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Empires of Africa: Ghana, Mali & Songhai
Empires in Africa (Ghana, Mali and Songhai) and Asia (Byzantine, Ottoman, Mughal and China) grew as commercial and cultural centers along trade routes.
Africa’s Geography Savanna
Areas of grassland with scattered trees and bushes Much of Africa is savanna Africa’s lions, zebras, and elephants live mainly on the savanna Sahara Desert stretching across most of North Africa Worlds largest desert Hot, dry place of sand dunes and rocky mountains
Africa’s Geography Tropical Savanna covers the largest area of Africa
Sahara Desert Worlds Largest Desert Very few people live here Lakes, deep valleys and rugged mountains run north to south through East Africa
Affect of Africa’s Geography
Africa’s physical geography has affected its people’s way of life For example, there is little farming in Africa’s deserts, because there is too little water. People herd cattle on the savannas, but cattle cannot survive in the rain forest. Flies and other pests in the rain forest carry diseases that are deadly for cattle.
The Bantu The Bantu are a large group of central and southern African’s who speak related language The Bantu people, searching for better land for farming, migrated across most of Africa south of the Equator Much of what we know about these early African’s comes from oral history Accounts from the past that people pass down by word of mouth.
The Bantu and History Bantu often moved into areas where people already lived When this happened, they sometimes joined the groups living there. The older cultures usually adapted to the Bantu culture. Agriculture: Yams Metalworking: Iron Tools Axes: Cut down trees and clear the land Spears and Arrows: Powerful weapons for hunting and warfare.
Ghana, Mali & Songhai Powerful trading kingdoms, including Ghana, Mali, and Songhai, controlled the savannas of West Africa for hundreds of years
Trade: Salt Salt and gold were the basis of West African Trade.
Most of the salt came from mines in central Sahara Salt was very valuable People needed it to preserve meat, and to maintain good health Salt was scarce in the forest region
Trade: Gold Some people from the forest region sold gold in exchange for salt Some gold was sold to traders on their way to North Africa These traders returned with glass and other precious North African goods
Ghana (400 to 1000) First West African kingdom to be based on the wealth of salt and gold Took control of trade routes across the Sahara Ideal location for trade Capital city broken into two areas: Trade City and Royal City Eventually Ghana was overran by invaders and began to break into small, independent states Soon trade was controlled by a the powerful new kingdom of Mali
Mali (1200 to 1450) Mali was centered in the Upper Niger Valley
In the 1200’s Mali took control of the salt and gold trade Strong leaders and wealth caused Mali to grow In the 1300’s Islam became the official religion of the Empire
Mali: Mansa Musa Became ruler in 1312 Converted to Islam
Ruled for 25 years Converted to Islam Pilgrimage to Mecca Page 44 Helped Mali become a center of learning Scholars came to teach religion, mathematics, medicine and law
The Fall of Mali About 50 years after Mansa Musa died, Mali’s power began to fade Raiders attacked from the north and fighting broke out within the kingdoms Several providences broke away and became independent One of these former providences became an empire in its own right, Songhai.
Songhai (1450 to 1600) Songhai became the leading empire in West Africa savanna during the 1400s Like Ghana and Mali, Songhai controlled the trade routes and the sources of salt and gold Songhai’s wealth and power grew when it conquered the rich trading city of Timbuktu
Timbuktu Large markets Scholars Religion
Metal, wood, grains, nuts, fish, camel meat, milk, water, dates, rugs linen, ivory, gold salt and even slaves Scholars Scholars came to study and exchange ideas Religion Muslims could pray at large mud mosques
Timbuktu - Africa's City of Gold
The Fall of Songhai In less than 100 years, the kingdom of Songhai began to lose power. In the late 1500s, the people of Songhai began fighting among themselves The kingdom became weaker Eventually it fell to the guns and cannons of the armies of North Africa The era of rich and power trading empires of West Africa was at an end.
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