Massina Empire

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Massina Empire

Fula jihad states map general c1830.png
The Fulani Jihad States of West Africa, c. 1830.
Capital Hamdullahi
Common languages Maasina Fulfulde, Bambara, Tamasheq
Government Jihad state
 1818 – 1845
Seku Amadu
 1845 – 1852
Amadu II
 1852 – 1862
Amadu III
Historical era Early modern period
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Bambara Empire
Blank.png Pashalik of Timbuktu
Toucouleur Empire Blank.png
Today part ofFlag of Mali.svg  Mali

The Massina Empire (Var.: Maasina or Macina: also: Dina of Massina, Sise Jihad state, and Caliphate of Hamdullahi) was an early nineteenth-century Fulbe Jihad state centered in the Inner Niger Delta area of what is now the Mopti and Ségou Regions of Mali. Its capital was at Hamdullahi.



The Fulas of the region had for centuries been the vassals of larger states, including the Mali Empire (13th-14th centuries), the Songhai Empire (15th century), the Moroccan pashas of Tomboctou (16th century), and the Bambara Empire at Ségou (17th century).

By the early 1800s, many of these larger states had declined in power and inspired by the recent Muslim uprisings of Usman dan Fodio in nearby Hausaland, preacher and social reformer Seku Amadu began efforts at increasing religious revivals in his homeland. Early struggle created the Massina leadership and in 1818 Seku Amadu led a jihad against the Bambara Empire in 1818. The empire expanded rapidly, taking Djenné in 1819 and establishing a new capital at Hamdullahi in 1820. [1] [2]

At the height of the Empire's power, a 10,000 man army was stationed in the city, and Seku Amadu ordered the construction of six hundred madrasas to further the spread of Islam. Alcohol, tobacco, music and dancing were banned in accordance with Islamic law, while a social welfare system provided for widows and orphans. A strict interpretation of Islamic injunctions against ostentation led Amadu to order the Great Mosque of Djenné to be abandoned, and all future mosques were ordered built with low ceilings and without decoration or minarets.

One of the most enduring accomplishments was a code regulating the use of the inland Niger delta region by Fula cattle herders and diverse farming communities.

In 1825, Seku Amadu conquered Timbuktu. He died in 1845, leaving control of the Massina Empire to his son, Amadu II, who was succeeded by his son Amadu III.

In 1862, Omar Tall of Toucouleur launched an attack on the Massina from his newly secured base at Ségou. After a series of bloody battles, he entered Hamdullahi on March 16, leveling it. Amadu III was captured and put to death. Though resistance briefly continued under Amadu III's brother Ba Lobbo, the destruction marked the effective end of the Massina Empire.[ citation needed ]

See also

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Ahmadu Tall Toucouleur ruler

Ahmadou Sekou Tall was a Toucouleur ruler of the Toucouleur Empire (1864–92) and (Faama) of Ségou from 1864 to 1884. Ahmadu Seku's father, El Hadj Umar Tall, conquered Ségou on March 10, 1861. Not long afterwards, he began his conquest of the Fula empire of Massina, leaving Ahmadu as the Almami of Ségou.

Seku Amadu was the Fulbe founder of the Massina Empire in the Inner Niger Delta, now the Mopti Region of Mali. He ruled as Almami from 1818 until his death in 1845, also taking the title Sise al-Masini.

Amadu II of Massina, also called Amadu Seku, was the second Almami, or ruler, of the theocratic Massina Empire or Diina of Hamdullahi in what is now Mali. He held this position from 1845 until his death in 1853. His rule was a short period of relative peace and prosperity between the violent reigns of his father and his son.

Amadu III of Masina, also known as Amadu Amadu was the third and last ruler of the theocratic Massina Empire in the Inner Niger Delta, now the Mopti Region of Mali. He was elected as successor to his father, Amadu II of Masina, in 1853. Throughout most of his rule he was involved in conflict with the jihadist al-Hajj 'Umar Tall, who defeated and executed him on 16 May 1862.

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Kunaari was an 18th-century kingdom in what is now central Mali. It merged into the Massina Empire in the early 19th century. Fatoma was the capital of Kunaari.

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  1. Fage, J.D. (1969). A History of West Africa: An Introductory Survey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 154–155.
  2. Johnson, Marion (1976). "The Economic Foundations of an Islamic Theocracy: The Rise of Masina". Journal of African History. 17 (4): 481–495. doi:10.1017/S0021853700015024.

Further reading