Monday, February 15, 2010

Mansa Kankan Musa

Mansa Musa was the next great King of the old empire of Mali after the founder Sunjata Keita. Mansa ruled from 1307 to perhaps 1332. He was known for expanding the empire to include gold producing lands and important trading centres. He was savvy at governance and a devout Muslim. His spectacular pilgrimage is well documented for the huge entourage of courtiers and slaves as well as the gold he took. In Egypt he was said to have been so generous with his gold that he depressed the value of gold for 12 years therafter. He is known for the urbanization of areas such as Timbuktu, Sankore and Niani where he built great structures of learning, mosques and palaces. Notable among these ae the Hall of Audience in Niani and the university at Sankore. Did he really travel with 60,000 courtiers and 12,000 slaves. And would he give all that gold away? It must be so, because years later stories were being told about Mansa Musa. In 1337 Mali appeared for the first time on a world map, The Mappa Muni of Dulcert. Mansa Musa had put his unusually wealthy empire on the world map for future adveturers, explorers and wealth seekers to chase after.

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