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The Mali Empire and Activity of Mansa Musa: Analytical Essay

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The government in Europe wasn’t stable in the fourteenth century. The government didn’t know how to handle the current situation and just went along with time and was practically improvised. The Roman Catholic Church had control of the European Government during the 14th century.The plague infected everyone, soon high-ranking church officials began contracting the plague, and as these people were supposed to be close to god, this weakened people’s faith in the Roman Catholic Church, leading to an unstable government. Since the plague was considered an act of God, the people began to pray and when the prayer did not work, the Europeans turned their backs on the church and also the government. Many government officials were infected with the plague, leading to a disordered government.

In this century the Black Plague affected the economy of Europe as a whole. At the time the economy of Europe was based on commerce and agriculture. People have decided to avoid areas where contact was made with others. Because of the fear of contracting this infectious disease, places that depended on trade later had economic problems, market places and trade areas were avoided. Places such as seaports were major hotspots for this disease since they came from different areas, these cities which contained seaports often had a large number of people infected which affected the economy because people were unable to work and merchants and traders were left with no merchandise due to the plague. The number of deaths started to increase because of the plague, which left many jobs to be undone. This affected the economy as nobody worked and it became difficult to get goods and grow goods. The prices for importing goods and even obtaining them locally started to rise enormously. All of these circumstances have caused inflation for the European economy.

In Europe, due to the Balck Plague, the social system changed. This plague had affected everyone no matter what social class they belonged to. During this century, Europe’s classification of society was based on a feudal system. When the plague began to hit Europeans began to die which left the number of workers to be scarce. The social class known as peasants had the upper hand because now they could offer themselves to work at whatever price they wanted. When one lord refused their conditions, the peasants would go and seek for work elsewhere, where their conditions could be met. Also, due to the plague there where more job opportunities and the peasants had gained more money than the social classes had practically been dissolved. When the Black Plague hit Europe, Christians began to blame Jews for this. Jews were blamed and accused of poisoning wells, which was the suspected reason why Jews were not being affected as much compared to everyone else. Later, Jews began to be persecuted and then they began to be massacred in April of 1348.

In the 14th century, the Ottoman empire began to expand. During this time the Ottoman Empire took advantage of the weakened frontier defense of the Byzantine Empire, this began under the rule of Osman and continued with his successors Orhan, Murad I in which they took control over Byzantine territories, starting with western Anatolia and then in southeastern Europe. In 1324, Orhan captured Bursa which provided the means to develop the administrative, economic, and military power in order to convert the principality into a real state and to establish an army. He began a military policy, which was later expanded by his successors, which involved the employment of Christian mercenary troops. Later, Orhan was able to take control of the remaining towns of the Byzantine Empire in northwestern Anatoliawhich were: Uskudar and Izmit. In 1345, Orhan took control of Karasi gaining control over the area in between the Gulf of Edremit and Kapidagi, later reaching the Sea Marmara. Orhan was then forced to end the monopoly in the city of Aydin, which provided mercenary troops to the Byzantine factions Thrace and Constantinople. When Aydin collapsed following the death of its ruler left the Ottomans to rule the ghazis alone against the Byzantines. The Ottomans began to raid parties that moved through Gallipoli into Thrace, which strengthened the power of the Ottoman Empire. Murad I son of Orhan’s was the first emperor of the Ottoman Empire to use Gallipoli as a place for conquests in Europe. The conquests extended to the north part of Thrace, which led to the capturing of Adrianople in 1362 the last city of the Byzantince Empire. Adrianople, later renamed Edirne, became the new capital of the Ottoman Empire which provided the Ottomans with a center of administrative and military control in Thrace. In 1363, Murad I moved through the Maritsa River valley and took control of Philippopolis.

The economy of the Ottoman Empire was based on different things. When Constantinople was conquered it not only became the political and military capital but because of its location and its connection to Europe, Africa, and Asia it allowed for trade. Also, another key city was Bursa, which was the center for silk trade. In these cities things like: silk and other cloths, porcelain, and spices.Ships often carried furs,grains, and amber from the Black Sea and south of Russia.They also placed taxes on almost every transaction that was made, the government required businesses to have a license. The Ottomans did not have much land to farm but the empire did have many rivers, and they would grow crops near these rivers. The Ottomans cultivated crops such as wheat, rye, and barley.

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In the 14th century, the Ottoman Empire practiced Devshirme which was that children were recruited from the Balkan Christian subjects. The Ottoman soldiers would take Christian boys from ages 8 to 20 in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. These Christian boys were then forced to convert to Islam, with a primary objective to selcet and train the best children for military service for the empire. The children were taught to read and write, and they were trained in Islamic sciences, warfare and bureaucratic administration, which led to become advisors for the sultan, and generals in the army. This practice started in the Ottoman Empire under the rule of Murad I, and was used as a means to counteract the power of the Turkish nobility. These boys were placed in schools funded by the government and the goal of this was to produce men who were of academic excellence, obedient, and who had high moral standings. These boys are actually slaves of the government, but it was considered an honor to be selected and to have their children admitted into the Devshirme. Some families even went as far as to volunteer their kids to be a part of this and they even smuggled their kids so that they could be part of this system because of the opportunities that were provided. This was considered a “blood tax” by Balkan Christian families, this system was used to keep the Balkans in place.

The Mali Empire was an empire in West Africa and was known for its wealth as well as for Mansa Musa. Mansa Musa was the first ruler of the Mali Empire to be a devoted Muslim. When Mansa Musa took control the Europeans were struggling because of civil wars and lack of resources. In the 14th century the Mali Empire grew due to the trade of gold and salt. The empire extended from a portion of West Africa to Timbuktu as well as parts of the Sahara desert, but it wasn’t until 1324 that places out of the borders of Mali would experience the riches of the empire. When cities were conquered by the empire, there were different people placed in the government. There were different positions at local levels, in order to keep some sort of balance,but there were also positions as governors, these people that held government positions in these provinces had to collect taxes as well as make sure that people did not disobey orders. Mansa Musa was a lenient ruler, even though he was a devoted Muslin he still tried to encourage people to adopt Islam.

The Mali Empire economy was predominantly based on trade tax, salt, and gold. Economically, the empire ruled by Mansa Musa had reached its peak in the beginning, but on his hajj to Mecca, Mansa Musa began giving gold to the poor people he met along the way. He traveled with sumptuous goods like Persian silk and gold. Besides going to Mecca, Mansa Musa also went to Cairo, which was then ruled by a sultan from Mamluk. Mansa Musa had flooded Cairo’s streets with so much gold that it led to both gold inflation and the Mali Empire bankruptcy. Another importance of the Mali Empire’s economy was salt. Salt was traded on the Sub-Saharan Trade Route and was often more precious than gold. Salt was a commodity due to the small deposits of minerals that occur naturally in West Africa. It was transported by camel caravans and later by boat along rivers such as Niger and Senegal, and found its way into places like Koumbi Saleh, Niani, and Timbuktu. Salt was later traded for various commodities such as ivory, copper, and iron, but the most frequent trade was salt for gold dust produced by mines in southern West Africa. The Sub-Saharan salt trade had been dominated by the Mali Empire when the Ghana Empire collapsed.

The Mali Empire had different ethnicities that included various cultural groups and religions.In the empire muslims had roles as advisors and counselors, even though the founder of the empire was no muslim himself the kings of the empire became muslim by 1300. One of the most famous Muslim kings was Mansa Musa. Mansa Musa attempted to make Islam a faith in which the people followed, but he did not insist that the people changed their religion. He had made Sankore an Islamic school, which allowed for the establishment of links with other places of Islamic learning, in which these places exchanged students and teachers. Mansa Musa even went as far as doing a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324. The Delhi Sultanate still ruled during this century. The Khalji Sultanate was still ruling before 1320 and its last ruler was Khusro Khan, who was Hindu and was forcibly converted to Islam and then served as a general in the army for the Delhi Sultanate. Together with Malik Kafur, Khan had served and led military campaigns on behalf of Alauddin Khalji to expand the Sultanate and get rid of non-Muslim Kingdoms. When Alauddin Khalji died in 1316, Khusro Khan succeeded in assassinating Alauddin Khalji’s son who left him in 1320 to assume the throne.Khusro Khan lacked the support of the dynasty’s nobles and aristocrats, after an aristocrat in Delhi invited Ghazi Malik to lead a coup to dethrone Khusro Khan. Malik launched an attack on Khuro Khan in 1320, and Ghazi Malik took power in 1320. When Ghazi Malik assumed power, he decided to rename himself Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, starting with the Tughlaq Dynasty. In 1321 and 1323, he sent a campaign to Warangal and defeated Pratap Rudra Deva II, adding the land to the Sultanate of Delhi.Later a war occurred in Bengal, then the Sultan attacked Bengal allowing him to take control of the state. Ghiyasuddin died in 1325 and his son Ulugh Juna Khan, renaming himself Muhammad ibn Tughlaq became the Sultan. He tried to get the ulama and sufis to follow after him when he became a sultan but he failed. When he failed to get the ulama on his side, he decided to make them equal to other citizens, to reduce the amount of power they had. To stabilize his authority, Muhammad ibn Tughlaq had wanted the Sufis on his side. He had tried to get the Sufis to join him but they refused to get involved with the government.They still refused to help him though he oppressed them so he got rid of them by dispersing them from northern Indian towns. Muhammed ordered a transfer of the capital from Delhi to Deogir in 1327, this transfer failed as an administrative measure but helped in cultural means. In 1329-1330 the Karajil expedition was an attempt to adjust a boundary dispute with the northern hill states which were dominated by China at the time, ended terribly, but then continued by an exchange of envoys between Delhi and China. The conquest of Nagarkot in the Himalayas in northwestern India was in order to establish Muhammad’s policy of secure frontiers. 1351 marked Muhammad ibn Tughlaqs last expedition in which he died at Sonda in Sindhi. After the death of Muhammad in 1351, Firuz Shah Tughlaq became Sultan.

Under the rule of Muhammad ibn Tughlaq there were man shifts so he decided to introduce coins into the economy. He introduced bronze coins that were valued the same as silver coins. Later, groups began to mould coins behind the government, therefore this did not become very effective and the coins started to lose original value. The economy of the Tughlaq Dynasty was primarily on the taxes that were being instituted in different areas. Taxes were raised in Doab from five percent to ten percent. During the rule of Alauddin Khalji, he reduced the price on stock for food,slaves, as well as other necessities at the time. The markets were also divided into four different types, one for grain, the second one for imported goods, another one for the slave and animal market, and the last one for the global market system.

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The Mali Empire and Activity of Mansa Musa: Analytical Essay. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 27, 2023, from
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