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unmerged(63836)

Field Marshal
Dec 25, 2006
2.590
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Hello.

I`ve decided to write quick AAR after having interesting game as Mali empire. Game starts at 1399, and I`m using MMP2 v.1.15 mod. Style will be similar to my 'History of the W.E.' AAR, (which is on hold). I`ll try to resist European colonialism, survive and modernise.




new_logo.gif

Chapter I - History of Mali until year 1390



Pre imperial period

Mali existed as several small kingdoms long before later unification, in the region known as Manden, south of Soninke Empire of Wagadou. Known also as Ghana Empire, it reached peak of it`s power and domination in Western Africa during 11th century. Eventually, it subjugated most of Mandinke kingdoms, that became it`s tributaries. During second half of 11th century, Empire fell victim to Almoravids invading from the north, who wanted to seize control over lucrative trans-Saharan trade routes, and spread influence of Islam to the south. Even though Berber invaders were successful on the field of battle, they couldn`t hold newly acquired territories, and after 14 years they were driven off from the region by weakened Soninke. However, Wagadou Empire never regained former power, and most of their provinces splintered into many independent kingdoms. Same thing happened in Manden, that was divided into 12 petty kingdoms.

In 1140, former subjects of Wagadou, Sosso tribes, decided to fill void created after it`s decline. Newly established Kaniaga kingdom began brutal conquest of teritorries held by their former overlords, eventually subjugating Soninke people themselves, in year 1180. 12 Malinke city-states also came under rule of Sosso.

Around year 1234, continuously oppressive rule of Kaniaga triggered rebellion in it`s dependent territories. Leadership over rebel army was given to young Sundiata Keita, maghan (prince) of Niani, one of the city-states of Mali. Thanks to initial successes he managed to unite all Mandinke city-states under one banner, as well as Wagadou and Mema state. After victorious battle of Kirina, in 1235, power of Sosso was completely broken, and 18 years old Sundiata was proclaimed first Mansa (Emperor) of Mali, later known as Mari Djata I.



Manden Kurufa.


Mari Djata became a ruler of federation of 12 Mandinke city-states, called Manden Kurufa. Wagadou and Mema kingdoms became vassal states, that retained some degree of autonomy, but over following decades they were gradually absorbed. Foundation of new Empire was Kourkan Fouga - constitution, that regulated laws and responsibilities of citizens, as well as government mechanisms. It also established Gbara - great assembly that consisted of representatives from major clans and castes. Niani became capital of the new country.

Mari Djata and his descendants conquered many neighbouring lands, and at the beginning of 14th century Mali stretched from Atlantic in the west, to Songhai lands in the east. Even though power of Mansas` was relatively weak, and provinces elected their own Dyamani-tiguis (governors), Empire was at the peak of it`s power. Taxation of trans-Saharan trade, and abundance of gold deposits, turned Mali into one of the richest African states of that period. Extensive mining and trade of gold, was carefully regulated by governmental administration - to prevent it`s depreciation. Empire maintained semi-professional army of several tens of thousands infantry, and cavalry.



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Mansa Musa

One of the most famous rulers of that period was Mansa Musa. He was one of the first truly devout Muslim on throne of Mali. In year 1324 he peacefully annexed city of Timbuktu, known for it`s scholarship. It soon became important religious, cultural, and commercial centre of West Africa. But one of the most impressive feats of Musa was his pilgrimage to Mecca, due to which Mali became widely known outside Africa. Travelling with huge, and extravagant procession, as well as enormous load of gold, he didn`t hesitate to give it to every encountered ruler or city. Due to sudden influx of large amount of gold, value of that metal decreased throughout whole Middle East for several years.

During reigns of his successors, golden age of Mali was about to end. Because of bad economical decision, several rebellions and palace coups, power and authority of each successive Mansa was diminishing, and that of regional oligarchs increased. In year 1375 rulers of Songhai rebelled successfully, becoming increasingly bigger threat for Mali in following years.



MALIMAPA3.gif

Countries of North-Western Africa in year 1390





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nsahn

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Your selection of graphics is very well done in my book.
As for the map, it is the best EU3 map I have ever seen! (this is not to say that I didn't read your introduction)

Will be following.
 

unmerged(90806)

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impressive!
i wonder how's this going to develop: conquest, colonisation, tech rush + modernisation, religious unity (or tolerance? -if i remember Mali is muslim with most its provinces pagan) -?!- i'll surely folow

but as you start from 1399 you'll pretty save from the Potuguese, they never get the Navigador :)
 

Milites

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If I'm seriously to be considered King of Graphics, Duke of Photoshop and Count of Pics then I elect thrashing to be the Holy Roman Emperor of Photoshop and all graphical territories of AARland.

But seriously mate... you've outdone yourself. Damn good stuff
 

merrick

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Impressive start to the AAR - great graphics and lots of history. You've clearly put a lot of work into it.
Looking forward to seeeing what the Magna Mundi team have done to Africa.
 

Vesimir

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:eek::eek::eek:

I love you.

No, but seriously, It's fantastic to see you're alive and having another AAR of yours to read is great.
 

Hannibal X

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Now lets see those maps in Malinese XD.

Great concept, by the way. Good writing, man.

And to respond to Milites; He is Emperor of Maps, Archduke of Monarch Status Cards! Your Kingship can become Imperial as well; if you 2 had graphical collaboration, then it'd be too glorious to imagine.
 

sprites

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nice map :) i'll see that :D
 

unmerged(63836)

Field Marshal
Dec 25, 2006
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asd21593, nsahn, Beamed, NACBEAST, merrick, Vesimir, Hannibal X, blsteen, aldriq, sprites, ubik - Thank you :)

Iamwinterborn - Thanks. I`ve made map in photoshop. :)

gabor - Yeah, there are many ways - I don`t have any plan, and I`ll most likely just react to situation at hand, roleplaying each monarch a little bit.

Milites
- Nah, I`m nowhere near you - but thanks :)

Duke of Wellington - Thanks, certain 'Kanem Bornu' AAR was among inspirations to choose an African country. :)

Babington-Smyth - I would love to, though if I do that I would be hit by some nasty penalties for huge size/primitive govenment combo. ;)


Here`s next update - still just introduction, but it describes my starting in-game situation (ideas,sliders,modificators etc.).
 

unmerged(63836)

Field Marshal
Dec 25, 2006
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new_logo.gif

Chapter II - Internal situation of Mali till the end of 14th century.





Government

At the peak of its power, Mali was bigger than any other medieval, sub-Saharan empire before. It was possible due to highly decentralised nature of its government. At the lowest administrative level, villages and towns were free to choose their governors, who ruled independently from capital of Niani. Only powerful oligarchs on provincial level, known as 'Dyami-tiguis' (province-masters), were somewhat dependent of Mansa. According to local custom, they received their title by election or inheritance, but each candidate had to be accepted by the emperor. In case of rebellion, or conquest of new territories, Mansa could appoint his own governor-general known as 'farba' - very prestigious title. Despite illusion of ballance of power between emperor and oligarchs, aristocracy was gradually becoming more and more independent. On the other hand, Mansa had highly efficient, if small, bureaucratic apparatus at his disposal. It was invaluable help in effective rule, implementation of new laws, or acquiring taxes, and in hands of skilled emperor it could help to tip the scales in his favour.


MALIMAPA2.gif

Provincional division of the Empire, showing it`s placements on savannah between Sahara desert, and southern jungles. Biggest cities - Timbuktu, Jenne and capital Niani (Wasuju province), are also indicated.

Society


Citizens of the empire were still living according to old, tribal ways. Each clan had it`s own traditional role, and most people didn`t travel outside their villages for their whole lives. Such anachronistic societal structure allowed stable rule over lower classes, but also seriously handicapped productivity and development of Mali. Slaves ('jonow') were a significantly large group, but they had some rights guaranteed by law, and under some circumstances most talented of them had opened way to social advancement - becoming government officials or military commanders. Mandé people were in dominant majority throughout the empire, with only exception of coastal, western provinces inhabited by Wolof.


religions_1400.gif

Religions in West Africa during late 14th century

Science and Religion

Despite being officially Muslim state, Islam was religion of less than one in twenty of its citizens. Most of them lived in the city of Timbuktu - famous centre of religion, scholarship, and trade. Everywhere else Muslims were tiny minority, consisting of upper aristocracy or state officials - vast majority was faithful to old tribal beliefs. Traditionally, Mansas never forced religion upon their subjects, and sparse conversions were almost always voluntary. Despite this rather tolerant policy, emperors supported clergy, financing their theological and scientific activities, and providing necessary infrastructure. However, empire was still relatively isolated from the world outside Sahara desert, and not counting few visits of Moroccan traders, news and ideas from quickly developing Europe almost never reached Mali.


timbuktu.gif

Famous Sankore mosque in Timbuktu

Economy

Main source of income for the empire was gold, extracted in large quantities from abundant mines of Bambuk and Bure provinces. Gold-trade was carefully supervised by state bureaucrats, but small growth of inflation was often inevitable. Second source were tolls, and taxation of trade in Timbuktu. This growing centre of commerce attracted merchants from whole west Africa, as well as occasional Berber traders from the north. Taxes were collected highly ineffectively, due to large size of the empire, corruption, and obstruction by oligarchs. Because of small number of large cities, as well as non-existent middle class, native craftsmanship was highly undeveloped, and didn`t provide any serious income.


mansa_zloto.gif

Malinke Mansa depicted holding golden nugget, from 14th century Iberian map.

Army

Mali Empire maintained semi-professional army. Its core consisted of infantry, which was divided to free-men levy, and slave troops ('sofa') which were armed and maintained by state. Mansas also kept force of Malian knights in their court, which served as guard heavy cavalry, and from which most skilled generals were recruited. Because of high prices, and difficulties in maintaining horses in climate south of Sahara, cavalry rarely exceeded 1/10th size of whole army.


wojsko.gif

'Sofa' spearmen, and their commander.

Primary weapon of infantry was small african bow. To compensate small power and range, Malinke warriors used poisoned arrows. For each two archers, there was one warrior armed with spear and long, hide-covered shield. Mansas` guard was equipped in much better way - metal shields, helmets, and chain-mail provided excellent protection, while lances, swords and sabres - excellent charge and attack. Only small part of this equipment was home produced - most of it was imported from the north at huge price.





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