The Ghana king was an absolute monarch and the state’s head of justice and religion. C. 1076 CE the capital was sacked by the Almoravids of North Africa (c. 1055 - c. 1147 CE), perhaps in retaliation for the Ghana rulers' attempt to muscle in on trade by Saharan commercial centres. Feeling deprived of his sacrifice, Bida took his revenge on the region, and a terrible drought took hold of Ghana and the gold mining began to decline. Trade was a big part of how Ghana got its money. A little less than 200 years later, however, Ghana was not so lucky. 1055 CE) were lost to the Ghana kings and so permitted Berber merchants to directly control more of the region’s trade. People left the region because of the drought and the wars so the population of ancient Ghana decreased. Related Content So with their main trading empires gone, the Swahili Coast empire didn’t have anyone to depend on and they slowly drifted away, and so did some of their culture.

The wealth of ancient Ghana is explained in the folk tale of Bida, the black snake. Goods were often taxed twice, once when they came into the country and again when they left it. In them are their idols and the tombs of their kings. Meanwhile, many rebellious chiefs took the opportunity of a weak central government to declare themselves independent of the empire, notably Tekrur in the Western Sudan region which controlled the Senegal River and which had even allied itself with the Almoravids. Trans-Saharan Trade Routesby Aa77zz (Public Domain). Ancient History Encyclopedia. Leaders may have recognised that adopting the religion (or seeming to), or at the least tolerating it would be beneficial to trade. Other surrounding cities and small empires competed with Ghana in gold trade, but eventually, the competitors caught up. Another reason Ghana fell from power, was after the attacks, when Ghana was still recovering, a drought came upon them and forced people to move out of the empire to find more food and water. Sundiata also seized the old Ghana capital in 1240 CE, and he would go on to found the Mali Empire (1240-1645 CE), the largest and richest empire yet seen in Africa.

The Ghana Empire struggled to recover thereafter; Muslim rulers may have been imposed by the Almoravids but concrete evidence is lacking for any sort of conquest. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. In 800 CE, Ghana was in control of West Africa's trade routes.

The traveller Al-Bakri described the Ghana king in the following terms: The king adorns himself like a woman, wearing necklaces and bracelets, and when he sits before the people he puts on a high cap decorated with gold and wrapped in turbans of fine cotton…Behind the king stand ten pages holding shields and swords decorated with gold, and on his right are the sons of the vassal kings of his country wearing splendid garments and their hair plaited with gold. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Indeed, in the Ghana Empire, there is no evidence that kings themselves converted to Islam. Fishing and the herding of cattle and goats were other important sources of food. Really a conglomerate of villages ruled by a single king, the empire prospered thanks to a well-trained army which had cavalry units and access to raw materials such as iron ore to make its weapons and gold deposits to pay its soldiers. Cite This Work He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. The Arab traveller Al-Bakri, visiting near the end of the empire’s history in 1076 CE, describes the capital as being surrounded by wells and with irrigated fields where many vegetables grew. ( Log Out /  ( Log Out /  The kings of Ghana once again illustrated their supreme position by prohibiting anyone else but themselves from owning gold nuggets; merchants had to be satisfied with gold dust. The Ghana Empire flourished in West Africa from at least the 6th to 13th century CE.

The Sudan region of West Africa (not to be confused with the modern state of that name), where the Ghana Empire would develop, had been inhabited since the Neolithic period as is evidenced by Iron Age tumuli, megaliths and remains of abandoned villages. Fall: Malinese people. Change ),,, Cultural Map of the Ghana Kingdom and Swahili Coast, Cultural Mosaic of the Kingdom of Ghana and the Swahili Coast, African Kingdom/ Kingdom of Ghana Government Hierarchy. ( Log Out /  Another commodity-currency used in Ghana, besides gold, was copper wiring. Trans-Saharan Camel Caravanby Holger Reineccius (CC BY-SA).

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