WEST AFRICA UNIT OVERVIEW 7th Grade History Jan. 12, 2016 GEOGRAPHY Geography explains where people live and how they live. Sahara (desert) spreads across the northern part of West Africa The Sahel is south of the Sahara and is semi desert Most of W. Africa is savanna (tall grasses and scattered trees with a long rainy season) Tropical Rain Forests are wet and rain all year long TRADE There were/are different resources depending on the geography of where you lived Rivers served as trading routes in W. Africa THE RISE OF KINGDOMS AND EMPIRES Rulers collected tribute from people they conquered. Advantages: protection Disadvantages: pay tribute Trade brought some cities great wealth. GHANA 500C.E.-1200 C.E. We learned about Ghana from Arab writing Ghana means “war chief.” They conquered their neighbors to create a kingdom Ghana’s wealth came from the trans-Saharan trade routes. They traded gold for salt. MALI War and loss of natural resources led to Ghana’s downfall Mali grew out of the fall of Ghana. 1240 C.E. Mande conquered the city of Kumbi and created the Mali kingdom Mali also traded gold. Its leaders accepted Islam. Islam became a major influence. MANSA MUSA Mali king and was known for his wealth (1312 C.E.) First king to go on the Hajj His splendor was so great it became well known around the world. By 1375, Mali appeared on European maps of W. Africa SONGHAI A group of people living in Mali. They created a powerful army and conquered Mali in the 1460s. Muslims rebelled and took over the Songhai and went to war to convert non- Muslims.