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Abu Bakr II

Abu Bakr II (fl. 14th century), also spelled Abubakri and known as Mansa Qu, may have been the ninth mansa of the Mali Empire. He succeeded his nephew Mansa Mohammed ibn Gao and preceded Mansa Musa. Abu Bakr II abdicated his throne in order to explore "the limits of the ocean".


  • Background 1
  • Reign 2
  • Trans-Atlantic travel 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Abu Bakar was one of two sons of Kolonkan, a sister of the founding emperor Sundjata Keita. He was the last of a mini-dynasty within the Keita clan of emperors descending from Kolonkan. After his abdication in 1311, the Faga Laye mini-dynasty would control the empire.


Virtually all that is known of Abu Bakr II is from the account of Chihab al-Umari. Al-Umari visited Cairo after Mansa Musa stopped there during his historic hajj to Mecca, and recorded a conversation between Musa and his host, Abu'l Hasan Ali ibn Amir Habib. According to Musa, Abu Bakr became convinced that he could find the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and outfitted an expedition of three ships to find it. Only one of those ships returned; the captain related that the expedition had come to a "river with a powerful current" in the ocean. The current took most of the fleet away, after which the captain turned back.

According to Musa, Abu Bakr was undeterred and launched an even larger expedition with himself as the head, departing with 2000 vessels for his men and a like number for supplies. He left Musa, his vizier, as his deputy during his absence. The expedition was never heard from again, and Musa became the next emperor.[1][2][3]

Trans-Atlantic travel

Several researchers, including Ivan van Sertima formerly of Rutgers University, and Malian researcher Gaoussou Diawara, proposed that Abu Bakr II traveled to the New World.[4][5] [6]

Some other archaeologists, anthropologists, ethnohistorians, linguists, and other modern pre-Columbian scholars say that there is no evidence of any such voyage reaching the Americas, and that there are insufficient evidential grounds to suppose there has been contact between Africa and the New World at any point in the pre-Columbian era.

For views representative of this point of view, see the considerations on the question advanced in Haslip-Viera et al. (1997), who for example note "no genuine African artifact has ever been found in a controlled archaeological excavation in the New World". See also the supporting responses in peer-review printed in the article, by David Browman, Michael D. Coe, Ann Cyphers, Peter Furst, and other academics active in the field. Ortiz de Montellano et al. (1997, passim.) continues the case against Africa-Americas contacts. Other prominent Mesoamerican specialists such as UCR Riverside anthropology professor Karl Taube are confident that "There simply is no material evidence of any Pre-Hispanic contact between the Old World and Mesoamerica before the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century".[7] A BBC article titled "Africa's greatest explorer", summarizes the controversy from the perspectives of the scholars and historians in Mali.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Abbas Hamdani, An Islamic Background to the Voyages of Discovery. Language and Literature" in The Legacy of Muslim Spain (Studien Und Texte Zur Geistesgeschichte Des Mittelalters), 1994, ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi.
  2. ^ Thornton, 9, 13.
  3. ^ Hussain Bukhari, Zahid (1 Jan 2004). Muslims' Place in the American Public Square: Hope, Fears, and Aspirations. Rowman Altamira. p. xvi-xvi .  
  4. ^ Garifuna Foundation
  5. ^ New Day Films, "The Garifuna Journey Study Guide" (1998)
  6. ^ a b Africa's Greatest Explorer - BBC (2000)
  7. ^ (Taube 2004, p. 1)


  • Austen, Ralph A.; Jan A. M. M. Jansen (1996). "History, Oral Transmission and Structure in Ibn Khaldun's Chronology of Mali Rulers" ( 
  • Baxter, Joan (2000-12-13). Written at Mali. "'"Africa's 'greatest explorer.  
  • Bell, Nawal Morcos (1972). "The Age of Mansa Musa of Mali: Problems in Succession and Chronology". International Journal of African Historical Studies (New York: Africana Publishing, for the  
  • Haslip-Viera, Gabriel; Bernard Ortiz de Montellano; Warren Barbour (June 1997). "Robbing Native American Cultures: Van Sertima's Afrocentricity and the Olmecs" (Reproduced online).  
  • Levtzion, Nehemia (1963). "The Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Kings of Mali". Journal of African History (Cambridge:  
  • Levtzion, Nehemia (1977). "The western Mahgrib and Sudan". In  
  • Masonen, Pekka (2000). The Negroland Revisited: Discovery and Invention of the Sudanese Middle Ages. Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, Ser. Humaniora, no. 309. Helsinki:  
  • Ortiz de Montellano, Bernard; Gabriel Haslip-Viera; Warren Barbour (Spring 1997). "They Were NOT Here before Columbus: Afrocentric Hyperdiffusionism in the 1990s". Ethnohistory (Durham, NC:  
  • Thornton, John K. A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1250-1820. Cambridge University Press.  
Preceded by
Mohammed ibn Gao
Mansa of the Mali Empire
Succeeded by
Kankan Musa I

External links

  • Malian praise singer Sadio Diabate, singing about Abubakar II - BBC World Service Audio
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