By the late twelfth century, the formerly dominant
Ghana Empire had collapsed, following internal strife and political intervention of the
Almoravids in the eleventh century. A number of smaller neighboring states rushed to fill the power void, including the
Sosso people of the Kaniaga kingdom, and the
Mandinka people of the Upper
Niger. Under the leadership of Soumaro Kanté, the Sosso seized
Koumbi Saleh, former capital of the Ghana Empire, and expanded outward, conquering the Mandinka among others.