2 responses db: african empires


The main feature of Ghana is the fact that Ghana, literally sat on a gold mine. The land’s abundance of resources allowed Ghana’s rulers to engage in years of prosperous trading. Strategic governing coupled with great location led to the rapid emergence of a very wealthy empire. Most of what we know about ancient Ghana- which is more accurately called Wagadugu- is based on writings of Arab travelers who came in contact with the nation’s people. Evidence of Ghana’s occupation dates back to the 4th century, but it was several hundred years later that it became established as a nation by a tribe known as the Soninke, whose leaders have been credited with the early strengthening of the Wagadugu state and the expansion of its territories. The nation had undergone strategic expansion of its territories.

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The structure of the society of Ghana allowed Ghana to become powerful and impotant to history. When the king was not busy enforcing his power among the people, he was spreading it internationally through trade. Ghana was cheifly bartering gold,ivory, and slaves for salt from Arabs and horses, cloth, swords, and books from North Africans and Europeans. As salt was worth its weight in gold, and gold was so abundant in the kingdom, Ghana acheived much of its wealth through trade with the Arabs. Islamic merchants traveled  over two months through the desert to reach Ghana and “do business”. With this system, it is no wonder that Ghana got rich quickly. The Ghana Empire grew rich from the increased trans-Saharan trade in gold, slaves and salt, allowing for larger urban centers to develope.


The Civilization I chose to write about is the Axum empire. It was established in the last year 100 C.E. Axum created its own port which brought it into the international trade light. Axum started to rise due its conversion to Christianity, but prior to that, it was great until the eighth century. After that, it died down and was left abandoned. In the sixth century, the Prophet Muhammad was born, and they had a resurgence. It crossed the Red Sea and conquered southwestern Arabia. After driving out the last holdout of Christianity believers, they were not again.

                The Axum empire thrived off farming and irrigation. They did this on the hilly slopes of the mountains that surrounded them. It helped them maximize the land around them and make their empire more productive. While Axum was sefl sufficient, they became an empire that later on in their rule almost completely relied on exportation of goods. Axum still exists to this day. Although it is not as large as it was in its zenith, it has an estimated population of 50,000. Additionally, Greek was commonly used language. Axum is also one of the few empires that did not build pyramids.