West African Events (Ethan Tocco and Filip Janevski)


Mediterranean Basin Caravans

500 BC

Caravans plied the deserts of North Africa and linked early peoples to the Mediterranean basin.

Camels introduced to the Sahara

Approx. 1 AD - Approx. 400 AD

Camels were introduced into the Sahara between the 1st and 5th centuries AD. These animals had greatly improved the possibilities of trade, but they could not live in the humid forest zones because of disease.


Rise of Mali

1200 AD

Mansa Sundiata Dies

Approx. 1260 AD

Mali at it's Height

1300 AD

Kanem Empire is a rival

Rule of Mansa Musa

1307 AD - 1332 AD

Mansa Musa Pilgrimage

1324 AD

Mansa Musa's pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324 brought the attention of the Muslim world to Mali. Mali's contact with the outer world brought change and innovation.


Rise of Ghana

Approx. 200 AD

Founded probably in the 3rd century AD, Ghana rose to power by taxing the salt and gold exchanged within its borders.

Ghana Rulers convert to Islam

Approx. 900 AD

By the 10th century, Ghana's rulers had converted to Islam, and Ghana was nearing the height of its power.

Ghana at it's Height

1000 AD

Ghana reaches the height of its power.

Almoravid Invasions

1076 AD

Almoravid armies invaded Ghana from North Africa. Ghana survived, but lost much power.

Competition Among Other States

1200 - 1250

During the early 13th century, new states had risen in the savanna to take Ghana's place of leadership.

Songhay Empire

Life in the Songhay Empire followed many of the patterns established in the previous savanna states. The fusion of Islamic and pagan population and traditions continued.

Songhay Independence

Approx. 1370 AD

Dominated by Mali for a while, by the 1370s Songhay had established its independence again and began to thrive as new sources of gold from the west African forests began to pass through its territory.

Rise of Songhay Empire

1435 AD

As the power of Mali began to wane, a successor state from within the old empire, Songhay, was already beginning to emerge.

Rule of Sunni Ali

1464 AD - 1492 AD

Under a dynamic leader, Sunni Ali, the empire of Songhay was forged. Sunnia Ali was a great tactical commander and a ruthless leader. His cavalry expanded the borders and seized the traditional trading cities of Timbuktu and Jenne. The middle Niger valley fell under his control, and he developed a system of provincial administration to mobilize recruits for the army and rule the far-flung conquests.

Songhay Empire Defeated

1591 AD

In 1591, a Muslim army from Morocco crossed the Sahara and defeated the vastly larger forces of Songhay