The Ghana Empire

By: Hay, Amanda, Kelsi, Alex, and
• Ghana was the first of 3 West Africa trading empires.
• Reached it’s height before the introduction of Islam to Sub-Saharan Africa.
• During 400’s CE: Soninke chief succeeded in uniting Soninke ethnic group
in small state
• Most glorious period – 700’s-100’s CE.
• Ruler of Ghana controlled trade routes called “the master of gold” by the
people called himself “Ghana” meant “warrior king”.
• 9th century visitor described as the ruler as “the wealthiest of all kings on
the face of the Earth”.
• Kingdom lasted about six centuries.
• Conquered by new forces from the east.
• Gold and salt was established Kumbi Saleh, it lasted between 800 to
1050 CE. They had a manufacture and goods such as Kola nuts, hides,
leather goods, ivory, gold, slaves. Gold came from Mangara people of
the south, Ghana exploited it geographical location and military power.
10 century they grew rich. The rich acclaimed riches king in the world of
gold. Trans Saharan trade of gold expanded and so did Ghana.
• The power of the Ghana Empire came from their use of iron weapons to
control trade. The weapons used were iron tipped spearheads, lances,
knives, and swords. Their neighbors used bone and wood. Iron ore was
also used to make tools. This caused the growth of larger settled
• The king of Ghana had a strong centralized government & absolute
• It was expected to promote justice
• There was complete & general safety throughout the land.
• Even travelers were safe & had no reason to be scared
• Ghana kinds & inhabitants practiced traditional African religions.
• Pleased gods through prayer & ritual & prayer to ancestors.
• Believed 1 god created the world
• Lesser gods ruled daily life & nature
• Trading cities divided into 2 sections in order to maintain beliefs: one for
Muslim traders, one for local people.
• Over time government officials & merchants converted to Islam.
• The Ghana Empire collapsed under the onslaught of invaders from the north
and west and because of economic pulls to the east and south.
• 11th century, city of Kumbi Saleh fell to Berber invaders from the north.
• In effort to control the gold trade and to purify Islam.
• Practiced in Ghana.
• The invaders subsequently withdrew, but the Kingdom of Ghana was
• Rebellious sub-kingdoms gradually made the trade routes through Ghana
• The Muslim merchants moved eastward, & with the loss.

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