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Ghana, Mali, and Songhai grew wealthy trading gold for salt. Mansa Musa went to Mecca and Made Mali Muslim

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  1. 1. West African Gold and Salt Kingdoms Ghana, Mali, and Songhai
  2. 2. West African Civilizations • Formed diverse civilizations in different geographical areas • Built large trading empires in Ghana, Mali, Songhai, and Axum • Became part of the global trade network • Were introduced to Islam • Maintained traditions around village, family, and religious beliefs • Griots told history through poems and stories such as the legend of Sundiata, founder of Mali
  3. 3. Ghana • The “first” of the West African Kingdoms • Rose to power in the 3rd Century CE by taxing the heavy Gold-Salt trade within its borders. • 9th- 11th centuries: rulers converted to Islam and Ghana was at the height of its power. • Ghana invaded in 1076, and even though it survives, its power was in decline, such that by the beginning of the 1200’s (13th Century), new states emerged in the savanna.
  4. 4. Mali • Replaced Ghana • 1230-1600 CE • Located on the Niger River • Traded Gold for Salt • Had a golden age under Mansa Musa • Mansa Musa travelled to Mecca and brought religious scholars back to West Africa with him • Turned Timbuktu into a major center for learning in the Muslim World
  5. 5. Songhai • Replaced Mali • 15th-16th centuries • Continued the Gold and Salt trade • Brought into decline as a result of the trans- Atlantic slave trade
  6. 6. Islam in Africa • Merchants conducting trade across the Sahara first introduced Islam into north-western Africa • Mali King Mansa Musa wanted to make his kingdom a center of learning, so he took a pilgrimage to Mecca then returned with scholars • Islam was accepted because it taught equality
  7. 7. • As Islam spread, some of the practices changed to meet the needs of the people in western Africa • Ibn Battuta on the nakedness of Muslim women in Mali: – Among their bad qualities are the following. The women servants, slave-girls, and young girls go about in front of everyone naked, without a stitch of clothing on them. Women go into the sultan's presence naked and without coverings, and his daughters also go about naked. Then there is their custom of putting dust and ashes on their heads, as a mark of respect, and the grotesque ceremonies we have described when the poets recite their verses. Another reprehensible practice among many of them is the eating of carrion, dogs, and asses.
  8. 8. • Ibn Battuta on the grotesque rituals of the poets in Mali: – On feast-days after Dugha has finished his display, the poets come in. Each of them is inside a figure resembling a thrush, made of feathers, and provided with a wooden head with a red beak, to look like a thrush's head. They stand in front of the sultan in this ridiculous make-up and recite their poems. After that the chief of the poets mounts the steps of the pempi and lays his head on the sultan's lap, then climbs to the top of the pempi and lays his head first on the sultan's right shoulder and then on his left, speaking all the while in their tongue, and finally he comes down again. I was told that this practice is a very old custom amongst them, prior to the introduction of Islam, and that they have kept it up.