The history of Songhai can be traced back to the 17th century under a long line of Dias (Kings or Emperors). After Mali lost its power, Songhai was there to assume its role as the last of the Great Three ancient West African empires. Askia Mohammed, born Muhammad Ture in 1443, became Dia about the time Columbus was claiming discovery of America for Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. The kingdom of Askia Mohammed, referred to as Askia the Great, covered most of West Africa and was greater than all of the European states combined.
Songhai was at its height during the 15th and 16th centuries. The people of Songhai were highly intelligent, industrious, and aggressively invincible both as traders and warriors.
Askia the Great was known for his fighting prowess as a military commander, but his political reformation of the Songhai empire has always been very impressive to historians and interested people. He took the void left by the Mali Empire, merged with many of their people and created a marvel for the world to appreciate.