The Sudanic empires also became centres of Islamic education.
Islam had been introduced in the western Sudan (today's Mali) by Muslim Berber traders from North Africa; it spread rapidly after the conversion of many important rulers.
Its bordering countries are Guinea and Liberia in the west, Burkina Faso and Mali in the north, and Ghana in the east.
The Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) is located south of Ivory Coast.
The territory of the Mali Empire in Ivory Coast was limited to the north-west corner around Odienné.