Uli I of Mali
Born under the name Yérélinkon, he was the only biological son of the legendary Sundiata Keita. The mansas that followed Uli, Ouati and Khalifa, were the children of Sundiata Keita's brother, adopted by Sundiata to be raised as members of the Keita clan.
According to oral sources Sundiata's brother, Manding Bory Keita (alias Abubakari Keita I), was supposed to ascend to the throne since Uli was too young to ascend the throne the time of his father's death. Instead, the ambitious prince seized the throne for himself in 1255 and began a campaign of territorial expansion into West Africa.
Mansa Uli Keita also significantly increased the empire's agricultural production. On an economic and political level, Uli set a precedent by making the Hajj to Mecca during his reign. Unlike his father, Mansa Wali had no blood heirs, which left the throne to be fought over by his adopted brothers. During the ensuing power struggle, Ouati Keita seized the throne, thereby again sidelining Manding Bory.
Mansa Uli was a great leader and soon gave birth to the richest person in the world, Mansa Musa. Mansa Musa spread the Islamic culture through much of West Africa. Mansa Musa also gave out free gold on his way to Mecca.
- PDF: Guide to Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali[permanent dead link] from the Boston University's African Studies Center[dead link]
- Early Malian biographies
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