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Kingdoms of Africa. Kingdoms of Africa. Anthropologists believe humanity originated in East Africa (Lucy) Read more about skeletons found in East Africa here... Rise of Egyptian Society affected other African Cultures along the Nile Kush Iron producers

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kingdoms of africa1
Kingdoms of Africa
  • Anthropologists believe humanity originated in East Africa (Lucy)

Read more about skeletons found in East Africa here...

  • Rise of Egyptian Society affected

other African Cultures along the


    • Kush
      • Iron producers
      • Also sold ivory, ebony, wood, slaves
    • Axum
  • Ethiopia later adopted its own Christianity
the gold salt trade
The Gold-Salt Trade
  • North Africa is mainly Sahara desert
  • South of the Sahara are grasslands known as the savanna
  • The savanna is home to large groups of pastoral peoples that herd cattle and sheep
  • These peoples also smelted iron, grew crops and had complex communities with craftspersons, warriors and traders.
the gold salt trade1
The Gold-Salt Trade
  • Sahara Desert acted as a barrier between people of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean World
  • Trade was, however, never cut off


  • Sahara contains oases with fresh water
  • Camels helped merchants cross the

desert once they knew where the oases

were located

  • Muslim merchants from Mediterranean also made this journey
the gold salt trade2
The Gold-Salt Trade
  • Merchants were motivated to make the journey across the Sahara because of the gold and other riches they could obtain from West Africa
  • Parts of West Africa lacked Salt
    • Salt is vital for human survival
  • Merchants in camel caravans

picked up salt on their journey to

trade for gold

  • Ideas, Islamic Beliefs and various goods were exchanged in this way
apply it
Apply it!
  • Compare the African Gold-Salt Trade with that of the Silk Road?
  • Why was the Sahara a trade barrier?
  • How was that barrier conquered?
the rise of west african kingdoms
The Rise of West African Kingdoms
  • West Africa saw the rise of many powerful kingdoms based on the control of trade routes
  • Civilizations dominated West Africa for the next thousand years
  • This lead to an exchange of

ideas, rise of cities and

increased wealth

kingdom of ghana 750 1200
Kingdom of Ghana 750-1200
  • Developed in West Africa between the Senegal and Niger Rivers
  • People of Ghana made iron swords, spears and lances to subdue neighboring peoples and gain control of major trade routes
  • Needed Salt…trade it for Gold (which they had)
kingdom of ghana
Kingdom of Ghana
  • Kings of Ghana taxed trade passing through the regions
  • With this revenue, they raised a large army with a cavalry
  • Rulers built a capital city and governed a wide area with officials and nobles
kingdom of ghana1
Kingdom of Ghana
  • Kings appointed nobles to govern the provinces in return for paying taxes to the central government
  • System had similarities to European Feudalism
  • Rulers and nobles were further enriched by using captives of war as slaves
  • Ghana was invaded by Muslims from North Africa.
    • Muslims brought Islam to the area
  • Ghana never recovered from this invasion and dissolved into smaller states
apply it1
Apply it!
  • How did Ghana benefit from the trade in the area?
  • How is the political system of Ghana similar to that of Medieval Europe?
kingdom of mali 1240 1400
Kingdom of Mali 1240-1400
  • In 1240, the people of Mali conquered the old capital of Ghana and established a new empire
  • The rulers brought gold and salt mines under their control.
  • Mali’s rulers converted to Islam
    • But most people stayed loyal to traditional beliefs and rejected Islam
kingdom of mali1
Kingdom of Mali
  • Mali’s most famous ruler was Mansa Musa(click)
  • Mansa Musa was the main Muslim man of Mali who went many miles to the main Muslim mosque in Mecca with a magnificent menagerie and meaded out much money to many men, maybe millions and brought back many Muslim scholars for much learning.
  • Expanded the kingdom greatly
  • Took religious pilgrimage to Mecca
    • Also visited Cairo
  • Observers were impressed with his wealth
  • He brought back Muslim scholars and architects to Mali
kingdom of mali2
Kingdom of Mali
  • Mansa Musa commissioned a palace and giant mosque to be built in Timbuktu, a thriving trade center on the Niger River
  • Muslim scholarship in Mali flourished
  • Timbuktu became an important center of universities and attracted students from Europe, Asia and Africa
  • Many of his subjects studied the Qur’an and learned to read and write
kingdom of mali3
Kingdom of Mali
  • IbnBattuta was an arab traveler
  • Impressed by Mali’s wealth, respect

for law and power of it’s ruler

  • IbnBattuta traveled extensively and

wrote about the various kingdoms

of the area

  • It is through his writings that scholars know much about the life in Africa and the Middle East
kingdom of songhai 1464 1600
Kingdom of Songhai 1464-1600
  • In 1465, Sultan Sunni Ali, ruler of the Songhai, captured Timbuktu and brought the Upper Niger River under his control
  • Kingdom of Songhai became the largest of West Africa’s three trading kingdoms
  • Like Ghana and Mali, Songhai grew rich from trade across the Sahara Desert
  • Expanded trade routes as far as Europe and Asia
kingdom of songhai
Kingdom of Songhai
  • The Songhai established a system of taxation and communications
  • Timbuktu flourished as a center of Muslim scholarship
  • Despite its riches and power the Kingdom of Songhai lasted only 130 years
kingdom of songhai1
Kingdom of Songhai
  • In 1591, the ruler of Morocco, hearing of Songhai’s wealth, invaded West Africa
  • Although Songhai army was larger, Moroccans used gunpowder and muskets to defeat the Songhai who fought only with arrows and spears
  • Despite their military success, Moroccans were unable to govern from a distance
  • West Africa split into large number of independent areas
  • The fall of the Songhai marked the end of the great West African Kingdoms
apply it2
Apply it!
  • What parallel can you see when looking at both the control of Songhai by Morocco and subsequent fall and that of the American colonies?
other african states
Other African States
  • Ife and Benin
    • These Kingdoms developed in the rainforests of West Africa
    • Famous for the copper and bronze scultputres
    • Benin became involved in the slave trade
      • Took captured persons from other tribes and exchanged them with Europeans for guns and iron goods
apply it3
Apply it!
  • Was the slave trade a European invention?
  • Why or why not?
other african states1
Other African States
  • Zimbabwe
  • Gold deposits near Zimbabwe was crucial to the rise of this state
  • Zimbabwe traded gold, copper and ivory with Muslim traders along the east coast
other african states2
Other African States
  • Coastal Cities of East Africa
  • A number of independent city-states arose around the 10th Century
  • Gold from the African interior was sent down the Zambia River to these cities where it was sold to merchants from Arabia and India
apply it4
Apply it!
  • What did all the trade in Africa inevitably lead to?
  • How do the Kingdoms of Africa compare to Classical and Post Classical societies we’ve already discussed?
family roles in africa
Family Roles in Africa
  • In traditional African Societies, both boys and girls were separated from the community and underwent special ceremonies at puberty
  • Marriages were arranged
    • Groom paid a dowry to his bride’s family
  • Under Islam, women were limited to running the household while the husband represented the family outside it
  • “A woman is a flower in a garden; her husband is the fence around it.”
apply it5
Apply it!

Ghana Invaded by Muslims

Morocco Conquered Songhai

Mansa Musa’s Trip

Ghana Founded

Mali Collapsed

Mali Founded

Songhai Founded