Between 476 and 639 North Africa was not widely influenced by Germanic Europe or the Byzantine Empire. In the years 639-642 Arabs used force and generosity to overtake Egypt. The Arabs were drawn to the area due to the rich soil of the Nile Valley which would then enrich the Islamic caliphate.
By 750 more than 1 million Arabs moved to Egypt bringing forth great religious influences. Most Egyptians eventually converted to Islam. This was partially due to the muslims exception from taxes and coercion. The prosperity Arabs experienced within Egypt led them to move the expansion to the west into North Africa
It was clear to the Arabs that the natives in Northern Africa were afraid of each other as much as they were afraid of muslims. The Arabs used this to their military advantage and inhabitant groups that refused to cooperate fell one by one paving the way for a Muslim Invasion of sorts.
By 711 the Islamic Empire stretched across the entire North Africa Region and began to move into Spain. From Spain Muslims attempted to move into France but were quickly shut down by the Franks at Tours in 732/733.
After Islam's conquest of North Africa eager to increase both their faith and their fortune Muslim merchants replaced Jewish financiers and many traders and camel drivers converted to Islam.
The expansion of trade increased wealth within West Africa leading to the creation of two empire the Ghana and the Mali which added a centralized government to a society of which was previously divided.
Islamic Mandinke people controlled central trade routes and in 1235 following a long struggle within Mandinke tribes, King Sundial emerged victorious and created Mali which became the successor state to Ghana.
Building upon Mali's power and prosperity a monarch by the name of Kankan Musa, or Mansa Musa, ruled twice the amount of territory when compared to Ghana. At the hight of his reign he is considered to be the wealthiest ruler in West African history.
Mansa Musa's wealth made a powerful impression on the Arab world. He is known for bringing Mali to thee eyes of the world. Muslims were amazed by his holdings.
Poets, astronomers, theologians traveled to Mali from across the Arab world seeking riches and the excitement of the new Empire. Mansa Musa wished to turn Timbuktu into a hub for education and culture, building a dormitory and new mosques.
However, in the 1330s Musa told visitors he was hesitant to force the Mandinke to surrender their previous beliefs.
Mali's ruler had enough wealth to employ a large army to protect the territory. This unfortunately did not guarantee the fate of Mali. Between 1464 and 1492, the Songhai King reasserted the Songhai tribe by issuing animism against Islam caring out military action of which would eventually destroy Mali.
Sources: Judge, Edward H., and John W. Langdon. Connections: A World History. Boston: Pearson, 2016. Print.