The Manding are a West African people that now live in Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. They speak Mande which is a subgroup of the Mandekan language group.
During the 1200's, Mande speaking people lived in independent states in Africa. The largest of these was the Malinke state, where the Mali Empire originated. Their ancestors, the Malinke or Manding were part of this powerful Empire that lasted from 1240 to 1500 A.D. They are proud of their heritage and this is seen in the importance that is given to the birth of a first born son.
They are known as agriculturists, growing millet and sorghum as their main crops. They also have small herds of cattle as a sign of prestige and also for trading. Those that live in rural communities do not live in the traditional style house which is circular with thatched straw roofs. These are usually grouped with other houses and have a large enclosure which surrounds the entire grouping.
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