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Medieval African Empires

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1 Medieval African Empires
7.13 Analyze the growth of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai kingdoms including trading centers such as Timbuktu and DJenné, which would later develop into centers of culture and learning. 7.14 Draw evidence from informational texts to describe the role of the trans-Saharan caravan trade in the changing religious and cultural characteristics of West Africa and the influence of Islamic beliefs, ethics, and law. 7.17 Explain the importance of Mansa Musa and locate his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324.

2 Northern African Geography

3 Africa’s Geography Most of Africa is in the tropics with dry, sweeping grasslands called savannas. They have high temperatures and uneven rains Perfect for raising herds of animals To the north and south of the savanna are the deserts. The deserts made travel difficult because you had to go around them. Mild climates along the coast are good for growing crops.

4 West African Empires The Berbers, people who settled in Northern Africa, told of wealthy people south of the Sahara with lots of gold. The Berber traders carried goods on horses and donkeys, which died in the Sahara. When the Romans conquered Northern Africa, they introduced camels, which revolutionized trade in the desert. They traded salt and cloth from North Africa and the Sahara for gold and ivory from western Africa. Trade led to a growth of cities, which led to a growth of empires, the first being Ghana.

5 Rise of Ghana (400s–1200s) It was a crossroads to trade.
They became wealthy because traders had to pass through their city. Why did people pay the taxes? knew how to make iron weapons had a huge army people wanted the traded items and were willing to pay Ghana’s taxes to get them Ghana established its power by creating a central authority with a king. When a new territory was conquered, they allowed the local ruler to stay in power if they swore loyalty to the king

6 Ghana’s Government Kings of Ghana had a council of ministers for advisors. Rulers divided empire into provinces ruled by lesser kings (conquered leaders often were lesser kings) Within the provinces were smaller districts run by clan chiefs (clan – a group of people all descended from the same ancestor) Local rulers had to send their sons to the royal court The King controlled all trade, no one traded without the king’s permission The kingdom is inherited by the king’s sister’s son (his nephew)

7 Why Ghana fell in the 1200s? New gold mines outside Ghana’s control reduced its taxes Poor soil made for poor harvests – led to not enough crops to feed the people Constant fighting with North African Muslims who wanted to build empires of their own.

8 Rise of Mali (1200s – 1300s) Sundiata Keita (the Lion Prince) is given credit for seizing the capital of Ghana in He rules from He won control of the lands from the Atlantic coast to the trading city of Timbuktu. His conquests put Mali in control of the gold-mining areas, allowing him to rebuild the gold and salt trade. Mali’s Government Same gov’t structure as Ghana, but had more territory, more people, and more trade. Sundiata put generals in charge of his provinces.

9 Mali’s famous ruler – Mansa Musa
emperor in the 1300s of Mali made an elaborate pilgrimage to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in 1324 introducing himself and the world to Mali. On his journey, he took a huge entourage with the work of artisans in many towns and cities in Mali countless amounts of gold. Upon his return to Mali, Mansa Musa brought with him Arab scholars, government bureaucrats, and architects. Mosques, libraries, and universities began to be built. Timbuktu became the center of Islamic Sub-Saharan Africa. Mali and Timbuktu began to appear on European maps.

10 Another famous city - DJenné
a center of Islamic learning and pilgrimage in West Africa. The Great Mosque was built in 1240 by the sultan Koi Kunboro. It is built on a raised plinth platform of rectangular sun-dried mud bricks that are held together by mud mortar and plastered over with mud. There is wood scaffolding integrated into the exterior so that each spring workers can apply more mud plaster to the outside. There are architectural elements found in mosques throughout the Islamic world, it uses materials and traditional styles of the area as well. How does Mali decline? After the death of Mansa Musa in 1337 none of the other kings are strong enough to fight off the Berber conquerors who eventually ruled Timbuktu.


12 Rise of Songhai In 1468, Sunni Ali, leader of Songhai, stormed into Timbuktu and drove out the Berbers Songhai’s location along the Niger River allowed them to use war canoes to seize control of river trade Then he took over the Berber Salt Mines 1492, Sunni Ali died, but he had the largest empire in West Africa. Sunni Ali practiced the traditional religion of the Songhai people even though he declared he was a Muslim to keep the support of the townspeople. His son refused to follow his example after Sunni Ali died.

13 Songhai Empire One of Sunni Ali’s general’s saw this as a chance to take over the government. A bloody war followed. Sunni Ali’s family was forced out of Songhai. The general took the Askia Muhammad. He built the largest empire in medieval West Africa. Kept local courts in place but told them to honor Muslim laws. Made Timbuktu an important center of Islamic culture Set up 150 schools to teach the Qu’ran. 1591 – small army from the Arab kingdom of Morocco crossed the Sahara

14 Exit Ticket Name the 3 civilizations that arose in West Africa during the medieval era. Name two main products that were traded in the area. How did Ghana gain all of its wealth since it had neither salt or gold mines? Why was Mansa Musa so important as a king? Why was the mosque in Djenne different from mosques in the middle east?

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