Africa in the 1500s

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What was West Africa like in the 1500’s?

Benin was a city that dated back to the eleventh century – and no relation to the West African nation of Benin of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Benin was a large city for its time – a walled city several kilometres wide in a forested region inland from where the Niger River emptied into the Atlantic. In the mid-1400s the ruler of Benin, Ewuare, built up his military and began expanding. Captives taken in battle he traded to the Portuguese. Benin's empire reached about 190 miles (300 kilometres) in width by the early 1500s. Then it stopped expanding, and with this it had no more captives to sell as slaves, while selling slaves to the Portuguese was being taken up by others.

The kingdom of Benin was most important in 1567 when the king sold off all his slaves to Britain for $1000, 58697,599.


African culture might have begun when people have probably been living in West Africa for tens of thousands of years. There are several good-sized rivers - the Niger, the Senegal, and the Volta - which make it easier to travel because you can use boats.

There are fish in the rivers which are good to eat. These rivers also, when they flood, spread good sand all over the land, which makes the land good for growing plants. The rivers do also breed the mosquitoes that carry yellow fever and malaria, but people living in West Africa gradually developed some privilege to these diseases.

West African Art creators spend most of their lives perfecting skills that are passed down from one generation to another. If you are passionate about art and love it, especially African art then you are going to enjoy this site. We are going to learn about the various regions of the continent, get to know about the local people and artisans who craft these beautiful works of art and also learn about the various kinds of African art. As a little boy growing up in Africa, I remember going...
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