African empires

by Gage Garber

Essential Question  

What impact did the geographical barriers have on the spread of culture and trade?

West Africa

Kilwa's economy depended on trading with its surrounding empires to keep its own empire alive and working. Exchange of timber, ivory, and other goods from the interior of Africa which was then traded between Arabia, India, and east Asia's merchandise. Coming in contact then leaders to more and more exchanging of culture as well as the people trading bringing back it's learned cultures to its home empire.

There was also an overland route from Kilwa to Lake Nyasa and the Zambezi as an addition to the sea route.

Arab traders from North Africa risked crossing the Sahara desert to trade with west Africa. The traders didn't just bring in goods and merchandise, they also brought in the religion of Islam in Ghana. Some of the traders would settle and spread the religion through the kingdom and it was then spread by the Arabs and Berbers to west Africa.

Goods from the the central western part of Africa included copper, iron, coconuts, ivory, and rhinoceros horns. In exchange, porcelain from china, jewelry, glass, and cloth from India flowed through Kilwa and throughout the continent.

Critical thinking question:

How did the geography effect the spread of Islam?

Because the Arabs were searching for merchandise in the western parts of Africa they had to make the dangerous journey of crossing the great Sahara desert. Because of such a long journey the Arabs would sometimes stay in the western parts of Africa preaching their religion and doing  their rituals. Because of its followings it gained from doing so the religion was spread throughout western Africa by being carried by the traders. Sea routes led to the outer coasts and the ones searching for west Africa still had to cross the desert.


Because of the the rough and dangerous obstacle of the geography in west Africa, Arabians would normally settle in west Africa once they crossed the Sahara dessert and would spread their culture and religion throuout.


"AFRICAN KINGDOMS - Kingdoms of Ancient African History." AFRICAN KINGDOMS - Kingdoms of Ancient African History. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

"The Silk Road and Arab Sea Routes." The Silk Road and Arab Sea Routes. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

"Unit Two: Studying Africa through the Social Studies." Exploring Africa. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014

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