Segu Kingdom

Segu Kingdom was a Bambara kingdom founded along the Niger River from Bamako to Timbuktu. The kingdom was the most prominent and powerful of the two Bambara kingdom, the other being Kaarta. Segu was a merchant town, attracting commerce throughout the Niger River. The kingdom dominated the Niger River basin, during the 1800s, occupied by Soyinke, Fulani, Malinke, Mossi, and others.
Bambara Kingdom Segu and Kaarta

The kingdom rose after the decline of the Songhai Empire. Segu began mainly as a band of raiding cavalry, extorting and demanding tributes from neighboring people. In 1600, the brother Barama Ngolo and Nia Ngolo founded the kingdom. By 1650, the kingdom was firmly established in the region. It was ruled by Kalidian, around this time. Kalidian expanded Segu territory in the western Sahel. The empire did not survive the death of Kalidian.

The empire was revived by Mamari Kulibali, after 1712, by overcoming all Bambara rivals with just a few followers. The defeated Bambara rivals fled northwest to Kaarta and founded the Kaarta Kingdom in 1753. Mamari defeated the Kingdom of Kong in 1730. He was able to strengthen the empire by building a slave army of captured victims. He also built a navy along the the Niger River. Segu's might was un-matched by her enemies. 

In 1755, Mamari died and his son, Dekoro took over the throne. Two years into his reign, Dekoro was killed by the slave army on the command of the Ton-Mansa, head general. The Ton-Mansa took power but was executed by the army three years later and replaced by Kaniuba Niuma(kaniuba the handsome). Kaniuba also fell victim to the army and replaced with Kiafa Diugu. 

The pattern of army execution continued until the reign of Ngolo Diara. Diara was able to end army plots. His reign lasted for 30 years. He was able to restore Segu to its previous glory.

The Kingdom fell between 1861-1862 to muslim religious leader, Al-Hajj Umar Tall, in the formation of the Tukulor Empire.


Works Cited

Davidson, Basil, Buah, F. K. ,and Ajayi, J.F. Ade(1966). A History of West Africa. Doubleday:New York, pp. 266-269.  Library of Congress Card #66-24317