Presentation on theme: "Slavery and the downfall of the West African Empires."— Presentation transcript:
Slavery and the downfall of the West African Empires
In the 14 th Century, the people of West Africa were very strong and rich. In fact, their king, Mansa Musa was the richest man in the world. He had half the world’s gold! They had strong armies and big cities with libraries and schools.
In the 15 th and 16 th Centuries Europeans wanted to go to West Africa to get salt, sugar, spices, exotic wood, ivory, diamonds, and gold.
The Portuguese had started going to West Africa around 1450.
At that time, West Africa was under the control of the Songhai Empire. The Songhai were powerful and wealthy. King Suni Ali Bar
By 1600, the Songhai had been defeated by the Moors of North Africa. But, the Moors were busy fighting the Spanish, so they had to leave West Africa.
West Africa had no strong king to lead it. There were many different tribes. The leader of each tribe wanted to control West Africa, so the tribes fought against each other.
In 1600, when West Africa was weak, Europeans started building forts on the coasts. The local Africans were not strong enough to attack them.
The Europeans used the forts to trade with the Africans. The Africans were fighting each other, so they wanted guns. They also wanted rum and other nice things the Europeans had. To get these things, the Africans needed to trade something.
Some African kings attacked other tribes and sold them to the Europeans as slaves to get guns or rum. Some kings even sold their own people!
The slaves were taken on ships to America. The trip to America was called the Middle Passage. Half the slaves died on the way to America because they were too crowded and could not move.
The Europeans got rich as the people of West Africa became their slaves. Some of the strongest warriors and smartest men of Africa became slaves. The West Africans got weaker from fighting against each other instead of uniting to fight against the Europeans.