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History: African Studies - Research Paper Example

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The Emergence, Development, and Decline of the Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay Introduction The African continent has an ancient, long reaching history that is most likely the originating regions of human existence. According to Falola, “archeologists have concluded that it is the original home of humankind”.1 Powerful kingdoms have come and gone, leaving evidence of great technological societies as well as remnants of culturally rich populations which have survived for thousands of years…
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History: African Studies
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Download file to see previous pages These three kingdoms were powerful from the resources that they had with which to trade, but also brought attention from those who would conquer and take those resources. In discussing the rise, development and fall of these three kingdoms, the region of the valley of the River Niger is shown for its rich wealth and sophisticated civilizations. Chronology Ghana, the first kingdom to emerge in the valley of the Niger River, establishing strong trade centers, rose to economic power around 400 CE. The main exports that came from the kingdom and created the stability for the bases of the economy were gold, salt, animal products, and iron. Through the availability of these commodities, the kingdom developed a number of trade centers which included the central and key city of Saleh. The attractive riches that were held within these trade centers also attracted attention from those who would wish to take them and over the course of time the Almoravids, a Muslim group from North Africa, invaded repeatedly and eventually led to the decline of the kingdom around 1200 CE.3 Mali emerged around 1250 CE and depended on the same commodities for trade. The development of the region included the city of Timbuktu which was the focus of trade and political dealings for the kingdom. One of the distinguishing historical events of the kingdom was the rise of one of the best examples of rulers from within the Muslim world. Mansa Musa was the greatest king of Mali who ruled from 1312 to 1332 who during his time doubled the size of the kingdom and created a center for learning within the Muslim city of Timbuktu that brought in scholars from all over the adjoining regions. As powerful as his rule was, the end of it signaled the end of the kingdom which declined and was lost by 1450 CE. Without Mansa Musa to lead, the kingdom fell into divisions which brought about the emergence of smaller and less powerful kingdoms.4 Songhai emerged around the year 1000 CE and participated in the trade of the same commodities as Mali, the kingdom becoming more powerful when Mali finally began to decline. Songhay gained control over the cities of Timbuktu and Jenne which gave the nation control over gold and salt in West Africa. King Askia Muhammad, who ruled in Songhay between 1493 and 1528, the kingdom gained considerable power and held a vast number of territories. King Askia Muhammad introduced a set of laws into the region that were based upon the Quran, developing to create a standardized and even handed basis for justice within the kingdom. In 1529, the king’s son led a rebellion which overthrew his father. This was not to last. The Moroccan army swept through the kingdom and tore apart the kingdom, taking the wealth that had been amassed by the Songhai kingdom.5 Ghana Previous to the emergence of Ghana as a central trade center, the kingdom had a long history in the valley of the River Niger. By 300 CE there can be traced an approximate 44 kings, giving the region a long history as an established kingdom.6 Ghana was a primarily peaceful society which thrived on ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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