Abu Bakr II

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Abu Bakr II (fl. 14th century), also spelled ;Abubakri, may have been the ninth mansa of the Mali Empire. He succeeded his nephew Mansa Mohammed ibn Gao and preceded Kankou Musa I. Abu Bakar II appears to have abdicated his throne in order to explore "the limits of the ocean"; however, his expedition never returned.


What is known about the kings of the Malian Empire is taken from the writings of Arab scholars, including Al-Umari, Abu-sa'id Uthman ad-Dukkali, Ibn Khaldun, and Ibn Battuta. Lack of reliable documentation is a serious problem in this period, and Ibn-Khaldun's comprehensive history of the Malian kings does not list Abu Bakari as a mansa of Mali.[1]

Abu Bakar was one of two sons of Kolonkan, a sister of the founding emperor Sundjata Keita.[citation needed] He was the last of a mini-dynasty within the Keita clan of emperor's descending from Kolonkan. After his abdication in 1311, the Faga Laye mini-dynasty would control the empire.


Virtually all that is known of Abubakari II is from the scholar Al-Umari during Kankan Musa I's historic hajj to Mecca. While in Egypt, Musa explained the way that he had inherited the throne after the abdication of the previous ruler. He explained that in 1310, the emperor financed the building of 200 vessels of men and another 200 of supplies to explore the limits of the sea that served as the empire's western frontier. The mission was inconclusive, and the only information available on its fate came from a single boat whose captain refused to follow the other ships once they reached a "river in the sea" and a whirlpool. According to Musa I, his predecessor was undeterred and launched another fleet with himself as head of the expedition. In 1311, the previous ruler temporarily ceded power to Musa, then serving as his kankoro-sigui or vizier, and departed with a thousand vessels of men and a like number of supplies. After the emperor failed to return, Musa became emperor.[2]

Claim of trans-Atlantic contact[edit]

A small minority of researchers, including Ivan van Sertima formerly of Rutgers University, and Malian researcher Gaoussou Diawara, claim that Abubakari II successfully traveled to the New World.[3][4] [5]

The consensus among mainstream archaeologists, anthropologists, ethnohistorians, linguists, and other modern pre-Columbian scholars is that there is no evidence of any such voyage reaching the Americas, and that there are insufficient evidential grounds to suppose there has been contact between Africa and the New World at any point in the pre-Columbian era.[6] A BBC article titled "Africa's greatest explorer", summarizes the controversy from the perspectives of the scholars and historians in Mali.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fritze, Ronald H. (2009), Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions, Reaktion Books, p. 169. ISBN 978-1-86189-430-4
  2. ^ "Abbas Hamdani, An Islamic Background to the Voyages of Discovery. Language and Literature" in The Legacy of Muslim Spain (Studien Und Texte Zur Geistesgeschichte Des Mittelalters), 1994, ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi.
  3. ^ Garifuna Foundation
  4. ^ New Day Films, "The Garifuna Journey Study Guide" (1998)
  5. ^ Africa's Greatest Explorer - BBC (2000)
  6. ^ For views representative of this consensus, see the considerations on the question advanced in Haslip-Viera et al. (1997), who for example note "no genuine African artifact has ever been found in a controlled archaeological excavation in the New World". See also the supporting responses in peer-review printed in the article, by David Browman, Michael D. Coe, Ann Cyphers, Peter Furst, and other academics active in the field. Ortiz de Montellano et al. (1997, passim.) continues the case against Africa-Americas contacts. Other prominent Mesoamerican specialists such as UCR Riverside anthropology professor Karl Taube are confident that "There simply is no material evidence of any Pre-Hispanic contact between the Old World and Mesoamerica before the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century". (Taube 2004, p.1)
  7. ^ Africa's Greatest Explorer - BBC (2000)


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Ortiz de Montellano, Bernard; Gabriel Haslip-Viera; Warren Barbour (Spring 1997). "They Were NOT Here before Columbus: Afrocentric Hyperdiffusionism in the 1990s". Ethnohistory (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, issued by the American Society for Ethnohistory) 44 (2): 199–234. doi:10.2307/483368. ISSN 0014-1801. JSTOR 483368. OCLC 42388116. 
Taube, Karl (2004). Olmec Art at Dumbarton Oaks (PDF online reproduction). Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, no. 2. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection; Trustees of Harvard University. ISBN 0-88402-275-7. OCLC 56096117. 
Preceded by
Mohammed ibn Gao
Mansa of the Mali Empire
Succeeded by
Kankan Musa I

External links[edit]