The factor that contributed to the fall of the Songhai Empire was a civil war that erupted in 1591. This led to a Moroccan invasion of the medieval West African kingdom.
The Songhai Empire emerged during the decline of the Mali Empire and was the last and most extensive among the three pre-colonial domains in West Africa. The kingdom established its capital at Gao, located on the Niger River, with its main livelihood centered on trading. The military leader Sunni Ali Ber became the first ruler of the empire who was credited for vast territorial expansions. In 1591, a civil war occurred, which paved the way for the Moroccan invasion led by Sultan Ahmad I al-Mansur Saadi and eventually led to the collapse of the Songhai Empire.