Mansa Musa Family Tree

Mansa Musa Family Tree


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

>

The family tree of Mansa Musa.

CREDITS:
Chart/Narration: Matt Baker
Research/Artwork: From Nothing Team
Editing: Jack Rackam
Intro animation: Syawish Rehman
Intro music: "Lord of the Land" by Kevin MacLeod and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution license 4.0. Available from http://incompetech.com


Mansa Musa Family Tree

A Gold Mine in the Desert – The Story of Mali

Today, Mali is known as one of the poorest countries on earth. Life expectancy and literacy rates are dangerously low. A violent rebellion by the ethnic Tauregs in the North of the country that is threatening to split the country in half has been one of the few things that brought Mali to the news lately. But life in Mali has not always been this negative and depressing. Once, Mali was the shining example of a successful Muslim state. It was the envy of people around the world. It truly was a gold mine in the desert.

The region known as Mali is located in the southern extremities of the Sahara Desert. Here there is a transitional region between the arid and barren deserts to the North and the rain forests along the coast to the south. This is known as the Sahel.

Map of Africa showing the trade routes that brought Islam to the region

What Mali lacks in fertile land, it more than made up for with valuable resources. Gold and salt mines have been the epicenter of Mali’s economy for hundreds of years. Trade routes extended north from Mali to the North African coast, where wealthy traders would pay high prices for the gold and salt to send to Europe and Southwest Asia. These trade routes made the Mandinka (the main ethnic group of West Africa) incredibly wealthy.

Islam and Early Mali

Goods were not the only thing traded through these routes. Ideas flowed from north to south. Muslim traders carried Islam with them along with the gold and salt. From the 700s onward, Islam slowly began to take root among the people of the West African Sahel. At first, the response of the non-Muslim states of West Africa was to suppress Islam or at least separate Muslims from the general population. However, as more and more people began to accept Islam, Muslim states started to emerge.

One Muslim state, Mali, was founded by an obscure figure called Sundiata Keita. The epic legend of his life has traveled down throughout the centuries as an oral story, and thus the truth of his story has been distorted over time (in one anecdote, he single-handedly uprooted a fully grown tree, and replanted it in his mother’s yard). What we do know is that he founded the Mali Empire and created a role for the emerging Muslim population of West Africa in the 1230s. He took the title of “Mansa”, the Mandinka word for king.

Mansa Musa and His Hajj

The tenth mansa of Mali was Musa I, who ruled from 1312 to 1377. He came to power when his brother, Mansa Abu Bakr, led an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean to discover the Americas, leaving Musa the throne. Much of what we know about Musa’s reign comes from the epic story of his Hajj, in 1324.

A depiction of Mansa Musa from a European atlas.

As a devout Muslim, Mansa Musa insisted on completing the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj to Makkah. The geographic remoteness of Mali made the journey very difficult and impossible for most people, even in today’s world of modern transportation. Nevertheless, in 1324 Musa set out from Mali with an entourage of 60,000 people.

Since his empire was one of the richest in the world, the caravan of travelers must have made quite an impression to everyone they passed. 12,000 servants accompanied him, each wearing valuable silks and carrying a 4 pound bar of gold. 80 camels carried between 50 and 300 pounds of gold dust each, which was given to the poor along the route. Exotic animals and people from all walks of life helped make this journey an epic one that left an impression on all who saw it. Numerous accounts from different regions all attest to the grandeur of this procession.

Mansa Musa made a stop in Egypt on his way to Makkah. While there, he initially refused to meet the Mamluk sultan of Egypt because the tradition was to bow to the sultan. Musa insisted he only bows down to Allah. He made quite an impression on the Mamluk government, as officials noted that he knew the Quran and was very particular about praying on time. Musa was clearly a very devout Muslim.

While in Egypt, Musa’s incredible amount of wealth led to some unintended consequences. He gave out gold gifts to members of the government, the poor, scholars, and many others. Due to the laws of supply and demand, the price of gold in Egypt plummeted, effectively crippling the economy. Even a decade later, during Ibn Battuta’s visit to Cairo, he noted that the economy still hadn’t completely recovered from Mansa Musa’s visit. The effect that Mansa Musa’s visit had on Egypt clearly shows the wealth and importance of the Mali Empire, even when it encountered far-off lands.

Return to Mali

On his way back to his homeland after the Hajj, Mansa Musa insisted on bringing the smartest and most talent Muslims to his kingdom. With his immense wealth, he paid scholars, artists, teachers, architects, and people from all professions to come to Mali and contribute to the growth of Islam there. Great people were brought to Mali from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, al-Andalus, and the Hejaz.

The Sankore Masjid and University in Timbuktu, showing the distinctive architectural style of Mali

The effect this had on Mali was immense. Architecturally, the buildings in Mali began to show a mix of Spanish, Arab, and Persian design. This unique blend of cultures created a distinctly West African style that is still seen in its architecture. The legendary city of Timbuktu was especially blessed by Mansa Musa’s Hajj, with many mosques such as the Sankore Masjid being built by the best architects in the world. Mansa Musa even paid the Andalusian architect Ibn Ishaq 200 kilograms of gold to build the Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu. Being able to pay for the best architects, scholars, and teachers made Mali, and Timbuktu in general a center of Islamic knowledge.

A Center of Knowledge

The most significant impact Musa’s Hajj had on Mali was its subsequent growth as a center of knowledge. With the best scholars from all over the Muslim world, Mali developed one of the richest educational traditions of the world at that time. Libraries were all over cities such as Gao and Timbuktu. Public and private collections had thousands of books on topics from Islamic fiqh, to astronomy, to language, to history. Great universities attracted talented students from all over Africa to come study in this center of knowledge.

This tradition of knowledge lasts until today in Mali. Families still hold on to private library collections that number in the hundreds of books, many of them hundreds of years old. The people of Mali are fiercely protective of their knowledge that has been passed down from the time of Mansa Musa, making it very difficult for outsiders to access these great libraries.

Manuscript from Timbuktu about astronomy and mathematics

These manuscripts today are threatened by the desertification of the Sahel, where the environment threatens to turn these great books into dust. Political problems in West Africa also threaten to destroy the remaining manuscripts. Efforts are underway to preserve these great libraries by digitizing them. The Timbuktu Educational Foundation is leading efforts to scan individual pages before they are lost to history. You can find (and read) many of these manuscripts online.

As Mali became a center of knowledge in West Africa, Islam ingrained itself deeply in the lives of it’s people. It was common for “everyday people” to be very well educated in religious and and secular matters. The effects of this knowledge on society is seen in Ibn Battuta’s trip to Mali in the 1350s, when he remarked that if a man wanted to have a seat in the masjid during the Friday prayer, he would have to send his son hours early to reserve a spot for him, as the masjids would be filled to the brim early in the morning.

Conclusions

The importance of Mali and its contributions to the world cannot be overstated. In it’s history, it was one of the centers of Islamic knowledge and wealth. It’s importance to the world decreased throughout the 16th-18th centuries until it was colonized by the French in the 1800s. This history is not lost forever, however. It lives on in the continuing experience of West Africa’s Muslims, and the legacy it left on the rest of the world.


Multi-Trillionaire Mansa Musa: wealth founded in gold

A few years ago Jeff Bezos caught some limelight for surpassing Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Bezos, as of this writing, clocked in (as of February 5th, 2020, before the Dow’s slump, which knocked a couple of billions off his net worth, poor soul) with a net worth estimated by Forbes at around $120B billion. Surpassing Bill Gates’s paltry $100 billion.

That said, both Bezos and Gates are relative pikers compared to the richest man who ever lived, whose name, oddly, is relatively little known. Who was he? Glad you asked!

The great African emperor Mansa Musa, ruler of the Mali Empire of the 14th century was the wealthiest person in history.

Much, much richer than Bezos.

TIME Magazine, ranking Musa’s wealth above that of Augustus Caesar (who, TIME scored at #2 and worth $4.6 Trillion) characterizes Musa simply as “richer than anyone could describe.”

According to Ferrum College history professor Richard Smith, Musa’s west African kingdom was likely the largest producer of gold in the world — at a time which gold was in especially high demand.

Some tales of his famous pilgrimage to Mecca — during which Musa’s spending was so lavish that it caused a currency crisis in Egypt — mention dozens of camels each carrying hundreds of pounds of gold. (Smith says one year of Malian gold production probably generated about a ton.) Others said Musa’s army consisted of 200,000 men, including 40,000 archers — troop numbers even modern superpowers would have a difficult time bringing to the field.

But to get caught up in the king’s exact wealth is to miss the point. As Rudolph Ware, an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan, explains, Musa’s riches were so immense that people struggled to describe them.

“This is the richest guy anyone has ever seen, that’s the point,” says Ware.

“They’re trying to find words to explain that. There are pictures of him holding a scepter of gold on a throne of gold holding a cup of gold with a golden crown on his head. Imagine as much gold as you think a human being could possess and double it, that’s what all the accounts are trying to communicate.”

Musa made his pilgrimage [to Mecca] between 1324–1325. His procession reportedly included 60,000 men, including 12,000 slaves who each carried 1.8 kg (4 lb) of gold bars and heralds dressed in silks who bore gold staffs, organized horses, and handled bags. Musa provided all necessities for the procession, feeding the entire company of men and animals. Those animals included 80 camels which each carried 23–136 kg (50–300 lb) of gold dust. Musa gave the gold to the poor he met along his route. Musa not only gave to the cities he passed on the way to Mecca, including Cairo and Medina, but also traded gold for souvenirs. It was reported that he built a mosque every Friday.

Musa’s journey was documented by several eyewitnesses along his route, who were in awe of his wealth and extensive procession, and records exist in a variety of sources, including journals, oral accounts, and histories. …

But Musa’s generous actions inadvertently devastated the economies of the regions through which he passed. In the cities of Cairo, Medina, and Mecca, the sudden influx of gold devalued the metal for the next decade. Prices on goods and wares greatly inflated. To rectify the gold market, on his way back from Mecca, Musa borrowed all the gold he could carry from money-lenders in Cairo, at high interest.

Talk about “open market operations!”

One of the signal qualities of gold is how universally esteemed it has always been across time and across cultures. From ancient classical Pagan, to Judaic, Islamic, Catholic, Christian, Zoroastrian, Hindu, and even secular cultures gold has commanded a special status in the economies of the world.

That fact does not make gold an object of superstition. Even that great “godless Communist”” Karl Marx had praise for gold, writing in his A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy in Chapter 1, Part 1:

“The truth of the proposition that, ‘although gold and silver are not by nature money, money is by nature gold and silver,” is shown by the fitness of the physical properties of these metals for the functions of money.”

Emperor Musa embraced the great faith of Islam. And as Shariahgold observes:

Gold has a deep and historical connection with Islamic civilisations. However, the complex treatment of gold in Islamic tradition has limited its development as an investable asset class. Gold is one of the six ribawi items alongside silver, wheat, dates, barley and salt. Ribawi items are defined as staple, everyday commodities so stringent transaction rules apply to prevent injustice or inequality between transacting parties. There is also a longstanding debate about whether gold is a currency or a commodity, making the design of consistent Shari’ah rules for modern gold products more difficult. …

Recognising this need, the World Gold Council collaborated with the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) to develop the Shari’ah Standard on Gold (“the Standard”). AAOIFI is the recognised world leader in Islamic finance standards, and its rulings are widely accepted across the majority of Islamic markets. The Standard offers definitive guidance on the use of modern gold financial products in a Shari’ah-compliant manner, opening up a new investment asset class, enabling Islamic banks and other financial institutions to grow their customer bases and facilitating the creation of a broader range of saving, hedging, and diversification products.

Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world. A self-made man, he earned his fortune honestly and he’s doing great things with it. Still, the wealthiest man in all of history, wealthier than Bezos by far greater than an order of magnitude, was Mansa Musa.

Whether you are from Africa, or the Middle East, Asia, Europe or the New World, the Americas — and hello, with love, to all you Down Under! — perhaps your, or part of your, wealth — irrespective of your Faith or lack thereof — could be founded in Responsible Gold.


50 Influential Africans Alphabetically

1. Annan, Kofi. Ghana. Former Secretary General of The United Nations.

2. Azikiwe, Nnamdi. First President of modern Nigeria (1963 - 1966).

3. Barnard, Dr Christiaan South African. Performed first heart transplant (1967).

4. Biko, Steve (1946 - 1977). South African President of BPC Convention (1972).

5. Boutros-Ghali, Boutros. First African Secretary General of UN (1992).

6. Candace (25BC). Queen of Kush. Led attack on Roman held Philae.**

7. Cleopatra VII (47BC). Queen of Egypt. Relationship with Julius Caesar.

8. De Klerk, FW. South African Nobel prize winner and President (1989-1994).

9. Gordimer, Nadine. South African Nobel prize winner (1991).

10. Hani, Chris. South African ANC Leader.**

11. Ibn Battuta (AD 1300). The "Marco Polo" of North Africa.**

12. Ibn Yasin (AD 1054). North African conqueror.

13. Imhotep (2700BC). Designer of pyramids. The "Leonardo da Vinci" of Egypt.

14. Kankan Musa (AD1307). Mansa (emperor) of Mali - great empire of West Africa.**

15. Kasavubu, Joseph (1913 - 1969). First President of modern Zaire (1960 - 1965).**

16. Kaunda, Dr Kenneth. First President of modern Zambia (1964 - 1991).**

17. Kayamanga (AD800). The first King of Ghana.

18. Kenyata, Jomo (1891 - 1978). First President of modern Kenya.

19. Khufu (Cheops) (2560BC). Pharaoh builder of the Great Pyramid.

20. Lobengula (1833 - 1894). Last King of Matebele (Zimbabwe).

21. Lumumba, Patrice (1925 - 1961). First Prime Minister of modern Zaire.

22. Luthuli, Albert (1899 - 1967). South African Nobel prize winner (1960).**

23. Makeba, Miriam. South African singer.**

24. Mandela, Nelson. Nobel prize winner (1993). President of South Africa.

25. Mbeki, Thabo. South African Vice President.

26. Menelik II (1844 - 1913). First Emperor of modern Ethiopia (1889 - 1909).**

27. Menes (3400BC). Pharoah. United south and north kingdoms. Founded Memphis.

28. Mohamed, Askia (AD 1300). King of Songhay (Sudan). Financier of intellectuals.

29. Monomatapa (AD1200). The king of Benametapa, Central Africa.

30. Moshweshwe (1786 - 1870). Founder King of Lesotho. Nation-builder.

31. Mzilikazi (1870). Zulu Leader of old Central/Southern Africa.

32. Nasser, Gamal Abdel (1918 - 1970). President of Egypt (1956).

33. Nkrumah, Kwame (1909 - 1972). President of Ghana (1960 - 1966).

34. Nyerere, Julius Kambarage. First President of modern Tanzania (1962 - 1985).

35. Paton, Alan Stewart (1903 - 1988). South African author.

36. Piankhy (725BC). King of Nubia. Conquered Egypt. Established 25th dynasty.

37. Plaatjie, Sol. Author and Champion for African rights.

38. Ramaphosa, Cyril. South African businessman and former ANC leader.

39. Sadat, Anwar al. Egyptian Nobel prize winner (1978). President of Egypt.

40. Selassie, Haile (1892 - 1975). Emperor of Ethiopia 1930 - 1974).

41. Shamba Bolongogo (AD 1600). King of the Bushongo. Man of peace.

42. Sheba (1000BC). Queen of Ethiopia.

43. Sisulu, Walter. South African ANC Leader.

44. Smuts, Jan Christiaan (1870 - 1950). South African Premier.

45. Sontonga, Enoch. Composer of Nkosi Sikelel'i Afrika.

46. Tambo, Oliver (1917 - 1993). President of the ANC (1960 - 1990).

47. Tunka Manin (AD1062). Ghana (king) of Aoukar - great empire of Ghana.


Building Mosques, Palaces, and Universities

On his way back from the pilgrimage, the Sultan of Mali stopped in Egypt to hire the best of the artisans, architects, and sculptors for his kingdom. Although his pilgrimage incurred a fair amount of expenses, he was not yet done spending. His next plan was to build mosques, universities, and palaces.

Mansa Musa is known to have built the Djinguereber Mosque this mosque was so well made that it still stands upright after almost 700 years. The king spent about 442 pounds of gold on building the holy place. This massive amount would be worth $8.2 million as per the current value. It is also speculated that the king had palaces that were each the size of a city.

The king was also a patron of education. He is known to have built the famous Sankore University that could educate about 25,000 pupils. The curriculum of education that was imparted in the universities Musa built was equivalent to earning a degree. It dealt with secular and non-secular subjects, and pupils would be rewarded with a turban equivalent to today's degree certificate. Sankore University had a library that was so huge that it is often compared to the Library of Alexandria. The massive library could have stored up to 1 million manuscripts.

Back in the 14th century, when Africa was prospering, England was under the clutches of the bubonic plague. When word started getting out that Mansa Musa was hiding away so much wealth in his West African Empire, the raiders and colonizers started plaguing the land for riches. Given the amount of showcasing of wealth that the king believed in, one can say that these attacks were only to be expected.


Later reign

During his long return journey from Mecca in 1325, Musa heard news that his army had recaptured Gao. Sagmandia, one of his generals, led the endeavor. The city of Gao had been within the empire since before Sakura's reign and was an important − though often rebellious − trading center. Musa made a detour and visited the city where he received, as hostages, the two sons of the Gao king, Ali Kolon and Suleiman Nar. He returned to Niani with the two boys and later educated them at his court. When Mansa Musa returned, he brought back many Arabian scholars and architects.

Construction in Mali

Musa embarked on a large building program, raising mosques and madrasas in Timbuktu and Gao. Most notably, the ancient center of learning Sankore Madrasah (or University of Sankore) was constructed during his reign.

In Niani, Musa built the Hall of Audience, a building communicating by an interior door to the royal palace. It was "an admirable Monument", surmounted by a dome and adorned with arabesques of striking colours. The wooden window frames of an upper storey were plated with silver foil those of a lower storey, with gold. Like the Great Mosque, a contemporaneous and grandiose structure in Timbuktu, the Hall was built of cut stone.

During this period, there was an advanced level of urban living in the major centers of the Mali. Sergio Domian, an Italian scholar of art and architecture, wrote of this period: "Thus was laid the foundation of an urban civilization. At the height of its power, Mali had at least 400 cities, and the interior of the Niger Delta was very densely populated."

Influence in Timbuktu

It is recorded that Mansa Musa traveled through the cities of Timbuktu and Gao on his way to Mecca, and made them a part of his empire when he returned around 1325. He brought architects from Andalusia, a region in Spain, and Cairo to build his grand palace in Timbuktu and the great Djinguereber Mosque that still stands today.

Timbuktu soon became a center of trade, culture, and Islam markets brought in merchants from Hausaland, Egypt, and other African kingdoms, a university was founded in the city (as well as in the Malian cities of Djenné and Ségou), and Islam was spread through the markets and university, making Timbuktu a new area for Islamic scholarship. News of the Malian empire's city of wealth even traveled across the Mediterranean to southern Europe, where traders from Venice, Granada, and Genoa soon added Timbuktu to their maps to trade manufactured goods for gold.

The University of Sankore in Timbuktu was restaffed under Musa's reign with jurists, astronomers, and mathematicians. The university became a center of learning and culture, drawing Muslim scholars from around Africa and the Middle East to Timbuktu.

In 1330, the kingdom of Mossi invaded and conquered the city of Timbuktu. Gao had already been captured by Musa's general, and Musa quickly regained Timbuktu and built a rampart and stone fort, and placed a standing army to protect the city from future invaders.

While Musa's palace has since vanished, the university and mosque still stand in Timbuktu today.


CHILD ABUSE PART 13: FATHER FROM HELL MANSA MUSA MUHAMMED

Also available in audio form as an episode of the Human Monsters podcast, which is available on Apple, Spotify, YouTube and most other podcast platforms.

The following has been cited as one of the worst child abuse cases in the history of the state of California. Prosecuting attorney Julie Baldwin said, “It is the worst case we’ve ever heard of.”

The defendant is Mansa Musa Muhammed, born Richard Boddie. He changed his name after converting to Islam. He was a Muslim polygamist who subjected his three wives and their children to horrific abuse and neglect.

Four of the children commented on the traumatic experience of living under Muhammed’s roof:

Michael said, “Our living conditions were like a concentration camp. We were on complete lockdown. The doors were locked, the windows were locked. I wasn’t even allowed to go to school.”

Delmarcus said, “He would lock us in the basement for days at a time. He would beat us.”

Crystal said, “I remember a time my dad took a boat paddle and just cracked me straight across the head. Blood was everywhere. He got a needle and thread and stitched my head back up.”

Likesha said, “I was raped by my father on a daily basis for 12 years.”

All three of them were forced by Mansa to eat their own feces or vomit for acts he deemed to be transgressional.

The following is transcribed verbatim from a document submitted to the Court of Appeals of California when Muhammed sought to have his convictions overturned:

In 1973, Muhummed married Marva Barfield while living in Virginia. In 1985, they moved to Bakersfield, California with their 12 children. Thereafter, they had two more children. They lived in Bakersfield for about three years before moving to Riverside County.

Muhummed’s verbal and physical abuse of Barfield and their children, which began while they lived in Virginia, progressively increased after they moved to Bakersfield, and then to Riverside County. Apparently after moving to Riverside County, he began instructing Barfield not to feed their children for certain periods of time. At first, he instructed her not to feed them for a couple of hours, and eventually he instructed her not to feed them for an entire day or, in a couple of instances, at least a week. While Barfield and the children went hungry, Muhummed continued to eat whatever he wanted (e.g., three meals per day and snacks). Whenever a hungry child would “steal” food, he or she would be beaten or forced to eat all the “stolen” food until he or she vomited. In certain instances, two of their children (Sharon and Marlon) were forced to eat their own vomit and feces. After Barfield secretly fed the children against Muhummed’s orders, he placed padlocks on the refrigerator and kitchen cabinet doors to prevent Barfield and the children from “stealing” food. Muhummed kept empty food containers in the front portions of the kitchen cabinets so that it appeared there was sufficient food for everyone in the event a child protective services worker or law enforcement officer visited the home.

Muhummed beat his children with his hands, a boat oar, electrical extension cords, switches (i.e., tree branches), and the buckle end of a belt. He would beat their hands and knuckles until they were in severe pain and their hands were swollen and bloody. He also would have the children lie on their stomachs with their feet in the air and then beat their feet, causing them to swell. He would then have the children stand and walk on their swollen feet. He also would have the children remove all their clothing and then beat them all over their bodies. In one instance, Muhummed kicked his son Curtis with steel-toed boots, injuring his leg and back. Muhummed refused to take Curtis to a doctor for treatment. In another instance, Muhummed struck his son Michael in the face with a tree branch, causing excessive bleeding. He denied Michael’s plea for medical attention. Muhummed also ordered his children to beat each other or ordered all of them to beat one particular child. If he did not believe the beatings by the children were sufficiently severe, he would order their intensity increased. The children subjected to the beatings suffered bloody noses, bruising, broken teeth and black eyes.

Muhummed also forced his children to stand in a corner for hours and sometimes for an entire day and night. If they moved or fell asleep, he beat them. Because they could not move, they often urinated and defecated on themselves while standing. He also locked the children in a closet, laundry room, bedroom or the garage for days without food.

Muhummed did not allow the children to use the bathroom in the house, making them urinate and defecate in buckets or plastic bags that, when full, were emptied into the toilet. In one instance, when his daughter Sharon used the bathroom without his permission, Muhummed pulled her hair so hard that she now has a permanent bald spot on her head.

Muhummed also rarely allowed the children to bathe, shower or brush their teeth. He did not allow the children to play with other children or have friends. Apparently, none of the children attended school.

In 1995, Muhummed met Laura Cowan, who had a husband and two children. After Laura’s husband went to prison, Muhummed, Barfield and their children moved into Laura’s condominium. They all later moved to Perris (California). Muhummed convinced Laura that he should become her guardian and, after a certain period, he would marry her. He became very controlling and did not allow her to work, attend school, or manage her finances. He became hostile to Laura’s son, Ahmed, who was born in 1992 and was still wearing diapers. He yelled at Ahmed when he had “accidents” in his pants. He made Ahmed stand in a corner or in a bucket for hours. If Ahmed had “accidents” while standing in the corner, Muhummed punched Ahmed in the face. When Laura tried to intervene, he isolated her from the rest of the family for days. Muhummed told Laura to stay away from Ahmed because Ahmed was possessed by evil spirits. Muhummed also withheld food from Ahmed, struck his head with a belt buckle and a shovel, and beat his feet with a paddle. Muhummed treated Laura’s daughter, Maryam (who was born in 1995), in the same manner as he treated Ahmed.

Muhummed also became increasingly violent with Laura. He became angry and argued with Laura when she formed a friendship with a neighbor in Perris. He yanked a telephone from the wall and threw it at her, choked her, kicked her in the head with steel-toed boots and stepped on her head. After they moved to Desert Hot Springs, Muhummed’s violent behavior continued to escalate. He threw a VCR at Laura, striking her head and causing it to bleed. He refused to take her to a doctor. He pulled Laura by the hair so forcefully that a clump of her hair came out. He struck her ear, causing it to bleed and ring. Muhummed again refused to take her to a doctor. In another instance, he pushed Laura onto a mattress, choked her and stabbed her in the foot with a knife.

In 1998, Muhummed “married” a third woman, Adrienne Easter, in a Muslim ceremony. She had a son, Abdullah, and a daughter, Jada. Muhummed soon became controlling toward Adrienne and would not take her to doctors’ appointments.

Abdullah, who was “potty-trained,” began having “accidents.” He also lost weight and became socially withdrawn. Because Adrienne was concerned about Abdullah, she sent him to live somewhere else.

In October 1998, Muhummed moved his family to a large three-bedroom house in Aguanga. Although Muhummed had told Laura and Adrienne that they each would have their own bedroom, he partitioned the three-car garage into a one-car garage area and a two-car garage area and forced the women to live with their children in the garage. Laura lived with her two children in the two-car garage area adjacent to the house, and Adrienne lived with Jada in the one-car garage area adjacent to Laura’s two-car garage area. The garage did not have heat, bathrooms or running water. Muhummed rarely allowed the women or their children to take baths or showers. He controlled all food purchases for the household and provided them with limited (and sometimes no) food to eat. Laura and Adrienne each had a small refrigerator and hot plate in their garage areas. Muhummed locked the roll-up garage door and door to the house so that Laura Adrienne, and their children could not leave the garage unless he allowed them to do so. He closely monitored the few telephone calls Laura and Adrienne were allowed to make.

On or about April 1, 1999, Laura accompanied Muhummed to the post office so she could pick up her mail and get her food stamps. When he was distracted, Laura handed a postal worker a 13-page letter she had written to her former social worker describing the conditions at the house.

On April 6, police came to the house in response to Laura’s letter. Officers found all the exterior and interior doors were secured with a chain and padlock or were nailed shut. They found bags of soiled diapers on the garage floor. On searching the master bedroom, they found several knives, a semi-automatic handgun and ammunition. They found a boat oar in the living room. Muhummed’s minor children were removed from the home and placed in foster care. Although the children initially denied Muhummed beat them, deprived them of food or otherwise abused them, they eventually described to police what had happened in the household.

In May and June 1999, Clare Sheridan-Matney, M.D., a pediatrician specializing in child abuse and neglect, examined Muhummed’s children. All of them were drastically underweight and under-height for their respective ages. Muhummed’s son (known as “C”) was almost 11 years old, but at 47 pounds and 47 inches tall, had the weight and height of a six and one-half year-old. His son Michael was almost 18 years old, but at 82 pounds and 56 inches tall, had the weight and height of an average 11 and one-half year-old. His son Marlon was almost 20 years old, but weighed only 78 and one-half pounds and was 54 inches tall, which was the weight of an average 11-year-old and the height of an average 10-year-old. Marlon had scars on his forehead, temples, nose, and buttocks, between his eyebrows, around his lips, and on the backs of his elbows and hands. His teeth were chipped. His right arm had a healing fracture. He had fuzzy hair on his body, which is indicative of a child who is extraordinarily deprived. Muhummed’s daughter Sharon was almost 19 years old, but weighed only 56 pounds and was 49 inches tall, which was the weight of an average 8 and one-half year-old and the height of an average 7-year-old. She had not started her menstrual period, which was abnormal for a female of her age. She had scars on her scalp, chin, eyebrows, legs and one ear and under her lip. Several of her teeth were broken. Her injuries were consistent with being beaten and punched. Her abdomen was distended from constipation, which is indicative of severe deprivation.

In November 1999, information was filed, charging Muhummed with seven counts of torture, 11 counts of felony child abuse, five counts of infliction of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, and two counts of felony false imprisonment. In April 2008, a jury trial began on the charges against Muhummed. Barfield, Laura, Adrienne, and many of their children testified substantially as described above. Dr. Sheridan-Matney testified it was her opinion that all of the children suffered from psychosocial deprivation, which occurs when a child is deprived of essentials during the growth period and subjected to chronic stress. That condition can be caused by severe physical abuse, isolation or being locked up or tied down. She had seen only four such cases during her career. The prosecutor also presented evidence of Muhummed’s prior uncharged conduct. For instance, Muhummed’s son Delmarcus, 34-years old at the time of trial, testified that Muhummed struck him on his head, hands, and feet using a broom handle and a boat paddle. He further testified that Muhummed deprived him of food for up to one week. If he stole food, he was beaten or forced to eat the food until he vomited and then was forced to eat his vomit. Also, Muhummed hung Marlon and Sharon upside down by their feet while they were locked in the basement. Muhummed also threatened his children with guns, knives, and a machete.

In his defense, Muhummed testified that everyone in the family ate three meals per day. He testified he never beat any child on the hands or feet or with an object. He testified he never made a child use a bucket instead of a toilet. He denied ever making the children stand in a corner, stand in a bucket or beat each other. He testified Laura and Adrienne chose to live in the garage and were free to enter and leave the garage at will. He denied inflicting any physical injuries on Laura. He testified only one door on the Aguanga house was regularly locked and everyone had access to keys to all the locks.

The defense also presented the testimony of Todd Bellanca, a social worker who visited the Aguanga house on February 17, 1999, in response to an allegation of abuse by Laura. He testified the gate around the property was locked, so he waited until Muhummed and Laura arrived home and let him in. Inside, he saw the house was clean and there was food in the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. He did not see any buckets of urine or feces. However, Muhummed ordered him to stay out of certain rooms in the house. Laura’s children, Ahmed and Maryam, appeared healthy and well cared-for, although they appeared emotionless and had a flat affect.

Larry Boddie, Muhummed’s brother, testified that he intermittently had lived with Muhummed and had never seen him strike, beat or harm any child in his care. However, Boddie had never been to Muhummed’s two most recent residences, and had not seen the children between 1996 and April 1999.

The jury found Muhummed guilty on all counts. The trial court sentenced him to prison for a determinate term of 16 years 4 months and seven consecutive indeterminate terms of life with the possibility of parole. Muhummed timely filed a notice of appeal.

Mansa denied the allegations of abuse during the trial. While addressing the court he said, “I never tortured anyone. I don’t know where that came from.”

After examining all the photographic and anecdotal evidence the judge was not convinced by Mansa’s rebuttal. The judge said, “Mr. Muhummed showed no remorse and accepted no responsibility for his twisted behavior, and the court is sending the strongest message possible.”

Relatives sat in the back row of the court. Some of the women wore brightly-coloured hijabs.

Sharon Boddie, 28-years-old at the time, addressed the judge, saying, “I’m very afraid of him. I really don’t want him to get out of jail at all. Please, Your Honor, don’t show him any mercy because he never showed any mercy to his kids.”

Among the many acts considered by Mansa to be infractions included errors while reciting lengthy passages from the Koran. If they so much as forgot one word they were beaten. They were also beaten for sneaking food and not asking to use the bathroom.

Not all the beatings were meted out by Mansa. Sometimes he would delegate this task to one of his wives. He would also organize fights between his boys.

While he locked up the cabinets and the refrigerator, he “ate like a king”, according to his children. Meanwhile he would often deny food to the children, sometimes for as long as a week. Sharon was removed from public school and was then homeschooled. The reason given for this was that she frequently ran away. The school’s complaint was that she kept stealing other kids’ lunches. The administration was not aware that she was being deliberately neglected of food.

Most of the time they could only procure food by begging, picking a lock or stealing it. If they were caught, Mansa would beat them or make them stand in a corner all night long.

They were usually disallowed from using the bathroom. They relieved themselves in buckets placed in the bedrooms.

Marlon Boddie, in an interview before the sentencing, reported that his father hung him upside down in the basement by a cord. He beat him for hours. Mansa forced Marlon to eat his own feces and vomit. Marlon was so desperate for salvation that one day he smashed a bottle against his head with the intent to inflicting a serious injury that would warrant a trip to hospital. This was not Marlon’s only serious injury. To quote Marlon, “He broke my arm once and wrapped a towel around it real tight like a cast. Imagine what it’s like to see your dad split open your head, then sew it up with a needle and thread.”

Having been sheltered from the real world growing up, Marlon found it difficult to adjust to the outside world once he got his freedom. To quote Marlon, “It’s like 20 years of my life has gone down the drain. Even now I get afraid to eat. I look around me to see if someone is watching.”

The family changed address frequently. They lived in Bakersfield, North Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Moreno Valley, Riverside and Aguanga. Mansa did not work. He made money by selling his food stamps and covered expenses with Social Security benefits he received for himself and the children.

The children who attended elementary school were withdrawn and homeschooled. The rest of the children never attended school. To this day, many of them struggle with activities like reading, writing a cheque and shopping for groceries. To quote Sharon Boddie, “When I got out I couldn’t read. I had never been to school.”

The wives and children were frequently locked in the garage for days at a time. There was no lighting, no heat, no air conditioning and no toilets.

They escaped this situation in 1999. One of his wives, Laura Cowan, accompanied Mansa as he ran errands one day. While his attention was drawn elsewhere, she slipped a 13-page letter that described the conditions at Mansa’s house to a postal worker. The postal worker alerted the authorities to what was happening. The police raided the Muhammed home in Aguanga and arrested Mansa.

Another of his wives, Marva Barfield, was charged with child endangerment and spent a year in prison. When confronted about why she didn’t intercede on her children’s behalf, she said in her defense, “I married him at 18 and got out at 45. I was scared of him. I want to apologize to my kids for not doing more, but I was truly afraid of him.”

The one member of the family who advocated for Mansa was his daughter Felicia. She asked the judge to show mercy. To quote Felicia, “If he didn’t have emotional problems, would he have done this? . . . I want the hate to end and the healing to begin.”

When Mansa had his opportunity to speak on his behalf, all but two of his relatives left the room. He was defiant, insisting that he was innocent. He said his children were pressured and coached into saying they were abused. To quote Mansa, “I made mistakes, but they know how I looked after them their whole lives. I tried to keep them together. My family never suffered the way they say they did.”

The judge denied a motion by Mansa’s defense to sentence him to one life term so that he could make parole. The judge sentenced him to a life sentence for all seven counts of torture, to be served consecutively. In other words, from the day of sentencing he would not be eligible for parole for 65 years. He will leave prison in a body bag. He was 55-years-old at the time of the sentencing.

Marta Butterfield was one of the jurors. She was deeply affected by the case, and made a point of attending the sentencing. To quote Butterfield, “I think he is such a monster, and I wanted to see him get everything he deserved.”

Sharon Boddie described one abuse scenario during trial that occurred as a consequence of sneaking into the bathroom without Mansa’s permission. He grabbed her hair with so much force that he pulled out a large clump of it from the roots. She was left with a bald spot where the hair has never grown back.

Sharon was asked by Julie Baldwin if she ever witnessed Mansa in possession of weapons. She said he would brandish a handgun, sometimes just inches from her face, and he would say, “I can kill all of ya and nobody would ever know.” She said she also saw him wielding a machete. Speaking about this, she said, “Once, he tried to chop my arm off.” Mansa snickered audibly after she said this in court. The way she described this incident was one of her sisters held her head down, another held one arm and her father the other arm. It was at that point when he threatened to cut her arm off. Baldwin asked her about Mansa’s motive. Sharon said, “Because my stomach hurt and I wouldn’t eat my food.” She was asked why she didn’t tell deputies what was happening in their home when his father was arrested over nine years before the trial. Sharon said, “I didn’t think my daddy was really going to jail.” When Baldwin probed for more details, Sharon said, “Because he always got away with it.” She only gave more added details once she was sure she was safe. To quote Sharon, “I finally realized he was really going to be in jail and I was finally going to have a life.”

Since her release from Mansa’s house, she underwent training at an organization called Job Corps, which taught her marketable skills. When asked if she was working at the time of the trial, Sharon smiled proudly, and said, “Yes, I am.” She got her first job at the age of twenty-three.

Mansa’s attorney attacked Sharon’s credibility, alleging that her descriptions of the abuse did not hold up under scrutiny.

A social worker who inspected the Muhummed house took the stand. He reported that aside from being forbidden by Mansa to look at certain rooms, everything appeared to be on the up and up. Mansa told him they kept some doors locked because one of his sons was mentally-unstable and might run away.

The police who raided the home reported that there were numerous bags filled with human waste.

Speaking of waste, Marva Barfield disclosed during the trial that his wives were also disallowed from using the toilets.

When a child was forced to eat their vomit, it was because they snuck food. They would be forced to eat the food until it was more than their stomach could process and they would regurgitate it. Mansa would then make them eat the vomit.

Mansa told legal authorities that his Muslim religion allowed him to be a polygamist.

Marva Barfield, his first wife and mother of 14 of his children, testified that she beat some of her children with a boat paddle at his behest. She feared he would kill her if she didn’t. He beat and threatened to kill her regularly throughout their 26 years of marriage. She received a lenient sentence for child endangerment as part of a plea bargain that required her to testify against Mansa.

His wife Laura Cowan said he controlled the banking and finances. She and other members of the family collected social assistance.

Sharon Boddie said that social workers had visited the home before, and food packages were placed in cupboards before they arrived. The children were instructed to lie about the quality of care they were receiving. To quote Sharon, “I told them everything was OK because my dad had coached us what to say. I’d say my dad treated us really good — that he was the best parent in the world.”

Along with her siblings, she indicated that they were rarely allowed to bathe, brush their teeth and wash their clothing. Occasionally they were taken into the yard and would be hosed down.

As for physical abuse, during the trial Muhummed alleged that Laura beat her son for wetting his bed. Muhummed denied ever physically harming him. His attorney Peter Moreale, showed the jury three photographs of the boy. He was dressed in a blue shirt that appeared to have been stained with blood. There was a large bruise on the right side of his head. Attempting to cast himself as the hero, Mansa said, “I got tired of her doing things. I used the pictures to take and warn her that if she continued to do this, what I was going to do.”

Laura Cowan later became a domestic abuse advocate, with a specialty in polygamous and/or Muslim families.

She described her history with Mansa. As she described it, her initial impression of him was that he was charming and kind. She was struggling financially and she leapt at the chance to move in with him. Soon after she got settled, a change came over him. He was strict, especially with respect to religious protocols. He home-schooled his children to shield them from secular influences. His wives and daughters were required to wear veils. At first Laura considered him to be a good father because of his success in establishing the clan as a disciplined and religiously-observant family.

Before long, he asked Laura to become his second wife. This is when everything took a dark turn. He began to isolate her from her children. Her son’s demeanor changed. He seldom smiled and just stared at his shoes.

All-told, the police recovered between 12-to 19 children in the house during their raid. Their ages ranged from 8 to 18.

Many of the adult-age children lived on the streets for years. They ate out of trashcans until they were educated and rescued.

Laura Cowan and many of Mansa’s children appeared on the Dr. Phil show. The children confronted Laura, saying that she lied and claimed to take their side, but in fact she assisted Mansa by reporting them every time they stole food. According to the children, while they were starved and forced to eat their vomit and feces, Laura had access to a refrigerator and had freedom to come and go as she pleased. The children’s’ emotions were still raw it was a heated exchange.


People, Locations, Episodes

*The Mali Empire is celebrated on this date in 1235. Historically referred to as the Manden Kurufaba, it was an empire in West Africa from c. 1235 to 1670.

The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa (Musa Keita). The Manding languages were spoken in the empire. At its peak, Mali was the largest empire in West Africa, profoundly and widely influencing the culture of the region through the spread of its language, laws, and customs. Much of the recorded information about the Mali Empire comes from 14th-century North African Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta and 16th-century Moroccan traveler Leo Africanus. The other major source of information is Mandinka oral tradition, as recorded by storytellers known as griots.

The empire began a small Mandinka kingdom at the upper reaches of the Niger River, centered around the town of Niani (the empire's namesake in Manding). During the 11th and 12th centuries, it began to develop as an empire following the decline of the Ghana Empire, or Wagadu, to the north. During this period, trade routes shifted southward to the savanna, stimulating the growth of states such as Boman. The early history of the Mali Empire (before the 13th century) is unclear, as there are conflicting and imprecise accounts by both Arab chroniclers and oral traditionalists. Keita was the first ruler for which there is accurate written information (through Ibn Khaldun). He was a warrior-prince of the Keita dynasty who was called upon to free the Mali people from the rule of the king of the Sosso Empire, Soumaoro Kanté. The conquest of Sosso in c. 1235 gave the Mali Empire access to the trans-Saharan trade routes.

Following the death of Sundiata Keita in c. 1255, the kings of Mali were referred to by the title Mansa. In c. 1285 Sakoura, a former royal court slave became emperor and was one of Mali's most powerful rulers, greatly expanding the empire's territory. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca but died on his voyage home. After the reigns of three more emperors, Musa Keita became Mansa in c. 1312. He made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca from 1324 to 1326. His generous gifts to Mamluk Egypt and his expenditure of gold caused significant inflation in Egypt. Maghan I succeeded his father as Mansa in 1337 but was deposed by his uncle Suleyman in 1341. It was during Suleyman's 19-year reign that Ibn Battuta visited Mali. Suleyman's death marked the end of Mali's Golden Age and the beginning of a slow decline.

The Mali Empire reached its largest area under the Laye Keita Mansas. Al-Umari, who describes the empire as being south of Marrakesh and almost entirely inhabited except for few places. Mali's domain also extended into the desert. He describes it as being north of Mali but under its domination implying some sort of vassalage for the Berber tribes. The empire's total area included nearly all the land between the Sahara Desert and coastal forests. By 1350, the empire covered approximately 478,819 square miles (1,240,140 km2). The empire also reached its highest population during the Laye period ruling over 400 cities, towns, and villages of various religions and movements. During this period only the Mongol Empire was larger. The dramatic increase in the empire's growth demanded a shift from the Manden Kurufaba's organization of three states with twelve dependencies. This model was scrapped by the time of Mansa Musa's hajj to Egypt, there were fourteen provinces (or, more accurately, tributary kingdoms).

Mali was still a sizeable state in the 15th century. The Venetian explorer Alvise Cadamosto and Portuguese traders confirmed that the peoples of the Gambia were still subject to the Mansa of Mali. Upon Leo Africanus's visit at the beginning of the 16th century, his descriptions of the territorial domains of Mali showed that it was still a kingdom of considerable area. However, from 1507 onwards neighboring states such as Diara, Great Fulo, and the Songhay Empire chipped away at the outer borders of Mali. In 1542, the Songhay invaded the capital city of Niani but were unsuccessful in conquering the empire. During the 17th century, the Mali empire faced incursions from the Bamana Empire. After unsuccessful attempts by Mansa Mama Maghan to conquer Bamana, in 1670 the Bamana sacked and burned Niani, and the Mali Empire rapidly disintegrated and ceased to exist, being replaced by independent chiefdoms. The Keita’s retreated to the town of Kangaba, where they became provincial chiefs.


Mali – A Gold Mine in the Desert

Today, Mali is known as one of the poorest countries on earth. Life expectancy and literacy rates are dangerously low. A violent rebellion by the ethnic Tauregs in the North of the country that is threatening to split the country in half has been one of the few things that brought Mali to the news lately. But life in Mali has not always been this negative and depressing. Once, Mali was the shining example of a successful Muslim state. It was the envy of people around the world. It truly was a gold mine in the desert.

Geography

The region known as Mali is located in the southern extremities of the Sahara Desert. Here there is a transitional region between the arid and barren deserts to the North and the rain forests along the coast to the south. This is known as the Sahel.

Map of Africa showing the trade routes that brought Islam to the region

What Mali lacks in fertile land, it more than made up for with valuable resources. Gold and salt mines have been the epicenter of Mali’s economy for hundreds of years. Trade routes extended north from Mali to the North African coast, where wealthy traders would pay high prices for the gold and salt to send to Europe and Southwest Asia. These trade routes made the Mandinka (the main ethnic group of West Africa) incredibly wealthy.

Islam and Early Mali

Goods were not the only thing traded through these routes. Ideas flowed from north to south. Muslim traders carried Islam with them along with the gold and salt. From the 700s onward, Islam slowly began to take root among the people of the West African Sahel. At first, the response of the non-Muslim states of West Africa was to suppress Islam or at least separate Muslims from the general population. However, as more and more people began to accept Islam, Muslim states started to emerge.

One Muslim state, Mali, was founded by an obscure figure called Sundiata Keita. The epic legend of his life has traveled down throughout the centuries as an oral story, and thus the truth of his story has been distorted over time (in one anecdote, he single-handedly uprooted a fully grown tree, and replanted it in his mother’s yard). What we do know is that he founded the Mali Empire and created a role for the emerging Muslim population of West Africa in the 1230s. He took the title of “Mansa”, the Mandinka word for king.

Mansa Musa and His Hajj

The tenth mansa of Mali was Musa I, who ruled from 1312 to 1377. He came to power when his brother, Mansa Abu Bakr, led an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean to discover the Americas, leaving Musa the throne. Much of what we know about Musa’s reign comes from the epic story of his Hajj, in 1324.

A depiction of Mansa Musa from a European atlas.

As a devout Muslim, Mansa Musa insisted on completing the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj to Makkah. The geographic remoteness of Mali made the journey very difficult and impossible for most people, even in today’s world of modern transportation. Nevertheless, in 1324 Musa set out from Mali with an entourage of 60,000 people.

Since his empire was one of the richest in the world, the caravan of travelers must have made quite an impression to everyone they passed. 12,000 servants accompanied him, each wearing valuable silks and carrying a 4 pound bar of gold. 80 camels carried between 50 and 300 pounds of gold dust each, which was given to the poor along the route. Exotic animals and people from all walks of life helped make this journey an epic one that left an impression on all who saw it. Numerous accounts from different regions all attest to the grandeur of this procession.

Mansa Musa made a stop in Egypt on his way to Makkah. While there, he initially refused to meet the Mamluk sultan of Egypt because the tradition was to bow to the sultan. Musa insisted he only bows down to Allah. He made quite an impression on the Mamluk government, as officials noted that he knew the Quran and was very particular about praying on time. Musa was clearly a very devout Muslim.

While in Egypt, Musa’s incredible amount of wealth led to some unintended consequences. He gave out gold gifts to members of the government, the poor, scholars, and many others. Due to the laws of supply and demand, the price of gold in Egypt plummeted, effectively crippling the economy. Even a decade later, during Ibn Battuta’s visit to Cairo, he noted that the economy still hadn’t completely recovered from Mansa Musa’s visit. The effect that Mansa Musa’s visit had on Egypt clearly shows the wealth and importance of the Mali Empire, even when it encountered far-off lands.

Return to Mali

On his way back to his homeland after the Hajj, Mansa Musa insisted on bringing the smartest and most talent Muslims to his kingdom. With his immense wealth, he paid scholars, artists, teachers, architects, and people from all professions to come to Mali and contribute to the growth of Islam there. Great people were brought to Mali from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, al-Andalus, and the Hejaz.

The Sankore Masjid and University in Timbuktu, showing the distinctive architectural style of Mali

The effect this had on Mali was immense. Architecturally, the buildings in Mali began to show a mix of Spanish, Arab, and Persian design. This unique blend of cultures created a distinctly West African style that is still seen in its architecture. The legendary city of Timbuktu was especially blessed by Mansa Musa’s Hajj, with many mosques such as the Sankore Masjid being built by the best architects in the world. Mansa Musa even paid the Andalusian architect Ibn Ishaq 200 kilograms of gold to build the Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu. Being able to pay for the best architects, scholars, and teachers made Mali, and Timbuktu in general a center of Islamic knowledge.

A Center of Knowledge

The most significant impact Musa’s Hajj had on Mali was its subsequent growth as a center of knowledge. With the best scholars from all over the Muslim world, Mali developed one of the richest educational traditions of the world at that time. Libraries were all over cities such as Gao and Timbuktu. Public and private collections had thousands of books on topics from Islamic fiqh, to astronomy, to language, to history. Great universities attracted talented students from all over Africa to come study in this center of knowledge.

This tradition of knowledge lasts until today in Mali. Families still hold on to private library collections that number in the hundreds of books, many of them hundreds of years old. The people of Mali are fiercely protective of their knowledge that has been passed down from the time of Mansa Musa, making it very difficult for outsiders to access these great libraries.

Manuscript from Timbuktu about astronomy and mathematics

These manuscripts today are threatened by the desertification of the Sahel, where the environment threatens to turn these great books into dust. Political problems in West Africa also threaten to destroy the remaining manuscripts. Efforts are underway to preserve these great libraries by digitizing them. The Timbuktu Educational Foundationis leading efforts to scan individual pages before they are lost to history. You can find (and read) many of these manuscripts online.

As Mali became a center of knowledge in West Africa, Islam ingrained itself deeply in the lives of it’s people. It was common for “everyday people” to be very well educated in religious and and secular matters. The effects of this knowledge on society is seen in Ibn Battuta’s trip to Mali in the 1350s, when he remarked that if a man wanted to have a seat in the masjid during the Friday prayer, he would have to send his son hours early to reserve a spot for him, as the masjids would be filled to the brim early in the morning.

Conclusions

The importance of Mali and its contributions to the world cannot be overstated. In it’s history, it was one of the centers of Islamic knowledge and wealth. It’s importance to the world decreased throughout the 16th-18th centuries until it was colonized by the French in the 1800s. This history is not lost forever, however. It lives on in the continuing experience of West Africa’s Muslims, and the legacy it left on the rest of the world.

Hamdun, Said, and Noel King. Ibn Battuta in Black Africa. 2nd ed. Bellew Publishing Co Ltd, 1975. Print.

Hill, M. (Jan, 209). The Spread of Islam in West Africa. Retrieved from http://spice.stanford.edu/docs/the_spread_of_islam_in_west_africa_containment_mixing_and_reform_from_the_eighth_to_the_twentieth_century/

Morgan, M. (2007). Lost History. Washington D.C. : National Geographic Society.

Quick, A. H. (2007). Deeper Roots. (3rd ed.). Cape Town: DPB Printers and Booksellers.


When did Mansa Musa go to Timbuktu?

See further detail related to it here. Thereof, what did Mansa Musa do to Timbuktu?

In Timbuktu, Mansa Musa made it a center of trade, culture, and Islam, which also helped increase the spread of Islam throughout Western Africa. Mansa Musa also helped to spread Islam.

Also, what major contributions did Mansa Musa make to the world? Mansa Musa was knowledgeable in Arabic and was described as a Muslim traditionalist. He became the first Muslim ruler in West Africa to make the nearly four thousand mile journey to Mecca. Preparing for the expedition took years and involved the work of artisans in numerous towns and cities across Mali.

Herein, where did Mansa Musa's money go?

Musa got his primarily through trading gold and salt, which were found in abundance in West Africa at the time. He also used the money to strengthen the country's cultural centers, particularly Timbuktu, which he annexed in 1324.

Why was Timbuktu important to early Africa?

Why was Mansa Musa's pilgrimage important?

Who was the richest man of all time?

How old was Mansa Musa when he died?

Musa I (c. 1280 &ndash c. 1337), or Mansa Musa, was the tenth Mansa, which translates to "sultan", "conqueror" or "emperor", of the wealthy West African Islamic Mali Empire.


10 Strange Facts About Mansa Musa: The Richest Man In History

Whenever rich rulers are mentioned, you are likely to hear the names of Cleopatra and Augustus Caesar, but none of them was as wealthy as Mansa Musa. In fact, with an estimated net worth of $400 billion when adjusted for inflation, Mansa Musa remains the richest man that has ever lived in known history. He was the ruler of the kingdom of Mali, then known as the centre of gold, for 25 years. He used his skills as a businessman to expand his kingdom to cover most of West Africa including Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, Mauritania, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Mali also advances in education and religion to become the place to be in 14th century Africa.