Sundiata Keita


Sundiata Keita (aka Sunjaata or Sundjata, r. 1230-1255 CE) was the founder of the Mali Empire (1240-1645 CE) in West Africa. A prince of the Malinke tribe, Sundiata would not only overthrow the rule of the kingdom of Sosso (c. 1180-1235 CE), the biggest inheritor of the crumbling Ghana Empire (6th -13th century CE), but go on to conquer neighbouring kingdoms, establish stable government from his capital Niani, and make his empire the largest and richest yet seen in West Africa. Sundiata Keita, whose name means 'lion prince', was so fundamental to the creation of the Mali Empire and the history of the Malinke that ancient indigenous oral traditions have built him up into a great warrior and hunter-magician figure whose exploits ensured his descendants would reign over the region for centuries.

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