African Empire

                                                     Lindsay Hopkins & Payton Kirk

EQ- How does geography affect the the way you live in your society?

About African Empire

      1.Traded salt, copper, gold and slaves, salt and gold became a major trade factor

       2.Traded salt for money

       3.Used slaves to mine the salt

       4.Used camels to transport goods


In the western empires of Africa, most of them were not located directly near the Atlantic Ocean which was a major trade route. The largest and most successful was Mali because the empire had easy access to trade routes, the Atlantic Ocean, and good sources to salt and Gold.

In the eastern empires of Africa, The Swahili Empire was located all along the south eastern border and used the Indian Ocean as their main trade routes. They traded all the way up the Red Sea and over to India. They relied heavily on the Indian Ocean and this lead to the spread of not just goods, but ideas too.

Gold and Salt trade-

Salt was one of the earliest trading goods across Africa. It was traded across Western and Northern Africa. Northern Africans would trade salt shells and copper, while Western Africans traded gold, ivory, and leather. The Northern and Western Africans used the Atlantic Ocean to trade as well as camels and Berbers to get across the Sahara Desert.

Why gold and salt was so paramount to have?

Salt was used to keep foods fresh, as gold was used to make coins, along with buying silk. Salt was in high demand because it wasn't found often in other empires and Africans took advantage of this. They also used Gold as one of their greatest goods to trade and because it was of high value, they became rich and could afford most of the goods needed to survive making their empire thrive.

Religion and The Blend of Islam and Traditional Religions

Islam expanded across African Empires such as Ghana, Songhai, and Mali. In Mali, Mansa Musa was their most powerful king and he expanded the empire, then divided it into provinces. Mansa Musa was Muslim and he was a main influence of the spread of Islam in Western Africa. He was so inspirational that when he went on his Pilgrimage to Mekkah, many joined him along his journey making Islam a popular religion in Western Africa. In Eastern Africa, Islam was also spread by Muslim Merchants, but it lead to a new twist in the Islam religion. This was called African Islam and it was a blend of Islam beliefs and African beliefs and was spread widely throughout Eastern Africa. Many Africans liked these new ideas and converted to African Islam. As Muslims visited the coast of eastern Africa, also known as the Swahili Coast, a new language and culture grew. This new culture was called Swahili. Swahili was a combination of Bantu(African) and Arabic languages because now that they were African Islam, they now used the Quran.


       1. Elements of a monarchy type government called Mansa Musa

       2. Constitution means they have elements of democratic government also

       3. Emphasis on trade

      4. Power is passed through fraternity ( brother to brother transition in power)

Slavery- Slavery did take place in the African Empire. Slaves began to be traded along the Pacific and took part in the gold and salt mines  

Formative Assessment


Critical Thinking Question

How did the geography of Africa impact how goods and religion moved from place to place?

EQ- How Does Geography Affect the Way you Live in Your Society?

Works Cited

"Mali." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

"Mansa Musa." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

"Swahili." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

"Early African Empires and Their Global Connections." Early African Empires and Their Global Connections. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

"MansaMusa The Muslim Kingof Mali." Mansa Musa, the Muslim King of Mali. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

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

CrashCourse. "Mansa Musa and Islam in Africa: Crash Course World History #16." YouTube. YouTube, 10 May 2012. Web. 17 December 2014.

Spielvogel, Jackson J., Ph. D., ed. World History. Columbus: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2003. Print.

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