African Kingdoms


Physical Description: Medieval Mali was located in West Africa along the Niger River. It spreads 1,200 miles from the city of Gao to the Atlantic Ocean. The Northern border was south of the Sahara Desert.

Religion: Religion was very important in government. The kings of Mali practiced Islam but did not force people to convert. Most people practiced Islam that combined with other traditions.

Slave Trade: Mansa Musa brought slaves to Mecca in 1324. Sundiata took over all slave trade afterwards.

Trade System: Mali controlled important trade routes across the Sahara Desert, Europe and Middle East. They were also one of Africa's largest gold suppliers.

Information: Mali's most famous ruler was Mansa Musa. The government was lead by the emperor. The empire was divided into provinces that were led by a governor also called a Ferba. The capital was Niani but Timbuktu was considered to be the center. Their wealth came from gold and salt mines. In the 1400s they began to lose control along the borders. The entire empire ended in 1610 with the death of the last Mansa, Muhammud the Fifth.

Culture: People were divided into different caste. The most respected was farmers because they supplied the empire with food. Everyone in Mali spoke similar languages.

This is the Empire of Mali


Physical Description: Ghana was places between the Sahara Desert and Niger River. It was divided into ten regions and had fertile land,plains,and rainfall. It was mostly savanna grass lands.

Religion: The people of Ghana believe in many gods and godesses.

Trade System: Iron and gold were traded. They had trade realtions with Muslims in Northern Africa and the Middle east. Large caravans with camels were used to transport trade goods across the Sahara Desert.

Slave Trade: They sold more slaves than the ever bought.

Information: Ghana ruled from 300 to 1100 CE. The Sonike peoples were united under their first king, Dinga Cisse to form the empire. The government was a feudal government with local kings. The called their kingdom "Wagadu". Alot of what we know about Ghana comes from Al-Bakri.

Culture: They dressed wealthily in kente uoth. Main dish was fufu (plaintains). The language they spoke was Soninke.


Physical Description: Songhai was south of the Sahara Desert and by the Niger River. The capital city was Gao.

Religion: West African beliefs and Islam was the religoin. Nobles were Muslim and commoms believed in old gods.

Slave Trade: Slaves were sold to Europeans to work there and America. Anyone could be captured and sold.

Trade System: Songhai traded with Morocco and the Middle East. They traded gold and salt. Timbuktu was a important city of trade.

Information:Askia Muhammad was the leader f Songhai is 1493. He was the founder of the Askia dynasty. The government was divided into 5 different provinces. All governors, judges, and town cheifs were muslim. In the mid 1500s the empire weakened due to civil war.


Physical Description: Askum was located on the southern coast of the Red Sea. They sometimes held parts of the Arabian Peninsula. It covered much of the modern day country of Eritrea, Northen Ethiopia and Sudan.

Religion: When king Ezana became Christian, it became the main religion of Askum. Before then they were Judaic.

Trading System: Most exports from Askum were agricultural products. They traded gold,iron deposits,and salt. Their currency was gold coins.

Information: Askum people had thier own alphabet. Giant obelisks marked where and emperors tomb laid. Climate chnage greatly contributed to their decline.

Culture: They were the most advanced western kingdom. They developed a written language and minted their own coins. They also developed terraced farming.

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