Empires In Africa

By Jerrin Jacob & Holden Rupley


Africa is a very dry and desert like land, which makes it difficult to trade goods/items with other empires. Also since many of the empires were landlocked and more into the center of Africa it was harder to trade by ships. Only a few empires benefited from the coastal areas because of fishing and trade through ships.

The Empires

Mali Empire was in western Africa and ran from 1230-1600. The empire started because of a man named Sundiata Keita, also the Mali had controlled all of the salt and gold trade and the king had owned all of the gold. When sundiata had passed away, Mansa Musa l came into power. Since Musa had valued the religon of Islam very greatly, many Islamic empires around the world had drew their attention onto Musa and the Mali empire. The empire had soon went into decline after the death of Musa.
Songhai was a fishing village within the Mali Empire just how the Mali empire were formally ruled by Ghana. The songhai had their own government system and wanted to become their own empire, so they refused to pay the taxes to the Mali empire, but due to political struggles the Songhai had went on a decline.


Barriers to Trade- Africa is located near the equator making it a very hot and dry land. The Sahara desert is a major geographic feature in Africa. The Sahara is a very dry desert that is the largest hot desert in the world, and is third largest desert in the world. It is 9,400,000 square kilometers across and has very little water supply. This makes it extremely hard to trade amongst Africa's mainland. If trading took place across the Sahara the people would have to ride a camel across it or face a near impossible journey on foot. Even though Africa had the Sahara as a barrier of trade, the northern part of Africa led to a waterway to Europe.

Eastern Trading On the Swahili Coast- They developed good trading routes with Europe because of the mediterranean sea. They used northern Africa to trade with European countries because it was a straight path across the sea to Europe. Africa established trading routes which traded ivory, gold, food and slaves in exchange for pottery, porcelain and other manufactured goods with Europe.

Western Trading- Ghana was the center for trade amongst africans in grain, cattle, and metals. In the 700's camals were starting to be used to bring products from the arabic mainland into Ghana. Mali controlled all of the salt and gold trade. salt was mostly traded unless gold was traded illegally because there was no trading of gold inside the barriers of Africa because Mansa Musa (the king) owned all of the gold. salt was very important to the economy of trade because it was a large part of daily success. Songhai was a small village in Africa that was known for its fishing. It thrived on trading fish to parts of Africa.

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Critical Thinking Question

What Was The Impact Of The Swahili Coastal Region For Trade?