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Ghana Empire
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Ghana Empire

The Ghana Empire flourished in West Africa from at least the 6th to 13th century CE. Not connected geographically to the modern state of Ghana, the Ghana Empire was located in the western Sudan savannah region (modern southern Mauritania...
Sundiata Keita
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Sundiata Keita

Sundiata Keita (aka Sunjaata or Sundjata, r. 1230-1255 CE) was the founder of the Mali Empire (1240-1645 CE) in West Africa. A prince of the Malinke tribe, Sundiata would not only overthrow the rule of the kingdom of Sosso (c. 1180-1235 CE...
The Gold Trade of Ancient & Medieval West Africa
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Gold Trade of Ancient & Medieval West Africa

West Africa was one of the world's greatest producers of gold in the Middle Ages. Trade in the metal went back to antiquity but when the camel caravans of the Sahara linked North Africa to the savannah interior, the trade really took off...
The Salt Trade of Ancient West Africa
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Salt Trade of Ancient West Africa

Salt from the Sahara desert was one of the major trade goods of ancient West Africa where very little naturally occurring deposits of the mineral could be found. Transported via camel caravans and by boat along such rivers as the Niger and...
Songhai Empire
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Songhai Empire

The Songhai Empire (aka Songhay, c. 1460 - c. 1591) replaced the Mali Empire (1240-1645) as the most important state in West Africa (covering modern southern Mauritania and Mali). Originating as a smaller kingdom along the eastern bend of...
Mali Empire
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Mali Empire

The Mali Empire (1240-1645) of West Africa was founded by Sundiata Keita (r. 1230-1255) following his victory over the kingdom of Sosso (c. 1180-1235). Sundiata's centralised government, diplomacy and well-trained army permitted a massive...
The Spread of Islam in Ancient Africa
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Spread of Islam in Ancient Africa

Following the conquest of North Africa by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century CE, Islam spread throughout West Africa via merchants, traders, scholars, and missionaries, that is largely through peaceful means whereby African rulers either tolerated...
Timbuktu
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Timbuktu

Timbuktu (Timbuctoo) is a city in Mali, West Africa which was an important trade centre of the Mali Empire which flourished between the 13th and 15th centuries CE. The city, founded c. 1100 CE, gained wealth from access to and control of...
Mansa Musa I
Definitionby Mark Cartwright

Mansa Musa I

Mansa Musa I was the ruler of the Mali Empire in West Africa from 1312 to 1337. Controlling territories rich in gold and copper, and monopolising trade between the north and interior of the continent, Mali grew extremely wealthy. Mansa Musa...
The Camel Caravans of the Ancient Sahara
Articleby Mark Cartwright

The Camel Caravans of the Ancient Sahara

The camel caravans which crossed the great dunes of the Sahara desert began in antiquity but reached their golden period from the 9th century CE onwards. In their heyday caravans consisted of thousands of camels travelling from North Africa...