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The Empire of Songhai


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 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Empire of Songhai

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.
  • Songhais leaders were Muslims.
  • Songhai depended on the Niger River for water,
    trade and travel.

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

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 Malis leaders for help
    against Tuareg invaders.
  • He drove off the invaders and kept the cities for
  • To promote peace, he participated in both Muslim
    and traditional African religions.

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 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 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
  • After Askia the great, other askias ruled for a
    short time.
  • Morocco invaded to take control of Songhais salt
  • Morocco needed money after years of fighting with
    the Portuguese and Spanish.
  • Morocco marched on Songhai in 1591. Some of
    Moroccos soldiers were actually Portuguese and
    Spanish war prisoners.
  • Morocco had superior firepower. They carried the
    arquebus (early form of the gun) and even some
  • They attacked the trading cities of Timbuktu and
  • The destruction of trade finally wiped out