Empires in Africa

By: Nataly Angulo and Amanda Casillas

How does religion effect the development of an empire?

Western Trading Empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

Economic Conditions

Pilgrimage gained Mali closer ties with the Islamic world. It increased trade and cultural diffusion between Mali and the Muslim.

Ghana and Mali were both civilizations based on great wealth, large population, and advanced political achievements.


Ghana grew wealthier and extended its political control strengthening its position and helping it capture other territories.


The empire expanded and trade advanced making Mali more wealthy. Muslim traders were active in West Africa. Rebellions made them outgrow their political and military strength. Soon Mali was out of power.


Raid by Sultan Ahmad destroyed Sanghai and they failed to restore their empire afterwards. Ending completely the Songhai empire. The economic and administrative centres remained with the Moroccans.

Eastern Trading Regions on the Swahili Coast

The Swahili region stretched from Somalia to Mozambique. There was a lot of slave trading and slaves being used as domesticates. In the late eighteenth century, sugar and clave plantations created a high demand for slaves. Later, the Omans colonized the Swahili Coast, took control, and imported slaves to Zanzibar and Pemba islands to develop cove plantations. Omans used slave labor on the mainland to raise grain to feed the slaves on the island plantations. They established coastal staging points for long distance ivory and slave caravans. Slaves were employed raising crops for the consumption in the capital of Zanibar. The Swahili Coast was mainly an easy slave trade area, which increased the boom in slavery.

Blend of Islam and Traditional Religions

The Koran, colonialism, and the arrival of modern technology made Islam famous. About all religions in Africa were monotheistic, meaning that they only believe in one god. Throughout the time, merchants traveling and trading spread more religions around Africa but Islam became the traditional religion.


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