Lesson 4: Trekking to Timbuktu: Mansa Musa Takes a Trip (Student Version)

Mansa Musa, an ardent Muslim, was the first emperor of Mali to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. He certainly left a powerful impression among the people he encountered in Cairo, Mecca, and Medina, opening their eyes to the dignity of the Malian rulers as well as the great wealth of their empire. When he returned home, he brought with him a Muslim architect, al-Sahili, who introduced a new style of architecture to West Africa. The mosques built at this time would become centers of scholarship as well as worship.

You've heard about Mali's famous emperor, Mansa Musa, but you want to learn more about this fascinating figure. You've traveled by time machine to Timbuktu. It's the year 1324. You are disguised as a member of the royal court. There's a great deal of commotion today, because everyone is getting ready to accompany the emperor on his pilgrimage to Mecca. You'll go along, too. This is an invaluable opportunity to learn all about the great man first hand, with the added bonus of seeing some of the cities that lie beyond the eastern horizon.

Guiding Questions

Here are some of the questions you will seek to answer: How did Mansa Musa travel to Mecca?

What was he like? How was he received in Cairo?

What decisions did the ruler make about his own realm during and after his pilgrimage?

In what ways was Mali changed as a result of the pilgrimage?

Learning Objectives

After investigating the life and times of Mansa Musa, you'll be able to: Identify Mansa Musa and discuss his pilgrimage

Explain how he related to leaders in the East

Describe decisions he made about his homeland

Discuss changes brought about in Mali as a result of his pilgrimage