig an islamic state

Hi everyone. I was curious about the opening line in the article about the Mali Empire being an Islamic state. My kneejerk reaction was to remove the islamic part, because the empire didn't come close to being an "islamic state" until probably around the time of Mansa Suleyman (1340s). Even Musa I seemed to have been backsliding as far as following orthodox Sunni islam. From the research i've seen, Mali appears to have been pretty secular. Non-muslims didn't have to pay a special tax and seemed to have run the government. The government officials who WERE muslims were outsiders and only assisted in the running of the state. but still i digress. I'm not gonna edit the line in the intro, because i'm not sure how one defines an "Islamic state".

  • Is it a state where the majority of the population are muslims? (Mali Empire doesn't qualify)
  • Is it a state where the ruling elite are muslims (Mali Empire is still kinda off until 100 years after its founding)
  • is it a state where the right to rule is drawn from descending from a special Muslim (Mali Empire does qualify here)

It seems at best, Islam was weak among the populace and never followed with much zeal by the ruling elite with the exception of a few (Musa, Suleyman, some later mansas). IMO, the Mali Empire was as about as Muslim as the United States is Christian. All of its leaders have been muslim (at least in name if nothing else) but the policies didn't follow the letter of the koran nor were they expected to (hallmark of secularism).

i'm confused...ur input is very much appreciated.Scott Free 20:36, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Is it a state where the majority of the population are muslims? (Mali Empire doesn't qualify)
This would be probably the main criteria in establishing whether or not any said state is "Islamic".. Of course not, and I believe it has been explicitly expressed in various literature that most of the population were animists. The main centers of Islam were focused around Timbuktu and Djenne. Djenne by many accounts was not incorporated into Mali and Timbuktu wasn't annexed of course until 1324, under Mansa Musa..
  • Is it a state where the ruling elite are muslims (Mali Empire is still kinda off until 100 years after its founding)
As applied to Mali, no since we understand that Musa was the first devout muslim who governed Mali in the context of an islamic frame work, over 100 years after its founding, as you've noted.
  • is it a state where the right to rule is drawn from descending from a special Muslim (Mali Empire does qualify here)
Yes, since they all claimed descent from Bilal for the most part, but that can be seen as an artifact of romance since from what I can tell, many Soninke claimed descent from Alexander the Great in the time of Wagadu.
Generally, I share your sentiment. I feel that it should be put in its context as simply a west African state, to be largely influenced by the islamic faith, but not a state founded and based on islamic principles.Taharqa 22:18, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Clearly, the character of the Empire changed somewhat during its existence: in 1235 it was certainly medieval and definitely not Islamic, while at the end, in 1645, it was not medieval (by the definition of medieval) but had a largely Islamic character. Characterizing the Empire in general, over the entirety of its four-century existence, as "medieval" and being an "islamic state" is therefore a misleading simplification. But there is no need to cram an attempt at characterization in a single sentence. The ideal lead section should contain up to four paragraphs. So there is some space to tell that, starting with the legendary Mansa Musa, the leaders were generally devout Muslims, and that, although the religion was never forced on the populace at large, it became dominant among the upper class.
As an aside, the Estonian has seen fit to use Mali islamiriik (Islamic state of Mali) rather than just Mali impeerium (Mali Empire) as the title of the corresponding article – or, rather, stub.  --Lambiam 09:48, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
hi every1 and thnx for hitting me back. I went and changed the phrase in the intro from "medieval islamic west african state" to simply "medieval west african state". i figure after looking at ur responses this was ok. plus, mali's government followed its own (practically secular) constitution (see Kouroukan Fouga). since its laws weren't established around islam, i think its kind of hard to pass mali off as an islamic empire. thnx again. Scott Free 13:51, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

^^Good call Scott..Taharqa 16:58, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

New Changes

Hey everyone! Been a minute since I messed with my favorite page in the world. Just wanted to let y'all know about some changes I just made and why I made em. The main thing is the date of the empire's collapse. I've come across some new literature and discovered, as i had already pretty much guessed, that no one knows the EXACT date of the empire's end. As far as protracted collapses go, Mali really is the black Roman Empire. Most scholars I've run across seem to agree the collapse happened after Niani Mansa Mahmoud (the one who tried to take Djenne in 1599), died. That makes sense to me since that is also when his sons split up the empire (or what was left of it). Some scholars put the end of the empire erroneously as 1599, since that's the last time Mali tried to project any force outside its borders as a unifiedentity (Mansa Mama Maghan tried this but not as emperor of all Manden). The book "African States and Rulers" by John Stewart (McFarland, 1999) puts the end of Niani Mansa Mamdou or Niani Mansa Muhammad as c. 1610. Well that's good enough for me. It jives with the general feeling that Mali pretty much fell off the earth after that botched invasion of Jenne, and it's doubtful the monarch lived much longer after those events.

I also did some minor reorganization for the later sections. Nothing major, all the info is the same. i just put less emphasis on the Bamana destroying Mali since it was already gone (politically speaking) the moment Mahmoud died. Holla. Scott Free (talk) 23:55, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Territories

I made this change a little while ago, but felt it should be addressed here. I removed the previous list of provinces of the Mali Empire and replaced them with a more reliable one with an inline citation. I already knew about this list when I put the original one up, but I couldn't find a published reference for it so I sat on it til now. Scott Free (talk) 00:22, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Base 60 counting system in Mali Empire?

I have been given to understand that the counting system in the Mali Empire was base-sixty or "sexagesimal." I just added a reference to this on 60 (number)#In mathematics. Interestingly, in Maasina Fulfulde (a variety of the Fula language spoken in Mali), an alternate form for saying "60" is mali hemre (Mali's "hundred"). Can anyone give more details and insert a reference in an appropriate place in the article? --A12n (talk) 14:30, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

It's always great to find out something new about the Mali Empire! I knew nothing about this. I did a quick search and immediately came across this [1] which backs up your claim.Scott Free (talk) 18:16, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

A.D. or B.C.

What were the dates. Include B.C. or A.D. I'm confused. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.17.109.157 (talk) 21:12, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

It's all AD. Mali Empire founded circa (around) 1235 AD.Scott Free (talk) 22:24, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

The Manden Kurufa

Hi everyone. I'm having issues with something and I was hoping someone more knowledgible about's sourcing formats could help me. I discovered during my earlier contributions to this page that the Mali Empire was known as the Manden Kurufa at one point in time. The head province of the Mali Empire was Manden (various sources back this up) but apparently the empire (or the idea of the empire) was supposedly called the Manden Kurufa translating to "Manden Federation" according to the source I found by Richard Toe. I guess what bothers me is that I have never found this information anywhere except in the online source directly below...

Here's the problem, that page is no longer up. Luckily I wrote down the source material in what I believe to be the right format for an inline citation, but it keeps coming up as a bad template whenever I put it in {{}}.

cite News last=Toé first=Richard url=http://66.218.71.231/language/translation/translatedPage.php?tt=url&text=http%3a//www.journee-nationale-communes.org/dec_chart1.htm&lp=fr_en&.intl=us&fr=yfp-t-501 title=QUELQUES ELEMENTS D'HISTOIRE AVANT LA COLONISATION publisher=journee nationale des date=2000-11-22 accessdate=2007-02-17


The information was originally published in the Journee nationale des in 2000. I accessed the site in 2007. I guess what I'm asking is for anyone with access to the Journee Nationale des (or maybe JSTOR) to verify the Manden Kurufa name. I wouldn't have put it in the article if I thought it was false, but I hate that the only source I have for that tasty tidbit of info is offline.Scott Free (talk) 23:39, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Military section

Hi everyone. I shortened up the military section and provided a main article link there to a great new page I started called Military history of the Mali Empire. Right now the page is more military structure than actual history, but give it time. Check it out when u can and don't be afraid to assess. HOLLA Scott Free (talk) 18:42, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

The Kouroukan Fouga (Manden Charter)

This is a really detailed entry and great for information about the Mali Empire. Which is a surprise knowing how controversial can be on certain topics. My question to the people with all the resources at their disposal (like information written about Mali in French and not English)...what do we know about the Kouroukan Fouga? Has a surviving document ever been recovered (maybe the the translation of the Timbuktu manuscripts)? Or is this just writing down something the griots said, but no actual Manden Charter has ever been proven to have existed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 152.6.250.3 (talk) 20:25, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

The kouroukan fouga was never written down. I know this is strange to those of us raised in western cultures, but the Mande didn't feel it was important to write it down. The only "surviving document" to speak of is the national memory of the griot/djeli families. What makes the KF more than just what some old folks pass on by word of mouth is the exclusivity of this knowledge. Only three families were allowed to know and recite the Mande epics. This is likely due to the Mande's strong caste system. It also helped keep the story straight. As testimony to this, the three royal djeli families live pretty far from each other but all told nearly identical versions of both the Kouroukan Fouga and Sundjata epic. I created a page on the Kouroukan Fouga which I think you will find interesting. As far as the Timbuktu manuscripts, very little about the history of the Mali or Songhay Empires are written there. They were written by Muslims (the Mali Empire didn't really embrace the faith until long after Sundjata was dead) and deal more with mundane aspects of life and education. Please contact me on my talk pages if there is anything I can help u with. Scott Free (talk) 16:33, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

References

Are the references supposed to be like that? Or are they supposed to be in superscript? Just making sure. O—— The Unknown Hitchhiker 01:30, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Mansu's picture

Just noticed that the picture of Mansu Musa on this page says it was made in 1395, while the one on http://en.wikipedia.org/php/SummaryGet.php?FindGo=Mansa_Musa page has the same picture and says it's from 1375. Which is right? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.205.20.114 (talk) 14:37, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Battle of Jenne

Just finished the Military history of the Mali Empire page. Also did a Battle of Jenne page. I encourage all to check them out and see if I missed anything or if it needs clean-up. PEACE. Scott Free (talk) 00:22, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Call for editors to join African history Wikiproject

All editors with a specific interest in African history are invited to help start a new African history Wikiproject. This is not a substitute for the Africa Wikiproject, but editors with a specific interest in African history would collaborate on improving the quality of African history on. For more details click here or here here. Ackees (talk) 15:21, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Population

Currently, the article cites a claim that the Mali Empire had a population of 45,000,000 in 1450. This sounds about an order of magnitude too large. For a comparison, the population of the Ottoman Empire never reached higher than 35 million (mid-19th century). The Ottoman Empire was much larger than the Mali Empire, and included many of the most fertile regions of the Earth.

It seems very hard to find any estimates of the population of the Mali Empire (there were never any censuses there, so we can have only estimates). The only thing I found in Google books was this[2] SAT prep manual. It gives a figure of eight million during Mansa Musa's reign (1312 - 1337), which sounds a lot more realistic than tens of millions (in 1450 the Empire also was a lot smaller than it had been in early 14th century). However, a SAT prep manual is a poor source, and I'd rather have something more scholarly.--Victor Chmara (talk) 07:02, 20 September 2009 (UTC)


These population figures do seem by far too high if one compares to much larger empires, such as the Ottoman. Are there any scholarly sources to back it up? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.240.75.62 (talk) 16:01, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

I have removed the 45,000,000 number, which just isn't plausible for all those reasons and more. See also my comments further up the page. Luwilt (talk) 22:00, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Manden Etymology

I was reading this article, and I noticed that the second sentence of the "Manden" section makes no sense. It says, "Manden, named for its inhabitants the Mandinka (initially Manden’ka with “ka” meaning people of)," which makes no sense. If Manden'ka means, "people of Manden," and the name of the Mandinka derives from Manden'ka, then the name of the region of Manden can't come from the Mandinka. I know next to nothing about this region and its people, but someone who does might want to look into it. 67.163.220.167 (talk) 16:58, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

true. It is also quite obvious that the name of the entire macrogroup, Mande, is also related. I would highly doubt the claim that the ethnonym derives from the name of a territory. But of course we do not have any reference either way. Strictly speaking, unreferenced content should just be cut, because false or unsourced information will do more harm than no information, by creating a false impression of knowledge. --dab (𒁳) 10:12, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Territorial extent

The info box gives one map c.1350 and the territory section gives another map also c1350. However both maps differ dramatically in representing the territorial extent of the empire. Which is correct?.173.56.23.222 (talk) 21:05, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Levtzion in Ancient Ghana and Mali (1973) has a map (Map 1) at the front of the book that gives the approximate boundaries of Ghana in 1050 and of Mali in 1300 and in 1500. The area covered by Mali in 1300 seems to very roughly correspond to that indicated in the map in the infobox. I would need to accurately overlay the pictures to give a more precise answer. Note that by 1500 Mali was only a small fraction of its size in 1300. Levtzion is a good scholarly source for this information. Aa77zz (talk) 22:05, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Mauny in Tableau Géographique de l'Ouest Africain au Moyen Age (1961) p. 512 Fig. 110 has a map similar to that in Levtzion. It shows Mali ca 1350 "à son apogée". Aa77zz (talk) 22:43, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Manden Kurufaba

the source for this name is given as

Piga, Adriana: "Islam et villes en Afrique au sud du Sahara: Entre soufisme et fondamentalisme", page 265. KARTHALA Editions, 2003

I have no idea what is actually said in that book. I just observe that there is not a single hit for this name in google books predating 2010. There is one lone hit from a 2010 publication, obviously this was just taken off. I am concerned that we are here once again producing fakelore, because everybody copies from, the obscure "Manden Kurufaba" supposedly reported by Piga (2003) is now becoming a self-reinforcing "fact" as people keep copying from one another. --dab (𒁳) 10:09, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi all. Yeah the Kurufaba or Kurufa has been a concern of mine as well which is why I have gone to great lengths to see whether this term holds merit. I observed that the name seems to be in use in academic circles definitely and possibly amongst the Mande reflecting back on the empire. In Arabic sources of the time, the empire is referred to as Niana or Nyeni just as the Roman Empire was known primarily as simply Rome. Below you will find the information from page 265 of the Piga source in the original French and in the English which I translated. It was a pain in the butt to do, but worth it have a verifiable source. I can say without a doubt that the Kurufa and Kurufaba terms did not originate on because I'm the person that introduced them to and I got them from the Piga source and like two others. If anybody out there is really good with French, feel free to chime in.

Original French Text – Kurufaba reference (A) Or les dirigeants du N'ko, en particulier ceux qui militent au sein de l'association Kurugan fuga, ont précisément à proposer un modèle d’intelligibilité et une justification idéologique des changements introduits dans la vie politique malienne à la suite de la mise en oeuvre de cette réforme. L’ceuvre historienne de Souleymane Kanté est ainsi convoquée dans le but de nourrir la réflexion destine à l’élite dirigeante. Le fondateur du N’ko, on l’a vu, a écrit et publié un certain nombre d’ouvrages consacrés à l’histoire des grands empires qui se sont succeed au Soudan occidental, ceux du Sosso, du Mali et de Samori notamment.

Now the leaders of the N'ko, in particular those that campaign within the association Kurugan fuga, have precisely to propose a model of intelligibility and an ideological justification of the changes introduce in Malian political life following the placement in total work of this reformation. The ceuvre historian of Souleymane Kanté is thus summoned with the intention of to nourish the reflection intends for the directing elite. The founder of the N’ko, one saw it, wrote and published a number of works devoted to the history of the big empires that are themselves succeed to the western Soudan, those of the Sosso, Mali and of Samori notably.

Original French Text – Kurufaba reference (B) Bien que ces travaux n’aient pas été indiquées plus haut, les quelques elements qui sont communiqués oralement par les members du N’ko révèlent qu’ils sont porteurs d’une conception mettant au premier plan le caractère fontamentalement decentralize de ces grandes formations politiques aninsi que l’absence au sein de ces dernières d’une solution de continuité entre le village, le canton et l’état. Ainsi l’Empire ou la confederation (kurufaba) peut-il apparître comme une forme agrandie du village ou du canton (kafo lè) et réciproquement le village ou le canton comme un petit état.

are carriers of a putting conception in Although these works were not indicated higher, some elements that are communicated orally by the members of the N’ko reveal that they the foreground the character fontamentalement decentralize of these big political formations thus that the absence within the latter of a solution of continuity between the town, the district and the state. Thus the Empire or the confederation (kurufaba) it can appear as an enlarged form of the town or district (kafo lè) and mutually the town or the district as a small state.

Original French Text – Kurufaba reference (C) Pour les dirigeants de l’association, la <<constitution>> décentralisée de l’empire du Mali telle qu’elle aurait été édictée par Sunjata à Kurugan fuga en 1236 est encore observable dans le fonctionnement actuel des communautés villageoises actuelles, de sorte qu’il convient de faire resurgir ce type d’organization politique en <<ramenant>> selon leur proper expression, <<le pouvoir à la maison>> (Ka mara la segin so).

For the leaders of the association, the <<constitution>> decentralized empire of the Mali such as she would have been commanded by Sunjata to Kurugan fuga in 1236 is again observable in the current functioning of the current village communities, so that it agrees to do to reappear this type of political organization in << bringing back >> according to their proper expression, << the strength to the house >> (Ka mara the segin so).

Scott Free (talk) 07:37, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Abu Bakr II or Abubakari Keita II?

He has his own article and a section here under a different name. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marcin862 (talkcontribs) 08:40, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

External links modified

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i Think the structure hirearchy of the section need to be fixed. especially regarding the timeline and administrationAhendra (talk) 03:31, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

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Vandalism

This article need protection from recent vandalismAhendra (talk) 18:09, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

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Gold refining in medieval Mali

They used cupellation, which present-day chemists still use for fire assay. Here's a write-up of how archaeologists reconstructed their metallurgical technique: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/medieval-african-gold

I'll digest it & add something to the article in due time. --Pete Tillman (talk) 16:17, 30 June 2020 (UTC)

From cupellation: "Small-scale cupellation may be considered the most important fire assay developed in history, and perhaps the origin of chemical analysis". Whoa! --Pete Tillman (talk) 16:20, 30 June 2020 (UTC)

Identity of the capital

As far as I can tell, the location and name of the capital of the Mali Empire is not agreed upon. Some recent sources appear to be of the opinion that Niani definitively was not the capital of Mali, except possibly briefly long after its glory days. In my opinion it would be prudent to have a section of this article that discusses the debate over the identity of the capital(s) of the Mali Empire. Ornithopsis (talk) 20:44, 17 July 2020 (UTC)