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Songhai



Introduction of Songhai
A great trading empire of 15th- and 16th-centuryWest Africa. Its territory extended from the AtlanticOcean to modern Nigeria and was centered in whatis now the nation of Mali along the bend of theNiger River.The Songhai capital of Gao was originally settledc. 800 and prospered because of its position on thelucrative trans-Saharan trade route. The empire ofMali won possession of Gao from 1325 to 1375 and established it as a center of Muslim scholarship. Afterbreaking Mali's hold, Songhai maintained a precariousindependence until Sonni Ali ascended the thronec. 1465 and strengthened its position. By 1476 he hadsuccessfully campaigned against the hostile Dogon,Fulani, and Tuareg and seized control of the cities ofTimbuktu and Djenne.In 1493 Muhammad I Askia seized the throneand aggressively pursued a course of expansion thatbrought the center of the western Sudan under thefirm control of the Songhai Empire. His rule wascharacterized by a strong central administration and a flourishing of commerce and Muslim scholarship.In the late 16th century the Moroccan sultan Ahmedal-Mansur began to apply pressure to Songhai'snorthern border. In 1591 a Spanish-Portuguese armyequipped with firearms entered Songhai fromMorocco and easily captured Gao and Timbuktu.Songhai's army was destroyed and its governmentand national identity were fatally shattered.A great trading empire of 15th- and 16th-centuryWest Africa. Its territory extended from the AtlanticOcean to modern Nigeria and was centered in whatis now the nation of Mali along the bend of theNiger River.The Songhai capital of Gao was originally settledc. 800 and prospered because of its position on thelucrative trans-Saharan trade route. The empire ofMali won possession of Gao from 1325 to 1375 and established it as a center of Muslim scholarship. Afterbreaking Mali's hold, Songhai maintained a precariousindependence until Sonni Ali ascended the thronec. 1465 and strengthened its position. By 1476 he hadsuccessfully campaigned against the hostile Dogon,Fulani, and Tuareg and seized control of the cities ofTimbuktu and Djenne.In 1493 Muhammad I Askia seized the throneand aggressively pursued a course of expansion thatbrought the center of the western Sudan under thefirm control of the Songhai Empire. His rule wascharacterized by a strong central administration and a flourishing of commerce and Muslim scholarship.In the late 16th century the Moroccan sultan Ahmedal-Mansur began to apply pressure to Songhai'snorthern border. In 1591 a Spanish-Portuguese armyequipped with firearms entered Songhai fromMorocco and easily captured Gao and Timbuktu.Songhai's army was destroyed and its governmentand national identity were fatally shattered.

Songhai Images