Tiramakhan Traore

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Tiramakhan Traore (variations : Tiramakhan Traoré or Tirimakhan Trawally) was a 13th-century general in the Mali Empire who served under Sundiata Keita. Traore expanded the power of Mali westward and set up the Kabu Empire. [1] [2] In his conquest of the region, he is reported to have defeated the Bainuk king Kikikor and annexed his state. [3] [4] The Guelowar royal family, including the royal family of Kaabu prior to their defeat at the Battle of Kansala, claimed descent from Tiramakhan Traore. [2]



Traore is said to be the son of a mighty hunter, Daamansa Wulading, who defeated a cannibal witch. This may be a legendary reflection of the way in which the extension of Mali sovereignty in the region overcame disorder caused by endemic raiding and a changing climate. [5]

Conquest of Senegambia

Oral histories hold that around 1235CE Sundiata Keita sent an expedition to the Jolof Empire to buy horses, but all their members were killed except one who was sent back to Mali with an insulting message. Traore had already been planning to move west into the sparsely inhabited but fertile lands ruled by the Bainuk people, so Sundiata sent him to avenge this insult. [6] He led a group of 75,000 people, including 40,000 free men and woman as well as 35,000 slaves and numerous artisans, west from the traditional Manding lands. Sundiata also sent his son Mansa Wali with Traore to learn from him and as a sign of trust. The column moved slowly, taking a year to reach Wuli in what is now the eastern end of The Gambia, growing crops along the way. [4] :20

Traore defeated and killed the Jolof buurba in a battle on the north bank of the Gambia river. He crossed the river at what is now Basse Santa Su, [6] establishing the village of Kabakama there. He then fought the Bainuk in what is today the region of Sedhiou in Senegal. [7] :92–3

A few years later, Traore marched on Mampatim  [ fr ] and defeated Kikikor, the king of the Bainuk. [4] :22 He founded many new Mandinka towns, and ultimately died in Mampatim or perhaps Basse and was buried in Basse. [7] :94 A tree survived into the 19th century that supposedly marked Tiramakhan Traore's tomb. [4] :26

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  1. Clark, Andrew F., Historical Dictionary of Senegal, p. 172
  2. 1 2 Oliver, Roland, "The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 3", p 456, Cambridge University Press (1977), ISBN   0521209811 (Retrieved : 21 August 2012)
  3. Ngom, Biram: "La question Gelwaar et l’histoire du Siin", Dakar, Université de Dakar, 1987
  4. 1 2 3 4 Djibril Tamsir Niane, "Histoire des Mandingues de l'Ouest: le royaume du Gabou", p 22
  5. Green, Toby (2020). A Fistful of Shells. UK: Penguin Books. p. 75.
  6. 1 2 Galloway, Winifred (1975). A History of Wuli from the Thirteenth to the Nineteenth Century (History PhD). University of Indiana. p. 50-51.
  7. 1 2 WESTERN AFRICA TO c1860 A.D. A PROVISIONAL HISTORICAL SCHEMA BASED ON CLIMATE PERIODS by George E. Brooks, Indiana University African Studies Program, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, August, 1985.

Further reading