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What was the most valuable resource in West Africa?

West Africa. produced valuable resources—gold—that brought high prices.


What arose as a result of the gold in Ghana?

By the 800s, rulers of Ghana had used the wealth from these products to create a huge, powerful empire


What was the biggest problem in Ghana?

•Ghana had many resources but had no easy access to sea

•Sahara desert blocked overland trade routes


How did Ghana adapt to this geographic problem?

•Berber traders learned how to cross Sahara

•Traveled in large caravans with camels

•Camels did not need much water, could survive trip across desert


What were the goods traded by Ghana?

•Ghana became key player in African trade

•traders traded food, hard goods, copper, salt for gold

•Ghana traded salt to people in south, where salt scarce


Ghana was a trading empire of _______ and ___________

Where was the center of this trade?

•800 AD, Ghana controlled nearly all trade of salt, gold in sub-Saharan Africa

Capital, Koumbi-Saleh, located between Ghana’s gold mines, desert trade routes, was preferred trading place


How did Ghana's kings build wealth?

•Ghana’s kings built great wealth taxing goods

•Majority of taxes charged on salt


How was gold supply kept scarce?

Why did Ghana do this?

•Gold not taxed the same; taxes might discourage traders from buying gold

•To keep gold prices high, kings ruled only they could own large gold nuggets

•Others could only own gold dust; kept location of gold mines secret

•This kept supply of gold scarce; kept market from being flooded


What did Ghana's kings do with the money gained from trade

What did the Ghana kings do?

Money from trade, taxes allowed kings to live lavish lifestyle

•Ghana’s kings also used wealth to build up huge army when needed 

–Used army to conquer other peoples in area

Captured people sold as slaves to Muslim traders


What did Ghana's kings want to do?

What did this lead to?

•Mid-1000s, Ghana’s empire rich and powerful

•King tried to expand

•Attempt led to long war


In 1076, Ghana's capital of ______ was captured by ____________

•In 1076, Almoravids captured Koumbi-Saleh, Ghana’s capital


How did Ghana decline?

•Almoravids controlled capital temporarily

•Ghana’s empire was weakened

•King unable to deal with rebellion in part of empire

•Soon Ghana fell into decline; new empire took its place


What empire arose in the 1230s?

In the 1230s, the empire of Mali rose to power on the same territory.

Mali expanded to the Atlantic Ocean and became a wealthy and sophisticated empire.


How was Mali founded?  

What made it grow in power?

•Founders of Mali, Malinke had been active in Ghana’s gold trade

•1230, grew frustrated with policies of neighboring peoples, rose up to conquer them; became leading power in West Africa


Leader of Mali's rise to power was a king called _________

•Leader of Mali’s rise to power, king named Sundiata


Stories of Sundiata's reign were told in __________

•After conquest, Sundiata ruled 25 years

•Story of reign, accomplishments told in epic, also called Sundiata


Who came after Sundiata's reign?

What happened to Mali during this time?

A relative of Sundiata, Mansa Musa came to power in 1307.

During his reign, Mali’s territory expanded and its population grew.


How was Mali able to stay peaceful during Musa's reign?

•During Musa’s reign, Mali grew wealthier than ever

•Much wealth came from taxation of gold-salt trade

•Mali kept order along Saharan trade routes by using large army

•kept life in Mali relatively peaceful


What was the religion in Mali during Musa's reign?

Islam in Mali

•Mansa Musa devout Muslim



How was Islam introduced to Africa?

Where was Islam most powerful?

•Introduced into West Africa by Muslim traders in Ghana, Islam did not take hold initially

•In Mali, Islam became powerful influence, especially among ruling class

•1324, Musa set out on hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca


What were results of Musa's pilgrimage to Mecca?

•Musa impressed people with clothing, generous gifts

•Trip to Mecca led to great changes in Mali

•Returning to kingdom, Musa brought artists, architects who designed beautiful mosques; also built schools, libraries where people could study Qu’ran, other Islamic writings


What were the effects of this pilgrimage to Mecca outside of Africa?

•Musa’s hajj brought Mali to attention of Europe

•Mali began to appear on European maps for first time

•Within a century, Europeans began to search West Africa for source of Mali’s riches


What contributed to the decline of Mali?

•Rulers following Musa not as strong

•Several peoples broke away, set up independent kingdoms

•Mali also invaded from outside


What was the empire after Mali?

Empire of Songhai


How did Songhai become wealthy?

What was the influence on Songhai?

- Songhai existed as small kingdom for centuries, paid tribute to Ghana, Mali

- Grew wealthy trading goods along Niger River

- Came in contact with Muslim traders; Islam became influence on culture


Who was the leader of Songhai?

What did Songhai want to do once it became strong?

•1460s, rulers had become strong, rich enough to take control of former empire of Mali

•Songhai’s rise under leadership of military leader Sunni Ali


What did Sunni Ali do militarily?

•Ali’s first act as leader: took Timbuktu

•Led number of campaigns against neighboring peoples to build empire

•Military success came from army of skilled cavalry, navy of war canoes

•Conquered new territories, replaced local leaders


Songhai's culture reached its height under this ruler: ____________

Askia Muhammad


What did Askia Muhammad accomplish during his reign?

•During 35 years he ruled, Askia Muhammad expanded Songhai, strengthened its government


Was Askia Muhammad a Muslim?

What did he do?

- Askia Muhammad, Songhai’s first Muslim ruler

- Islam had been introduced earlier; Sunni Ali never became Muslim

- Made pilgrimage to Mecca

- Traveled through Egypt, gained support of Muslim rulers