West African Empires - Tallmadge City Schools

Ghana, Mali, Songhai
Ghana and trans-Saharan trade
Mali and Songhai
I. Ghana Controls Trade
 A. Soninke—banded together for protection
 B. People of Ghana grew in strength---learned to use
iron tools for farming.
 C. Silent Barter Trade---traded 2 main resources (gold
and salt) using this peaceful trading system.
 D. Ghana controlled trade and became very wealthy—
built up an army.
II. Ghana Builds an Empire
 All trade through north and south Africa passed
through Ghana.
 A. Taxes and Gold
 1. Every trader entering Ghana had to pay a tax
 2. Gold was traded, but most was kept by the king
 3. Common people could only own gold dust
II. Ghana Builds an Empire
 B. Expansion of the Empire
 1. Part of Ghana’s wealth went to support the army
 2. The empire reached its peak under Tunka Manin—
king of Ghana
III. Ghana’s Decline
 A. Invasion
 The Almoravids attacked and weakened trade in
 B. Overgrazing
 Destroyed Ghana’s farmland
 C. Internal Rebellion
 People that Ghana had conquered rose up in rebellion
I. Mali
 Mali began under the ruler, Sundiata
 A. Sundiata Makes Mali and Empire
 1. Built up an army and conquered Ghana in 1230.
 2. Took over gold and salt trade (introduced a new
 3. Took power away from local leaders---took the new
title of Mansa
 4. Died in 1255; new rulers of Mali were now called
I. Mali
 B. Mansa Musa
 1. Mali reached its height under the ruler, Mansa Musa.
Islam spread through West Africa because of his influence.
 2. Ruled from 1312-1337. He added Timbuktu to the Mali
 3. 1324—left on pilgrimage to Mecca to complete one of the
pillars of Islam. He gave out large amounts of gold along the
 4. Supported education, the spread of the Arabic language,
and the spread of Islam
I. Mali
 C. The Fall of Mali
 1. Raiders from the southeast took over
 2. 1431—Timbuktu was seized
II. Songhai
 Songhai---a nearby rival kingdom, grew in power.
 A. The Building of an Empire
 1. Songhai gained independence from Mali in the 1400’s.
 2. Songhai leaders traded with other N. African
 3. In 1464, Sunni Ali took over and expanded the
 4. Sunni Ali encouraged Islam and local religions
II. Songhai
 B. Askia the Great
 1. Songhai people rebelled against Sunni Baru (Sunni Ali’s
son)---he was not a Muslim
 2. Askia the Great became the new ruler of Songhai after the
 3. Askia the Great supported education
 4. Encouraged the growth of Islam
 5. Set up 5 provinces in Songhai
II. Songhai
 C. Songhai Falls to Morocco
 1. Morocco wanted control of the salt mines
 2. Used the arquebus—early form of a gun---to take
over in 1591.
 3. Trading in West Africa declined as Atlantic port cities
became more important to Africans south of Songhai
and European merchants.
1. How did Timbuktu’s location help it
develop into a major trading city?
 It was a crossroads of trade routes in the Sahara
2. What brought Muslim traders to
the kingdom of Ghana?
3. What other items besides gold and
salt were traded in the markets of
 Slaves, cloth, horses, spices, silks, ivory
4. What did Muslim traders bring
with them to sell in Timbuktu?
 North African cloth and horses, salt
5. What religion was brought to
western Africa by Muslim traders?
 Islam
6. Who was the most famous and
powerful king of Mali? Where did he
go on a year-long journey?
 Mansa Musa. He made a pilgrimage to the holy city of
Mecca to complete one of the 5 pillars of Islam.
7. How did it become widely known
that Mali was a wealthy kingdom?
 On Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage to Mecca, he brought
60,000 people from West Africa with him. They gave
out and left behind enough gold that would be worth
over 100 million dollars today!
8. How did Mansa Musa spread
 He had many mosques built in Timbuktu and around
 He brought Muslim scholars to Mali to teach in the
schools he had built in Timbuktu. He encouraged the
spread of the Arabic language as well.
Ghana 770-1230 AD
Major Sources of
Important Leader
Sub-Saharan West Africa
Gold Trade
Tunka Manin (1060’s)
In between the Senegal
and Niger Rivers
Trade of sheep, cattle,
honey, salt
“Tunka Manin was a
Controlled all trade
routes through the Sahara
Mali 1230’s-(ish)---1464
Major Sources of
Important Leaders
In the area where Ghana
is and expanded west to
the Atlantic Ocean
Controlled gold and salt
trade routes
Sundiata: conquered
Ghana; Mali’s first ruler
Traded beans, rice,
onions, and cotton
Mansa Musa:
-Most famous ruler of
-Spread Islam
-Pilgrimage to Mecca
-Encouraged the Arabic
-Supported education
Timbuktu is the center of
Songhai: 1464-1591
Major Sources of
-Expanded from
-Controlled the gold
Atlantic Ocean to Lake and salt trade routes
-Timbuktu was center
-included the Mali
of trade and Islamic
culture---schools and
libraries were built
Important Leaders
Sunni Ali:
-First leader of the
Songhai empire
-Strengthened empire
Askia the Great:
education and the
spread of Islam
-Had schools,
universities, libraries,
and mosques built in
-Hired Muslim
scholars to teach in

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