Between 3000 and 1600 BC  Powerful empires and trading states flourished in widely separated areas of Africa  These were very different societies, reflecting the diversity of African geography, culture, and people.

Kingdom of KUSH The Empire of AXUM Ancient GHANA MALI Empire SONGHAI Empire

 Kingdom of Kush flourished from 750- 150BC.  Located south of Egypt on the Nile River (known today as the country of Sudan)  The Kushites had been Egyptian subjects. .


750BC  They invaded and conquered Egypt  The Kushites made themselves the 25th dynasty of the pharaohs of Egypt. .

 There they continued to rule independently from their capital of Meroe.630 BC  The Kushites were no longer able to defend Egypt against outside attacks and were driven back to their own land.  Around Meroe were valuable iron deposits that the Kushites learned to utilized .


and portions of Africa in the farther south  King and Queens of Kush used riches from trade to build walled palaces. Ethiopia. India. .1st century BC  Meroe was carrying on a lively iron trade with Egypt. Arabia. huge temples. and burial pyramids.

.The use of iron began to spread in Africa about 500BC. Iron plows enabled farmers to increase food production and also as a military advantage.


Kush declined by about 200 AD while its neighbor. grew in power. . Axum.


and animals hides from the interior of Africa to ports on the Red Sea  Arab traders settled alongside the farmers and merchants of Axum. ivory. Axum carried on a thriving trade with the Mediterranean world and with Asia.  Traders brought gold. .


324 AD  King Ezana of Axum and his people were converted to Christianity  Around 600 AD. the spread of Islam across North Africa broke the connection between the Christian world and Axum .

King Ezana .

 Empires grew In the West African Savanna  Cities grew up on the edge of the desert  The towns in the northern savanna of Africa were much like port cities .

More than eight centuries They took turn as capitals of three powerful empires: Ghana. Gold was exchanged for salt across Sahara . Mali. and Songhai.

.A rich gold-mining area lay in a wide forest region called Wangara Gold from Wangara was the basis for profitable trade.


 Traders brought the gold through the forest to the savanna  They were met by other traders from the cities of the North African coast who exchanged goods for the gold and carried it across the Sahara to cities in the Mediterranean .

. much of the gold was shipped for sale in Europe and Asia One important item needed by the West African was salt.From there.



Mali had a series of rulers who were unable to control a big empire after Mansa Musa’s death. Songhai tried to seize power Sonni Ali’s goal was to conquer Timbuktu. .



 It is in Timbuktu where gold from the south and salt from the north flowed  However.  Timbuktu was attacked and captured by Sonni Ali in 1468. . Timbuktu was taken over by the nomadic raiders known as the Tuaregs.


 His soldiers looted the city and had many people killed. . Tuaregs fled. His cavalry carried swords and long spears.  They described him as horrible tyrant.  His infantry were armed with bows and poison arrows  In the face this strong force.

.  The wealthy trading city Djenne was Sonni Ali’s next target  His soldiers encircled Djenne in a siege. He captured other cities of Mali and ruled their for 35 years.

 Later. Songhai dominated the trans-Saharan trading routes. rulers conquered more territory which made Songhai the largest of West Africa’s trading empire. With the capture of Djenne.  Sonni Ali’s son ruled for a few months and was later deposed by Askia Mohammad .



 Took control of Songhai and he set out to conquer more lands  The empire grew big to include most of the grasslands to West Africa .

 It reached from the Atlantic Ocean halfway across Africa to Lake Chad. from what is today the southern border of Algeria  He was an able administrator who gave the empire an improved system of government .

 He strengthened Islam  He appointed Islamic judges to enforce laws which is based on the Qu’ran  He encouraged Islamic scholarship .

. Scholars learned to read and write Arabic so that they can study the Qu’ran.  He sets up fair method of taxation and an efficient system of communications with the province.

 Songhai was considered as the most organized tribes in West Africa. during his reign. Timbuktu became a leading center of Islamic learning. .

 Morocco is jealous of its power and wealth. .  Songhai was invaded by the Morocco because of unable rulers of Songhai.

 The Moroccans captured Timbuktu and other cities but unfortunately. . cities and small groups broke away.  A number of provinces. they were not able to hold the empire together.  As the empire collapsed. its once thriving cities slowly declined.

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