Ghana: Mostly savanna grasslands and the main religion was Islam. Up to 100,000 people were exported to France, Great Britain, and Spain a year.
They traded gold and ivory for salt, cloth, and swords from north Africa and Europe. The peak of the empire began around AD 800.
They spoke Soninke and Mande while the faith of Islam slowly spread throughout the empire. Today Ghana is now in an entirely different region and was given the same name; it gained independence in 1957.
Mali: Savanna grassland with a higher plateau farther north. The main religion was Islam but they were not forced into it. Millions of Africans were kidnapped and forced into slavery by Europeans.
They mostly traded salt and gold at their many trading posts. The king, Mansa Musa, might have been the wealthiest person in history.
A caste system was implemented and one of the most respected groups were farmers. Mali is currently the eighth largest African country with a population of 14.5 million occupants.
Songhai: Included rainforests, edges of the Sahara, and savanna grasslands. People believed in both tradition polytheistic African religions and Islam.
Slaves were usually war captured and transported goods across the Sahara; some slaves were also sold to Europeans.
Most trading and income consisted of gold and salt. Askia Muhammad brought the empire to its height in 1493, it also used a class system, in which nobles and direct descendants were ranked highest. The empire ended in 1591 when Morocco invaded, splitting it up into smaller states.
Axum/Aksum: Consisted of fringes of the Sahara, to land by the Red Sea. The people were originally polytheistic but later converted to Christianity.
Many people were captured as slaves and sold. Traders traveled very long distances to trade for ivory, gold, turtle shell, and emeralds with silk and spices.
Greek was the standard language because of how many Greek traders came there. They created buildings without using mortar by by cutting them into pieces that fit snugly together. Axum is currently still alive, and is a city in northern Ethiopia.
Benin: Was located at the foothills of mountains and was very wooded. They were polytheistic and had witchdoctors that could talk to the gods.
They imported slaves bought by Europeans and resold them in Ghana. People traded outside of Benin and negotiated for very long amounts of time for various products.
If any good were stolen, they would not trade until the goods or others of equal value were returned to the owner. Art was made out of cloth and wood and is still displayed today. It was eventually conquered by the British in the late 1800's, but lasted over 1800 years.
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