In the beginning, there was ma- Just kidding! Today, I'm talking about West Africa. Not the "omigod this is soooo boring lol" West Africa. I'm talking about the Islamic invaders, gold and salt trade and silent barters along the river with people who spoke different languages. Sounds cool right?
EXTRA EXTRA: KING COLLECTS TAXES FROM CONCURRED INVADERS!
Well in West Africa, like almost every civilization, they had kingdoms and villages. But the way they supported their villages was unique. After one of the tribes had concerned another group, they forced them to pay taxes to support the village. Really showing them who was boss! (Okay, maybe they didn't write I will pay my taxes on the board 500 times... But you get the point!)
KING OF GHANA concours ALL!
You may be asking yourself, "Wait, how did they concur so many people?" Well, in West Africa there are 3 main kingdoms: Ghana, Mali and Songhai. The strongest of the three was Ghana. The people of Ghana had a powerful king who was also the leader of like, everything else. He collected taxes, led the army, was the religious leader AND was in charge of gold trade. (This guy was BUSY!) With all of his might and authority lead one of the best Army's in all of history. They had a set uniform which was required during all training and battle, they used violent weapons to protect and defend themselves and required all men in the country to go through military training once they came of age. That must have been a LOT of soldiers!
TRADE SPREADS ACROSS WEST AFRICA LIKE WILDFIRE!
Another way that the West Africans were extremely successful were in the ways they traded. The two most valuable things used in trade were gold and salt. They were precious because both could only be mined by a special set of people trained in the art of gold and salt mining. Salt and gold were traded for things such as hides of animals, ivory, slaves and kola nuts. But if the West Africans were looking for a specific kind of item that was harder to find, they would sometimes go to the Wangarans. They were a group of people who lived just out of the city of Kumbi with a series of secret gold mines. The way they traded was quite extraordinary. Before any of the traders came, they would lay all of there merchandise that was for sale along a river bank. Once villagers came to trade, one of the Wangarans would hit a drum to signify that everything was open for bidding. Once the drum was hit, villagers would leave gold dust in front of they item they wanted to buy and then leave. Then the Wangaran would come back and take the gold if there was enough to but the item. If they needed more, they would leave it there until the villager came back. This happened until a price was decided upon.
MUSLIMS CHANGE AFRICAN RELIGIOUS PRACTICES!
Just north of West Africa, the Islamic Community was planning to spread their region to other places. Unfortunately, almost everywhere around was either A) already filled with Muslims or B) too far away to get to. That's what they thought, at least. Once the Muslims started using Camels to get across the Sahara Desert and into West Africa, more people became Muslim every day. The King of Ghana let the Muslims make camps in there villages as long as they were peaceful. Slowly but surly, the Muslims turned more and more Africans to Islam everyday they stayed. Many of their religious practices changed as well. Islam believe written text is very important. They convinced the African of this too, so oral traditions such as storytelling was transitioned into written text for future generations to read. We still do this today.
Anyone who ever owned a picture book as a kids knows that we still read past stories to the youth of the future, because words are important. Words bring people together and they connect different generations through their stories. If you take anything away from this presentation, let it be this:
The past impacts the future.