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The development of the region’s economy allowed more centralized states and civilizations to form, beginning with Dhar Tichitt that began in 1600 B. C. followed by Djenn√©-Djenno beginning in 300 B. C. This was then succeeded by the Ghana Empire that first flourished between the 9th and 12th centuries, which later gave way to the Mali Empire. In current-day Mauritania, there exist archaeological sites in the towns of Tichit and Oualata that were initially constructed around 2000 B. C. , and were found to have originated from the Soninke branch of the Mand√© peoples, who, according to their tradition, originate from Aswan, Egypt. Also, based on the archaeology of city of Kumbi Saleh in modern-day Mauritania, the Mali empire came to dominate much of the region until its defeat by Almoravid invaders in 1052.

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