Kingdom of Mali- Alexia Dambach & Matt Brunkee

Introduction~ Mali was the largest country in west Africa ruled by rich and powerful kings. The vast majority of Malians were farmers, herders, and fishers, but cotton and peanuts were the Malians main cash crop. Trade was an essential part of the Mali kingdoms economy. Gold mining was a big part of the Malians economy and was also used as trade currency. There government was based on a constitution where an elected president would serve a five year term. Mansa Musa came in during their 1312 and expanded their kingdom northwards conquering many cities. During his 25 year reign he worked on creating peace and order in his empire.

Location~Most of Mali lies in West Africa near the Sahara, this provided a good economy because it was right by the most fertile area in Africa next to the Niger River, which allowed them have good crop production and build their economy even stronger. The Niger River allowed them to be able to transport goods and people by boat instead of land. The fertile lands along the Niger river gave them the advantage of not suffering from droughts nearly as much as other African societies were suffering during the droughts. The Mali kingdom was able to ship resources to other communities that were struggling during the long droughts making the Mali kingdom a more stable economy year round.

Religion~ In the Kingdom of Mali, there are a variety of ethnic groups that have diverse approaches to life. Most of them believe in the “spirits of the land,” who they thought brought prosperity to their crops and gardens. Just like many other historic kingdoms, the Mali people made a strong relationship with the spirit, and made worshiping him a habitual routine. As tradition started to fade, the spread of Islam came to Mali because of the Trans-Sahara trade. Many traders ended up not just trading goods, but also their religious knowledge and beliefs. Mali’s empire was founded by Sunjata who was at the time Muslim. It was traders who started to bring Islam over. The muslims began to start Islamic universities close to the major rivers such as the Niger river, the Djenne river, and the Bani river. As islam became more popular, people with strong political power began to convert. These powerful persons that began converting were Kings, chefs, traders, and members of the town. Today, Islam remains the dominant religion in Mali.

Art~ In the Kingdom of Mali, art was a very special way to express spiritual and physical life events. The most popular work of art in the Kingdom of Mali was Sculptures. Many royal artists were potters, weavers, or iron workers. The sculptures that were created, were made between eh thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. Some of the sculptures also represent soldiers wearing their military gear. The sculptures expressing the equipment help show evidence of their past lives. The art resembles a traditional culture to show how most of the societies ran. The materials that they used were straight from the earths surface, and molded into workable substances. The artwork was then formed into a replication of their culture or species. Art was one of the Kingdom of Mali's many ways to show their culture. The two Photos below are two of the most known and popular creations that show a warrior on his way to battle, and a warrior riding on one of his battle horses.