Koumbi Saleh

What is Koumbi Saleh known for?


title site

This has led some historian to doubt the identification of Koumbi Saleh as the capital of Ghana. World Heritage Status The archaeological site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on June 14, 2001 in the Cultural category.


local stone

that nowadays rises to about 15 m above the surrounding plain. The hill would have originally been lower as part of the present height is a result of the accumulated ruins. From the quantity of debris it is likely that some of the buildings had more than one storey.


open site

The rooms were quite narrow, probably due to the absence of large trees to provide long rafters to support the ceilings. existed from before c. 830 until c. 1235 in what is now south-east Mauritania and western Mali. The Sosso people took its capital Koumbi Saleh but at the Battle of Kirina (c. 1240) Sundiata Keita's alliance defeated the Sosso and began the Mali Empire, which spread its influence along the Niger River through numerous vassal kingdoms and provinces. The Gao Empire at the eastern Niger bend was powerful in the ninth century CE but later subordinated to Mali until its decline. In 1340 the Songhai people made Gao the capital of a new Songhai Empire. Haskins, page 46


sweet water

that he met in his native Spain: The city of Ghāna consists of two towns situated on a plain. One of these towns, which is inhabited by Muslims, is large and possesses twelve mosques, in one of which they assemble for Friday prayer. ... In the environs are wells with sweet water, from which they drink and with which they grow vegetables. The king's town is six miles distant from this one and bears the name of Al-Ghāba. Between these two towns are continuous habitations. The houses


detailed

516 The earliest reference to Ghana as a town is by al-Khuwarizmi (Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī) who died in around 846 AD. Two centuries later a detailed description of the town is provided by al-Bakri in his ''Book of Routes and Realms (Book of Roads and Kingdoms (al-Bakrī))'' which he completed in around 1068. Al-Bakri never visited the region but obtained his information from earlier writers and from informants

of the International African Institute volume 24 issue 3 pages 200–213 jstor 1156424 . * . Includes a detailed plan of the archaeological site as Figure 95 on page 480. *


stone building

. It measured approximately 46 m east to west and 23 m north to south. The western end was probably open to the sky. The mihrab faced due east. There were two large cemeteries outside


482

The rooms were quite narrow, probably due to the absence of large trees to provide long rafters to support the ceilings. The main mosque was centrally placed on the avenue

the town suggesting that the site was occupied over an extended period. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal fragments from a house near the mosque have given dates that range between the late 9th and the 14th centuries. Mauny himself acknowledged

that this is an enormous population for a town in the Sahara with a very limited supply of water ("Chiffre énorme pour une ville saharienne"). The archaeological evidence suggests that Koumbi Saleh was a Muslim town with a strong Maghreb connection. No inscription has been found to unambiguously link the ruins with the Muslim capital of Ghana described by al-Bakri. Moreover, the ruins of the king's town of Al-Ghaba have not been found.


title ancient

title Review of: Recherches Archéologiques sur la Capitale de l'Empire de Ghana by Sophie Berthier journal African Archaeological Review volume 16 issue 1 pages 83–85 jstor 25115527 . * existed from before c. 830 until c. 1235 in what is now south-east Mauritania and western Mali. The Sosso people took its capital Koumbi Saleh but at the Battle of Kirina (c. 1240) Sundiata Keita's alliance defeated the Sosso and began the Mali Empire, which spread its influence along the Niger River through numerous vassal kingdoms and provinces. The Gao Empire at the eastern Niger bend was powerful in the ninth century CE but later subordinated to Mali until its decline. In 1340 the Songhai people made Gao the capital of a new Songhai Empire. Haskins, page 46


sweet water

that he met in his native Spain: The city of Ghāna consists of two towns situated on a plain. One of these towns, which is inhabited by Muslims, is large and possesses twelve mosques, in one of which they assemble for Friday prayer. ... In the environs are wells with sweet water, from which they drink and with which they grow vegetables. The king's town is six miles distant from this one and bears the name of Al-Ghāba. Between these two towns are continuous habitations. The houses


water quot

existed from before c. 830 until c. 1235 in what is now south-east Mauritania and western Mali. The Sosso people took its capital Koumbi Saleh but at the Battle of Kirina (c. 1240) Sundiata Keita's alliance defeated the Sosso and began the Mali Empire, which spread its influence along the Niger River through numerous vassal kingdoms and provinces. The Gao Empire at the eastern Niger bend was powerful in the ninth century CE but later subordinated to Mali until its decline. In 1340 the Songhai people made Gao the capital of a new Songhai Empire. Haskins, page 46

Koumbi Saleh

'''Koumbi Saleh''', sometimes '''Kumbi Saleh''' is the site of a ruined medieval town in south east Mauritania that may have been the capital of the Ghana Empire.

From the ninth century, Arab authors mention the Ghana Empire in connection with the trans-Saharan gold trade (Trans-saharan trade). Al-Bakri who wrote in eleventh century described the capital of Ghana as consisting of two towns 6 miles apart, one inhabited by Muslim merchants and the other by the king of Ghana. The discovery in 1913 of a 17th-century African chronicle that gave the name of the capital as Koumbi led French archaeologists to the ruins at Koumbi Saleh. Excavations at the site have revealed the ruins of a large Muslim town with houses built of stone and a congregational mosque but no inscription to unambiguously identify the site as that of capital of Ghana. Ruins of the king's town described by al-Bakri have not been found. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the site was occupied between the late 9th and the 14th centuries.

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