What Was Mali AP World History?

Mali was a prominent empire in West Africa that emerged in the 13th century. It was one of the most powerful and wealthy empires of its time, and it played a significant role in the region’s history.

Geography of Mali

Mali was located in West Africa, and it covered an area that is now occupied by modern-day Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, and parts of Burkina Faso. The empire was situated along the Niger River, which provided fertile land for agriculture and facilitated trade with other regions.

History of Mali

Mali emerged as an empire under the leadership of Sundiata Keita, who defeated the Sosso kingdom in 1235. Sundiata Keita is considered to be the founder of Mali, and he is revered as a hero in West African history. After his death, his successors expanded Mali’s territory through conquest and diplomacy.

One of Mali’s most famous rulers was Mansa Musa (1312-1337), who is known for his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324. Mansa Musa’s journey to Mecca brought Mali to the attention of the Islamic world, and it helped to establish trade relationships with other Muslim states.

Society and Culture

Mali was a diverse society that consisted of many different ethnic groups. The empire had a complex social hierarchy that included nobles, merchants, artisans, farmers, and slaves.

Islam played an important role in Mali’s culture and society. Many Malians converted to Islam during Mansa Musa’s reign, and Islamic scholars were highly respected.


Mali’s economy was based on agriculture and trade. The Niger River provided fertile land for farming, and Malians grew crops such as millet, sorghum, and rice. Mali was also a center of trade, and it exported gold, salt, and other goods to other parts of Africa and beyond.


Mali’s legacy can be seen in the region’s history, culture, and society. Many West African states were influenced by Mali’s political organization and social structure. Additionally, Mali’s history has inspired writers, musicians, and artists throughout the centuries.

In conclusion, Mali was a significant empire in West African history that played an important role in shaping the region’s culture and society. Its legacy continues to be felt today in many different ways.