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Ghanna and Songhay/Songhai

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1 Ghanna and Songhay/Songhai
By: Emily Davila

2 Important Figures Soninke – Early people that would unite to create Ancient Ghana Kaya Maghan = king of the Gold = Ghana = War Chief Al-Bakri ~ Arab traveler and writer who visited Ghana. Most of what is known about Ghana comes from travelers visiting the Ancient Kingdom.

3 Religion Sacrifice – Mythology in the story of Bida
Bida = The Black Snake that demanded annual sacrifice. A virgin was sacrificed each year to guarantee the prosperity of the kingdom. This continued until one woman was saved from sacrifice. Bida took revenge on the region; severe drought took hold of the land and mining fell into decline Islam Traders brought Islam. Initially, the Slamic community at Kumbi Slaeb remained separate; the king chose to keep his beliefs. Muslums ran the administration, and eventually Islam became the official religion. This helped trading tides with North Africa.

4 Territory Ancient Ghana was located within the present-day Mauritania, Mali, and Senegal. Ghana was located over vast amounts of Gold.

5 Economy Ghana was “The Land of Gold”
Ghana was chiefly bartering gold, ivory, and slaves for salt from Arabs and horses, cloth, swords, and books from North Africans and Europeans. Taxation People were taxed for what they brought in and for what they took out.

6 Al-Bakri Quote "The King adorns himself like a woman wearing necklaces round his neck and bracelets on his forearms and he puts on a high cap decorated with gold and wrapped in a turban of fine cotton. He holds an audience in a domed pavilion around which stand ten horses covered with gold-embroidered materials…and on his right, are the sons of the vassal kings of his country, wearing splendid garments and their hair plaited with gold. At the door of the pavilion are dogs of excellent pedigree Round their necks they wear collars of gold and silver, studded with a number of balls of the same metals." 10th century geographer Al-Bakri, quoted in Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West African History.

7 Songhai Empire – Important Figures
Emperor Sonni Ali = ruled from 1464 to 1492 CE (when he was killed) Emperor Sonni Baru = ruled from 1492 to He was the last emperor from the family that originally ruled the Songhai clan/tribe. Emperor Askia Muhammad I = ruled from 1493 to He brought Islam to the empire, made it the state religion. Askia Muhammad also introduced policies that increased trade with Europe and Asia, standardized weights, measures, and currency; replaced native Songhay administrators with Arab Muslims in an attempt to Islamicize society, and encouraged learning and literacy. He additionally created positions for directing finance, agriculture, justice, interior, protocol, and waters and forests. The period of Muhammad’s rule is known as a golden age for Muslim scholarship at Sankore University in Timbuktu. It was also a period of cultural revival.

8 Religion The people of Songhai followed the African religions of witchdoctors, spirits, and magic. They believed in many gods but its rulers where Muslim. Pre Islamic Songhai people believed that sickness and death occurred when witches stole their souls. Emperor Askia Muhammad I made Islam the state religion. Islam was easy for them to practice; they prayed 5 times a day.

9 Territory The Songhai Empire was the largest of the pre-colonial empires that emerged from West Africa. Its capital was Gao on the Niger River. Sognhai expanded in all directions, from the Atlantic Ocean to what is now Northwest Nigeria and Western Niger. The Songhai Empire reached its great area of control under Emperor Askia Muhammad I

10 Culture Songhai families were large; in rural areas, brothers lived with their father, mother, wives, and children in large communal complexes. Women played a central role. They fetched water, bought and prepared food, cleaned the house and compound, and looked after the children. Man worked in the fields away from the family compound. When they returned, the women gave them bathing water, clothed, and fed them. Books were important; educated people were very important.

11 Economy The cities of Timbuktu and Djenne were the other major cultural and commercial centers of the empire. Trade flourished and made nobles rich. They exported gold, salt, kola nuts, and slaves. They imported textiles, horses, and luxury goods. Songhai was a member of the slave trade.

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