Ancient Africa –Analyze how geography affected and controlled the African empires of Aksum and Ghana.
How humans interacted with the diverse African environment would eventually control how cultures and societies developed. Each group adapted to the land and its resources around hospitable versus inhospitable areas natural resources, and areas that facilitated transportation and trade. Both Aksum and Ghana developed in regions hospitable to humans in terms of producing food; Ghana controlled a valuable natural resource in the form of gold, while Aksum controlled major trading routes between Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean region where they traded with the Roman Empire. Aksum was located in a savanna region on the eastern Horn of Africa that had a higher rainfall than drier regions further north, so food production was well established. However, Aksum’s greatest asset was the fact that it was located in a region where ancient caravan routes between Meroe and Egypt crossed. Aksum also had a major stake in sea trade as they had a natural harbor at the city of Adulis by the Red Sea. Once Aksum had conquered Kush, they came to control international trade between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Ivory, rhino horns, tortoise shells, emeralds, and gold from inland mines were commodity desired by Rome, Persia, India, Arabia Egypt and Byzantium. Adulis at its peak was one of the busiest and most powerful trading centers of the ancient world, especially during the reign of King Ezana between C.E. 325 and 360. Like Aksum, Ghana was also located in a savanna region of Africa, but on the opposite west coast by the Atlantic Ocean. Just south of Ghana’s savanna lay rain forests where gold was found in streams or dug up from mine shafts. Although rich in gold, the savanna and forests of Ghana lacked salt, and salt is essential to human health. The Sahara north of Ghana however, was rich with salt. Arab and Berber...
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