Africa paper - Kevin Heater West African History History...

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Kevin Heater West African History History 508:322:01 The Ancient Empire of Mali was a very rich and powerful state. The ruler commanded a large standing army and claimed every gold nugget that was mined. Even with all their power though the monarchs of Mali still faced many challenges in regards to state building. In particular the first Mansa, a Malinke tribesman named Sundjata, faced many challenges including establishing legitimacy for the state of Mali and himself as its ruler, the problem of maintaining the security of the state, the problems associated with the geography of the empire, and challenges in how the empire should be administered. Sundjata was a very successful ruler; he excelled at facing the challenges associated with beginning an empire this fact is evident in the longevity of Mali. Sundjata’s first challenge in the process of state making was actually making the state. As the first Mansa of Mali when Sundjata was born there was no such thing as Mali. The dominant state at the time was the Kingdom of Sasso a newly independent state that broke away from Ghana. Sosso was lead by a man named Sumaguru. The Sosso nation thrived on raiding their neighbors, neighbors that included the Malinke tribes; one of which Sundjata was a part of. Ironically it was in response to the raids of the Sosso that Sundjata found his opportunity to begin his rise to power.
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