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West African Civilizations

Which two groups were building empires in North Africa?
Almohads and Almoravids
What were the 3 powerful empires that flourished in West Africa?
Ghana, Mali, Songhai
What did Ghana, Mali, and Songhai have in common that strengthened their empire?
They controlled trade.
What caused the trade to be infrequent and irregular? (Ghana)
The harsh desert conditions
How did people adapt to the harsh desert conditions that eventually led to trade increase? (Ghana)
They began using camels which increased the distance that they could travel without water and getting exhausted.
What area did the trade routes cross through in Ghana?
It crossed through the savanna through the region farmed by the Soninke people.
What did the Soninke people call their ruler?
Ghana, which means war chief
How was the Soninke region named Ghana?
Muslim traders began to use the term, Ghana, to refer to the Soninke region.
In the 700s, how did Ghana's rulers grow rich?
Ghana's rulers became rich by taxing the goods that traders carried through their territory.
What were Ghana's two most important trade items?
Gold and salt
Where was gold found in Ghana?
Gold was found in a forest region between the Niger and Senegal rivers. 2/3s of the world's gold came from West Africa.
Where was salt found in Ghana?
Salt was found in the Sahara desert. (Saharan village of Taghaza).
Describe the Salt and Gold trade.
The Arab and Berber traders traded salt from the desert and cloth, weapons and manufactured goods from the Mediterranean ports. The Africans brought gold from the forest regions. The traders met in trading cities in the savanna, where the Ghana's rulers collected the taxes.
What was Ghana's tax collectors' role?
The tax collectors taxed trade,made sure all traders weighed goods fairly and did business according to law, provided protection from bandits.
In the 800s, describe Ghana's ruler's power.
Ghana's king controlled trade, commanded a large army, demanded taxes and gifts from the chiefs of surrounding lands.
In Ghana during the 800s, who could own gold nuggets? What advantage did this provide.
Only the king could own gold nuggets, which limited the supply of gold and maintained the price of gold.
What three main positions did Ghana's ruler serve as?
Religious leader, chief judge, and military commander.
How did Islam spread through North Africa?
By conquest.
How did Islam spread South of the Sahara?
By trade.
Explain the spread of Islam in Ghana.
Islam spread through North Africa by conquest and spread South of the Sahara by trade. Eventually, Ghana's rulers converted to Islam. However, many people in Ghana kept their animistic beliefs and practices. Much of the population never converted to Islam.
How did Islam encourage literacy?
To study the Qur'an, converts to Islam had to learn Arabic.
What impact did the Muslim Almoravids' conquest of Ghana have?
The conquest of Ghana disrupted the gold-salt trade which caused Ghana to lose its power forever.
Who were the founders of the kingdom of Mali?
Mali's founders were Mande-speaking people, who lived south of Ghana.
What was Mali's wealth built on?
Mali's wealth was built on gold.
What event made the Mali's people wealthy?
Miners found new gold deposits farther east, which caused the most important trade routes to shift eastward.
What event made the Mali's people powerful?
When miners found new gold deposits farther east and the most important trade routes to shift eastward, this caused the Mali people to become wealthy and powerful.
Who was Mali's first great leader and how did he come to power?
Mali's first great leader was Sundiata who came to power by crusing a cruel, unpopular leader. He became Mali's mansa or emperor.
What important events occurred during Sundiata's reign?
Sundiata was a great leader in peace and wartime. He took over the kingdom of Ghana and the trading cities of Kumbi and Walata. He put able administrators in charge of Mali's finances, defense, and foreign affairs. He promoted agriculture and reestablished the gold-salt trade. The new capital, Niani, became an important center of commerce and trade.
What does Mali mean?
Where the king lives.
What did the African Muslim Mali rulers do?
They built mosques, attended public prayers, and supported the preaching of Muslim holy men.
Who was the most famous African Muslim ruler?
Mansa Musa.
Who was Mansa Musa and what did he do?
He was a skilled military leader; he controlled trade of gold and salt, put down rebellions, expanded Ghana's empire nearly 2 times the size, divided empire into provinces, appointed governors (ruled fairly and efficiently), and built new mosques at Timbuktu and Gao.
Who was Ibn Battuta?
A travelor and historian who visited most of the countries in the Islamic world; praised people for studying the Qur'an and criticized them for not strictly following Islam's moral code.
What were the main reasons for the fall of the Mali empire?
Empire weakened- Mansa Musa's successors werent able to govern well and gold trade shifted eastward (basis of Mali's wealth).
Who were the Songhai?
People to the east- capital is Gao located in the Niger River. Gained control of all trade routes after the fall of the Mali empire.
Who was Sunni Ali?
One of the most successful rulers of the Songhai empire; built empire through military conquest; built army of people on canoes and horseback.
How did Sunni Ali expand trade in the Songhai Empire?
He captured the important trade cities, Timbuktu and Djenne (married queen).
Who was Askia Muhammed?
The leader of the revolt who were angry that Sunni Ali's son did not practice their religion faithfully. Replaced Sunni Ali's son from power. Empire thrived during his rule.
What were Askia Muhammed's most important accomplishments?
He set up an efficient tax system and chose able officials to serve as ministers of the treasury, army, navy, and agriculture.
What was the main cause of the fall of the Songhai empire?
The Songhai empire lacked modern weapons.
In 1591, who ended the Songhai empire?
The Moroccans
Who were the Hausa's?
A group of people who were named after the language they spoke.
Where did the Hausa's empire rise?
In the savanna region east of Mali and Songhai which would today be northern Nigeria.
Who did the Hausa's gain independence from?
The Songhai's
What was unique about Hausa's capitals?
The local rulers built walled cities for their capitals; Hausa's rulers governed farming villages outside the city walls.
What was the basis of Hausa's wealth?
Farming and trade
What did the Hausa's trade?
Salt, grain, and cotton cloth made by urban weavers
What was important to the Hausa's location that helped their city-states thrive?
It was located on trade routes that linked the Hausa's in the Mediterranean with other important trading states.
What were the Hausa's mostly known for?
The were recognized for their woven and dyed cloth and their leather
Which southernmost state conducted a vigorous trade in enslaved people?
Zazzau, exchanged slaves for horses, harnesses, and guns
Did the Hausa's use slaves? If so, for what purpose?
Yes, they used them to build and repair city walls and grow food for the cities.
Describe Hausa's government.
All city-states had similar forms of government- rulers held majority of power (over subjects) while ministers and other officials acted to check his power.
Describe Hausa's military.
Had armies of horseback in every city-state. Rulers often schemed and fought to gain control over their neighbors (none succeeded for long) --> reason why the Hausa'a were never able to fully build a Hausa empire.
Who were the Yoruba's?
The Yoruba were farmers who shared a common language. Located in Benin and southwestern Nigeria.
What was the basis of the Yoruba's wealth?
through farming
What led to the formation of several Yoruba kingdoms?
smaller communities were joined together under strong leaders
Describe the Yoruba kings
Yoruba kings were considered divine and served asreligious and political leaders in their kingdoms. All Yoruba chiefs traced their descent from the first ruler of Ife.
Who was Ife?
The Yoruba's first ruler who was believed to be sent down from the creater to earth at Ife, the firstYoruba state. His sons became rulers of all the other Yoruba kingdoms. Seen as their highest authority of power.
Which 2 Yoruba kingdoms were the largest?
Ife and Oyo, at first Ife was the most powerful kingdom until the late 1600s when Oyo became more prosperous.
What were the Yoruba city dwellers considered?
traders and craftspeople
What was the Benin kingdom?
They were people who were located near the delta of the Niger River. Homes were located in the forests.
How did the Yoruba kings decided?
Based on claims of descent from the first king of Ife
Where was the kingdom of Benin located?
from the Niger River to the east in Lagos, Nigeria
Who was Ewuare?
He was responsible for making Benin into a major West African state by building a powerful army. He also built city walls around it.
Describe the trade in Benin.
Portuguese trading ships sailed into Benin's port at Gwatto; traded for pepper, leopard skins, ivory, and slaves.