African Kindoms taniah rachelle mccray

Map of Ancient Ghana
  • CAPITAL: Koumbi Saleb
  • Located in west Africa just south of the Sahara desert and is mostly savanna grasslands.
  • Ghana was located in a place where all the trade routes came together sometimes being called the "crossroads of trade".
  • Famous for their silent barter exchange system where they left certain resources in an area and trades pick it up and drop their supplies that they are trading. This way, the secret of Ghana's riches and wealth will be a secret to everyone making them at advantage for charging any price they would like.
  • Ghana traded iron products, animal products, salt, and gold. Salt was an expensive trading item because of its preserving properties and how humans need it in their everyday diets that sometimes it was worth more than gold. And made people pay a special tax which made Ghana richer.
  • The people of Ghana own no gold mines but controlled and conquered people who did and when people go forth to that place for trade, they can charge any price that comes to mind.
  • Ghana had a gigantic army to enforce the laws and protect the people from harm.
  • Ghana meant "Warrior King" in their language.
  • Their religion mostly consisted of animism, ancestral spirits, and the polytheistic gods to explain nature.
  • The slaves where traded with the gold and salt, even though they sold more slaves than they bought. They got their money from slaves because they did the mining for salt and dirty work as slaves were usually criminals or enemies from past wars.
  • Only the king could have gold nuggets, the citizens are only allowed gold dust to keep the value of gold from dropping.
  • Ghana's government was divided into parts called provinces.
  • The empire reached its peak with Tunka Manin who had a lavish court where he displayed his sparkling treasures.
  • Sadly, the empire of Ghana fell apart in the mid-1000s and its due to three key factors: Invasion, overgrazing, and internal rebellions throughout the empire.
Ghana today
  • English is the official language of Ghana today and the religion used in Christianity, Catholics, Baptist, and Protestants with only 17% Muslim population but they are mostly located in Northern Ghana.
Map of Ancient Mali
  • Located in West Africa with a savanna and rain forest climate by being so close to the equator.
  • Mail ruled from c. 1200-1450.
  • Their main trade consisted of salt and gold.
  • The people of Mali wore kente, or colorful woven cloth.
  • Slaves were usually enslaved criminals or enemies of war even though the Quran forbid the enslavement of Muslims, the Europeans had to come to Africa to fine non-Muslims for slaves as Mali was turning to the Islamic way of life.
  • Islam was introduced to Mali by Arabic traders and the leaders slowly converted and soon, the citizens were converting to follow Islam also.
  • Sudiata Keite ruled from 1230 to 1255 and seized the control of Ghana in 1240
  • The most famous leaders in Mali was Mansa Musa.
  • Mansa Musa allowed many different religions but mostly worked to make Islam faster.
  • Mansa Musa rewarded his citizens with gold, land, and horses to keep them all loyal to him.
  • He made a journey to Mecca and gave everyone these gold, which dropped the value of gold a lot in Africa and around the world.
  • King Mansa Musa built mosques and libraries.
  • The government of Mali was divided into provinces, and Sundiata, the founder of Mali, put generals in charge.
  • Though the empire slowly began declining after the death of the last strong king, Mansa Musa, in 1337.
Mali today
  • The official language of Mali today in French and the religion there is 90% Islam while only 1% Christianity compared to Ghana and 9% other.
Map of Ancient Songhai
  • Even though in the 1300s Mansa Musa conquered Songhai, as the Mali people were weakened in the 1400s the people of Songhai rebelled against them and got their freedom back.
  • The Songhai were in power for about 600 years (c. 1000-1600)
  • They lived in the wide-open savannas, but the dense rain forests kept them from expanding south towards the equator.
  • The main thing that they traded in the Songhai empire was salt and gold.
  • Songhai gained control of West Africa trade by conquering Timbuktu and mastering trade by river.
  • The Songhai leaders practiced Islam and the citizens converted with them and because of this advantage the bebers were willing to trade with them ans Songhai grew richer.
  • Slaves were usually slaves of war, or criminals but they could buy their freedom through hardwork or marrying someone free.
  • Songhai's government was divided into provinces and appointed new governors who were loyal to the empire.
  • The people of Songhai wore kente, made masks, danced to music, and their beautiful sculptures out of wood, brass, clay, ivory, stone, and other materials.
  • Songhai's expansion was led by Sunni Ali who became ruler of the empire in 1464.
  • Askia the Great ruled Songhai for about 35 years at the age of 50. In his 80s, Askia went blind causing him to be thrown out of power by his son and left to live on a Island for 9 years.
  • Under Askia the Great's rule, he focused greatly on education and learning. He built thousands of universities, schools, libraries, and mosques, and people will travel all the way from Europe to get information on math, science, medicine, grammar, and law.
  • Later on the people of Morocco conquered Songhai with arquebus, early form of a gun, against Songhai's spears, swords, and bows, and Songhai suffered much death and destruction.
Songhai today ( no longer a country )
  • Songhai, now Niger, has a population of 3 million people. Their main language is French and dialects of Songhay with the religion basically being combined of Islam with indigenous beliefs from being so far north of the African continent.
Ancient Axum/Askum
  • Located in East Africa by the Great Rift Valley where some of the earliest human fossils have been unearthed and the Nile River.
  • The capital of Ethiopia was Axum.
  • Ethiopia (know as Abyssinia in older times) centered their power on the city-state Axum.
  • Axum was circled around trade and controlled around trade and they controlled the trade routes of the Arabian Peninsula, greater East Africa, and across the Red Sea routes.
  • The people of Axum traded ivory, frankincense myrrh, textiles, wine, olive oil, hippopotamus hides, rhinoceros horns, tortoise shells, monkeys, and slaves with people in the ancient Mediterranean Sea.
  • Slaves were a main trade in Axum and they were usually slaves of war or criminals.
  • Cave paintings are the earliest form of archeological evidence to these people as they also have woodcarvers as they would prepare the masks for the people and then the people would wear the masks to celebrate their beliefs as they thought they could talk to their ancestors that have already passed.
  • Music was played with drums, whistles, horns, flutes, or banjos and were used too dance with as the people of Axum celebrated important events, such as birth and death.
  • Before Christianity, the people of Axum practiced Saba, also known as Sheba.
  • The government of Axum consisted of kingships and they used the money earned by trade to help restore the armies and extend their empire.
  • Ezana became the king of Axum and in his rule he converted to Christianity in 327 A.D and made it the dominant religion.
  • The Christian Cathedral of Mary of Zion was built in the city Of Axum in 340 A.D.
  • Within hundreds of years Islam would bring many changes to Axum and the other trading states along Africa's eastern coast.
Axum today
  • Regarded as the holiest city in Ethiopia today and it attracts thousands of people from within Africa travel to see the rich Christian heritage.
Africa's Ancient Civilizations


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Created By
Taniah McCray


Created with images by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL - "Africa, including the Mediterranean"

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