What are some basic facts about the Empire of Mali, Mansa Musa, and the Trans-Saharan Trade Route?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Trans-Saharan Trade Route existed to link trade between West Africa and some Mediterranean countries. It stretched from the 8th until the late 16th century and primarily involved the empire of Ghana, who began and nourished the trade route during its beginning, and the empire of Mali, who flourished with...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

The Trans-Saharan Trade Route existed to link trade between West Africa and some Mediterranean countries. It stretched from the 8th until the late 16th century and primarily involved the empire of Ghana, who began and nourished the trade route during its beginning, and the empire of Mali, who flourished with the demise of Ghana by controlling the trade route. They taxed almost all trade that passed through the west, which brought them unimaginable wealth.

Mansa (which just means "King") Musa ruled the empire of Mali beginning in 1312. He expanded the borders of his empire tremendously, and is still to date one of the richest people in all of human history thanks, in no small part, to the Trans-Saharan Trade Route. 

Musa was a devout Muslim. So, in 1324, he made the 4,000-mile pilgrimage to Mecca. Because he was so rich, Musa's caravan on his pilgrimage was huge. It contained an insane number of horses, wagons, and soldiers. When he passed through Cairo, he gave away such a large amount of money that it caused massive inflation.

Musa died in 1337. His son, who took over the empire after Musa's death, could not hold the vast Mali empire together. So it, like the Ghana empire before it, fell into demise. 

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team