Why did the Kingdom of Songhay rise?

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  • Why did the Kingdom of Songhay rise?
    • the collapse of the Kingdom of Mali
      • Green: "tyranny, high handedness and...violation of people's rights...fostered internal divisions"
      • 1337 - death of Mansa Musa - this created a sucession crisis (hegemonic conflict, lack of laws about what should follow the death of a king)
      • 1325 - Mansa Maghan allowed two hostage Gao princes to escape
      • Songhay had been a province of Mali- the Gao princes were able to start the Kingdom of Songhay
    • leadership of Sonni Ali
      • 1464 - comes to power and introduces an expansionist policy
      • leads military campaigns against the Mossi and Turaegl
        • 1433-4 - the Turaeg seize Timbuktu
        • pushed the Turaeg back into the Northern Sahel
      • 1472 - captures Djenne after 7 years, 7 months and 7 days, Mali failed 99 times
        • used as a diplomatic hub
      • secures the position of the kingdom
        • reduces the threats from bordering and client states
      • Al-Sa'di: "a man of great strength"
    • legal, cultural and adminstrative strengths
      • Al-Maghili: "worship[ed] idols...[sought] help from magicians", observed Ramadan and the five prayers
      • 8 regions, independent but recognised the authority of Sonni Ali- established residencies in Kukya, Kabara and Dirma
        • prevents rebellion
          • loyal provincial governors/Farmas
      • retained traditional Anamist roots and practises
      • prevents the superiority of one religion, comprise between converting and retaining tradition
        • allows client states some level of independence to keep peace
    • military successes
      • Tarikh al-Sudan: "his armies were never defeated"
      • a process of modernisation begins introducing the roles of the rabb al-tariq and baray-koi
        • range of equipment
      • pre-1591 - threw captured Moroccan muskets into the Niger River
      • development of organisation, ability to defend from threats
    • geography
      • Green: the Niger River formed a "vital artery" of the kingdom
      • 200BC - the Sahara desert dries out, connection to Trans-Saharan trade
      • c10 - Songhay horsemen settled near the Niger River
        • eastern Songhay and Mossi offered the best conditions for horse breeding anywhere south of the Sahara
      • Gomez: Gao was "West Africa's starting point"
      • utilised the assets of the Niger River- natural defense, capitlised on the potential of the river
        • 1472 - siege of Djenne
    • Sonni Ali's predecessors
      • Sonni Mohammed Da'o led an expedition incorporating tributary people like the Bambara and the Fula, attacking Mali
      • the Songhay people merged culture with Berbers through intermarriage
      • c1460 - Sonni Suleyman Dama, destoryed Mema, a Mali province
      • lays the foundations of the kingdom, prevents conflict and secures peace, westward expansion
        • increases the authority and strength of the kingdom
        • begins to weaken Mali
      • recognised at the titleholders of Gao


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