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Mūsā i is widely considered the wealthiest man in history. He made his wealth and also that the Mali known through a long and extravagant trip to Mecca in 1324, the 17th year the his reign as emperor the Mali. Mūsā’s rule defined the golden age of Mali.

Like two mansolu (rulers that Mali) before him, Mūsā I took on the hajj together an action of devotion in line with Islamic tradition. Furthermore, his hajj in 1324 was in some methods an plot of solidarity that verified his connection to other rulers and peoples transparent the Islamic world.

Mūsā I’s pilgrimage caravan to Mecca in 1324 consisted of some 60,000 people and also an immeasurable lot of gold. He quit in Cairo along the way, and his luxurious spending and also gift giving was so comprehensive that the diluted the worth of yellow by 10 to 25 percent and affected Cairo’s economy for at the very least 12 years afterward.

Upon his return in 1324, Mūsā I’s pious pilgrimage motivated him to commission two enormous mosques in Timbuktu and also Gao. He urged his subjects’ immersion in scholarship, the arts, and also the Qurʾān. He intended come abdicate the throne and also return come Mecca but died prior to he to be able to carry out so.

Mūsā I’s hajj left a lasting impression of Mali’s splendour on both the Islamic and European worlds. In Mali he supported trans-Saharan profession that additional increased the empire’s wealth. Under his reign, Mali conquered the neighbouring kingdom that Songhai. His spiritual devotion contributed to the spread of Islam throughout West Africa.

Mūsā i of Mali, Mūsā also spelled Musa or Mousa, likewise called Kankan Mūsā or Mansa Musa, (died 1332/37?), mansa (emperor) that the West African realm of Mali from 1307 (or 1312). Mansa Mūsā left a realm remarkable for that extent and also riches—he constructed the an excellent Mosque at Timbuktu—but he is finest remembered in the middle East and also Europe because that the splendour of his trip to Mecca (1324).

Pilgrimage come Mecca

Mansa Mūsā, one of two people the grandson or the grandnephew that Sundiata, the founder the his dynasty, concerned the throne in 1307. In the 17th year that his power (1324), he collection out ~ above his famous pilgrimage to Mecca. It to be this pilgrimage that awakened the world to the stupendous wealth of Mali. Cairo and also Mecca got this imperial personage, whose glittering procession, in the superlatives employed by Arab chroniclers, practically put Africa’s sunlight to shame. Traveling from his capital of Niani ~ above the top Niger flow to Walata (Oualâta, Mauritania) and also on to Tuat (now in Algeria) before making his method to Cairo, Mansa Mūsā to be accompanied by an superior caravan consists of 60,000 men consisting of a personal retinue that 12,000 enslaved persons, all clad in brocade and also Persian silk. The emperor self rode on horseback and also was directly preceded by 500 enslaved persons, each moving a gold-adorned staff. In addition, Mansa Mūsā had a baggage train that 80 camels, each transporting 300 pounds that gold.

Mansa Mūsā’s prodigious generosity and also piety, as well as the fine clothes and also exemplary behaviour of his followers, did not fail to create a most-favourable impression. The Cairo that Mansa Mūsā visited was rule by one of the greatest of the Mamlūk sultans, Al-Malik al-Nāṣir. The black emperor’s great civility notwithstanding, the meeting between the two rulers could have finished in a significant diplomatic incident, for so absorbed was Mansa Mūsā in his spiritual observances the he was just with challenge persuaded to salary a formal visit to the sultan. The chronicler al-ʿUmarī, who went to Cairo 12 years after the emperor’s visit, found the citizens of this city, v a populace estimated at one million, still to sing the praises of Mansa Mūsā. For this reason lavish to be the emperor in his spending that he submarine the Cairo market with gold, thereby causing such a decrease in its worth that the market some 12 years later had still not fully recovered.

Rulers the West african states had actually made pilgrimages come Mecca prior to Mansa Mūsā, but the effect of his flamboyant journey was come advertise both Mali and also Mansa Mūsā well past the african continent and to wake up a desire among the Muslim kingdoms of north Africa, and amongst many that European nations as well, to reach the source of this tremendous wealth.

Conquest of Songhai kingdom

Mansa Mūsā, whose empire was among the biggest in the civilization at that time, is reported to have observed the it would certainly take a year to take trip from one finish of his realm to the other. If this was probably an exaggeration, the is known that throughout his trip to Mecca one of his generals, Sagmandia (Sagaman-dir), expanded the empire by catching the Songhai capital of Gao. The Songhai kingdom measure up several thousands of miles across, so that the occupation meant the acquisition of a vast territory. The 14th-century traveller Ibn Baṭṭūṭah detailed that it took around four months to take trip from the northern boundaries of the Mali empire to Niani in the south.

The emperor was so overjoyed through the new acquisition the he determined to delay his go back to Niani and to visit Gao instead, there to obtain the personal submission the the Songhai king and take the king’s 2 sons as hostages. In ~ both Gao and also Timbuktu, a Songhai city virtually rivalling Gao in importance, Mansa Mūsā i was delegated Abū Isḥāq al-Sāḥilī, a Granada poet and architect who had actually travelled v him from Mecca, to construct mosques. The Gao mosque was developed of charred bricks, which had actually not, till then, been offered as a product for structure in West Africa.


Timbuktu, Mali: good Mosque
Great Mosque, developed by Emperor Mūsā i of Mali in 1327, Timbuktu, Mali.

Under Mansa Mūsā, Timbuktu prospered to be a really important advertising city having caravan relationships with Egypt and also with every other important trade centres in phibìc Africa. Next by side through the encouragement of trade and also commerce, learning and also the arts received royal patronage. Scholars who were mainly interested in history, Qurʾānic theology, and law to be to do the mosque that Sankore in Timbuktu a to teach centre and also to put the structures of the university of Sankore. Mansa Mūsā probably passed away in 1332.

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The organization and smooth administration of a completely African empire, the founding of the university of Sankore, the development of trade in Timbuktu, the architectural advancements in Gao, Timbuktu, and Niani and, indeed, throughout the whole of Mali and in the subsequent Songhai realm are all testimony to Mansa Mūsā’s superior administrative gifts. In addition, the moral and spiritual principles he had actually taught his subjects sustained after his death.