History Files


African Kingdoms

West Africa




Mandingo Kingdom of Kangaba
c.AD 1050 - 1235

Built out of a confederation of Mandinka tribes, the kingdoms in Mali existed for several centuries before they were unified as a small state just to the south of Old Ghana. The city state of Ka-ba (modern Kangaba) was a vassal of the Ghana empire, but became more powerful itself in the thirteenth century and broke away.

c.1050 - c.1090



Old Ghana is critically weakened by warfare against the Almorivids, and it loses control of the Mandika tribes in Mali.

c.1090 - c.1150


c.1150 - c.1190


c.1190 - c.1200

Di Jigi Bilali

c.1200 - c.1218

Keita Nari fa Majan

c.1218 - 1228

Danagaram Tumo

1228 - 1235



Soninke's successor quickly creates a Mali empire out of the kingdom.

Mali Empire / Manding / Manden Kurufa
AD 1235 - 1645

Evolving from the Mandingo Kingdom of Kangaba, the empire was founded by Sundiata Keita as a medieval Islamic West African state of the Mandinka from 1235 to 1645. At its height it stretched from the West African coast at Mauretania, bordering on Murabit Islamic territory, to Timbuktu and Gao on the River Niger. It became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa I. It also had many profound cultural influences on West Africa, allowing the spread of its language, laws and customs along the Niger.

The Mali emperors were almost all of the Keita dynasty, and they traced their lineage back to Muhammed's faithful muezzin (the caller to prayers), Bilal. Oral chroniclers preserved a list of each Keita ruler from Lawalo (supposedly one of Bilalís seven sons who settled in Mali) to Maghan Kon Fatta (the father of Sundiata Keita), although the details may be fairly dubious in places.

1235 - 1255

Mari Jata I / Sondjata / Sundjata / Sundiata

Created the empire.


Old Ghana falls to Mali.

1255 - 1270

Uli / Ouali

c.1260 - 1275

Mali occupies the Songhai empire.

1270 - 1274

Wati / Ouati



1274 - 1285

Abu Bakr I / Abubakari

1285 - 1300

Sakura / Sakoura

1300 - 1305

Qu / Gao

1305 - 1310

Mohammed ibn Gao


1310 - 1312

Abu Bakr II / Abubakari

1312 - 1337

Musa I / Mansa (Kankan) Musa


Mali occupies the Songhai empire.

1337 - 1341

Magha I

1341 - 1360

Suleiman / Souleyman


Qasa / Camba

1360 - 1374

Mari Jata II

1374 - 1387

Musa II

1387 - 1388

Magha II

1388 - 1390


1390 - 1404

Mahmud / Magha III

1404 - c.1440

The throne is vacant


Musa III


Uli / Ouali II


The empire is in decline, and former subjects break away. The Songhai empire occupies Timbuktu.


Mahmud II


Mahmud III


Mahmud IV


Mama Maghan

1630 - 1645

Shortly after the Songhai empire has fallen to the Moroccans, the remnants of the Mandinka also fall to the Bamana of Jenne (formerly a city within the Songhai empire which was sacked in 1591).

Tukulor Empire
AD 1854 - 1894

This was a short-lived empire formed from the splinter states in Mali, but it was quickly overrun by the invading French.

1854 - 1864

Omar al-Hajj

1864 - 1893



The kingdom is conquered by the French.


The region gains independence from France, and becomes the independent republic of Mali.