Ghana, Mali, & Songhai

Economic, Political, & Social Aspects


The Ghana empire was located North of the Niger River. The Ghana people were myth tellers. One particular myth explains why the Kingdom declined ( drought, less successful mining which weren't the actual causes of why the empire fell). They were animist and were separated into clans with the kings clan being the most powerful. Succession to the throne was by matrilineal. They traded salt and gold with people thousands of miles away.


The Mali empire included the Ghana Kingdom but was larger because it started farther east and farther south and conquered lands north and west of its territory. The money generated from trade of gold and salt funded the a lot in the city which helped it become the center of learning. They were mostly Islamic people and had many Muslim rulers. They had no particular rule for succession so there were often feuds over this which contributed to the fall of the empire


Songhai was the largest of the three empires and covered most of the Mali empire but not all of it. Most of the people in the kingdom practiced Islam and traditional beliefs but the kings were Muslim. It was a very hierarchical society and was mostly male and patrillineal. There were 3 classes in society; kings and nobles, Freemen and slaves. Slavery was a little different because they could have higher ranks in society. The empire fell because kings always fought over succession to the throne. It weakened the army and when they were invaded by the Morocco, they lost. The people of the empire generally traded salt and gold.