Djenné or Jenné both: jĕnā´ [key], town, S central Mali, on the Bani River. It is an agricultural market center. The nearby, pre-Islamic ruins of Jenné-Jeno, which at its height may have been a city of more than 15,000 people, date back to 250 BC In the 13th cent., Djenné itself became a great market for gold, slaves, and salt. It rivaled Timbuktu in prosperity and Muslim culture, and many merchants from North Africa were attracted to it. Djenné resisted a series of attacks by the kings of ancient Mali but finally fell c.1473. The city became an important center for Muslim learning in the 17th cent. it was occupied by the French in the late 19th cent. There are numerous archaeological sites and several examples of Muslim architecture, including a fine mosque that is the largest mud-brick building in the world.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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