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There were numerous reasons for the decline of Ghana. The King lost his trading monopoly, at the same time drought began and had a long-term effect on the land and its ability to sustain cattle and cultivation. Within the Arab tradition, there is the knowledge that the Almoravid Muslims came from North Africa and invaded Ghana. Other interpretations are that the Almoravid influence was gradual and did not involve any form of military takeover.

In the 11th and 12th Century, new gold fields began to be mined at Bure (modern Guinea) out of commercial Ghana and new trade routes were opening up further east. Ghana then became the target of attacks by the Sosso ruler, Sumanguru. From this conflict in 1235 came the Malinke people under a new dynamic ruler, Sundiata Keita and soon became eclipsed by the Mali Empire of Sundiata.

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