It led to power and influence for traders in the courts of kings, and played a pivotal role in shaping the politics of the region. Trade routes across the Sahara existed as far back as 3000 BC. However…
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ncient Sudanese states of Ghana and Kanem inhabited by the Soninke and kanembu, who were the intermediaries between the gold producers in the south, and the merchants from the North African and Egyptian regions; therefore grew wealthy from the thriving trade. The ancient empire of Ghana was, as the eminent astronomer Al Fazari, refers to it a “land of gold.” (Adu Boahen, 56) Ghana according to Al Idrisi was the country with the “widest commercial connections,” (Adu Boahen, 57) and to consolidate her position and safeguard her trading interests, the king of Ghana conquered the Berber trading post of Awdaghost in the Sahara. At the peak of her glory Ghana seems to have been a loosely administered state, which consisted of a metropolitan area governed by the king, and a provincial area that consisted of conquered provinces, and governed by the kings of those provinces. Islam seems to have been introduced into Ghana by the Arabs who swept across North Africa between A.D 641 and 708. The missionaries who came with these Arabs, succeeded in converting a large number of Berbers of the important trading centers of Awdaghost and Tadmekket to Islam. These kings of Awdaghost and Tadmekket have been described as learned men. Gradually these Berbers along with their normal trading activities began to propagate their religion and won over all the vassals of the King of Ghana. The kings of Ghana also appointed many Muslims to high positions in government. By degrees the capital city was divided into two parts one inhabited by Muslims at a distance of some six to ten kilometers from the main capital. Here the Muslims were allowed complete religious freedom; to build mosques in their areas, though the people of the royal court continued to follow their traditional religious practices. Unfortunately, this peaceful spread of the religion was thwarted by a fanatic religious movement that arose among the Berbers known as the Almoravid, which aimed to spread Islam by means of
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This period was also credited with the development of written language and religious beliefs.
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