Tunka Manin, also known as Tunkamenin, was considered by many to be a great king of the Ghana empire. He made a point to be very involved in his community, therefore having great success during his reign (wikipedia.org). While he was in power, trade increased significantly. This allowed his community to prosper financially. He was a powerful ruler, but also very fair and cared greatly. Tunkamenin felt a responsibility for the people under his care. The people in his community felt a divine sense to protect him as he brought them together. Tunka Manin is a great unknown ruler in history, and it is important to learn his story and remember his legacy.
Tunka Manin was born around 1010AD (face2faceafrica.com). According to theafricanhistory.com, Tunka Manin was the ruler of the Ghana Empire from approximately 1062AD-1076AD. Being the son of the prior ruler’s sister, he was next in line to take the throne and become king. The Soninke people, “the founders of the ancient empire of Ghana” (britannica.com), followed the matrilineal line, so this contributed to Tunka Manin becoming king. It is said that the Ghana Empire was started by the Soninke people around 300AD-400AD (theafricanhistory.com).
To give a brief history on the history of the Soninke people, they were centrally located in “Senegal near Bakel on the Sénégal River and in neighbouring areas of West Africa” (britannica.com). Some Soninke people relocated to Dakar, however the Bakel area remained a main region for where the population resided. This was especially true for the farmers in the area. The primary crop in the area was “millet“, which is a cereal crop/grain. Without the Soninke people, the Ghana Empire would not have been created and Tunka Manin would not have been able to rise to power and help his community. It is important to recognize how and why the Soninke people have impacted our history.
While ruling, Tunka Manin expected loyalty and respect from his followers and any visitors to his community. Therefore, he ruled fairly, but also sternly. During his reign, he commanded a military of over 200,000 people (face2faceafrica.com). He took these forces and drove off the “Almoravid assaults on the Ghana Empire” (theafricanhistory.com). He and his army were able to fend them off for almost ten years. However, according to theafricanhistory.com, in 1076AD the Almoravids finally succeeded in destroying Kumbi Saleh (the Ghana Empire’s capital).
Tunka Manin ruled as a form of service to the Almoravids after this, and eventually passed away in approximately 1078AD (wikipedia.org). The Almoravids were dismissed around 1087AD and in 1240AD the Empire dissolved and became the Mali Empire (theafricanhistory.com).
Tunka Manin led his people to a life of wealth, prosperity, and strength. He is one of our unknown heroes in history and it is important to make sure we remember his legacy. We must continue to push forward his message of peace, gaining wealth, and prosperity.