Mali and Ghana

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Africa was the home land of many kingdoms and empires, most of them were in the north. Nubia and Egypt were the strongest in the east and in the west, three main empires developed through time; the Songhai, the Mali and the Ghana empires. Around the 9th century CE, a group of Berber nomads came from the north and formed a kingdom just south of the Sahara desert and called it the kingdom of Ghana. Ghana was eventually controlled by the Soninke who built their capital city Kumbi Saleh which quickly became the most important trade center of the Saharan trade routes. They used camels to carry goods across the Sahara desert. They used to exchange salt from the north against their rich resources of gold, ivory and other goods. Gradually, Ghana grew very rich imposing taxes and tributes on local gold mines and on traders passing by the Trans-Saharan trade routes. With all the trade ending up in the Ghanaian capital, the western traders brought Islam with them and an Islamic community was founded in the second part of Kumbi Saleh inhabited almost entirely by Arab and Berber merchants who built a dozen of mosques. After the opening of new gold mines, Ghana became the target of many attacks; the most significant one was from the Almoravids who sought to gain control over the Saharan trade routes and converting people to Islam. That was the decline and the end of the Ghana Empire. With the collapse of Ghana, another great empire started in West Africa. The Mali kingdom located in the Sahel led by a new dynamic ruler “Sandiata keita” takin control of the Trans-Saharan trade routes from around 1235. Under his reign, The Mali empire expanded over a thousand miles from east to west and this expansion was only the start since the great prosperity of the kingdom tripled under the rule of Mali’s greatest kind “Mansa Musa” from 1312 to 1337. During his rule, he doubled the land area of Mali and made Tambuktu one of the major cultural and educational centers of the entire world. It...
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