Part 1: 867-870, The rise of Dongu Ogoona.Europe, 867AD.
During this time Europe was undergoing a period of massive change, Vikings raid England and the northern European countries, the remains of Charlemagne's empire is now three separate countries, all looking to reform the whole. The Roman Empire continues in the east fighting the Muslims who seek to expand their land and spread their religion, meanwhile, internal strife once more strikes the Empire.
This is not our story, at last not yet.
In Africa, a new leader has come to claim the Throne of Ghana, Mansa Igoumou I had died suddenly in a freak accident, leaving the noblemen to cast around for a new leader. In the end, their ineptitude in picking one of their own allowed and unknown man, known to history as Dongu Ogoonu, to rally a large enough force to place himself on the throne.
Dongu was the descendant of a proud tribe of hunters, know as the grey ones, and his personal signal reflected this.
As a man himself, he was an intricate web-weaver, lustful and arbitrary in nature, and known to be deceitful in nature, he was diligent, and well loved by his men.
Upon his coronation, he discarded his desert clothing and put on the more ceremonial attire of the Mansa of Ghana.
Ghana herself was of good size, and made up of four provinces, all under the direct control of the Mansa. Doumbi Saleh was the capital. These were not wealthy lands, while each had a fortified castle guarding it, that was all of note in Niono, Oualata and Kirana both had a city and the capital had a city and a temple of the Sahelian religion.
Surrounding Ghana were a number of other countries, many of them only one province in size, and only Gao being able to match Ghana in size.
The army that had helped put Dongu into power numbered little over a thousand men.
In the matters of religion, all in Ghana follow the Sahelian faith, and three of the five holy sites can be found within her boarders. The other two are far to the north along the North African coast.
To help him rule, Dongu had assembled a council of the wise and the great. All these men were at least compitent at their job, and all but the Grand Vizier disliked him. But if a man was not watching his Grand Vizier for trechery, then he did not deserve to be king, and Bankanu was exceptional at his job.
Several other Pretenders stood behind Dongu, and the laws of the land state that all of a kings lands should be split amongst his sons, with the greatest title going to the eldest.
Dongu was unmarried, but, in a strange quirk of fate, every other African lord below the Sahara was
in the same state unmarried and childless! How an event like this came about, we will never know.
Dongu, like every other lord on that new years day set about fulfilling the ambition to find himself a worthy wife. With no useful diplomatic marriages possible, Dongu turns to his own court, and finds but one woman in the whole realm who is suitable. Djenly is lowborn, and does not like the kind much, but she is Ghanan, and that counts for much!
Djenly's family are at least rich, and the choice between the hundred gold dowry and the good will and prestige from turning it down was a hard choice for a Mansa who had only just risen to the throne. In the end the impoverished state of the nation meant that Dongu took the gold.
There were other ways to get prestige, and Dongu know that with all the other African kingdoms in the same state as him, now was the best time to strike fast and take land Bamako was targeted as the first conquest.
The High Priest was informed he was joined Ghana, and the troops marched forwards to enforce this. Meanwhile Dongu spends most of his money on a new village outside his castle, in an attempt to increase the cultivation of the land and provide more money for the royal coffers.
Dongu Ogoonu's first battle was a stunning victory.
While Steward Kabyo lead three hundred men to hunt down the remains of the enemy army, Dongu and his forces settled in for a siege.
Dongu's troops scale the walls and take the castle. News comes from the battlefield of Kabyo's death in battle, and he is replaced by a less able man. The battles do continue to destroy the Bamako will to fight.
Djenly is pregnant! Could the dynastic worries of Dongu be over?
Two days later, Bamako is added to Ghana's lands. High Priest Kozie becomes Dongu's first vassal.
While things are quiet in Ghana, news filters down from Europe.
Although Dongu claimed that he had already read this news in the stars.
Some may scoff, but they could say nothing about his domestic policies.
A little over a year after taking power, and Aissata is born.
The child is weak however, and the Mansa's first child does not survives the birth. This terrible news is followed by the news that the new lands in the capital are not as fertile as once hoped.
The Spymaster at least has good news.
As Dongu's rule continued, he was at the foremost in setting legal precedents which were backed up by loyal courtiers.
Lacking claims on the lands around him, Dongu carries on ruling the best he can, before Djenly falls pregnant again in late 869.
It is said that this may be due to the fact that for every book on myscisism Dongu bought, he purchased a different sort of book for his wife.
Although it should not be said that the Mansa was not expanding his realm in other ways.
Finally Dongu was graced with a son. Kabayo.
Noticing that Goa had been expanding rapidly, Dongu approached the lords of Djenne, Yaresena, Niani and Bobo, offering them the protection of Ghana.
They all agree, and Ghana swells rapidly. Even Dongu himeself could not have been expecting this much of a increase in the size of his kingdom.
It is in this period that a popular historian has declared that Ghana decided to give history the finger
A relatively short update, only covering a few years, but I wanted to bed down and that was too good a place not to stop....