The Mali Empire was a West African dynasty that existed from 1230 to 1670, renowned for its wealth and power. It was founded by the Mandinka chief Sundiata Keita, who overthrew the Sosso Empire and established a new empire centered around the city of Niani. Mali reached its height under Mansa Musa I of Mali (r. 1312-37), who conquered 24 cities and their surrounding districts and made the pilgrimage to Mecca with his golden riches; he doubled the size of the empire during his reign. The empire was the largest to rule over West Africa, surpassing the size of the Ghana Empire, and the Mali Empire's laws, language, customs, and culture survived the fall of the Mali Empire in 1670. In 1670, following decades of incursions by Mali's neighbors, the Bamana Empire sacked and burned the Mali capital of Niani, and the Mali Empire disintegrated into several independent chiefdoms. The Songhai Empire filled the void created by Mali's fall.
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