Popularly called Ali Ber, or “Ali the Great”, Sonni Ali was a West-African monarch who ruled Songhai (a small area in the upper Niger valley) from 1464 to 1492.
The Songhai people, even though had managed to outrun the domination of the Mali Empire, wanted to acquire more territories and other benefits. That is where Sunni stepped in. In 1469, with his army made of an army and a navy, he recorded his first great conquest when he gained control of the rich city of Timbuktu. This city gave Sunni more resources to continue with his move to acquire other vast lands.
In 1475, the city of Djenne fell into his hands after his political marriage to its Queen. Historians say the fall of Djenne gave way to the start of the imperial legacy of the Songhai people.