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The Empire of Mali Introduction In its peak the people of Mali occupied land as far west as the Atlantic Ocean They also traveled as far east as Gao the capital of the Songhai as far south as the Niger bend and as far north as the Sahara desert They built a great empire between 1240 and 1337 that underwent a course of slow decline until the seventeenth century History The empire of Mali originated from a small country known as Kangaba Its people where known as the Mandingo they have also been called the Malinke and the Mandinka After the breakup of Ghana the Sosso who had caused the breakup were still in power Apparently Sundiata an heir to the Mandingo throne raised an army and defeated the Sosso in the battle of Kirina Afterward Sundiata established the empire of Mali He converted to Islam for support of the Muslim peoples When Mansa Musa came into power in the early 1300s the empire reached its height Mansa Musa traveled through Cairo on his pilgrimage to Mecca It is said that he gave away so much gold that it dropped in value in Cairo for 12 years Afterward the empire slowly declined until in the 1600s it was no more than it had been originally when it originated the small kingdom of Kangaba Government The government of Mali was a dictatorship The dictator who had the title of Mansa was the sole secular and religious leader of his people though not he did not enjoy the same power as Egyptian Pharaohs did The base of government was located in the capital known as Niani It was once written by a traveler that a person could travel safely without fear of harm and that the people of Mali hated injustice and the Mansa did not tolerate injustice at all The military branch of government was constant There was a standing army of professional soldiers so that
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