Follow in the footsteps of the great Mansa Musa and become the greatest king of Western Africa. Conquer surrounding kingdoms to expand your wealth and hold a firm grip on the trade routes that zigzag through the the region. Will you be able to keep the once hostile provinces united under your crown?

► Malians.mp3

Quick Card

Infantry civilization

  • Buildings cost -15% wood
  • Infantry +1 pierce armor per Age (starting from Feudal Age)
  • Gold Mining upgrades free

Unique Unit:

  • Gbeto (ranged infantry)

Unique Technologies:

  • Tigui: Town Centers fire arrows
  • Farimba: Stable units +3 attack

Team Bonus:

  • University researches +80% faster


Throughout the Middle Ages, many city-states and kingdoms emerged in West Africa as a result of the lively trans-Saharan trade of salt and gold. The constant struggle to dominate commerce in this part of the world went hand in glove with the rise and fall of great empires that were able to conquer and unite the scattered kingdoms into one state.

Between the 4th and 11th centuries AD, the Soninke people were the first to monopolize the gold trade and expand their rule over a vast area. At its largest extent, the Empire of Ghana covered present-day western Mali and southeastern Mauritania. However, by the end of the 11th century, the Berber Almoravid Empire had assumed control of the gold trade. Whether or not this was achieved through an invasion led by Amir Abu-Bakr Ibn Umar is still unclear. In any case, the loss of a major resource, combined with overgrazing and periodic droughts, led to the disintegration of the Empire of Ghana. In AD 1203, the Sosso people, former vassals of Ghana, conquered the capital city, Kumbi.

In the following decades, the Sosso people continued their military campaign. According to oral tradition, king Sumanguru Kante conquered several small Mandinka chiefdoms. However, an exiled prince, Sundjata, united the different kingdoms, spurred a rebellion, and eventually defeated the Sosso army at the battle of Kirina in AD 1235. Five years later, Sundjata annexed Ghana and its important gold mines and trade routes, thus founding the Mali Empire.

Further expansions led by successive Mansas (kings) extended the boundaries of the empire to Gao in the east and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Especially under Mansa Sakura (AD 1285-1300), a freed slave, territorial conquest was significant. In order to defend and control this vast region, the Mali Empire maintained a full-time army, consisting of up to 100,000 soldiers of which the majority was infantry. Each tribe was expected to supply a certain number of freemen with their own weapons to serve. Only from the 14th century onwards, when the empire came increasingly under pressure, did the Mansa also rely on slaves to fight.

Under the reign of Mansa Musa (AD 1312-1337), the Mali Empire reached its zenith. Due to his remarkable pilgrimage to Mecca he was and is probably the best-known Mandinka ruler: with an entourage of 500 slaves and 100 camels carrying 30,000 pounds of gold, Musa attracted attention everywhere he went. After his return, the king ordered the construction of two madaris (universities) in Timbuktu, namely the famous Sankore and Djinguereber mosque. For two centuries, these remained international centers of learning, housing books and scholars from all over the world.

Although the different Mandinka tribes initially had their own animistic beliefs, Islam slowly spread throughout the empire due to Muslim involvement in the trans-Saharan trade. By the 14th century, the Mansas had converted to Islam, but never forced their subjects to do the same. Consequently, the Mali Empire was home to many religions, often mixed with local rituals and traditions.

Starting in the late 14th century, the power of the Mandinkas began to decline. Internally, the governing lineage was plagued by intrigue and weak rulers, while the state was threatened externally by invasions and rebellions. Most importantly, Berber invasions and the rise of the Songhai Empire (AD 1464-1591) resulted in the loss of the northern and eastern regions, including Timbuktu, and control over the Sub-Saharan trade. In response, the Mali Empire shifted its attention to the southwestern provinces, where Portuguese explorers had arrived in 1455. However, the tide could not be turned, and by 1600 the Mali Empire gradually disintegrated completely back into several chiefdoms.

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Sorry forgot to enable comments! 🙂

Drake of 5D

ohh that’s why, I thought I was lag this morning:D

Drake of 5D

congratulation, this is an awesome civ!!


Does that ranged infantry have bonus against sth?


I’d like to know it as well. As it is, I’m under the impression they are redundant with the axe-throwers.

Ryan Kasch

Infantry get 1 armor pierce each age starting with feudal.


How do you pronounce gbeto?


It’s pronounced “bloody fearsome”, considering «The Gbeto warriors were a terrifying group of female soldiers from the Dahomey Kingdom
during the 1700s and 1800s. The Gbeto served as the king’s official
bodyguards and were known for their ruthlessness — they ate raw meat,
filed their teeth into sharp points and kept the jawbones and skulls of
their enemies as trophies — and European travelers referred to them as
Amazonians.», from o_O
Now for real, check the announcement at E3 at for the correct pronounciation.


Dat team bonus, I don’t think it will be op or anything, but it surely will be fun seeing how fast tech researches.

I was thinking byzantines imp to chemistry upgrade ha

Pablo de la Torre

The wonder is the Mosque of Djenne.


If this huge building to the right of the castle is the Malian wonder, to which civ belong that huge wonder looking building we saw in the E3 teaser, which we all assumed would be the Malian wonder?


devs said that that was just an old model for the malian wonder – this is the new one.

maybe that one will be included as a scenario editor object

Pablo Bettanzzo

It is: the palace have random wonder graphics, and the Malian and Ethiopian wonders have old graphics insted on the final version

Christopher Warren

I would have preferred a knight-like unit for the UU, but otherwise this civ seems great at representing Malian medieval civilization. Less wood in structures is a nod to their largely mudbrick architecture and the lack of trees in the Sahel. Free Gold-mining upgrades a nod to their role in the gold trade (though I feel like I wanted some Market/Trading bonus here). Farimba is a solid reference to the excellent cavalry of Mali, while the missing Paladin and Hussar upgrades make note that the cavalry was typically less armored than their counterparts. And the University TB is excellent and… Read more »


Well, if Malians traded so much gold, it was because they extracted it from their own mines, so it’s not illogical for them to have a gold mining bonus. Ans since the “gold miners work faster” bonus already exists, I don’t see anything else to stand for it.
However, they could have benefit from caracan research for free OR markets working faster.

Christopher Warren

Well that’s the kicker. If I remember correctly, the sahelian kingdoms prospered off of being taxing middlemen and protecting the transaharan routes. Gold came primarily from the mountains to the south while the salt came from the desert to the north. I believe the sahelian empires even attempted to seize control of the mines to the south on several occasions; but when they did gold production dropped exponentially because the locals sabotaged the mines or refused to labor in them, and the territories had to be abandoned so the gold trade could resume. I dunno what kind of market bonus… Read more »


Why not? If they worked on mines, the gold bonus is completely explainable. Not all civs mined gold in their history. But this gonna come to an unbalance: they will get plenty of gold as an infantry civ. This happens everytime when I play with goths.

Jorge Lappas

:disqus what exactly do u refer when u say “TCs fire arrows” ?? do they fire arrows without units inside them?




How many arrows? How much damage they will do total (same damage than 1 villager insade or different)?

Pablo Bettanzzo

The Mema Princess in Sudjata mission 4 speeks japanese! (till rescued)


Why Malians don’t have Halberdier & Arrowslit anymore in RotR?? They already don’t have Blast Furnace & Bracer ~_~