The Kingdom Of Old Mali lay to the southwest of old Ghana. For many years the kings of old Ghana had ruled Mali. We have seen how Sundiata conquered the old Ghana and made it part of the kingdom of Mali, which he ruled.

Mansa Musa:

The greatest of the kings of Old Mali was Mansa Musa who ruled for 25 years. During the reign of Mansa Musa, the kingdom was at its most powerful. Mansa Musa was a good and religious man, and he loved learning.

In 1324, he went on pilgrimage to Mecca with about 60,000 soldiers and 500 slaves. Mansa Musa also took with him about 63 million of gold. He built a mosque wherever he stopped on a Friday. Much of the gold he gave to the poor whom he met on his way.

Mansa Musa brought back from the east a Spanish Arab, Al Saheli, who built many beautiful buildings for the king. Among these buildings was a college at Timbuctu, which became a centre of trade and religion.

Mansa Musa brought many Arab scholars to Timbuctu. Mansa Musa was a just ruler. The people admired and respected him. He divided the kingdom into provinces and sent governors to look after these provinces.

The Book Of Ibn Batuta:

The Sultan of Morocco heard about the kingdom of Mali, and wanted to know if the stories were true. He sent a scholar and writer, Ibn Batuta, to find out the real truth about Mali. Ibn Batuta wrote a book about Mali. Much of what we know today about Mali comes from the book of Ibn Batuta.


Ibn Batuta tells us that Mali was divided into provinces. A governor called a Ferba ruled each province. An official called a Mockriff ruled each town. The Ferbas and Mock Riffs kept law and order and collected taxes.


Ibn Batuta writes that most of the people of Mali were Muslims. They were very religious. They kept their hours of prayer and most of them could recite the Koran by heart. Every king of Mali had to make a pilgrimage to Mecca before he began to rule.


The kingdom of Mali was one of the richest in Africa. It's wealths came especially from gold mines. The people of Mali exchanged this gold for copper, salt, and cloth from North Africa and the Mediterranean countries.

The people were rich and lived in beautiful houses built with stones and wood. They wove their own clothes from the cotton which they grew. Mali had many craftsmen who produced works of art from iron and copper. They carved ornaments and figures from metal.

The Fall Of Mali:

After Mansa Musa, the Kingdom of Old Mali began to decline. The descendants of Mansa Musa fought for the throne and the kingdom became weak because the country was always at war. There was no strong king to follow Mansa Musa.

Armies came from the north and attacked the kingdom. Mali was no longer great and powerful.