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Askia Mohammad I (c. 1442 AD – 1538 AD) was the emperor of the Songhai Empire. He leads the Songhai in Civilization V.


Askia in game

Askia speaks Zarma, the most widely spoken Songhai language. On his diplomacy screen, he is standing on a cliff in front of a city he conquered - likely Djenne because the building in the background looks like the Great Mosque of Djenne - and the fires behind him are actually purposely lit. He carries a sword.

Capital: Gao

Unique Unit: Mandekalu Cavalry

Unique Building: Mud Pyramid Mosque

Unique Ability: River Warlord

Voice Actor: Mori Majid

AI Traits[]

Trait Amount
Competitiveness 5 (7-3)
Wonder Competitiveness 8 (10-6)
City-State Influence Competitiveness 4 (6-2)
Boldness 7 (9-5)
Diplobalance 6 (8-4)
Hate Warmongers 4 (6-2)
Willingness to Denounce 5 (7-3)
Willingness to Declare Friendship 6 (8-4)
Loyalty 6 (8-4)
Neediness 4 (6-2)
Forgiveness 4 (6-2)
Chattiness 5 (7-3)
Meanness 5 (7-3)
Offensive Unit Production 8 (10-6)
Defensive Unit Production 4 (6-2)
Defensive Building Production 5 (7-3)
Military Training Buildings Production 6 (8-4)
Recon Unit Production 5 (7-3)
Ranged Unit Production 5 (7-3)
Mobile Unit Production 7 (9-5)
Naval Unit Production 6 (8-4)
Naval Recon Unit Production 6 (8-4)
Air Unit Production 4 (6-2)
Naval Growth 6 (8-4)
Naval Tile Improvements 6 (8-4)
Water Connections 6 (8-4)
Expansion 5 (7-3)
Growth 6 (8-4)
Tile Improvements 5 (7-3)
Infrastructure (Roads) 5 (7-3)
Production Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Gold Emphasis 8 (10-6)
Science Emphasis 4 (6-2)
Culture Emphasis 6 (8-4)
Happiness Emphasis 4 (6-2)
Great People Emphasis 6 (8-4)
Wonder Emphasis 3 (5-1)
Religion Emphasis 7 (9-5)
Diplomacy Victory 5 (7-3)
Spaceship Victory 8 (10-6)
Nuke Production 5 (7-3)
Use of Nukes 5 (7-3)
Use of Espionage 5 (7-3)
Anti-Air Production 5 (7-3)
Air Carrier Production 6 (8-4)
Land Trade Route Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Sea Trade Route Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Archaeology Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Trade Origin Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Trade Destination Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Airlift Emphasis 5 (7-3)
Likeliness to Declare War 7 (9-5)
Likeliness to be Hostile 6 (8-4)
Likeliness to be Deceptive 4 (6-2)
Likeliness to be Guarded 6 (8-4)
Likeliness to be Afraid 3 (5-1)
Likeliness to be Friendly 6 (8-4)
Likeliness to be Neutral 5 (7-3)
Ignore City-States 5 (7-3)
Friendliness to City-States 5 (7-3)
Protection of City-States 4 (6-2)
Conquest of City-States 8 (10-6)
Bullying of City-States 7 (9-5)

Personality and Behavior[]

Askia will normally pursue a domination victory.

Askia is an aggressive leader who often wages wars against other leaders. On the other hand, he is quite easy to get along with eventually.

Askia tends to raise a large offensive military force consisting primarily of mounted or armored units, such as Horsemen. His navy will be pretty good as well.

Askia is very keen on gathering Gold Gold, and also puts a high priority on religion.

Askia has a strong tendency to attack and bully city-states.

Askia will also try to build as many wonders as possible. Building wonders that he covets is very likely to anger him.

Civilopedia entry[]


Moḥammad ibn Abī Bakr Ture, also known as Moḥammad I Askia (reigned 1493–1528), welded the central region of the western Niger into a single Songhai empire, the largest in African history. Although he fought several military campaigns, he is primarily remembered for reorganizing, modernizing and bringing stability to the Songhai. He is also remembered for making a famous pilgrimage to Mecca.

Early History[]

Askia was a general under Sunni Ali, the first great leader of the Songhai Empire. Ali extended Songhai control along the Niger River, capturing the wealthy cities of Timbuktu and Jenne. Although nominally a Muslim, Ali continued to practice African animism as well, tolerating Muslim and non-Muslims within his kingdom. In 1492 Ali died in a freak accident; he and his horse fell in a river and were swept over a waterfall. Ali was succeeded by his son, Sunni Baru. Askia almost immediately began plotting Baru's overthrow, successfully gaining power in 1493 with the assistance of Muslim rebels.

Pilgrimage to Mecca[]

1495, two years after he took the throne, Askia undertook a pilgrimage to Mecca. This pilgrimage has become famous for the pomp, style and wealth Askia displayed during the long journey. In Mecca Askia met the Caliph of Egypt, who appointed him the Caliph's religious representative, giving him the title "Caliph of West Africa." In a more colorful version of the events, the chronicler Mahmud Kati, who accompanied Muḥammad, wrote that the jinn (demons) of Mecca had Askia named caliph. By the time Askia returned to Songhai in 1497, he was deeply committed to Islam. During his reign Askia enthusiastically supported the religious universities in Timbuktu, and he opened many mosques and religious schools across Songhai.

Military Expansion[]

During his reign Askia expanded the empire to the north, south, and west, fighting successful campaigns against various neighboring cities and kingdoms. Not all of his battles were successful, however, and he is generally acknowledged to be an adequate but not exceptional military leader.

Organization of the Empire[]

As the empire grew, it became increasingly difficult to manage. Askia divided the regions into provinces, each under a governor. He expanded the Songhai court, creating the posts of directors of finance, justice, interior, agriculture, waters and forests, and of the "tribes of the white race" (the Moors and Tuareg subjects of Songhai). He also created a standing army and navy (the latter consisting of war canoes).

In addition, Askia restructured the tax system and imposed regulations on agriculture, hunting and fishing.

Verdict of History[]

Askia ruled for some thirty-five years. In 1528, old and blind, he was deposed by one of his sons, dying some 10 years later. He is judged to be an extremely competent administrator, his reign a golden age for religion and knowledge in Western Africa. While not a great general, he was able to expand his empire and to hold on to what he had taken until age robbed him of his powers. Overall, Askia is generally considered to be one of the best sub-Saharan rulers in history.


Codename Quote (English translation) Quote (Zarma) Notes
Attacked 01 AND 02 Fool. You have doomed your people to fire and destruction. OR Wretched scoundrel! You shall pay for this!  ?
Attacked 03 You will burn quickly for this, I swear it. Ni ga ton wane waasi!, Ay ze nda no.
Declares War Villain! You are an abomination to heaven and earth. You shall be destroyed! OR You are ignorant savages. You must be destroyed.  ?
Defeated We have been consumed by the fires of hatred and rage. Enjoy your victory in this world - you shall pay a heavy price in the next!  ?
Hate Hello Oh, it's you.  ?
Hate Let's Hear It 01 And?  ?
Hate Let's Hear It 02 Continue!
(lit. "Go away!")
Hate No 01 That's unacceptable. Wane waw sinda lakkal!
Hate No 02 You cannot be serious!  ?
Hate No 03 We decline.  ?
Hate Yes 01 Oh, very well.  ?
Hate Yes 02 All right.  ?
Intro I am Askia of the Songhai. We are a fair people - but those who cross us will find only destruction. You would do well to avoid repeating the mistakes others have made in the past.  ?
Neutral Hello Greetings.  ?
Neutral Let's Hear It 01 Yes?  ?
Neutral Let's Hear It 02 Proceed.  ?
Neutral No 01 No.  ?
Neutral No 02 Of course not.  ?
Neutral Yes 01 Very well.  ?
Neutral Yes 02 Yes! Ah'hoh!
Peaceful We thank you for bringing an end to this pointless war.  ?
Request Can I interest you in this deal?  ?


Askia Loading Screen (Civ5).jpg

May the blessings of God, who is greatest of all, be upon you Askia, leader of the Songhai people! For many years your kingdom was a vassal of the mighty West African state of Mali, until the middle of the 14th century, when King Sunni Ali Ber wrested independence from the Mali, conquering much territory and fighting off numerous foes who sought to destroy him. Ultimately, his conquest of the wealthy cities of Timbuktu and Jenne gave the growing Songhai empire the economic power to survive for some 100 years, until the empire was destroyed by foes with advanced technology - muskets against spearmen.

King Askia, your people look to you to lead them to glory. To make them powerful and wealthy, to keep them supplied with the weapons they need to defeat any foe. Can you save them from destruction, oh King? Can you build a civilization that will stand the test of time?


Civilization V Leaders [edit]
Ahmad al-Mansur BNW-only.pngAlexanderAshurbanipal BNW-only.pngAskiaAttila GodsKings5 clear.pngAugustus CaesarBismarckBoudicca GodsKings5 clear.pngCasimir III BNW-only.pngCatherineDarius IDido GodsKings5 clear.pngElizabethEnrico Dandolo BNW-only.pngGajah Mada BNW-only.pngGandhiGenghis Khan1Gustavus Adolphus GodsKings5 clear.pngHaile Selassie GodsKings5 clear.pngHarald Bluetooth1Harun al-RashidHiawathaIsabella1Kamehameha1Maria I BNW-only.pngMaria Theresa GodsKings5 clear.pngMontezumaNapoleonNebuchadnezzar II1Oda NobunagaPacal GodsKings5 clear.pngPachacuti1Pedro II BNW-only.pngPocatello BNW-only.pngRamesses IIRamkhamhaengSejong1Shaka BNW-only.pngSuleimanTheodora GodsKings5 clear.pngWashingtonWilliam GodsKings5 clear.pngWu Zetian
1 Requires a DLC

GodsKings5 clear.png Valid only in the Gods & Kings expansion pack.
BNW-only.png Valid only in the Brave New World expansion pack.