The Great West African Trading Kingdoms The Kingdom of Ghana Began 700 A.D. by the Soninke people This was the first trading empire. Ghana Called the “land of gold” because it had so much of it. The gold trade was largely responsible for the development of Ghana into a powerful, centralized kingdom. This gold was traded for salt that came down from the Sahara desert. Ghana Today gold is still being mined in West Africa. Ghana The use of iron to make tools and weapons was important because these helped Ghana expand its control over neighboring people. The use of the horse and camel were also important factors in how rulers were able to incorporate small farmers and herders into the empire. Ghana 900s-Muslims came south to conquer Ghana and convert the people to Islam. Islam brought literacy, learning, a strict code of laws, currency, use of credit, and a common religion. The kings authority diminished which opened the door for the Kingdom of Mali to gain power. The Kingdom of Mali Mali stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to modern Nigeria, Ghana included. From 1350 on replaced Ghana as the primary trading kingdom. Controlled the gold and salt trade. Profited greatly from the slave trade. Traded with Egypt and the copper mines to the east. Mali The founder and first leader of Mali was Sundiata Keita. He was the one who took over Ghana and the West African gold fields. Mali Mansa Musa-greatly extended Mali’s territory and power. In 1324, made pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca with 60,000 people and 80 camels carrying 300 lbs of gold each. Mali Several centers of Islamic learning were established in Mali. One was Timbuktu: Muslim scholars came from all over the world to study religion, math, music, law, & literature. The Kingdom of Songhai Established in 1492 by the warrior king Ali who defeated the rulers of Mali. It included all of the land that the Kingdom of Mali once owned. Songhai was a Muslim kingdom, Islam was a unifying force for the people and an important factor for maintaining state power. Songhai Kingdom reached its peak under Askia the Great, stretching from western Sudan to Mali. 1591- Moroccans raided Taghaza’s salt mine and the Songhai were defeated at the Battle of Tongdibi. The empire never recovered. Ashanti Settled the southern coast of West Africa. 1600s- Osei Tutu became the king and raised a powerful army which conquered neighboring states. Ashanti The Ashanti challenged Britain for control of West African trade. The British were stronger and defeated the Ashanti in 1901. Benin Edo (Bini) tribe founded Benin between 1000 and 1100 A.D. in the forest region of western Nigeria. Became rich by trading cotton for copper, figs, ivory, slaves, and salt. Benin Town of Gwato became a slave export center. Benin is best known for its art in brass, bronze, and ivory. Benin Kingdom declined because of revolts among conquered states and warfare with other slave-trading empires. The British conquered it in 1897. Islam in the Maghrib The region of the Maghrib lies in North Africa in modern day Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. This area is very close to the three important West African kingdoms. Maghrib Before the 7th century, the Maghrib’s population consisted of a mix of Christians, Jews, and traditional African religions. Arabs gained more and more power in the region, so Islam became the dominant religion in the area. Maghrib The people living here were called Berbers, their descendants still live here and follow the Islamic religion. Maghrib The Arabs that brought Islam to the region began being involved in the trans-Saharan gold trade with the Great Kingdoms of West Africa. What you should have learned: Trading empire: a kingdom that rose to prominence because of its ability to trade goods throughout Africa. These included Ghana, Mali, Songhai, as well as the Ashanti and Benin people. Gold, salt, and slaves were the major items traded. Eventually the British took over and the empires declined and fell.