Did This Rich Ruler Achieve His Social Goal?

Catalan Atlas
Leslie Taylor-Grover
October 21, 2020

Passionate, progressive, and successful ruler of Mali, Abu Bakr II had already set up trade routes to Egypt and India. His kingdom had grown rich – but now he had a MUCH more ambitious goal.

Bakr wanted to travel to the ends of the Atlantic Ocean! It was the early 1300s, well before white exploration. Unlike white colonizers who wanted to dominate and destroy, Bakr dreamed of unifying kingdoms across the world. What was his plan?

He would build on existing trade routes, traversing the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. He’d sailed over 200 ships in an earlier expedition, but he’d lost many of his men and ships. Still, he refused to give up. This time he sent 2,000 ships! Would his second expedition succeed?

Technically, we don’t know. Bakr never returned from his second expedition; he and his men were never heard from again. We don’t know if he made contact with all the kingdoms along the ocean or not, but we do know South American and Carribean nations have documented meeting Black men with gold.

What happened?

Scientists think his expedition was swept westward and destroyed. 

Bakr had a vision for his people, and he did his best to make it happen. Our dreams for our community can change the course of history as Bakr sought to do. How are you working toward making your dreams come true?

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