The Greatest Kings of Ancient Africa

Dubbed as the father of civilization, Ancient Africa produced powerful leaders and kings that helped shape world history.

In this piece, we will take a look at the stories and the achievements of some of the greatest kings in ancient Africa.

  • Mansa Kankan Musa
  • Mansa Musa ruled the Kingdom of Mali from 1306 A.D. to 1332 A.D. During 1324, Musa traveled to Mecca along with 72,000 residents from the city of Timbuktu for a holy pilgrimage.

    Under Musa’s leadership, The Kingdom of Mali became one of the richest empires in the world.

    Himalaya Mountains

  • Sunni Ali
  • Sunni Ali is the founder of the Songhai Empire. During his reign, the Songhai Kingdom reached its peak by surpassing the Empire of Mali and absorbing its territories including the city of Timbuktu.

    It was also during his time that Islam spread across both urban and rural centers.According to scholars, Sunni Ali had a brilliant military mind. As a matter of fact, he had amphibious forces that were often patrolling and attacking in the Niger River.

  • Amenhotep III
  • Amenhotep III was considered as one of the greatest Pharaohs of Egypt. It was during his reign that Egypt enjoyed stability, wealth, and peace and developed a noticeable influence in diplomacy and foreign policy.

    Pharaoh Amenhotep III also built monuments, buildings, and other projects. In fact, Amenhotep constructed the first human-made lake outside his palace in Malkata to honor his wife, Queen Tiye.

    Several proofs of this can be seen on the Amarna letters that are coming from Babylon, Hatti, Mitanni, and Assyria.

  • Sundiata Keita
  • Sundiata Keita was the founder of Ancient Mali Empire. He is also widely known as the Prince of the Mandinka people.

    His rise to fame is detailed in the poem called The Epic of Sundiata which was written and told by the Griots.

    The poem chronicles the fabled origins of Sundiata and tells his pre-ordained rise to power, the start of the Mali Empire, and his imperial conquests.

    During his reign, Sundiata conquered all the territories that are now located in the present-day Guinea Bissau, Senegal, and The Gambia.

    The dynastic line he came from subsequently became one of the richest and the most overpowering ancient West African empires.

    Oracle Bone Script

  • Shaka Zulu
  • Shaka Zulu became the King of Zulu in South Africa from 1818 to 1828. He is best remembered for turning Zulu fighters to great warriors.

    All of his troops used standardized weapons to combat their enemies.

Interesting Facts about Ancient African Kings

  • The Assegai which is a short stabbing spear was developed by Shaka Zulu.
  • Christianity spread in Africa following the conversion of King Ezana of the Axum Kingdom in the 3rd
  • One of the greatest kings of the Ghana Empire was Tenkamenin. He is widely credited for facilitating the Saharan gold trade.
  • Amenhotep III is often referred to as the high priest of Heliopolis.
  • The Kingdom of Mali flourished under Mansa Musa due to their salt and gold production as well as their dynamic trade location and imperialistic nature.
  • Endubis was the first King in Ancient Africa to mint coins.
  • King Ezana established the Ethiopic Church and converted the entire Kingdom into Christianity.
  • Ewuare the Great of the Benin Empire established a patrimonial bureaucracy that allowed freemen to serve as administrative chiefs and armies.

Who is the richest Ancient African King in history?

Several historians consider Musa to be the wealthiest person in history with a net worth of $400 billion.

When did Amenhotep III die?

Amenhotep III died in 1353 B.C.E. but he left behind a country that was at the summit of its influence and power.

Who led the biggest imperialist mission in West Africa?

Sunni Ali of The Songhai Kingdom led the largest imperialist mission in West Africa.

Who is Oba Oduduwa?

Oba Oduduwa ruled the Oyo Empire in 700 A.D. He is also recognized as a primordial God in the culture of Yoruba.