Kush and Axum Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Kush was formed after the Egyptian pulled their people out of Nubia, an area that is now Northern Sudan/Southern Egypt. The Kush kingdom was fortunate in its wealth, with easily access to iron, gold, and ivory. The nobles of the Kush thought of themselves as Egyptians, for the Egyptians had influenced their architecture and their religion. However unlike the Egyptians, the people of Kush did not have to worry about the Nile's annual flooding and they needn't rely on it for good soil, the area the kingdom was in received plenty of rainfall year round so their soil was generally good for crops. In terms of accomplishments, the kingdom was one of the first (we believe) to make iron tools in Africa, they fought and won many battles against their Egyptian neighbors and created their own language and culture. The Kush kingdom was formed prior to this but when the natives African were forced to migrate out of Egypt because of newcomers, they greatly enriched the culture of the Kingdom of Kush, it wasn't for a thousand years until the Kingdom fell. It happened when a nearby Ethiopian kingdom grew until Kush was overshadowed, finally being attacked and destroyed.
Thus was born Axum, Kush's successor kingdom. Located in the Ethiopian Highlands, it eventually controlled much of Arabria, modern day Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Axum was the seed that grew into the legendary kingdom of Ethiopia. Axum became a Christian nation and was the first to become that in Africa, mixing it's prior polytheistic beliefs with the new found Christianity is how they approached the matter, almost setting a precedent for other tribes and people. The thing that I think of most when I think about the Axum empire is their Stelae, these stone towers served to mark graves and represent a magnificent multi-storied palace. They are decorated with false doors and windows in typical Axumite design. The largest of these obelisks would measure 33 meters high had it not fallen. The Stelae have most of their mass out of the ground, but are stabilized by massive underground counter-weights. The stone was often engraved with a pattern or emblem denoting the king's or the noble's rank. The fall of Axum came when Islamic groups began contesting trade routes. Eventually Axum was cut off from its principal markets in Alexandria, Byzantium and Southern Europe and its trade share was captured by Arab traders of the era. The Kingdom of Axum also quarreled with Islamic groups over religion. Eventually the people of Axum were forced south and their civilization declined.