King Mansa Musa, was the tenth Mansa of the Mali Empire, an Islamic West African state. He has been described as the wealthiest individual of the Middle Ages.
Mansa Musa (Musa I of Mali) was the ruler of the kingdom of Mali from 1312 C.E. to 1337 C.E. During his reign, Mali was one of the richest kingdoms of Africa, and Mansa Musa was among the richest individuals in the world. The ancient kingdom of Mali spread across parts of modern-day Mali, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso. Mansa Musa developed cities like Timbuktu and Gao into important cultural centers.
He also brought architects from the Middle East and across Africa to design new buildings for his cities. Mansa Musa turned the kingdom of Mali into a sophisticated centre of learning.
Menelik II became emperor of Ethiopia in 1889. After his army defeated Italian forces at the Battle of Adwa in 1896, Ethiopia's independence was recognized by Italy and other European countries that were colonizing Africa. During Menelik's reign, Ethiopia remained independent, thanks in part to his strategic alliances. Success in battle and Ethiopia's independence also made Menelik a powerful symbol for Black people worldwide.
Menelik's rule brought advances such as compulsory education, telephones and the telegraph to Ethiopia. He strengthened his kingdom through expansion and political and economic modernization.
Sundiata Keita was the founder of the Mali Empire and is popularly referred to as the Lion King. During his reign he established the territorial base of the empire and laid the foundations for its future prosperity and political unity. Known for their progressive values and wealth, Mali followed Ghana as the next great West African empire.
The Mali Empire, under Sundiata Keita, created one of the very first charters of human rights, the Manden Charter, also known as the Kouroukan Fouga. This is an oral, rather than written, charter, which has been passed down by generations of Malinke. The Manden Charter speaks about peace within a diverse nation, the abolition of slavery, education, and food security, among other things.
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