Battle of Tondibi

Battle of Tondibi
Date13 March 1591
LocationTondibi, Mali
  • Decisive Moroccan victory
  • Collapse of the Songhai Empire
Flag of Morocco 1258 1659.svg Sultanate of MoroccoSonghai Empire
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Morocco 1258 1659.svg Judar PashaAskia Ishaq II

2,500 Infantry equipped with Arquebus
500 Infantry equipped with bows, lances and swords
1,500 Light Cavalry

6 cannons

9,700 infantry
12,500 cavalry

1,000 cattle
Casualties and losses
UnknownUnknown but reportedly heavy losses

The Battle of Tondibi was the decisive confrontation in Morocco's 16th-century invasion of the Songhai Empire. Though vastly outnumbered, the Moroccan forces under Judar Pasha defeated the Songhai Askia Ishaq II, guaranteeing the Empire's downfall.


The Songhai had been the dominant force in Western Africa for more than a century, controlling the Western Sudan from the headwaters of the Senegal River to what is now Niger; however, a rivalry for succession after the 1583 death of Askia Daoud left the Empire in a weakened state.

Meanwhile, to the north, the Saadi Dynasty of Morocco was at the height of its power. In 1578, an attempt by Portugal to conquer Morocco had been repelled by the Moroccans at the Battle of Alcácer Quibir, where a large Portuguese army was decimated. However, the amount of money spent paying for the defenses used to hold off the Portuguese was a large strain on Morocco. The nation's coffers were depleted, and Morocco was on the verge of bankruptcy. In search of new resources for his kingdom, Sultan Ahmad I al-Mansur Saadi turned his attention to the Songhai Empire, where he erroneously believed the gold mines from which its wealth came from, were located.

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