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Mansa is a Mandinka word meaning "sultan" (king) or "emperor". It is particularly associated with the Keita Dynasty of the Mali Empire, which dominated West Africa from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. Powers of the mansa included the right to dispense justice and to monopolize trade, particularly in gold. Sundiata Keita was the first to assume the title of mansa (emperor), which was passed down through the Keita line with few interruptions well into the 15th century. Other notable mansas include his son Wali Keita and the powerful Mansa Musa (Kankan Musa), whose hajj helped define a new direction for the Empire. The succession of the Mali Empire is primarily known through Tunisian historian ibn Khaldun's History of the Berbers.
- An Interview with Ibn Battuta, Kathleen Knoblock, Primary Source Fluency Activities: World Cultures (In Sub-Saharan Africa), pub. Shell Education 2007 ISBN 978-1-4258-0102-1
- Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354, by Ibn Battuta, London 2005, p. 324 ISBN 0-415-34473-5
- Jansen, Jan (1998). "Hot Issues: The 1997 Kamabolon Ceremony in Kangaba (Mali)". The International Journal of African Historical Studies. 31 (2): 253–278. JSTOR 221083. (Registration required (help)). On page 256, Jan Jansen writes: “Mansa is generally translated as 'king,' 'ruler' or 'ancestor.' The Griaulians, however, often translate mansa as 'God,' 'the divine principle' or 'priest king,' although they never argue the choice for this translation, which has an enormous impact on their analysis of the Kamabolon ceremony.”
- A Grammar of the Mandingo Language: With Vocabularies, by Robert Maxwell Macbrair, London 1873, p. 5.
- Making America – A History of the United States, 5th edition, by Carol Berkin, Christopher Miller, Robert Cherny, James Gormly & Douglas Egerton, Boston 2011, p. 13 ISBN 978-0-618-47139-3