Sundiata Keita, created one of the very first charters of human rights

Sundiata

Sundiata Keita was the first ruler of the Mali Empire in the 13th century C.E. He laid the foundation for a powerful and wealthy African empire and proclaimed the first charter of human rights, the Manden Charter.

National Geographic Society

1230-1255 CE

Sundiata Keita was the first ruler of the Mali Empire from 1235 C.E. to 1255 C.E. Sundiata Keita, whose name means Lion Prince, was born early in the 13th century to a noble family within the Malinke people. The Malinke kingdom, Kangaba, was part of the Ghana empire of West Africa. Oral stories about Keita say that he was a sickly child or suffered from some sort of physical impairment. This explains why, when his brothers were killed by the rulers of Ghana, he was spared. Eventually, he became a local leader of the kingdom of Kangaba.

The Mali Empire, under Sundiata Keita, created one of the very first charters of human rights, the Manden Charter, also known as the Kouroukan Fouga. This is an oral, rather than written, charter, which has been passed down by generations of Malinke. The Manden Charter speaks about peace within a diverse nation, the abolition of slavery, education, and food security, among other things.

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