TODAY IN MALI
Mali-is the only double triangular shaped nation in the world, located in West Africa sub-region, seventh in landmass size in Africa; a landlocked nation, its territory falls within two African great rivers, Niger and Senegal.
To her North is Algeria, southeast is Niger; on southern border are Burkina Faso and Cote d’ Ivoire; on northwest border is Mauritania, down west are Senegal and Guinea.
How Mansa Kanka Musa’s Mali Created A New Mali
Old Mali was a major part of the three-empire-world in yesterday West Africa that reigned, ruled and controlled the trans-Saharan trade in gold, copper, salt and other resources.
Located on Niger and Senegal rivers, old Mali was very rich in agriculture, husbandry, and fishing. The Great Mali empire included all or parts of modern-day Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, the two Guineas, Burkina Faso, Niger…
Her food security buoyed by military power, various ethnic nationalities such as Soninke, Bambara, Malinke, Peul or Fulani, Voltaic, and Songhai, Tuaregs and Moor whose social and political configurations, and genetic make-up without significant changes, regardless of centuries of Islamic and European influences, made Mali a permanent home.
Mansa Musa Keita’s Mali occupied most of today’s Mali of 1,240,000 square kilometers or (480,000 sq miles) landmass, even inherited towns like Gao, Timbuktu, Kidal, Djenne.
More important, Mansa Musa’s Mali brought unfading fame, glory, color and fanfare to Mali during his two-and-half-decade rulership. Especially, during his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324-25.
The beauty, opulence, grandeur, power, and riches the pilgrimage brought to Mali is still a subject of discussion by historians almost seven hundred years after.
Musa Keita left Mali with 60,000 companions; 12,000 service man and women, each carried 1.8kg or (4 Ibs) of gold bars; 100 camels, each carried 23-136 kg or (50-300 lbs) of gold dust.
In fact, the pilgrimage to Mecca was a novel; it was well organized, dutifully arranged. The pilgrimage caught people’s attention along the route, especially in Cairo, Mecca, and Medina.
Musa painted his traveling route-gold-gave fortune to all cities he passed through; every Friday, wherever he was, he built a mosque. Because of unrestrained use of gold, its price crashed, and it took another twelve years to reverse the trend.
On his way home, Musa came with scholars and architects, who changed Mali. In 1327, the great mosque in Timbuktu was built, Sankore University (Madrassa) was built, its library housed between 250,000 and 700,000 manuscripts placing it on same pedestal with Alexander Library, in Egypt.
Mali After Musa
Mali after Musa was a tale of woes as succession and internal squabble destroyed what he built.
Many crises followed, the worst-was the-emergence of a new empire-SONGHAI from west, which over-ran the disunited empire; for another four hundred years, Mali was forgotten.
Mali and the French
The race for oversea territories began with the exploration to South Atlantic; though, France came much later into exploration business, but gained more territories in Asia, Africa, and North America than Portuguese, Spanish, Italian that were seafarers.
The visit to South Atlantic by France from 15th century onward yielded positive results in Africa; from Senegal to Cameroon, France acquired lands through conquests, agreements, pacts, and concordats.
From mid-19th century France established the “Second French Colonial Empire,” of which principal part was the French West Africa-the eight French territories in Africa-Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan or Mali, French Guinea (now Guinea), Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Dahomey (Benin), and Niger.
For another eighty years, French West Africa existed (1880-1960); ran a “French state” styled of culture change for Africans; however, events from 1914-1918; 1939-1945 changed the political dynamics in Africa.
As France continued to impose her values and culture on Africans, resistance began-mostly from Guinea and French Sudan or Mali.
Modibo Keita of French Sudan or Mali under African Democratic Rally challenged France, even as French wanted all her colonies committed to all French Federation, this plan short-lived, as Mali under Modibo Keita and Guinea under Ahmed Sekou Ture rejected both the plan and 1958 new French Constitution introduced by General Charles de Gaulle.
Mali and Guinea led the way.