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

Mensa Musa 

The greatest of the kings of old Mali was Mensa Musa who ruled for 25years during the reign of Mensa Musa, the kingdom was at its most powerful. Mensa 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. Mensa Musa also took with him about £3 million in gold. He built a mosque wherever he stopped on a Friday. Much of the gold he gave to the poor whom he met on the way. 

Mensa Musa brought back from the East a Spanish Arab, A I Saheli, who built many beautiful buildings for the king. Among these buildings was a college at Timbuctu, which became a center of trade and religion. Mensa Musa brought many Arab Scholars to Timbuctu. 

Mensa 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 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 Moslems. They were very religious. They kept their hours of prayer and most of them could recite their koran by Heart. Every king of old Mali had to make a pilgrimage to Mecca before he began to rule. 

Trade and Industry 

The Kingdom of Mali was one of the richest in Africa. It's wealth came came especially from gold mines. The people of Mali exchanged this gold for Copper, salt and cloth from North Africa and Mediterranean Countries. 

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

The Fall of Mali 

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

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