Capital: Kansala

Culture: Mandinka

Religion: Traditional

Government: Sudanic

Ruler: Farin, later Mansa/Mansaba, Queen: Mansa Musow



Also called Gabu, Guabu, and Kabu.

Nanco founding lineage

Semi-autonomous vassal of Mali. Had many vassals and tributaries.


Dominated surrounding kingdoms and peoples making them tributaries

Large amount of wars and slaving.

Important trade center of Farim. Nobels prefired to leave trade to subjects.

Provincial rulers under Mali called Farim/Faren and the ruler of Kaabu as referred to as such under Mali.

Declined following the decline of the slave trade.

Taxed heavily and maintained tight oversight of trade


Three provinces; Pachana (Pathiana) at the headwaters of the Rio Geba, the main river in Guinea-Bissau, Jimara (Djimara) south of the headwaters of the the Gambia River; and Sama on the Casamance.


The three “Nyanthio” territories ruled Kaabu in turn. The dynasties were said to descend from Princess Balaba who is said to have given birth to three daughters who founded the liniages. Other alternate tails exist however.


“Nyanthioya” was the system of rotational rule between the three territories matrilineally descended clans. This system persisted until the downfall of Kaabu. The system was prolby established with the moving of the capital to Kansala. The system was probably in place by the 14th century.

Mansa of Kaabu was selected from the eldest of the leaders of the royal provinces. The selection was done on a rotation basis along matrilineal lines from eligible members of the ruling Sane and Mane families. Each provincial capital town was fortified and had a regular guard. Some of these armed forces could be supplied to the Mansa in time of war. The degree of centralized control of the Empire of Mali slipped away in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.