African Kingdoms Jordan ozment

Map of ancient Ghana

Ghana is known for having lush forests, diverse animal life, fertile land, and sandy beaches. About one-half of the population is Christian, about one-fifth is Muslim, and another one-fifth follows indigenous religions. Indigenous religions are based on belief in the existence of a higher being, a number of lesser deities associated with various natural events. People in Ghana also worshiped their dead ancestors because they believed they influenced events in current times and could help them. Ghana did participate in slave trade, but they usually sold more slaves than they bought. Trading was originally centered on the gold that was readily available in the area, but eventually the focus shifted to slave trade in the 17th century. Later Ghana became known for growing cocoa beans. Cocoa beans are an important export for Ghana. Ghana mostly traded with the Arabs and taxed them for what they brought in and what they took out. Gold was exported, and salt from imported into Ghana. Most people in ancient Ghana were farmers, and salt was extremely valuable and taxed heavily by the King of Ghana. Ghana gained most of its wealth from trading iron and gold. In ancient Ghana, the languages spoken were Soninke and Mande. Islam was spread throughout the empire and greatly influenced the culture. Compared to its neighbors, current Ghana has a very good education system and is known for being quite peaceful. Current Ghana has a tribal and national government.

Map of ancient Mali
  • Ancient Mali was located in western Africa and was bordered by the Sahara Desert. Mali was near the Niger River and and had fertile soil
  • Sundiata and Mansa Musa were the most famous rulers in the Mali empire. Under Mansa Musa, the empire reached ultimate wealth, power, and fame.
  • Islam was practiced and spread throughout the empire. It was an important part of the culture.
  • Religion was a huge part of the culture and mosques were built by architects throughout the kingdom. Arabic was an important language in the empire.
  • Mali took control of slave, gold, and salt trade, and because of this they became immensely wealthy. They traded gold, salt, copper, kola nuts, and cloth.
  • Mali usually traded slaves along the Niger River.
  • In Mali today, the official language is French and most of the population practices Islam. Mali has a constitutional democracy.
  • Leaders is Songhai were Muslims and most of the empire practiced Islam. The laws were similar to the laws in other Muslim nations.
  • Songhai traded with the North African Berbers, and the empire grew very wealthy because of trade.
  • Some items they traded were slaves, gold, and salt.
  • Sunni Ali and Askia the Great were two of the most famous leaders of the empire. Sunni Ali brought stability to Songhai, and Askia the Great supported education and learning.
  • Throughout the empire there were many libraries, universities, schools, and mosques. Education was an important aspect of the culture in Songhai. Since religion was also an important part of the culture, there were plentiful mosques built.
  • Songhai was located in Western Africa and was near the Niger River.
  • Nigeria would be located where the empire of Songhai was. The people in Nigeria practice multiple religions, and the official language is English.
  • The Askum Empire was most successful under King Ezana who ruled from 325 to 360.
  • The kingdom of Askum was located along the southern coast of the Red Sea, and it was located in some areas of the Arabian Peninsula. The climate is warm and temperate in Askum.
  • King Ezana, a famous ruler of the empire, converted to Christianity and became a devout Christian. Christianity was spread throughout the kingdom and became the official religion of Askum.
  • Askum became a major center of trade because of its location and how other nations had to cross through the empire to trade. Askum had several major trade routes and traded with Africa, Persia, India, and Egypt. The empire of Askum traded salt, gold, ivory, gems, cloth, glass, and olive oil.
  • The culture of Askum was a blend of other cultures because of its location in the region. Askum culture was influenced by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. Christianity and religion was also a huge part of the culture.
  • Askum did not participate in slave trade.
  • Ethiopia is now where the kingdom of Askum was. The majority of the population is Ethiopian Orthodox, and the government is a Federal parliamentary republic. The major languages spoken there include Oromo, Amharic, Somali, and Tigrayan.
  • “Ducksters: Education Site.” Ducksters Educational Site, Technological Solutions, Inc., 2017, Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.
  • “World Map.” Maps of World, Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.
  • “Mali Trade.” Ancient Africa D - Mali Trade, TES, Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.
  • “Facts about Ghana.” Africa Facts, 2 Feb. 2016, Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.
  • “Africa: Ancient Ghana.” The Medieval Ages (330-1629), Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.
  • “US History.”, Independence Hall Association, Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.
  • Burstein, Stanley Mayer, and Richard Hon-Chun Shek. World History: Ancient Civilizations through the Renaissance. Orlando, FL, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2015.

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