Thursday, July 16, 2020

Kingdom of Ghana

The Ghana Empire came into existence sometime after 500 C.E. and lasted until late in the 12th century. Some have called the Kingdom of Ghana the "land of gold," an excellent description since the gold trade led to the development of Ghana into a powerful kingdom.

The empire of Ghana was established around 300 CE by the Soninke people. These farmers banded together to form a civilization for protection from nomadic traders who wanted to steal their land and water.

Some ancestors of the Soninke of Ghana (or Wagadu, as it is known to local people) were probably among the Stone Age farmers who began cultivating sorghum and millet in the Sahel grasslands from 3000 to 1000 B.C.E.

By about 1000 B.C.E. the Soninke ancestors began establishing small settled communities, and around 600 B.C.E. these grew into large villages administered by chieftains.

At the time of the Kingdom of Ghana, gold was traded for salt that came from the Sahara Desert. In addition to the gold trade, the use of iron was also important. Iron tools and weapons helped some people to expand their control over neighboring people. These changes contributed to the development of centralized, powerful empires.

The traders who came to Ghana were Berbers or Muslim traders from North Africa who used camels to carry their goods across the desert. These caravans traveled the Trans-Saharan trade route which consisted of many trails that connected the sub-Sahara region of West Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. Since Ghana was located between the salt deposit rich Sahara and gold rich forests in the south, these two resources were traded heavily.

Ghana’s influence waned, and by the mid-14th century its ruler had become subordinate to the Empire of Mali. Over the course of a complex history of research, the Empire of Ghana became equated with the Sonink√© people's legend of Wagadu and the archaeological site of Kumbi Saleh in southern Mauritania was identified as its capital.
Kingdom of Ghana

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