Historical Personalities & Issues

Compiled & Edited by Phillip True, Jr.

Chapter Fifteen


Mohammed Ben Abu Bekr, the favored general of Sunni Ali, believed that he was entitled to the throne after Sunni Ali's death, rather than Ali's son, Abu Kebr.

Claiming that the power was his by right of achievement, Mohammed attacked the new ruler a year later and defeated him in one of the bloodiest battles in history. When one of Sunni Ali's daughters heard the news, she cried out "Askia," which means "forceful one." This title was taken by Mohammed as his new name.

Askia began by consolidating his vast empire and establishing harmony among the conflicting religions and political elements. Under the leadership of Askia, the Songhay Empire flourished until it became one of the richest empires of that period. Timbuctoo became known as "The Center of Learning," "The Mecca of the Sudan," and "The Queen of the Sudan."

With his empire firmly established, Askia resumed his attack on the unbelievers, carrying the rule of Islam into new lands. Askia the Great, made Timbuctoo one of the world's greatest centers of commerce and learning. The brilliance of the city was such, that it still shines in the imagination after three centuries like a star, though dead, continues to send its light.

Such was the splendor, that in spite of its many misfortunes after the death of Askia The Great, the vitality of Timbuctoo lives!

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