Ancient Africa Kingdoms Kacelyn Mcginis

The republic of Ghana is named after the medieval West African Ghana empire. They practiced Christianity, which was over 74% of the population. After Christianity took its tole, Islam slightly took over, with only 17% of the population.
Dissected by the largest artificial lake on the planet, nearly 50% of Ghana lies less than 499 feet above sea level. Ghana's coast line is low and sandy, backed by plains and scrub intersected by several rivers and streams. A tropical rain forest belt broken by heavily forested hills and many streams. To the north of this region the country is covered by low bush, park-like savanna, and scattered grassy plains.
You will find many ancient castles and forts. Marking the start of slaves' perilous journey during the era of slave trade, these fortresses were the last memory slaves had of their homeland before being shipped across the ocean, never to be seen again. Up to 1000 male and 500 female slaves we kept in dungeons with zero water and sanitation. The demand for slaves went up as early as the 1500's.
The promotion of Ghana's foreign trade has been central to all government plans to revive the economy. Although Ghana was rich for many things, it did not have a good amount of salt. Salt was important for day-to-day life. They began to trade with Northern Kingdoms, which lacked gold. The King wanted what was best for Ghana, so he charged tax on all people entering and leaving Ghana. the tax was paid in salt, iron, fine silks, etc. They commonly used the Silent Barter System. Instead of meeting and arguing with the trader, gold would simply be left at a secret place, and be picked up by the person whom you were trading with. This trading system involved no communication, so it was quite peaceful.

Information about the empire: The leader of all leaders was the King. His word was law. Ghana relied on a king to take control and guard taxes. Ghana heavily depended on trade and taxes by the king. This empire existed form 750-1076.

The languages spoken in ancient Ghana were Soninke and Mande. Muslim merchants from the Sahara brought their faith to Ghana. The King gradually absorbed Muslim military technology and government ideals. Commonly eaten foods include rice, spinach, okra, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and corn. They dressed in long dresses made out of a cloth that was very bright and multi-colored, called kente.

Current Ghana's population is about 27 million people wit the population growth rate of about 1.8%. A major part of the population lives in urban areas. The two decades of political stability in Ghana has helped the country a lot in almost all sectors of its economy.

This is a picture of something on current Ghana.
Mali's landscape id mostly savanna and grassland that rolls into higher plateaus as you mover north. Rugged hills and elevation as you move east. Approximately 65% is covered in desert.
This is an Islamic country being dominated by Muslim population. The country other religious groups such as Christianity which peacefully co-existed with Islam . Slave trade increased in importance with the Arab slaves across the Sahara. Slave trade continued to exist after the fall of the Mali empire. European, Arab, and African merchants were now selling humans as well as gold, salt, and ivory.
Most of Mali's trade was through the Sahara Desert. The traders would travel by caravans, on camels. Gold was used for currency and decoration. Many of the trade routes would stretch thousands of miles long. The Mali empire grew very wealthy after trading with the countries from the north.

Information about Mali: The empire of Mali was one of the largest empires in West African history. The empire was founded by King Sundiata, and lasted from 1235-1600 CE. The empire's most famous ruler was Mansa Musa. He once went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and distributed so much gold that we caused inflation, lasting a decade. Mali prospered from taxes collected from its citizens, an d all goods brought in and out of the empire were heavily taxed.

Mali has dozens of ethnic groups, that all speak different languages and a unique history. Malian music and literature both have been heavily influenced by longtime oral storytelling. The colorful flowing robes many locals wear are called boubout. Although most of Mali is Muslim, they still celebrate Christian holidays, by taking half days off, and sometimes full days.

Current Mali: Of numerous ethnic groups in Mali, the largest if the Bambara. Drought and government policies are threatening their traditional way of life. Much of Mali economic woes in the 1980's were due to a devastating drought that brought widespread famine in its wake. The climate varies from semitropical to arid, with a rainy season from mid May to mid September. Mali has a rich and diverse heritage that is expressed in arts, drama and music.

Located in the west African empire A.D. 1500. It is also on the Niger River near Gao. Rainforest, Niger River, Sahara Desert, and the grasses of the Savanna are some of the land forms found on the Songhai empire. Climate from May to October is hot and wet. The climate from November to February is cold and dry. The main natural resources found are water, ivory and jade.

Religions: Almost all of the Songhay people practiced Islam. They prayed five times a day. They were not allowed to eat pork or drink alcohol. They had observed to the one month fast of Ramadan. They also had to try their best to make it to the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. The other small percent of people practiced Christianity, but were still respectful to the other religions, like Islam.

Slave Trade: The Atlantic slave trade was a system of trade that revolved around three areas. Beginning in Africa, where large ships of people were taken across the Atlantic to the Americas. The second and third places were the Caribbean and parts of South America. Slaves were in inhumane conditions while crossing the Atlantic. They would travel naked and cramped into the hold of the ship. Chained together at the ankles and packed together side by side. The hold was only 1.5 meters high with hardly any light or fresh air.

Trading System: They traded across the Sahara desert. They knew the voyage across would be harsh but trade was very important to the growth of the empire. Along with this, the Songhai empires used the same trading methods as the Mali and Ghana empires, but the Songhay people seemed to be more advanced. Portuguese people brought in copper wear, clothes and tools in exchange for gold, peppers and ivory. The growing trade across the Atlantic came to be called the triangular trade system.

Information about the empire: The Songhai empire was the most advanced out of all three empire. They had the use of guns, even though they rarely need them. Trade was very important to the king, along with taxes.

Culture: African culture was nearly the same everywhere. More than half of the west Africans practices Islam, and wore bright colors. Daily life was often ruled by traditions and local customs, but the law of the land was based on the teachings of Islam. Current Ghana has the largest majority of 3 to 5 million people. They all live along the Niger River and fish daily for food. Most women there create their own gardens only growing vegetarian foods. Most Songhay people follow Islam, but animistic beliefs are still practiced.

The Benin Empire was a large precolonial African state of modern Nigeria. Benin is one of Africa's smallest countries that displays little fluctuation in elevation. The country transitions from a narrow and somewhat sandy coastal area to a marshy land with lagoons.

Religions: Christianity is the most practiced religion with more than half of the entire christian group belonging to Roman Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Christians in Benin have 900 women and men in religious order and 400 priests. Twenty seven percent of Benin's population is christian.

Benin did not have many slaves. They prevented the depletion of its own population by prohibiting the export of male slaves during the 16th century. Benin grew increasingly rich in these centuries on trade with Europe.

Trading Systems: Trade with the Portuguese was probably encouraged by the growth of brass casting in Benin at this time. One reason why rulers of Benin conquered their neighbors was to control the supply of goods which could be traded to the Europeans on the coast. The king himself was in charge of trading ivory and other important goods, so that all of the profit went to support his court and government. Other merchants could only trade with the kings permission.

Information about the empire : The people developed unique things as their civilization developed. Their main focus was trade. Being a very small country, it was important to have an equal amount of everything. Even though Benin had many ties with other countries because of trade, they had more peace with everyone.

Culture: Benin did not have a written language, and kids did not have to go to school. Instead, people would gather around a campfire in the evening, and tell stories. The nobles had more wealth than the people, bu the people were comfortable and happy with it. Today in Benin, people mainly speak French. They have a representative democracy, and have over 10 million residents. They are no longer trading, but still manage to stay wealthy.

WORK CITED: “Africa/.” World Atlas - Maps, Geography, Travel, 12 July 2016, Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.

“” Myvanderbiltedu, Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.

“” Myvanderbiltedu, Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.

Diarra, Lilian. “Ghana's Slave Castles: The Shocking Story of the Ghanaian Cape Coast.” Culture Trip, 26 Mar. 2014, Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Ghana.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 14 Apr. 2009, Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.

“Africa: Ancient Ghana.” The Medieval Ages (330-1629), Accessed 10 Mar. 2017

Leander. “The Empire of Mali (1230-1600).” Leander, 7 Apr. 2016, Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.

“Benin Empire.” Benin Empire - New World Encyclopedia, Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.

“Ancient Africa for Kids.” Ancient Africa for Kids - Ancient Africa for Kids, Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.


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