Twelve Doors of Mali

The Twelve Doors of Mali[1][2] were the possessions of the Mansa (emperor) of the medieval Mali Empire which was established in c.. 1235 following The Battle of Kirina.[3] These lands were either allied to or conquered by Sundiata Keita (the first Emperor of Imperial Mali)[2] on his campaign to free the Mandinka heartland from the Sosso kingdom of Kaniaga.

The Twelve DoorsEdit

Following his victory at Kirina, Sundiata Keita united the twelve towns of Mande known as the "twelve doors of Mali." He pacified these twelve towns and went on to bring prosperity to the land[2] The twelve doors of Mali are listed below:

  • Bambougou, conquered by Fakoli Moroma
  • The lands of the Bozo people, allied to Mali
  • Djedeba, allied to Mali
  • Do, from which all future Keita queens (such as Sogolon Condé, Sundiata's mother[4][5]) would come from, allied to Mali
  • Jalo, conquered by Fran Kamara
  • Kaniaga, conquered by Mari Djata I (commonly known as Sundiata Keita)
  • Kri, allied to Mali
  • Oualata, conquered by Mari Djata I
  • Siby, allied to Mali
  • Tabon, allied to Mali
  • Toron, allied to Mali
  • Zaghari, allied to Mali

Historical significanceEdit

The twelve doors were the base of the Manden Kurufa (Manden Federation). With future conquests and re-organization, they would transform into the provinces of the Mali Empire.[2] They remained important in the political and military circles of imperial power until the end of the Mali Empire in 1645.


  1. ^ Djeli Mamadou Kouyaté [in] Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali [in] Asante, Molefi Kete, The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony, Routledge (2012), p. 130-131. ISBN 9781136752643 [1] (Retrieved 13 April 2019)
  2. ^ a b c d Thompson, Robert Farris, Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (2010), p. 195, ISBN 9780307874337 [2] (Retrieved 13 April 2019)
  3. ^ Carruth, Gorton, The encyclopedia of world facts and dates, pp 167, 1192 HarperCollins Publishers, 1993, ISBN 006270012X
  4. ^ Ki-Zerbo, Joseph, UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. IV, Abridged Edition: Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century, (editors : Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Djibril Tamsir Niane), University of California Press, 1998, pp 54 -55, ISBN 0520066995
  5. ^ "Mali's Boy-King: A Thirteenth-Century African Epic Becomes Digital", By Ronica Roth (in NEH) : Humanities, July/August 1998, Volume 19/Number 4