African American History
September 19, 2012
The Songhai Empire
What is it in today’s society that debates influence on the “Old World”? Well in today’s society, there are large debates to modern civilization and causing influences such as trade, religion, music, dance, that helped develop the “Old World”. The “Old World” was the concept of three continents, Africa, Asia and Europe, which goes back to classical antiquity. Classical antiquity is a broader term to determine a long period of historical culture along the Mediterranean Sea, distinguishing interlocking of ancient Greece and Rome. To narrow an even more in depth influence a better comparison would be dating all the way back to ancient West African Kingdoms such as Songhai and Mali.
In the “Old World”, trade played a large part in keeping the economy growing, developing and booming. In ancient West African Kingdoms Songhai and Mali, they portrayed a perfect example by trading salt, animal hides and of course gold. The Songhai was one of the biggest Islamic empires in history. It’s base power was the bend of the Niger River. Economic trade existed throughout the empire due to the standing army in the provinces. Songhai trade had a bigger influence on the “Old World”, because of their ability to conquer and establish strong trading grounds which demonstrated a valuable ethic.
Tax was imposed onto peripheral chiefdoms and provinces to ensure the dominance of Songhai, and in return these provinces were given almost complete autonomy. Songhai rulers got involved in the affairs of neighboring states when a situation became a large risk. Usually it was considered an isolated incident. Each town was represented by government officials, holding positions and responsibilities similar to today's central bureaucrats. In the “Old World” a lot of these traits were used to establish a strong hold to a surviving empire.
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