Early African kingdoms Owen Yoder

Ghana's location:

  • Ghana, located in western Africa, has a hot arid climate due to its northern neighbor the Sahara desert.
  • With the Sahara desert to the north it protected them from invaders being their only natural barrier.
  • Ghana's location played a key role in controlling the such powerful trade routes.

Ghana's religion and culture:

  • Ghana's religion varied throughout its history of rulers.
  • One of their most famous rulers was Tunka Manin, he spread Ghana's trade and with trade came wealth.
  • Currently, Christianity is the largest religion within the country.
  • The religion and culture both helped build each other. with religion came culture and this is what made there culture so diverse.
  • One factor that affected religion was the traders that entered from all over the world bringing their religions which blended religions and cultures.
  • By blending religions their culture became very diverse as well as their clothes and food.

Ghana's trade system:

  • Ghana traded slaves to other empires.
  • These slaves were often prisoners or criminals.
  • The slave trade was very big and in the future Ghana would trade slaves for goods with Great Britain later on in history.
  • Ghana traded salt, gold, and slaves.
  • Most of their trading was done with the Arabians and northern Africans.

The Empire of Mali:

  • Mali, another early African empire, stretched from the west coast of Africa all the way to Timbuktu.
  • Located on the Niger River they were good traders and very wealthy.

Religion and customs:

  • Islam influenced Mali the most and in turn was the most practiced religion.
  • Religion was brought by the traders and many were from the Arabian peninsula.
  • Because of the Arabian traders, Mali was heavily influenced by them. They shared some simularities like clothes and food but religion was changed the most.
  • Sundiata, the founder of Mali, created Mali into a powerful wealthy empire and he is well know for starting Mali.

The wealthy trade

  • Mali were excellent traders who dominated the trade routes by taxing traders and their goods.
  • by taxes, it made Mali even more wealthy.
  • Like many of the other empires the slave trade was common but not large enough to be compared to gold and salt. But when traded they would often trade slaves with the Arabians.
  • Mansa Musa entered Mali into their gold age around 1300's. He expanded trade, made relationships with neighbors, and the spread Islam.
  • They mostly traded gold and salt.
  • Like the other civilizations their most traded with civilization were the Arabs.
  • Seeing how important trade was, the King's of Mali strengthened their army which help keep the trade peaceful and in their control.

Mali today:

  • Today, Mali is a republic.
  • They have a population of 15 million.
  • Mali's capital is Bamako and their official language is French.
  • Islam dominates Mali's religion today with very little Christian residents.

The Empire of Songhai:

  • Songhai was located on the Niger river which helped trade
  • Trade built this empire as well as the empires before.
  • Songhai was located in the inner area of western Africa but their empire still stretched to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Savannahs and sahels created a barrier towards northern Africa.


  • The people of Songhai were excellent traders.
  • They traded over land and sea using caravans to trade with several outside groups.
  • Gold was traded for swords and horses.
  • Askia the Great is well known for how he improved education.
  • There was the slave trade, but not on large scale trade like the gold and salt.


  • Islam was the most dominate religion because of the Arabian traders that brought their culture and beliefs with them.
  • Culture was heavily impacted by the Arabians because of the goods that affected everyday life.

Songhai Today:

  • Well, there is no Songhai today, but nations and countries sprung up in its location.
  • Mali, a previous empire, is the country that controls most of the land Songhai dominated.


  • Axum was a small kingdom located within present day Ethiopia.
  • Axum still lives today just as a small city.
  • Even though they were small they had the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea which acted as amazing trade routes.

"Aksum | ancient kingdom, Africa | Britannica.com." 12 Feb. 2015, https://www.britannica.com/place/Aksum-ancient-kingdom-Africa. Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.

Axum's trade and culture:

  • Axum used is presents on the several nearby seas to trade with the Indians and Arabians.
  • Like the others they were too also very wealthy.
  • Their culture was bright and diverse with the mixes of so many other cultures.
  • They were decorated and ornate with gold.
  • Because of this many paintings of them were filled with gold."Aksum became the greatest market of northeastern Africa; its merchants traded as far as Alexandria and beyond the Nile River."(Axum)
  • Even as a small city Axum was bustling with merchants and traders from all over the world.

"Aksum | ancient kingdom, Africa | Britannica.com." 12 Feb. 2015, https://www.britannica.com/place/Aksum-ancient-kingdom-Africa. Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.


  • to start off, they were polytheistic, or they worshiped many gods.
  • Many of their religion influences were given by the Arabians because of how close they were.
  • Later on, they converted to Christianity making it the city's largest religion.

Axum Today:

  • Today Axum is a city with more than 50 thousand residents.
  • Axum is within the city Ethiopia on Africa's Eastern coast.
  • Most of its residents are Christian but many of their customs still live on
  • They eat many original foods and during celebrations wear traditional clothing.


Created with images by bluebethley - "Brit_Africa 011"

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