African Kingdoms Lindsey Cook

Ghana

Physical Description:

  • Located in West Africa.
  • South of the Sahara Desert.
  • Northwest of the Niger River, other major rivers were Gambia River and the Senegal River.

Religion:

  • Islam was the main religion in Ghana.
  • Muslim merchants brought Islam to Ghana while trading. The spread of Islam was slow at first, but when the King became Muslim and appointed other Muslim people to powerful positions, Islam began to rise.
  • Originally Soninke and believed in ancestors and their spirits.

Slave trade:

  • Ghana traded slaves in exchange for salt, horses, cloths, swords, books and other materials.
  • Traded slaves to Arabs, North Africans, and Europeans.

Trading System:

  • Imported salt, horses, swords, and books.
  • Exported gold, ivory, and slaves.
  • Traded with Europeans, Northern Africans, and Arabs.
  • Used silent bartering to trade with other people to keep peace.
  • Trading made Ghana very wealthy because of the tax they placed on travelers.

About the Empire:

  • Lasted from around 300 to 1100 CE.
  • Capital was Koumbi Saleh.
  • Soninke people were united under Dinga Cisse.
  • Reached its peak under Tunka Manin.
  • Later conquered by the Mali Empire.

Culture:

  • Written language, coinage, business methods, and styles of architecture were all influenced by their Muslim faith.

Current Ghana:

  • Market-based economy.
  • Well established in natural resources.
  • 70% of the population practice Christianity.
  • English is official language, but many are bilingual.
  • Presidential Republic.
Art
Mosque
Masks

Mali

Physical Description:

  • Located in Western Africa along the Niger River.
  • Later reached 1,200 miles along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Northern border was the South of the Sahara Desert.

Religion:

  • Islam.
  • Islam reached the Mali Empire by Mali conquering Ghana and the trading that took place between Mali and the Arabs.

Slave Trade:

  • Local people were turned to slaves and sold to Arab Muslims along the Trans-Saharan trade route.

Trading System:

  • Main thing they traded was gold, but also traded great amounts of salt.
  • The trade route ran from Mali through the Sahara Desert to North Africa.
  • Mali grew rich from controlling the trading in West Africa.

About the Empire:

  • Mansa Musa was Mali’s most famous leader. He is known for his pilgrimage to Mecca carrying huge amounts of gold. Mansa Musa gave out lots of gold along the way, making people want to know where it came from, and they came back to Mali too. He brought people and new ideas to Mali.
  • Timbuktu was the center of trade and education.
  • Lasted from 1235-1600 CE.
  • Mali fell because it began to loose control of its borders and Songhai gained power.

Culture:

  • Mali consisted of many small cultural groups, most being people apart of the Mande people.
  • Caste system.
  • Islam was important to the Empire, however it was not forced upon the people.

Current Mali:

  • Among the 25 poorest countries in the world.
  • Landlocked, so they rely on gold mining and agricultural exports to make money.
  • Semi-Presidential Republic.
  • French is official language.
  • 95% of people are Muslim.
Art
Mansa Musa
Mud Mosque

Songhai

Physical Description:

  • Located in West Africa and south of the Sahara Desert along the Niger River.

Religion:

  • Mix of Islam and traditional religions.

Slave Trade:

  • Slaves were used to help transfer goods across the Sahara.
  • Sold to Europe and the Americas.
  • Slaves were usually Prisoners of War and captured when invaders raided.

Trading System:

  • Askia Muhammad, one Mansa of Songhai, took over trade in Africa in 1493. Songhai grew rich and powerful from it.
  • Exported gold and salt.
  • Imported smaller goods and ideas from Europe.

About the Empire:

  • Came to power under the leader, Sunni Ali.
  • 1464-1591
  • To become an empire, Songhai took over key trading spots like Timbuktu and Djenne to conquer the Mali Empire.

Culture:

  • Daily life was based off of normal traditions.
  • Law of the land was based on Islam.

Current Songhai:

  • There is no current Songhai because the Songhai Empire separated.
Caravan
Art

Axum

Physical Description:

  • Located along the southern coast of the Red Sea.
  • Northeast Africa and some of the Arabian Peninsula.

Religion:

  • Practiced Christianity.
  • Later transformed into Coptic Christianity.

Slave Trade:

  • Slaves were exported from Axum and they also traveled through Axum traveling to other merchants.

Trading System:

  • Major center of trade because of perfect location.
  • Traded things like salt, gold, ivory, gems, cloth, glass, and olive oil.
  • Port city was Adulis.

About the Empire:

  • Formed around 400 BCE when Solomon was King of Israel and lasted until about 940 CE.
  • Empire hit its peak at 300 CE under the rule of King Ezana.
  • The end of the Kingdom came when a foreign queen conquered Aksum.
  • Built tall towers called stelae.

Culture:

  • Life revolved around trading.
  • Main language was Greek and the smaller language was Ge’ez.

Current Ethiopia (Aksum):

  • Language is Oromo.
  • Religion is Ethiopian Orthodox.
  • Federal parliamentary republic.
  • Fifth fastest growing economy.
Church
Art

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