Around 1400 A.D., a strong military leader by the name of Sunni Ali led his forces in a succession of battle victories. Through these victories, Sunni Ali conquered much of the former Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali.
Upon his death, Sunni Ali left rule of his kingdom to his son. Sunni Ali was Muslim, but his son was not. The people rebelled against their new non-muslim king, and instead installed their own king, a man named Askia Muhammad.
In 1528 A.D., Muhammad was overthrown by his son. Following this event, the Kingdom of Songhai entered a period of war and decline. This war weakened the kingdom so that by 1589 A.D. they were unable to defend themselves against invading armies from Morocco.