Dark Crescent Rising - A timeline of the Mande Empire

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Ibn Chaldun, Oct 21, 2018.

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  1. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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    Great timeline! As a resident of an area with bayous and creeks every few miles, I gravitate to areas where de-watering is a constant issue. The West African empires have always been of interest.

    I'm going to echo Wolttaire on the issue of river/water control. The arid/semiarid context of the area would greatly favor some variant of irrigation/water management. Since Muktar has traveled over much of the Islamic world, he has seen water management systems, from Andalusia, Egypt, Mesopotamia. and others. It would require little more than requesting a water management expert from Andalusia to study the possibility. The increased crop yields and greater harvest stability would repay the investment.

    I like that you have Muktar 'reminding' Ouali against ostentatious habits. One way to grow loyalty is to spread some wealth around to your followers/supporters.

    Arabic should be the language of the court. Develop a bureaucracy utilizing Arabic and one or two of the most prominent languages in the kingdom. Encourage great minds from the Islamic World to come to Mande to teach.
     
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  2. Wolttaire Kicked

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    What gonna be your defense against raider from the Sahara and Morocco?
     
  3. Ibn Chaldun Death To Dill

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    Thanks for the kind words :)

    But I’m curious - what exact measures would you propose to mitigate the seasonal rivers?

    Even if we bring in major talent from around the Islamic world (what will definitely happen), I don’t see a workable option on how to solve such a climatic issue.
    On the upper Senegal there simply is not enough Water seasonally - compared with high evaporation losses I also don’t think a dam would be feasible.
    And of course we could (theoretically) increase the average flow of the Niger by straightening the inner delta. But - as I’ve stated before that region is pivotal to agriculture in the region.
    Maybe some small scale optimization in the region to reduce evaporation losses?


    Anyway - we should also consider that affecting the natural flow of waters might cause unwanted butterflies (for reference: effects of the Assuan Dam on farmers alongside the Nile).


    Moroccan people so far are not a issue and most of the Sahara dwellers live better on trading with the Malians (this might change in the future however.. ) than robbing them. We can’t rule out some small scale nomadic raids but nothing to severely affect the realm. Don’t think TTL Mali would change it’s policy much from what they probably did IOTL.
     
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  4. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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    The issue in the upper Senegal region is failure to manage the water resources available. Seasonable rains provide excess water which runs downstream out of the area. The locals can develop water management practices including but not limited to village and home cisterns, irrigation management councils, diversion weirs or dams to direct water to cisterns or holding ponds, canals to direct water to outlying ponds and cisterns and use of the expansive agricultural writings from Al Andalus, Yemen, Egypt and Mesopotamia.

    The central authority can determine the period canals and water channels may be open, so as to limit any damage downstream. If carefully managed, the only real issue would be salt water intrusion near the river mouth. The Mali Empire controls only a part of the Niger. It can direct water from the Niger northward and westward via qanats and aquaducts, increasing the irrigable area. Since Muktar comes from Andalusia, when will he decide he wants a bath? Islamic Andalusia had many public baths. A public bath can easily be considered a public cistern for urban irrigation. This also provides water for ritual purification. It allows the community to survive major droughts with less disruption.

    The Mande could raise their agricultural production by anywhere from 50-150% without major effects downstream. Such increase in production will lead to increasing population, better health and more hands for road building, warfare, industrial production and any other tasks needed. The increased taxes allow more education, greater public works, and the ability to sponsor arts, sciences and religion.

    Note that water diversion from the river would be for a short time during the rainy season. This water is then stored for future use.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  5. Wolttaire Kicked

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    This is genius the lower niger will stay the same while the upper niger will become navigable making the river a major trade route for rivers and at the same time this can be expanded to the rivers that flow into niger. This can also be viewed as an avenue for expanding and controlling the power of the Mali empire. How easy way to move troops up and down the river. The trade part of this is the best parts this can be amazing for them. Because it will connect major parts of there empire and will let the riches of Timbuktu 2 go toward there capital connecting economically and where the trade follows the religion go because if the river starts to have a vibrant trade system then they will convert so they can engage in the trade better. This can also decrease the Achilles heel of the Mali empire there complete reliance on gold and slaves. This will foster a merchant class that can foster a good freeman class. With the increased agriculture, we could see great barge go up and down the ferring food and with this famines could become the things of the past same thing with droughts they have water to prepared for it. We could see the emergence of new cities and make the current cities even more cities. This can bring them into the modern age and make a make the cultures intermingled more

    Note The trade religion part is from my limited understanding of Islamic spread in some area of the world
     
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  6. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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    Yes and No. There is a waterfall and rapids on the Senegal just west of Bafoulabe. The river is good for traffic on the lower river year round depending on depth. Upstream of Bafoulabe you may have stretches of navigable river, but nothing of economic use. My idea was to increase the agricultural yields and transfer water for that purpose and human/animal consumption. I was not contemplating major hydraulic modification of the rivers.

    I agree an improved trade network will help the spread of Islam. I would expect an early improvement of the roads, before a heavy investment into dams and/or boat canals. The canals I envision are water transporting canals ala the canals in Spain developed by the Romans and expanded by the Islamic settlers.
     
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  7. Wolttaire Kicked

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    Oh i was confused about your statement I am sure both could be used for humans, animals and improving the river/ you were talking about building dams though isn't that a major hydraulic modification. Do you think that be realistic and the one down side of all this this decrease the incentive for shipbuilding and such ebcasue they will be less reliant on the gold trade
     
  8. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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    I was intending diversion dams/weirs to redirect excess water, not stop flow. The problem with normal reservoir dams in this area is the high evaporation rate. Large open expanses of water will suffer large losses early during the dry season, undercutting their reason for existence. Should the Mande decide, shipping on the lower Senegal, and seasonal shipping on the Niger, could be substantial. You could see a trade with the forest dwellers developing with salt, cattle and traveling preachers going south, and wood planks heading north in the form of river boats, similar to the Mississippi trade from the 1770's through the 1850's.

    On another note, the Senegal splits into two tributaries at Bafoulabe. The Bakoy, the eastern branch, actually runs within 50 km of the Niger at Bamako on nearly the same elevation of 990 feet. I doubt the Mande would have sufficient incentive or resources to connect the two despite the possibility. At this point, the Bakoy is definitely not navigable, simply a curiosity.
     
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  9. Orisha91 Well-Known Member

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    Nice input@SwampTiger

    We'd definitely see increased camel and boat transportation within the empire and in turn, better communication. I could see them working on the Senegal river portion of the empire.
     
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  10. Ibn Chaldun Death To Dill

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    Ah now I see what you’re aiming at. That makes a lot more sense and would certainly profit the Mande a lot. Absolutely Great Input. Thanks :)
    In Fact, Now that you mentioned it I feel rather stupid for not having this idea myself haha.

    Gonna do some further research on the issue and quite probably work it into the timeline. Guess we gonna Import some Water experts from the Oman. Always admired their Aflaj systems.

    Only possibly major issue I see could be the required building materials for the caverns under certain circumstances. Primary Mande method of construction is still mud bricks - and they really don’t like water. But we gonna solve that, I’m sure.
     
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  11. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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    Actually, most of the technology comes from Al-Andalus. They can provide the source for brickmasons, tilemakers, engineers, boatbuilders, administrative experts and other specialists. Note that the important issue for cisterns and canals is more the type/morphology of the underlying soil/rock. A source of lime will help in concrete construction. The huge variety of issues can bog you down. Keep going with your story. It can be fleshed out later.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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  12. Wolttaire Kicked

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    The system will in Mali have to be different than the ones in other place they can certainly can use some but they will have to forge there own unique system
     
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  13. Ibn Chaldun Death To Dill

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    I would beg to differ a little. Some of the Omani irrigation systems (and some Persian Quanat, what ever system you believe to be the older one) are said to predate Islam. This said, I agree with your assesment on the relevance of Al-Andalus in delivering specialists, especially when it comes to construction.

    Regarding Geology/Materials. Pretty much the issue ive seen.

    Clearly. Building something akin to Aflaj or Qanat can take decades. In this time - naturally - knowledge of the technique will become more common and adapted to local circumstances. Also the foggara systems of the Maghreb/Sahara could come into use. Also, as building these structures is quite a dangerous process, the abundance of slave labour could also help.
     
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  14. Wolttaire Kicked

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    From what known A humongous parts of there population were slaves so that should not be a problem. My only questions is how many people will want to risk the great journey to mail this could be the way we introduce ships to the Mali empire just have some arrive that way.
     
  15. Ibn Chaldun Death To Dill

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    Well. Sailing from Europe to Mali is way more hazardous than traveling by land at this time.
    The furthest a European Sailor reached at the time (and came back) was Lanzarote Malocello who “discovered” the canaries in 1312.

    Yes, there are the voyages of the Vivaldi brothers a little earlier and of Jaume Ferrer in 1346 that are said to have targeted the region, but we only know that they didn’t come back.

    Generally, I would assume Europeans rarely sailed past Cape Bojador at the time, simply because winds/currents make it harder to come back from beyond there.

    I don’t think the Dhow-related ships of the Maghrebi States would do any better.

    To make Sea travel preferable to the Sahara route, I think we at least Caravel-Ish technology.

    Introducing Dhow technique into Mali isn’t the hardest to archive, though I will have to check if the needed timber would be feasible to get.


    Trans-Sahara Trade was frequent and pretty reliable. As a reference, Mansa Musa brought back a lot of specialists/scholars from his great Haj. Look for Ouali to do the same, only on a more organized scale.
     
  16. Wolttaire Kicked

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    K. So is there anything else these experts can bring to mali, animals, institutions, knowledge, roads exc
     
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  17. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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    All of the above. The Islamic World and Christian Europe still had all the Knowledge of the Greeks and Romans. Plus they brought new plants, technology, mathematics, and institutions from West Asia. Connections with China existed at this time. If it was available in the known world, you could bring it to Mali.

    The issue with sailing is the predominant winds and currents oppose coastal sailing from the south. The Portuguese were able to do so in the 1450's(?) with caravels. The Carthaginians did so with galleys. And no, slaves were not used on galleys until @ 1400 or so, after the great human losses of the plagues. A Malian power with access to shipwrights may work their way north by sea easier than the Mediterranean sea powers could heading south. The Portuguese found the Volta do Mar to reach the north.

    Ibn Chaldun: I used Al Andalus due to the origin of Muktar. It is also at the end of an active trade route. I know the east-west route to the Red Sea was available. It would be best to seek aid from both sources as well as North Africa and Egypt.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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  18. Wolttaire Kicked

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    sounds like Mansa Ouali is going to bring the Mali empire into the modern age but there is going to be no backlash against him? Especially from the federation system style of government/ tribal, they will not like this.
     
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  19. Ibn Chaldun Death To Dill

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    Not gonna happen like this. Only because some educated guys know something does not mean it affects the average peasant. Also - as I’ve stated before these changes take a lot of time. Not gonna build a full fledged water-management system in five years.


    The civil war is won and my next chapter will include an segment on how the elites will be appeased. Hint: the “constitution” so far has never been written down. Expect something vaguely comparable to the Magna Charta.

    But you are right - this is not gonna be a wank. We can’t just snip with a finger and turn Mali into the most advanced place on earth. That’s not gonna happen.
     
  20. Wolttaire Kicked

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    I meant peter the great style
     
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