From early 15th to late 16th centuries Songhai was one of the largest African Empires in history. It had grown out of a small 11th centry state centred on Gao, Mali. Its decline was marked by a heavy defeat at the hands of Moroccan forces of the Saadi dynasty in 1591. They went on to sack its cities and effectively destroy the Empire but were unable to exercise continuing control over the area which splintered into small kingdoms.
- Air and Téneré Became the furthest northern outpost of the Songhai Empire in the early 16th century - until recaptured by the Tuareg later in the century
- Djenné Existed as an independent city state outside the Mali Empire until captured by the Songhai Empire in 1473 after a siege reputed to have lasted 7 months and 7 days
- Timbuktu captured from the Tuaregs (who had taken it from the declining Malian empire 30 years earlier) by the Songhai Empire around 1468
- Tomb of Askia Born Muhammad Toure, he took the opportunity of the death of the Songhai King in 1492 to defeat the heir (who had refused to become a Moslem) and thus make himself king. He expanded and consolidated the Empire,becoming known as "Askia the Great" (Askia = "Forceful One"). Situated in Gao - his capital
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