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TRADING KINGDOMS of West Africa. Ghana, Mali and Songhai. West Africa’s Great Kingdoms Berbers controlled Saharan trade for years. Berbers were members of a North African, primarily Muslim people living in settled or nomadic tribes from Morocco to Egypt.

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TRADING KINGDOMS of West Africa


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    1. TRADING KINGDOMS of West Africa Ghana, Mali and Songhai

    2. West Africa’s Great Kingdoms Berbers controlled Saharan trade for years. Berbers were members of a North African, primarily Muslim people living in settled or nomadic tribes from Morocco to Egypt. This prevented West African groups from gaining any wealth from the trade occurring in their area. Rise of Ghana • Ghana was the first of the three great civilizations that arose along the Niger River after 300 AD. • Ghana was located south of salt mines in the Sahara. • Ghana possessed many gold mines. • Salt merchants from North Africa crossed the Sahara Desert to trade with gold miners south of Ghana

    3. Salt was needed to preserve and flavor food, today it is used to help restore PH balance from sweating • Ghana taxed traders passing through their trade route. • They taxed them on what they brought into the city and then taxed them again on the goods that they left the city with. • Ghana’s power came from their strong military and their use of iron weapons to conquer neighboring tribes along the Niger River. • Koumbi (Kumbi), was a trading center and a capital of Ghana. It became the wealthiest city in W. Africa.

    4. Islam in Ghana • The religion of Islam spread into Ghana as their empire grew and more Arab traders came to Ghana. • Muhammad founded Islam in the 600s. • He was thought to be a prophet that angel spoke to gave him God’s message. • His teaching were copied down into the Islamic religious book known as the Qur’an. • By the 1400s, Islam was the most practiced religion in the area.

    5. Decline of Ghana • The Almoravids, a group of strict Muslims, believed it was their destiny to take over Ghana. • They tried to force the people of Ghana to convert to Islam. • They fought for 14 years, weakening Ghana • Overgrazing - Almoravidsbrought herding animals to Ghana. The herds ate the grass which left the ground exposed to sun and that made the soil hard to farm • Internal Rebellion - Rebels weakened Ghana and it was eventually attacked by neighbors

    6. Kingdom of Mali • Like Ghana, Mali grew along the Niger River. • Farming in the rich soil around the Niger helped Mali grow. • King Sundiata Keita or Konaté conquered Ghana and led Mali to become a powerful trading empire • They claim he conquered enemies in battle because he was a great magician. • The Niger River became a busy highway for all kinds of trade

    7. Mansa Musa’s Rule • Mansa Musa, Sundiata’s grand nephew became Mali’s greatest ruler during the height of its empire. • He ruled Mali from 1312 – 1337 AD. • Timbuktu, Djenne and Gao became major trade cities during his reign. • He became a devout Muslim, but he tolerated other religions (allowing non-Muslims to keep their own religion)

    8. Mansa Musa’s Pilgrimage • Made an impressive hajj in 1324 to Mecca with thousands of his subjects and servants. • A hajj is a pilgrimage or journey to Mecca by devout Muslims. • 500 slaves carried gold staffs weighing 4 lbs. each. • 100 camels carrying 300 pounds of gold each. • In Cairo and Mecca, he gave out so much gold that the local gold coin depressed for a decade. • He became famous and introduced the world to the Mali Empire. • Islam also spread throughout West Africa.

    9. Islam Influences West Africa • Mansa Musa wanted everyone to be able to read the Qur’an so he stressed reading and writing. • He sent Muslim scholars to study in Morocco and he stressed the importance of learning Arabic for unity. • Under Mansa Musa’s reign Muslim culture and education flourished • Muslims scholars impressed by his wealth, were invited to be a part of his Empire • He hired architects to build mosques • A mosque is a religious building for Muslim prayer. • The city of Timbuktu became center for learning Grand Mosque in Abu Dubai

    10. The Decline of Mali • After Mansa Musa’s death in 1337, there was weak leadership. • Invaders weakened the empire and burned schools in Timbuktu. • The empire had grown so large that it was difficult to control, slowly outer areas began to break away. • Almost the entire empire was lost by 1500.

    11. Birth of Songhai Empire Songhai Empire: • The Songhai were also lived along the Niger River. Songhai rose to power after attacking Mali from all sides. • Sunni Ali organized, strengthened and unified Songhai • He unified Songhai by encouraging people to work together, and he participated in both Muslim and local religions. • He ruled from 1464 til 1492.

    12. Askia the Great • In 1493, General Muhammad Turetook over the Songhai Empire. • He chose the title Askia, the highest military rank. • Known as Askiathe Great. • Songhai developed into a great center for learning. • Askia welcomed Muslims to trade by making similar laws. • Songhai grew into the greatest trading empire in West Africa. • Timbuktu, Goa and Djenne were centers of learning and trade. • He developed a government with specialized departments like modern governments today.

    13. The Decline of Songhai • Askia the Great ruled until 1528 when his son conquered him. • Morocco’s rulers captured Songhai’s salt mines.. • Songhai would stay around another 150 years, but not the same well-organized empire, instead it became a series of military camps

    14. West African Slave Trade • Slavery had been around in Africa and other parts of the world for a very long time. • Until the 600s, slavery in West Africa involved black Africans serving as slaveholders and slaves. • Muslim traders in the 600s and later European nations changed that. • People became slaves … *who were captured in battle *were criminals *captured by warring groups *relatives of people who owed money • Slavery increased as the traders took black Africans to sell in North Africa. • Many of the slaves that will be sold in the Americas came from West Africa