The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was a Songhai state located in western Africa. From the mid-15th to the late 16th century, Songhai was one of the largest Islamic empires in history. This empire bore the same name as its leading ethnic group, the Songhai. Its capital was the city of Gao, a Songhai state had existed since the 11th century. Its base of power was on the bend of the Niger River in present day Niger and Burkina Faso.
The Songhai state has existed in one form or another for over a thousand years, if one traces its rulers from the settlement of Gao to Songhai's vassal status under the Mali Empire to its continuation in Niger as the Dendi Kingdom.
Political geography is the field of human geography that is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures. Conventionally political geography adopts a three-scale structure for the purposes of analysis with the study of the state at the centre, above this is the study of international relations (or geopolitics), and below it is the study of localities. The primary concerns of the sub-discipline can be summarised as the inter-relationships between people, state, and territory.
"Political geography in essence builds a country economy" The origins of political geography lie in the origins of human geography itself and the early practitioners were concerned mainly with the military and political consequences of the relationships between physical geography, state territories, and state power. In particular there was a close association with regional geography, with its focus on the unique characteristics of regions, and environmental determinism with its emphasis on the influence of the physical environment on human activities. This association found expression in the work of the German geographer Friedrich Ratzel who, in 1897 in his book Politische Geographie, developed the concept of Lebensraum (living space) which explicitly linked the cultural growth of a nation with territorial expansion, and which was later used to provide academic legitimation for the imperialist expansion of the German Third Reich in the 1930s.
The 2nd millennium was the thousand-year period that commenced on January 1, 1001 and ended on December 31, 2000. It encompassed the High Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Early Modern Age, the age of colonialism, industrialization, the rise of nation states, and the 20th century with the impact of science, widespread education, and universal health care and vaccinations in many nations. The centuries of expanding large-scale warfare with high-tech weaponry (of the World Wars and nuclear bombs) were offset by growing peace movements from the United Nations, the Peace Corps, religious campaigns warning against violence, plus doctors and health workers crossing borders to treat injuries and disease and the return of the Olympics as contest without combat.
Scientists prevailed in explaining intellectual freedom; humans took their first steps on the Moon during the 20th century; and new technology was developed by governments, industry, and academia across the world, with education shared by many international conferences and journals. The development of movable type, radio, television, and the Internet spread information worldwide, within minutes, in audio, video, and print-image format to educate, entertain, and alert billions of people by the end of the 20th century.
West Africa, also called Western Africa and the West of Africa, is the westernmost region of the African continent. In the United Nations scheme of African regions, the region includes 16 countries and one overseas territory:
Sonni Ali, also known as Sunni Ali Ber or "Sunni Ali", was born Ali Kolon. He reigned from about 1464 to 1492. Sunni Ali was the first king of the Songhai Empire, located in west Africa and the 15th ruler of the Sonni dynasty. Under Sunni Ali's infantry and cavalry many cities were captured and then fortified, such as Timbuktu (captured in 1468) and Djenné (captured in 1475). Sonni conducted a repressive policy against the scholars of Timbuktu, especially those of the Sankore region who were associated with the Tuareg whom Ali expelled to gain control of the town.
He built a fleet to patrol the Niger river. During Sonni Ali's reign, Songhai surpassed the height of the Mali Empire, engulfing areas under the Mali Empire (and the Ghana Empire before it). His death, in late 1492, is a matter of conjecture. According to the Tarikh al-Sudan, Ali drowned while crossing the river Niger. Oral tradition believes he was killed by his sister's son, Askia Muhammad Ture. He was succeeded by his son, Sonni Baru, who was challenged by Askia because Baru failed to declare himself a Muslim. Askia succeed the throne. According to the Tarikh al-Sudan it is believed that this action caused Sonni Ali sister to shout out "Askia!"(forceful one), at the news of this take over.
Imperial banner carried with Musa I in 1325 hajj
The Sahelian kingdoms were a series of kingdoms or empires that were centered on the sahel, the area of grasslands south of the Sahara. The wealth of the states came from controlling the trade routes across the desert. Their power came from having large pack animals like camels and horses that were fast enough to keep a large empire under central control and were also useful in battle. All of these empires were also quite decentralized with member cities having a great deal of autonomy.
The Sahel states were limited from expanding south into the forest zone of the Ashanti and Yoruba as mounted warriors were all but useless in the forests and the horses and camels could not survive the heat and diseases of the region.