A term used in 19th century Sierra Leone to refer to Muslim, ethnically Soso (q.v.), elites who had set up a state called Moriah in the hinterland around the Scarcies, Melakori and Forekaria rivers. With the Fulas (q.v.) they were thought of by Europeans as representing a higher state of African civilisation than the indigenous African peoples along the coast. In Liberia the term was used to refer to people of Mande origin whose language became a lingua franca widely used in trade. A type of overshirt with distinctive embroidered decoration worn by 'big men' in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the 19th and early 20th centuries was commonly known as a 'Mandingo gown'.