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Biographical Data :

Name :Mansa Musa
Period :1232 - 1337
Biographical detail : King of Mali famous for his journey to Makkah

The King of Mali, Mansa Musa, became famous throughout medieval Europe and the Islamic world when he travelled across the Sahara from Timbuktu to Cairo then to Makkah in 1324.

Remembered for his extravagant hajj, Mansa Musa accompanied by 60,000 followers, 100 camel-loads of 300 pounds of gold, which he distributed along the way, according to the Arab historian al-Umari. With his lavish spending and generosity in Cairo and Makkah, he ran out of money and had to borrow at usurious rates of interest for the return trip. Mansa Musa and his retinue, according to the historian, “gave out so much gold that they depressed its value in Egypt and caused its value to fall.”

Mansa Musa brought back with him an Arabic library, religious scholars, and most importantly the Muslim architect al-Sahili, who built the great mosques at Gao and Timbuktu and a royal palace. Al-Sahili's most famous work was the chamber at Niani. It is said that his style influenced architecture in the Sudan where, in the absence of stone, the beaten earth is often reinforced with wood, which bristles out of the buildings.

Mansa Musa strengthened Islam and promoted education, trade, and commerce in Mali. The foundations were laid for Walata, Jenne, and Timbuktu becoming the cultural and commercial centres of the Western Sudan, eclipsing those of North Africa and producing Arabic-language black literature in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Diplomatic relations were established and ambassadors were exchanged between Mali and Morocco, and Malinke students were sent to study in Morocco.

Mansa Musa ruled for 25 years, bringing prosperity and stability to Mali and expanding the empire he inherited. Mali achieved the apex of its territorial expansion under Mansa Musa. The Mali Empire extended from the Atlantic coast in the west to Songhai far down the Niger bend to the east: from the salt mines of Taghaza in the north to the legendary gold mines of Wangara in the south.
 (Compiler : M. Nauman Khan)


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