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Mansā Mūsā and Global Mali

Mansā Mūsā and Global Mali

Chapter:
(p.92) Chapter Six Mansā Mūsā and Global Mali
Source:
African Dominion
Author(s):
Michael A. Gomez
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691196824.003.0007

This chapter describes Mali's most legendary figure: Mansā Mūsā. A remarkable period of stability and expansion ensued under Mansā Mūsā, resulting in a West Africa at its pinnacle. Mūsā would embrace Islam emphatically, breaking with predecessors by building mosques in key cities, laying the foundation for Mali's reputation as a Muslim land. Islam would soon become a principal cultural signifier, articulating a realm of growing ethnic diversity while compensating for an imperial presence guided by a minimalist theory of governance. For all of Mūsā's accomplishments, however, he would never fully escape rumors of matricide and intrigue. But in paying close attention to what the sources say, it is as critical to note what they do not say, which leads to the stunning realization that the very zenith of the Malian moment is essentially disregarded in the oral traditions.

Keywords:   Mali, Mansā Mūsā, West Africa, Islam, Muslim land, mosques, ethnic diversity

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