songhai was a trading state, centered on the middle of the Niger river and extending into the west atlantic coast. Songhai's main religion is Islam. The capital was at Gao, a city surrounded by a wall. It was a great cosmopolitan market place where kola nuts, gold, ivory, slaves, spices, palm oil and precious woods were traded in exchange for salt, cloth, arms, horses and copper. Considered one of the greatest African empires, from the early fifteenth to the late sixteenth century, Songhai was also one of the largest empires in Western Africa. "Ancient Africa." Ducksters Educational Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.