12. 2 ~ Ghana’s
Government and Military
1. Why would the king of Ghana hold court every day in his
Ghana’s King would probably hold court
everyday to keep order within the kingdom
and check on his fortune within the kingdom.
2. If you were an Arab visitor to Ghana, based on your observations how would you know
that Ghana was rich in gold? What were some of these observations?
The way that the king dressed with gold
Soldiers with swords decorated with gold, hair
braided with gold, and guard dogs with gold
collars around their neck.
A large gold nugget used as a hitching post for
the King’s horse.
3. Why would the king of Ghana only allow the people of
his kingdom have gold dust and he kept all other types of
The King of Ghana wanted to tightly control
the gold within the kingdom.
4. If the king of Ghana were to die, his sister’s son would take the throne. How is this
different to a kingdom in Europe?
In Europe, the king’s son would take the
5. Even though the king of Ghana had a paid army of elite men, what did the king do in
advance in order to prepare for a larger war/battle?
The King of Ghana made sure that every man
within his kingdom knew how to battle in time
of war. This was smart because then he did not
have to take the time to train them.
1. How did Ghana’s location allow for it to become a wealthy kingdom?
Ghana’s location allowed for it to control the
trans-Saharan trade. Traders who traded with
North Africans had to pass through Ghana in
order to make that trade.
Ghana was able to tax these traders as they
passed through its kingdom.
2. If you look at the map on page 149, describe why goods were transported by that
person/animal in the different locations.
Donkeys: These animals were able to cross
over the Atlas Mountains and wooded/rocky
Camels: These animals were able to cross
through the Sahara desert due to their
adaptations to the environment.
Porters: These men were able to take the goods
and load them onto cargo ships along the
3. Why would many travelers/traders stop at Taghaza?
Taghaza was a location that mined salt and
salt was an excellent material to sell to people
living away from the desert.
Salt allows you to replace salt in your body
due to sweat and it also preserves meat.
The people who lived below the Sahara did
not have an ample supply of salt and they
needed it to survive.
2. Why do historians believe that if Taghaza did not have salt to offer, it would have been
a non-existent location in history?
Taghaza only had salt to offer. It was not a
place where someone could farm easily so they
had to import food into the area in order to
feed the people mining for salt.
Ghana, they may not have cared about the cost because Ghana protected their goods
from raiders along the trade routes. Explain how this system of tax/trade benefited
everyone that was involved.
The taxes that the traders paid in Ghana
helped finance the army that Ghana provided
to protect these traders along the trade routes.
1. Explain the process of silent bartering with the Wangarans.
The traders would spread their goods along the river
and then beat on the drum to let the Wangarans know
that a trade has been offered.
If the Wangarans liked the goods, they left gold dust
next to the goods. They beat on the drum and then left.
If the traders thought it was a good offer, they took the
gold dust and left. However, if the trade was not good,
the trader left until the Wangaran made another offer.
During this entire trade, not a word was exchanged.
Eventually the trader & Wangaran met after the trade
2. What were the two advantages to silent bartering?
People who spoke different languages were
able to make trades.
The Wangarans were able to keep their
location of the gold mines a secret from
12.6 ~ The Decline of Ghana and
the Rise of Mali
1. In the year 1,000 C.E., Ghana was at its height of power and prosperity. What two
things led to its downfall?
War was one area that made Ghana decline.
Loss of natural resources was another area that
strained Ghana’s empire.
2. How does Ghana’s decline mimic what is happening today in Africa?
Many countries within Africa are in war and
they are also having a difficult time with clean
3. What new empire took over Ghana and it too relied heavily on trade?
Mali continued where Ghana left off. It relied
heavily on trade, especially in gold because
that is what many foreign traders were
interested in obtaining.