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Ancient Africa History Project

By Faith Delgado Period 3 Due: January 11, 2013

Faith Danielle

on 11 January 2013

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Transcript of Ancient Africa History Project

By Faith Delgado
3rd Period History
Due: January 11, 2013 Ancient Africa Project Ghana's Government and Military Ghana was ruled by a really powerful king. The king was very wealthy, because he controlled the gold and salt trade. The king forced everyone to bring any gold that they found to him. The only type of gold he would let people have was gold dust. Every day, the king would have a meeting with his people, so they could discuss the things they were concerned about. There was a fairly large group of officials that the king paid, so they could help him govern Ghana. The king chose gorvernors to govern certain areas of Ghana. When the king's death arrived, his son would not be the next king. His nephew would be the next to the throne. The reason that the inheritance was matrilineal was because there was no question that the nephew was related to the king by blood. If the king's wife had an affair, no one would know, because there were no paternity tests in the ancient world.
Ghana's military had three different groups: The regular army, the reserve forces, and the elite soldiers. The regular army consisted of thousands of men, who were career soldiers. Their duties were to protect the borders of Ghana, and stop small revolts. The reserve forceswere called during a war. The elite soldiers were the soldiers who helped the king. They were the king's bodyguards, and they escorted him places. They were also his military advisors. Ghana's Trading System Ghana was the center of the Trans-Saharan trade. When traders passed through Ghana, Ghana taxed them for their goods. That's one of the reasons why Ghana was so rich. Trade got more popular, especially because the Islamic religion spread. When the Islamic reliegion spread, so did the Arabic language. When everyone knew the Arabic language, the traders could communicate better, so more and more people began to trade. Since Ghana was located in the center of the Trans-Saharan trade, they controlled it. That's why they were so rich and successful.
The two most important things that Ghana traded were salt and gold. The source of all the gold was Wangara. The source of all the salt was Taghaza. In Wangara, they kept their location of gold mines a secret. People really wanted to know where the gold was mines were, so they captured gold miners. Apparently, one time, when a miner was captured, the Wangarans stopped trading gold because they were so upset. They stopped trading for three years. In Ghana, there was a sufficient system of taxes. Whenever a trader passed through Ghana, they had to pay taxes. If they didn't pay taxes, they weren't allowed to enter Ghana, or exit Ghana. When traders brought salt, they were charged one-sixth of an ounce of gold. If a trader brought copper, the merchants were charged five eighths of an ounce of gold. When Ghana taxed people, their riches grew lot. Ghana became wealthier and wealthier. They used the money for armies and protection, so they could get more land and territory. Traders were okay with the taxing because they were in a safer environment. Ghana's trade routes were protected from bandits. Ghana's System of Taxes Ghana Ends Ghana ended for two main reasons: invaders taking their land and natural resources being lost.
In the mid-11th century, Almoravids, which are Muslim warriors, began to invade Ghana. They even captured Kumbi, which was the capital city. The king eventually regained power, but another kingdom took Kumbi again in 1203, causing the empire to end.
Another reason that Ghana came to an end was because of the loss of their natural resources, which they relied on to live. Water became scarce, so farmers couldn't water their crops. This led to a food shortage. A lot of trees were cut down because they were needed to provide coal for the people's furnaces. Zimbabwe Begins Zimbabwe began probably in about 400 CE. It is said that the first people who settled there were shona-speaking people. Those people were drawn to Zimbabwe because the land had such fertile soil, and it was great for farming. There was also land that provided gold, copper, and iron, that people could trade. By 1000, cattle was very valuable in Zimbabwe. A lot of the time, cattle was more valuable than peasant workers, who were at the bottom of the social pyramid. At the top of the social pyramid stood the kings. Their homes were made of stone or rock, so they were protected from invaders. Zimbabwe's Houses of Stone Zimbabwe is the shona word for "House of Stone". Zimbabwe's houses that were made of stone are the largest structures in ancient Africa, besides the great pyramids of Egypt.
In the 19th century, a German man named Carl Mauch was in Africa. A trader told him about the ruins, and said that the people who had built them could never have been black. Carl was led to the great ruins of Zimbabwe.
It was located in a savanna, and the stone walls stood up to 32 feet high. Mauch was amazed by the stone structures, but he also declared that ancient white men must have lived there. Later, archaeologists found that the people were indeed, African. Zimbabwe Comes to an End Zimbabwe came to an end for quite a few reasons. First, the climatic changes caused a shortage in water, so the farmer couldn't tend to their crops. Then, there was a big decline in trade from the North, so not a lot of money was coming into Zimbabwe. Eventually, people began to migrate to other places with better living conditions. People didn't live in that area for a long while after that. Kush Ancient Kush was located along the Nile river. The people used irrigation systems to farm and grow crops. The Kushites mined for minerals and traded with other people along the Mediterranean. Sometimes, they relied on the rain to water their crops. They only got water from when the Nile flooded. The Nile's flood water only came to certain areas of Kush. The main crops that they grew were wheat, barley, millet, and many different types of fruits and vegetables. Gold in Kush In Kush, gold was a big part of their trade. Kush provided Egypt with their gold. There were big sources of gold in Kush, and they used some for architecture, so that they could build monuments, like pyramids. The gold mine locations were kept secret, but archaeologists found a big area where there were massive amounts of gold in 2007 by the Nile river, close to where Kush used to be. Architecture in Kush In Kush, new advances in architecture was introduced. One of their most famous creations were the pyramids with flat tops. They were inspired by the Egyptians, but the characteristics of their architecture was more African. When they decorated walls in temples, they used designs that were inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphics, but their cuts were deeper, and many people think that their carvings were more strategic than Egyptian hieroglyphs. They mostly carved kings and animals and battles, and things from their daily life. Their architectural designs are seen as unique by many people around the world. Agriculture in Kongo Kongo was started by many groups of people in the 1400s. They all joined together and formed the kingdom. They made their clothes out of pounded bark, and they made a variety of different types of foods. Often, they ate a food called chikwange, and they wrapped it in banana leaves. That meal was able to last a family of four for about a week. They also commonly ate sesame seeds and shrimp. They used a grass called millet to weave baskets. Chikwange wrapped in banana leaves Kongo Government In Kongo, the kings were called Mani-Kongos. The kings were obviously the most powerful on the social pyramid, and a step down was the provincial governors and the aristocrats. The next step was the village chiefs. At the bottom was the villagers. The king recieved all of the taxes. When a person paid their taxes, their were praised with a gift. The gifts would often be food, clothes, and beer. When a king dies, the provincial governors and the aristocrats would get together and choose a new king. A lot of times, it was the king's son who was elected. Religion in Kongo In Kongo, the religion was polytheistic. They prayed to many different types of gods, and they believed in a shrine guardian named Mani Kabunga. When taxes were charged, it was said that it was to keep the angry gods satisfied. The same religion lasted until Portuguese missionaries came to Kongo and taught them Christianity. The Islamic Influence in Mali The early leaders of Mali accepted Islam. One of Mali's rulers, Mansa Musa, made a pilgrimage to Makkah, which is called a hajj. After that happened, the people of Mali took the Islamic religion more seriously. They also began to take education a lot more seriously. The Islamic religion put a lot of emphasis on education, so the West Africans did too, even in Mali. In Mali, there is a great Mosque, which is a place where Islamic people go to pray. Storytelling in Mali In Mali, storytelling was a huge part of their culture. In the ancient times, there wasn't a written language, so legends had to be told orally from generation to generation. People who were responsible for knowing these legends were called griots. They had to remember songs and life stories of people who had passed. They had to memorize many different legends, so they could make sure they never died down. Architecture in Mali In Mali, they mostly built mosques and other religious buildings. Their mosques were very unique, compared to the ones in other empires in ancient Africa. Their mosques had four stories, and they had three minarets. The building was 60 feet high, and they topped the buildings with ostrich eggs, which meant good fortune. Jewelry in Mali In Mali, jewely was very important. Both men and women wore jewelry, but mostly women. Most people preferred gold jewelry, but some liked silver. Wealthy women usually wore 14 karat golden earrings, which were so heavy that they had to wear silk on their ears for protection. Most women liked to wear amber beads made out of clay or stone. They were usually carved into geometric shapes, and they wore them as bracelets. Songhai Songhai took over Mali, just like Mali took over Ghana. It only lasted for a century. It began in the 15th century and ended in the 16th. Some say that that the best ruler of Songhai was Aksia Muhammad. He split Songhai into five different provinces, and gave each of them a governor, a trade inspector, and a court of judges. Songhai Religion In Songhai, the main religion was the Muslim religion. They also practiced some witchcraft. The people who didn't practice the Islamic religion believed in many gods and practiced a lot of witchcraft. They even practiced with witchdoctors. The leaders of Songhai were Muslim. The Collapse of Songhai Songhai collapsed after Mansa Musa died and his sons began to rule. They couldn't rule the empire and it eventually fell apart. People began to invade their gold and salt mines. Also, when their power began to decline, a Moroccan army attacked the capital of Songhai. Since they were already so weak, Songhai, collapsed for good.
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