Askia the Great (ca. 1442 – 1538, also Muhammad Toure, Askiya) was a Soninke emperor of the Songhai Empire in the late 15th century, the successor of Sunni Ali Ber. Askia Muhammad strengthened his country and made it the largest country in West Africa’s history. At its peak under Muhammad, the Songhai Empire encompassed the Hausa states as far as Kano (in present-day Nigeria) and much of the territory that had belonged to the Mali Empire in the west. His policies resulted in a rapid expansion of trade with Europe and Asia, the creation of many schools, and made Islam an integral part of the empire.
Due to his efforts, Mali experienced a cultural revival it had never witnessed before, and the whole land flourished as a center of all things valuable in learning and trade.[2] Legend has it that he gained the name Askia (which means forceful one) after Sunni Ali Ber’s daughter heard the news of one of his wars.