March 5, 2014
HIS 276- Dr. Kalinga
Mansa Kankan Musa ascended the throne in 1312 and ultimately revived Mali. He was well known for stimulating Mali in many different ways. Before Mansa Musa’s accession to the throne, Mali was in a period of political instability. He ruled for approximately twenty-five years, which brought wealth and consistency to Mali. This ultimately expanded the empire. Mansa Musa gave away so many gifts of gold that the value of gold fell and did not recover for about twelve years. Although he spent his money generously, he did a lot to strengthen the economy of Mali. This included establishing communications with certain areas, ...view middle of the document...
His major accomplishments as a rule stem back to his promotion of Islam, which strengthened the empire and enforced his authority. Askiya fortified his administration mainly by conquering new provinces and replacing the rulers with trusted individuals. This ensures unity in the empire and prevented secession of these provinces. Each of these new rulers formed their own armies so that they were able to collect taxes. By conquering these new areas, he greatly expanded the Songhai Empire. This expansion ultimately led to more wealth for the empire because of the revival of the trans-Saharan trade. Askiya urged his armies to take over Tuareg territory for this expansion. The restoration of the trans-Saharan trade was partially due to Askiya’s feats in Islamic religion. After the rule of Suni Ali, Askiya needed to show those in the empire that Islam was no longer a source of issues. He did this by showing that he supported Muslims with a Hajj. Although he supported the religion, he did not force it on others like Suni Ali did. He also revived Timbuktu as a center for Islamic learning, which led to more education.
Overall, Mansa Kankan Musa and Askiya Muhammad Ture ruled in very similar ways. They strengthened many of the same aspects of their respective empires. They both also came to power after somewhat unpopular and unstable rulers, and were put in a position in which they needed to improve the situations of their empires. They also used similar aspects of ruling to improve their economies. Both Askiya and Mansa Musa were praised for strengthening the economy by improving and reviving the trans-Saharan trade. Both expanded their empires into new territories to do so. This, in turn, made each ruler’s main source of income come from trade. They were each known for their support of their religion (Islam), and also their tolerance of other religions. This was used to their advantage, and ultimately strengthened their authority and the unity of their empire as a whole for each ruler.
Although these rulers did a lot of things similarly, there were a few differences in how they ruled and accomplished tasks. A major difference was the administration and power. The Songhai administration, ruled by Askiya Muhammad Ture, was more unified than that of Mansa Kankan Musa’s ruling of Mali. Askiya made sure that his ruling touched every part of the empire by appointing new officials after conquering provinces. Another major difference was how each strengthened the Islamic religion. Mansa Musa did so mainly by embarking on a Hajj to Mecca, which led to an increase in mosques. Although Askiya also went on a pilgrimage, he also revived Timbuktu as a major center for Islamic learning, which had more of an impact.
I would not agree with the proposition that physical geography is the main factor in the emergence and expansion of the early large political systems of West Africa. Since there are four major factors that influenced the development of these political...