King of Ghana Empire, Tunka Manin ‘the peace maker’ (1062 – 1076 AD)
Tunka Manin, also known as Tunkamenin born around 1010 AD, was a Ghanaian ruler who reigned from 1062 to 1076 AD. King Bassi was his forefather. Tunka was crowned king because he was the son of the former ruler’s sister, as well as because the Soninke people followed a matrilineal system of inheritance.
The Soninke dynasty is thought to have established the Ancient Ghana Empire between AD300 and 400. It had expanded its territories west to the Senegal River, south to the Bambouk region, east to the Niger, and north to the Berber town of Awadaghost by the 10th century.
By the 11th century, it had surrounded the modern states of Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania.
Manin is well-known for his involvement in bringing peace to the local communities as well as his economic prosperity, as he significantly increased trade, especially that of salt, throughout the empire. Manin is said to have surrounded himself with a divine and magical aura, which he used to inspire his people to protect him well.
Tunka Manin was extremely rich, as shown by his elegant silk and cotton garments, as well as his gold and ivory decoration. His opulence, and that of the empire’s inhabitants, quickly became the envy of its neighbors.
In 1240, an Islamic movement known as the Almoravid invaded ancient Ghana, followed by the Mandingo neighbors led by Sundiata Keita.
Tunka Manin successfully repelled and extended the Almoravid assaults on the Ghana Empire. Manin commanded 200,000 warriors, according to Al-Bakri.
However, in 1076, the Almoravids were successful in destroying the capital of the Ancient Ghana Empire, known as Kumbi Saleh, which was established by Kaya Maahan in AD770, and thus assuming control of the former empire.
Manin’s people praised him for being a republican leader and for crushing the Almoravid armies.
The Ghana Empire eventually disintegrated in 1240, paving the way for the emergence of another empire – the Mali Empire. However, Tunka Manin had passed away by this time. The factors that led to the empire’s downfall, however, began during his rule.
For starters, when the Sanhaja Berbers entered the fray, the empire’s hegemony on the gold trade was unexpectedly broken. As a result, there was a lot of unhealthy rivalry.
Second, intermittent assaults on the empire by its enemies, most notably the Almoravids and the Muslim State of Tekrur, the Susus, and the Mandingos, greatly weakened the empire’s defensive capability and, later, weakened its economy as a result of constant bombardment. These attacks took place between 1062 and 1076, when Tunkamenin was in power.
Finally, intermittent assaults on the empire by its enemies, most notably the Almoravids and the Muslim State of Tekrur, the Susus, and the Mandingos, greatly undermined the empire’s defensive capability and, later, weakened its economy as a result of constant bombardment. These attacks took place between 1062 and 1076, when Tunka Manin was in power.