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Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. Western African Kingdoms. West Africa is the region of Africa on the Atlantic Coast between the Sahara to the north and rain forest to the south. Because the Sahara was difficult to cross, West Africa became known as the terra incognita, or unknown land.

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who were the ancient west africans

West Africa is the region of Africa on the Atlantic Coast between the Sahara to the north and rain forest to the south. Because the Sahara was difficult to cross, West Africa became known as the terra incognita, or unknown land.

Who were the Ancient West Africans?
who were the ancient west africans1

In West Africa three famous kingdoms were created during Ancient times: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. These kingdoms had great achievements in art, religion, science, education, trade, government, and warfare. They also had rulers who are still known today.

Who were the Ancient West Africans?
rise of ghana1

In 700 a great warrior and diplomat from the royal clan Ouagadou unified the Soninke people and formed a kingdom. He was known as ghana which means war chief.

Rise of Ghana
rise of ghana3

Ghana benefited from being located between the Niger and Senegal Rivers because people had to travel the rivers to trade.

Rise of Ghana
rise of ghana4

3. The trade routes reached across the Sahara into North Africa and down the Niger River to kingdoms in the rain forest.

Rise of Ghana
rise of ghana5

4. For traders to meet, they had to pass through Ghana. Passage came at a price, a tax paid to Ghana’s rulers. These taxes made Ghana rich.

Rise of Ghana
ghana s government

The king of Ghana was considered the father of all Soninke people. He was their religious leader, chief of their army, highest judge, and leader of the empire.

Ghana’s Government
rise of ghana6

5. a. First Ghana knew how to make iron weapons.

b. Second Ghana built a huge army.

c. Third people wanted to trade items like salt and gold.

Rise of Ghana
ghana s government2

7. As the empire grew, rulers divided it into provinces. Lesser kings often conquered leaders, governed each of these areas.

Ghana’s Government
ghana s government4

9. a Kings insisted that local rulers send their sons to the royal court.

b. They rode through the countryside seeking reports of injustice.

c. Most important, they controlled trade.

Ghana’s Government
ghana s government6

11. The kingdom of Ghana was inherited by the son of the king’s sister. This custom was confusing to many outsiders.

Ghana’s Government
downfall of ghana

  The kingdom of Ghana never converted to Islam, even though northern Africa had been dominated by the faith since the eighth century. The Ghanaian court allowed Muslims to settle in the cities.

Unlike the Ghanaians, the Berbers fervently converted to Islam and, in 1075, declared a holy war, or jihad, against the state of Ghana.

Downfall of Ghana
rise of mali

1. Ghana’s power declined because:

a. Discovery of gold mines outside of Ghana.

b. Heavy farming robbed the soil of minerals and made it hard to grow crops.

c. Constant fighting with North African Muslims.

Rise of Mali
rise of mali2

Before Mali emerged as a great empire, it is believed that the Mandinka people of this region were journeying to the gold regions along the Senegal River and transporting the gold to Ghana for trade. The Mandika people were farmers who cultivated rice and other valuable crops. They were also expert traders. Their great success in farming and trade and their control of the rivers increased their power.

Rise of Mali
rise of mali4

4. Griots said that Mali was able to conquer Ghana because of the warrior king Sundiata Keita. He is known as the great LION KING of Mali.

Rise of Mali
rise of mali6

When Sundiata was young he could not walk and rarely spoke. Many doubted he could be king. When his father was dying, he grew strong to make him proud. Eventually he was so strong that no one else could draw his bow.

Rise of Mali
rise of mali7

Sundiata was loved by his subjects. He was known throughout Mali for his kindness, intelligence, and ability to settle disputes.

Rise of Mali
mali s government1

8. King divided the empire into provinces, like Ghana. However, Sundiata, the founder of Mali, put his generals in charge of them.

Mali’s Government
mali s government2

9. People accepted the generals as their leaders because:

a. They protected them from invaders.

b.They came from the provinces they ruled.

Mali’s Government
mali s government4

Mansa Musa was Muslim and wanted Mali to be Islamic, but did not force other to adopt these beliefs. As a result, Islam and traditional west African religions were practiced side by side.

Mali’s Government
mali s government5

Mansa Musa expanded the borders of Mali in all directions. He created more trade routes and the cities of Gao and Timbuktu emerged.

Mali’s Government
4 rise of songhai

Sunni Ali was able to build his empire because he ordered a fleet of war canoes to seize control of the river trade. His armies then swept westward into the Sahara where they took Berber salt mines.

4. Rise of Songhai
rise of songhai

Sunni Ali developed new methods of farming. He organized the boatmen of the Niger River into the beginnings of a professional Navy.

Rise of Songhai
7 rise of songhai

The Moroccans were able to defeat the Songhai because they had cannons, guns, and gunpowder while the Songhai had swords, spears, and bows.

7. Rise of Songhai
rise of songhai1

Morocco never gained complete control of the Songhai territories because of natural disasters, raids, and the European slave trade.

Rise of Songhai
songhai s government

He led a military coup and took over the Songhai government. He created a standing army and made sure that everyone would advance in the government based on their own achievements.

Songhai’s Government