The Songhai Empire

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The Songhai Empire was born out of quarrelling within Mali that eventually led to the independence of Songhai began its journey to becoming a great kingdom of Africa. Soon after its formation, Songhai looked to expand its territory. Their most notable leader, Sonni Ali, revamped their army to prepare for this series of expansions. His army had 30,000 infantry and 10,000 horseman, making it the largest force in western Sudan. This allowed Sonni Ali to take control of Cities such as Jenne and Songhai. He also began molding an organized government and hierarchical society; large estates were owned by nobles who did most of the labor, the royal court controlled the army, and the hierarchy was based on a caste system. Sonni Ali continually proved…show more content…
It was positioned south of the Sahara along the Niger River in present-day Mali. At its greatest, it also covered what is now Niger and Nigeria. When the Empire was most active, it was spread over 1,000 miles of land from Niger to the Atlantic coast. The capital city, Gao, was on the Niger River in present-day Mali. The descendants of the Songhai people reside throughout present day Mali. Songhai (Songhay) people speak Songhay language, which is spoken by 3 million people across present-day Mali, Benin, and Niger. Like many languages, there are assorted dialects in various regions. Some are so dissimilar that they may be virtually unrecognizable when compared to one another. Furthermore, some Songhay people in these countries speak French, because these are French speaking…show more content…
Their structure influenced other societies in the following years, and acted as a model for how to control such a large empire. Most advancements in the Songhai Empire were under Sunni Ali (1464-1492), though countless major governmental reforms occurred once the ruler Muhammad Askia took over. He was known as Askai the Great, and was a devoted Muslim. His religion allowed him to gain support of certain leaders who respected Islam, and he unified many of the cultural and legal aspects of the Songhai Empire. Muhammad controlled the government from the capital city of Gao. Here, he acted as the head of the army and government. All final decisious with respect to law, appointments, treaties, etc. came back to him. However, he had a plethora of advisors and leaders under him to delegate work unto. The governmental system was bureaucratic in nature, allowing for a fluid operation of each section (military, agriculture, treasury, etc.). The empire continued to enlarge during Muhammed’s control. Therefore, he took measures to control this expanding empire. Lands were split into districts with respective cities. An appointed governor was responsible for controlling the soldiers of that city, and collecting taxes. This system of delegation and control was a model for other newer

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