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Kingdoms of the Grasslands – West African Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai Chapter 8 (2 of 4)

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Presentation on theme: "Kingdoms of the Grasslands – West African Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai Chapter 8 (2 of 4)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Kingdoms of the Grasslands – West African Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai Chapter 8 (2 of 4)

2 Need to Know: Ghana Mali Songhai They are know as the Sudanic states

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4 Islam Spreads Quickly Through North Africa Islam spread mostly by merchants and travelers, not so much invaders

5 By 700s, States Formed Along Edge of Sahara Sahel – grassland (savanna) at south end of Sahara where these states formed

6 Advantages: Grew by being along trade route (gold traded from west Africa for salt or dates from Sahara) Used camels to trade in the desert Disadvantages: Suffered many droughts Located on plains, so open to invasion West African grasslands we are discussing

7 These states were led by a council of elders, and would get control over neighbor states and tax them to get more powerful A majority of populations never converted to Islam, just the rulers (shows that Islam blended with local cultures and traditions) West African or Sudanic States

8 Resembled rest of north Africa, but distinctive local architecture Towns were commercial – lots of trade and craftsmen Large militaries to protect trade – encouraged merchants and scholars to come to places like Mali

9 Ghana Grew into strong state by taxing gold and salt trade that occurred there 1 st of the Sudanic states By 900s, rulers had converted to Islam Attacked by Almoravids – Muslim reformers within the Berbers Ghana was attacked in 1076 and began declining

10 Malinke (Mali) people broke from Ghana and formed Mali in 1200s King converted to Islam to enhance power (preached loyalty to kings at services) Economy based on agriculture and trade (had access to gold in south) Juula = Malinke merchants who formed groups to trade through west Africa Griots – oral historians and advisors to kings in Africa Mali Click map for video on Mali

11 2 Most Important Leaders of Mali Sundiata Nicknamed the “Lion Prince” Greatly expanded Mali Overcame regional fighting to unite Mali as 1 powerful state Created basic laws for Mali Known as Mansa (emperor) Created social arrangement – each clan had different responsibility (helped unite them) Severely punished crime to protect trade and keep security Mansa Musa Mansa Musa led Mali 1312- 1337 Went on hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca giving away gold to show Mali’s wealth Brought back Ishak al-Sahili, architect, built mosques and unique form of Mali architecture (out of beaten clay; ex = mosque of Jenne) Mali’s contact with outside world brought change and innovation

12 Ibn Butata Famed Arab traveler who recorded his journeys. Made trip through Africa and recorded African societies and cultures Made journey to Mali

13 Timbuktu But 80% of Mali lived outside cities in farming villages City in Mali Population over 50,000 Had a library and university

14 Savanna sandy and shallow, tough to farm Used irrigation and crop rotation to overcome and supply states with food Grew rice, millet, wheat, fruit, and vegetables (used this to supply merchants coming through) Most farms small and privately owned Polygamy common – more wives and children, more help to farm (still to this day) Farming in west African grassland kingdoms

15 Ghana Mali Songhai

16 Located in Mali empire, as Mali crumbled, Songhai grew Along gold trade route helped it grow Rulers became Muslim, majority people didn’t Gao = capital of Songhai, many mosques and foreign merchants living there

17 Sunni Ali Led Songhai (1464- 1492) – used cavalry to expand Songhai into huge empire Captured Timbuktu and Jenne Set up bureaucracy to rule far flung areas of empire Persecuted all who opposed him (including fellow Muslims) Askia = title given to rulers who followed Sunni Ali

18 Muhammad the Great Expanded Songhai so by 1500s it dominated central Sudan

19 Life in Songhai The Fall of Songhai Similar to life in the previous states in the savanna (Ghana and Mali) Islam blended with local pagan beliefs – upset ulama (example = ulama upset women didn’t have to wear veils) 1591 – Songhai defeated by Morocco (Songhai larger army, but Morocco had guns) Defeat set off internal revolts and Songhai broke apart

20 Islam provided universal faith – could unite people Leaders surrounded themselves with Muslim scholars who helped rule Ex = many societies matrilineal, while Sharia law says patrilineal (women had much freedom in west Africa) Islam combined with local cultures (Africans kept local traditions) Social hierarchy formed, though common bond through Islam Rulers used Islam to enhance their power Helped trade – Muslim traders more comfortable trading with other Muslims Looking Back at Islam’s Impact on Sudanic (West African) States

21 West African Traditions That Lived on After the Fall of Songhai Hausa people of northern Nigeria formed states after Songhay collapsed, blended Islam and pagan traditions These states were relatively small, but continued culture of Ghana, Mali, Songhai These states used large cavalries to protect trade (salt, grain, cloth) Other states in the region continued to blended Islam and Paganism

22 Islam’s Affect on Slavery Slavery existed prior to Islam coming, but as Muslims conquered Africa, slave trade grew on huge scale Slave trade lasted 700 years and is an example of Islam’s lasting impact on Africa Slaves used as servants, laborers, soldiers, administrators, eunuchs, and concubines (so wanted to enslave women and children) Muslims saw slavery as step to converting people to Islam


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