Massina Empire

The Massina Empire (also spelled Maasina or Macina; also: Dina of Massina, Sise Jihad state, and Caliphate of Hamdullahi) was an early nineteenth-century Fulbe Jihad state centered in the Inner Niger Delta area of what is now the Mopti and Ségou Regions of Mali. Its capital was at Hamdullahi.

Massina Empire

The Fulani Jihad States of West Africa, c. 1830.
The Fulani Jihad States of West Africa, c. 1830.
Common languagesMaasina Fulfulde, Bambara, Tamasheq
GovernmentJihad state
• 1818 – 1845
Seku Amadu
• 1845 – 1852
Amadu II
• 1852 – 1862
Amadu III
Historical eraEarly modern period
• Established
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Bambara Empire
Pashalik of Timbuktu
Toucouleur Empire
Today part of Mali


The Fulas of the region had for centuries been the vassals of larger states, including the Mali Empire (13th-14th centuries), the Songhai Empire (15th century), the Moroccan pashas of Tomboctou (16th century), and the Bambara Empire at Ségou (17th century).

By the early 1800s, many of these larger states had declined in power and inspired by the recent Muslim uprisings of Usman dan Fodio in nearby Hausaland, preacher and social reformer Seku Amadu began efforts at increasing religious revivals in his homeland.[1] Early struggle created the Massina leadership and in 1818 Seku Amadu led a jihad against the Bambara Empire in 1818. The empire expanded rapidly, taking Djenné in 1819 and establishing a new capital at Hamdullahi in 1820.[2][3]

At the height of the Empire's power, a 10,000 man army was stationed in the city, and Seku Amadu ordered the construction of six hundred madrasas to further the spread of Islam. Alcohol, tobacco, music and dancing were banned in accordance with Islamic law, while a social welfare system provided for widows and orphans. A strict interpretation of Islamic injunctions against ostentation led Amadu to order the Great Mosque of Djenné to be abandoned, and all future mosques were ordered built with low ceilings and without decoration or minarets.

One of the most enduring accomplishments was a code regulating the use of the inland Niger delta region by Fula cattle herders and diverse farming communities.

In 1825, Seku Amadu conquered Timbuktu. According to the Nigerian historician J. F. Ade Ajayi, the Massina Empire "dominated the area of the Niger bend until its incorporation into al-Hadjdj 'Umar's empire, which stretched from the headwaters of the Senegal and Gambia rivers to Timbuktu."[4] Amedu died in 1845, leaving control of the Massina Empire to his son, Amadu II, who was succeeded by his son Amadu III.

In 1862, Omar Tall of Toucouleur launched an attack on the Massina from his newly secured base at Ségou. After a series of bloody battles, he entered Hamdullahi on March 16, leveling it. Amadu III was captured and put to death. Though resistance briefly continued under Amadu III's brother Ba Lobbo, the destruction marked the effective end of the Massina Empire.[citation needed]

List of rulersEdit

Names and dates taken from John Stewart's African States and Rulers (1989).[5]

Masina founded in c. 1400 by the Fulanis.[5]

Rulers from 1814 to 1873, except for Tukolor regents, used the title of 'Sheikh'[5]

# Name Reign Start Reign End
1 Majam Dyallo c. 1400 1404
2 Birahim I 1404 1424
3 Ali I 1424 1433
4 Kanta 1433 1466
5 Ali II 1466 1480
6 Nguia 1480 1510
7 Sawadi 1510 1539
8 Ilo 1539 1540
9 Amadi Sire 1540 1543
10 Hammadi I 1543 1544
11 Bubu I 1544 1551
12 Ibrahim 1551 1559
13 Bubu II 1559 1583
14 Hammadi II 1583 c. 1595
Moroccan rule (c. 1595 – 1599)
14 Hammadi II (Restored) 1599 1603
15 Bubu III 1603 1613
16 Birahim II 1613 1625
17 Silamaran 1625 1627
18 Hammadi III 1627 1663
19 Hammadi IV 1663
20 Ali III 1663 1673
21 Gallo 1673 1675
22 Gurori I 1675 1696
23 Gueladio 1696 1706
24 Guidado 1706 1716
25 Hammadi V 1761 1780
26 Ya Gallo 1780 1801
27 Gurori II 1801 1810
28 unknown 1810 1814
29 Hamadu I 1814 1844
30 Hamadu II 1844 1852
31 Hamadu III 1852 1862
Tukolor military government (1862 – 1863)
32 Sidi al-Bakka (Tukolor regent) 1863 1864
33 Sheikh Abidin al-Bakha'i (Tukolor regent) 1864
34 Badi Tali 1864 1871
35 Badi Sidi 1871 1872
36 Ahmadu 1872 1873
- Sheikh Abidin al-Bakha'i (Tukolor regent) (Restored) 1873 1874

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Abdul Azim Islahi (2009). "Islamic economic thinking in the 12th AH/18th CE century with special reference to Shah Wali-Allah al-Dihlawi" (PDF). MPRA (Paper No. 75432): 48,41. Archived from the original on May 15, 2021.
  2. ^ Fage, J.D. (1969). A History of West Africa: An Introductory Survey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 154–155.
  3. ^ Johnson, Marion (1976). "The Economic Foundations of an Islamic Theocracy: The Rise of Masina". Journal of African History. 17 (4): 481–495. doi:10.1017/S0021853700015024.
  4. ^ J. F. Ade Ajayi; A. A. Boahen; UNESCO International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa (1989). "3 - New trends and processes in Africa in the Nineteenth Century untill the 1880s". General History of Africa (PDF). VI - Africa in the Nineteenth Century untill the 1880s. Heinemann Publishers, University of California Press, UNESCO. p. 42. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 15, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Stewart, John (1989). African States and Rulers. London: McFarland. p. 173. ISBN 0-89950-390-X.

Further readingEdit

  • Bâ, Amadou Hampâté; Daget, Jacques (1962). L'empire peul du Macina, 1818-1853. Nouvelles Editions Africaines (in French). Mouton.
  • Brown, William A. (1968). "Toward a chronology for the Caliphate of Hamdullahi (Māsina)". Cahiers d'études africaines. 8 (31): 428–434. doi:10.3406/cea.1968.3136.
  • Klein, Martin (1998). Slavery and Colonial Rule in French West Africa. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-59678-5.
  • Roberts, Richard L. (1987). Warriors, Merchants. and Slaves: The State and the Economy in the Middle Niger Valley, 1700-1914. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1378-2.
  • Sanankoua, Bintou (1990). Un empire peul au XIXe siècle: la Diina du Maasina (in French). Paris: Karthala Editions. ISBN 978-286537234-8.

External linksEdit