Hey guys, this was part of my 20 page thesis that I wrote for my Pre-Colonial African History Class, based on the historical narrative of the Legendary voyage of Mansa Abu Bakr II(Abubakari). What I studied was whether or not the Mali Empire during the early 14th Century, had the resources to even launch such an expedition? And what would a Mande Settlment look like if they had actually made it to the New World. I really enjoy'ed writing it, and might possibly flesh it out as a full-fledged Timeline during the break, but time will tell. But please feel free to comment, and give your feedback which always helps me get into writing groove ************ To The Ends of the Earth An Analysis of the Historical Narrative of Mansa Abu Bakr II of Mali and his lost voyage Written By Austin Ross But let’s say, for the sake of Academic discourse, that Abu Bakr II along with his two thousand boats full of gold, horses, victuals and subjects did reach the New World in 1312. To give an exact hypothetical location, let us choose the site of Recife in Brazil more commonly known by “it’s other name Purnanbuco, which we(Gaoussou Diawara) believe is an aberration of the Mande name for the rich gold fields that accounted for much of the wealth of the Mali Empire, Boure Bambouk (Baxter 2).” The natives the Malians would have encountered would have been the decentralized Tupi Indians. Much like the fate suffered by the Taino tribes of the West Indies, transmission of Old World Diseases such as smallpox, syphilis and others could produce upwards of an 80 to 90 percent death rate within a few decades. However, if contact was made soon enough, then we could have seen a full-scale agricultural transfer, as Author Pa Dutch, of 1310: The Year Mali Discovered America postulated that “the colonists through the Tupi would first become acquainted with New World crops, including corn, beans, peanuts, tobacco, cotton, and tropical fruits. Such agricultural commodities will allow the colony to become self-sustaining. Likewise, Old World livestock, such as cattle, sheep, and guinea fowl, are first introduced to the Tupi, as are cereal grains like rice, millet, and sorghum (Dutch 1).” Due to the harshness of the Equatorial current, it is highly unlikely that the Mande settlers would have been able to successfully land back in Mali and for the most part be isolated from any centralized state in the New World. One of the biggest effects of such a transfusion between the Mande and South American tribes…would be that of Horses and Iron. Although expansion by the Mali Empire southward into the interior jungles of Africa was halted due to the effects of the tste fly on their prized horses. In the jungles of the Recife, the lack of a major Equine deterrent would enable for the Malians to quickly reestablish their powerful Calvary to establish Military dominance in the area. Without ever seeing an animal such as the horse before, most of the Native’s would not have had the knowledge against how to properly defend against such raids by Malian soldiers and would have been aptly defeated. In terms of the spread of ironworks in the New World and it’s potential effects are enormous as stronger weapons could have made the difference against the Conquistadores who would still arrive in the 16th century. However, Iron may not have been one of the commodities transferred to the natives at least upon initial contact with the natives as Malian blacksmiths were extremely guarded when it came to the working of Iron. So while the Mali Colony might have been more successful at fighting back the Dutch and Portuguese during the 1500’s, Civilizations such as the Tawantinsuya Empire (Inca) in the Andes, although some system of trade would have probably been established between the Mali by then, they still maybe at a serious disadvantage against the Spanish having to rest on weapons of bronze and not Mande Iron. The smelting of Iron, could have had enormous ecological consequences on the region of the Recife. By the time, the Europeans reach the Brazilian coast, the descendants of Abu Bakr II would have been smelting and smithing for the better part of two centuries. The fragile tropical rainforest ecosystem of Brazil would have been decimated due to the “large quantities of wood to make charcoal for fuel. The deforestation that resulted from extensive smelting and concentrated smithing opened up savannah woodland to their comrades on horseback (Goucher, LeGuin, and Walton 8).” So ironically, the Brazil our counterfactual Europeans would have encountered, would have looked remarkably similar to the ecotone of the Western Sudan. In terms of government and social policy, One could assume that many of the core characteristics of the Mande peoples would stay the same. We can infer from our own sources regarding the Mali Empire, that the Mande would not have been aggressive proselytizers when it came to the spread of Islam, due to their own relaxed adherence to many of the major Islamic traditions. Most likely Abu Bakr II would have adopted a policy similar to his successor in Mali, when it came to the conversion of decentralized tribes. According to Ibn Battau, During his long reign, Mansa Musa sent one of his ambassadors to the gold mining Wangara people of the south to force them to convert to Islam. The ambassador replied back to Musa, “Your majesty, this is not the time to pursue the Wangara people of the south. They have refused to accept our faith. The miners of Wangara even threatened to stop producing gold if they were forced to become Muslims. It would not be wise to force them (McKissack 66).” Most likely a system would have developed not too different from the one that was established in Mali, with the descendants of the Kieta Dynasty and the original twelve Mande tribes as the established elite, while most of the conquered native peoples such as the Tupi would be used as a source of Labor for building the colony. Most likely, due to a shortage of Mande woman brought over on Abu Bakr’s voyage, intermarriage between the Mande clans and South American tribes would have been a necessity to allow the colony to prosper. Arabic would have been the official written language, but it is plausible that some type of hybrid Mande-Tupi vernacular system could potentially develop in the ensuing decades after 1312. Islam, may very well become even more marginalized in the Recife than in the Western Sudan, or quite possibly “an outcome of this tradition, which outlived the processes of conversion and intermarriage was the special status accorded to Muslim communities, first within the state capitals and later in their own(West African) settlements and towns (Saad 148).” Intercontinental trade would have been just as crucial for an Isolated Mande Colony as the Trans-Saharan trade of Gold and Salt was to Sundiata in establishing his empire. As the colony expanded, most of the Mande settlements in the Recife would be based on Mali cities such as Jenne-Jeno, which supported “a population perhaps as large as 13,000 paced into a space enclosed by a 2 kilometer city wall, beyond which perhaps as many people lived with a distance of one kilometer, there must surely have been a development of Governmental institutions in order to organize common protection, maintain law and order, and regulate trade (Connah 136).” In terms of political structure, I’d figure that the Mande Colony would look remarkably similar to the maroon slave Republic of Palmares, which occupied approximately the same territory from 1600 to around 1695. According to Historian John Hope Franklin, “Palmares was a remarkable political and economic achievement for the fugitive (mostly Angolan) slaves of Brazil as even at it height the Republic boasted 20,000 inhabitants who traded with nearby towns and lived peaceably in a system of law based on the legal system of the Kingdom of Kongo, where most of its citizens hailed from (Smead 33).” Although Palmares was a thoroughly Christianized community, while our Hypothetical Malian Colony would have been more or less Islamic, Abu Bakr II may have found out that the best way to keep native tribes under his thumb in a strange and foreign territory, would be to cede some of that power to the natives in the form of a Republic. The Mariner Mansa could work to create “a Gbara, or Great Assembly, much like the one in Mali. Made up of village leaders and Islamicized Tupi chieftains, the Gbara could write a constitution such as a proposal based heavily on the ancient Malian system of law, the Kouroukan Fouga. The Colonial Constitution also takes into account those aboriginal Tupi customs and cultural rules which have penetrated the multiracial population of (Dutch 2)” the colony, setting the Mande descendants of the great voyage as the undisputed rulers of the South American Continent decades before the arrival of Columbus and the Europeans.