The actual city of DJENNE was founded between the end of the 9th century and the beginning of the 10th century by the MARKA tribe, which originated in DIA. Remembering their home town, they called the new city DIANI, meaning "little DIA," which has been altered over time to DJENNE.
The first inhabitants of DJENNE were the BOZO, also called the BWA, now living in the west side of the city (KANAFA). Archaeological researchers have proven that this region was inhabited as early as 250 BC, at the site of DJENNE-DJENO. That occupation ended in 1400 AD. Today DJENNE is considered the oldest city in AFRICA. It is also considered one of the most beautiful in AFRICA because of its architecture. DJENNE is a very historic and cultural place. Because of its wealth, DJENNE has been successively dominated by:
The country was controlled by the French from April 12, 1893 to September 22, 1960. Its population is made up of MARKA, MOSSI, SONGHOY, PEUL, BAMBARA, BOZO, DOGON, etc.
Several archaeological sites confirm that human occupation is very ancient in DJENNE, and its surrounding area. The best known are DJENNE-DJENO, KANIANA, and TONOMBA.
The uniqueness of the city resides in it architecture. The MOSQUE OF DJENNE witnesses that. In 1280, the 26th king of Djenne converted to Islam and built the mosque of Djenne. There are also houses built in Sudanese style.
In the years following KOI KOMBORA's conversion to Islam, Djenne became the center of diffusion of Islam in West Africa.