Early trade with Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Chinese, and Indians trading communities set up by Arab and Asian immigrants on east coast EAST AFRICAN KINGDOMS Thriving trade Rise of slave trade Introduction of crops and animals from Middle East & Asia Rich mix of cultures Development of Swahili language
The Indian Ocean linked East Africa to India and other Asian lands.
East African City-States
Around 600, Arab merchants established trading cities along the coast of East Africa.
Trade led to cultural diffusion in East Africa.
This led to a new language, Swahili, in which Arabic words were mixed with Bantu, an African language.
People needed salt to survive in Africa’s hot climate. There was plenty of salt in the Sahara, but there was little in the savanna. So people trade salt for gold.
Strong West African rulers created powerful kingdoms by gaining control over the trade routes for salt and gold.
1. Ghana (800-1000)
Controlled gold-salt trade routes across West Africa
High status held by women
Muslim advisors to the king spread Islamic religion and learning
Camels were valued.
These people called their chief ghana , or war chief.
By the 700s, the kingdom of Ghana was growing rich from taxing traders’ goods.
Gold came from a forest region south of the savanna between the Niger and Senegal rivers.
Miners dug gold from shafts as deep as 100 feet or sifted it from fast-moving streams.
Although rich in gold, West Africa lacked salt, which is essential to human life.
The Sahara contained deposits of salt.
In the Saharan village of Taghaza, workers built their houses from salt blocks because it was the only material available.
Arab traders would cross the desert with salt and exchanged it for gold in trading cities like Ghana.
Only the king had the right to own gold and salt.
The king limited the supply of gold and salt and kept prices from falling.
“ The king…adorns himself… wearing necklaces and bracelets… The court of appeal is held in a domed pavilion around which stand ten horses with gold embroidered trappings. Behind the king stand ten pages holding gold shields and swords.”
Decline of Ghana
In 1076, the Muslim Almoravids of North Africa conquered Ghana.
This badly disrupted the gold-salt trade, and Ghana never regained its power.
2. Mali (1200-1450)
Expanded influence over gold-salt trade routes
Mansa Musa -
The greatest Mali emperor
He expanded borders to Atlantic Ocean
He converted Mali to Islam
He based justice system on the Koran
He made a famous hajj to Mecca, formed new trade ties and spread news of Mali’s wealth.
2. Mansa Musa Expands Mali
Mansa Musa , a Muslim, next ruled Mali.
He was a skilled military leader whose 100,000 man army protected Mali.
The great leader of Mali, Mansa Musa in a medieval manuscript
Under Mansa Musa, Mali expanded to twice its size.
Mali was divided into provinces for more effective rule.
3. Islam and Mali
Mansa Musa went on a hajj to Mecca from 1324 to 1325.
When he returned, he ordered the building of new mosques at the trading cities of Timbuktu and Gao .
Timbuktu attracted Muslim judges, doctors, religious leaders, and scholars from far and wide to its mosques and universities.
Manuscripts were brought to Timbuktu to be sold.
4. Ibn Battuta
In 1352, Ibn Battuta, a traveler and historian, visited Mali and was amazed at its lack of crime.
A devout Muslim, he praised Mali for their study of the Koran.
“ They are seldom unjust, and have a greater hatred of injustice than any other people. Their sultan shows no mercy to anyone who is guilty of the least act of it. There is complete security in their country. Neither traveler nor inhabitant in it has anything to fear from robbers.”
Within 50 years of Ibn Battuta’s visit, Mali began to weaken.
Many leaders did not govern well, and the gold-salt trade shifted as new goldfields were developed.
3. Songhai (1450-1600)
Largest West African state
Controlled key trade routes and wealthy cities
Held traditional religious beliefs (animism, forces of nature) then adopted Islam
Set up efficient government and bureaucracy (separate departments)
Timbuktu -leading center of learning by 1400
Despite its wealth, Songhai lacked modern weapons.
In 1591, a Morrocan fighting force equipped with gunpowder and cannons invaded Songhai.
Decline of Songhai DON’T WRITE
Modern Cairo, Egypt at night
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