A slave at birth, Sakura was freed and became a general in the army of Sundiata Keita, legendary founder of the Mali Empire. After a debilitating struggle for succession between Sundiata's sons Ouati Keita and Khalifa Keita and his grandson Abu Bakr, Sakura seized control of the throne himself about 1285. Near-contemporary historian Ibn Khaldun records that under Sakura's leadership, the Empire made a number of new conquests (most notably of Gao), becoming the dominant political, economic, and military force in the Western Sudan.
- Davidson, Basil. Africa in History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
| Mansa of the Mali Empire
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