Kingdoms of Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

Kingdoms of Africa:
Ghana, Mali, and Songhai
Kingdom of Ghana
• Western Africa, located on the Senegal River
– Emerged in 500 A.D.
• 1st Great Traders of West Africa
– Gold and Salt trade
• Farming communities throughout nation
• Strong rulers, no laws to govern with
– Rulers acted as religious leader, judge, and military
commander as well
• Well trained army to protect Kingdom
• Vast wealth- resources of gold, silver, and iron
Ghana Continued
• Traded gold and salt but also cloth and weapons
• Berbers- traders whom carried the products
across the desert
– Camels heavily used
– About 3 miles per hours, about 60 days to reach
• Spread of Islamic ideas through trade
– Literacy grew- study of the Qu’ran
Empire of Ghana
• King collected taxes on all goods traded
– Usually took tax payments as gold or salt blocks
• King controlled/ owned all gold
– Preventing it from losing its value at market
– Type of economy- Government Controlled!
• Elaborate dress for the wealthy
• 800 A.D.- reached empire status
– Smaller rulers left in place over territories
• Like a bureaucracy
– Independent rulers pay tax = freedom of state
End of Ghana
• Lived in luxury for hundreds of years
• Weakened by war
• Collapsed in the 1200’s
- No political or cultural unity
- Many different ethnic groups
- Lost control on
conquered territories
Led to …..
Invasions from the Susu Kingdom and Empire
of Mali
Kingdom of Mali
12th Century
Defeated Ghana, captured capital 1240
Extended from Atlantic Coast to Timbuktu
Wealth came from gold and salt trade
Each village had its own ruler
– Ruler governed and sent money to the king of
• Meaning “ruler”
• Major Ruler- Sundiata
– provided wealth and power to empire
– re-organized government
– Capital- Niani
• moved government westward provided more
trading posts
Mansa Musa
• Powerful king, 1312- 1337
• Extended kingdom (double
the size)
• Strong central govt.,
kingdom divided into
• Timbuktu- Islamic learning
– Pilgrimage to Mecca, wanted
education in Mali
– Built mosques and libraries
• Civil War, 1359 divided
Mali, beginning of the end
However, the Empire of Mali would eventually quicken
1)Poor Leadership - spent money irresponsibility on personal extravagant
items and lifestyles
2)There was no clear line of succession-who becomes the next king when the
old king dies?
3)Noblemen secluded the Mansas from their people and took authority in his
FRENCH REVOLUTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kingdom of Songhai
• Niger River Valley
– Land very fertile (yearly flooding)
• Islamic kingdom
• Benefited from Muslim trade routes
• Askia the Great- expanded the kingdom, 1464
Cities- Timbuktu and Jenne
Created a professional army
Gave total control of trade routes to Songhai
Ruled for over 30 years
Songhai Continued
• Muhammad Ture- Golden Age ruler
• Expansion, peaceful and secure time
• After his reign the empire entered into a
• By 1600- Songhai completely declined
– Lacked modern weapons (Guns)
– Overthrown finally by North African armies