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The Ghana Empire is known to have been one of the most prosperous ancient kingdoms of West Africa.
This empire's history is not known completely. However, we do know that it opened several important trade routes in Western Africa, monopolizing on resources present there.
This empire was built along the Sahara desert and the capital city is thought to have been Koumbi Saleh. However, this information is in wide circulation mainly because there are no records that talk about any other city of the Ghana Empire. The empire's capital was a large city, which was inhabited by thousands of people. The most dominant native tribe is known as the Soninke tribe. Located in sub-Saharan Africa, this empire is famous for having carried out business with Arab traders in the Middle East. Keep reading to learn more about the ancient Ghana Empire!
The Empire of Ghana is the kingdom that gave birth to the name of the modern country, the Republic of Ghana. This empire is known for its many achievements, the most important of which were the trade routes that were established.
Not much is known about the history of the Empire of Ghana since there is a lack of archaeological evidence and documentation. However, most estimations lead to the assumption that this empire of West Africa started around the fourth century. Built along the Sahara desert, the Ghana Empire was quickly able to monopolize the many resources that were abundantly available in the region.
They reached their most prosperous stage after a few years of establishment, however, the joyous days were short-lived. With the rebellious force named Almoravid starting to gain power in Western Sahara, the Empire of Ghana faced a civil war, which did hit quite quickly. There were also many attacks led by kingdoms from Northern Africa. The decline of the empire took place in two waves, the first of which took place towards the middle of the 11th century. By the 12th century, the empire was ready to collapse and the Mali Empire gained power over the region.
The decline of the Empire of Ghana can also be attributed to the spread of Islam. Through the trade routes came Muslim traders who spread their religion in Ghana and also in Western Sudan. These newly converted people rebelled against the empire and eventually proved to be stronger than the Soninke people. This also accelerated the fall of the first major empire of Western Africa.
The first emperor of the Empire of Ghana was Dinga Cisse. He is assumed to have started the empire in 300 CE. He ran a feudal type of government in which there were many kings of smaller authority. All smaller kings reported and answered to the high king, who was Dinga Cisse. Whether or not he was very successful as a king is unknown.
The initial name of the empire when Dinga Cisse started it, was Wagadu. This name was given by the dominant tribe of the Soninke people.
Another interesting fact to know about the kings of the Empire of Ghana is that people respected their king as the most superior authority. They believed the king's authority to be ultimate and hence, even in death, the king had to be respected. On the king's demise, he was buried in a sacred grove that would be inaccessible to the common folk.
For the first time in the history of sub-Saharan Africa, an empire rose which was agrarian. This was none other than the Empire of Ghana or the Ghana Empire. What made this empire significant was that it started trade routes with places other than within Africa.
With the opening of trade routes, with places such as the Middle East, barriers were removed and the empire could become rich quite swiftly. The king made sure to levy heavy taxes and even went on to tax items twice. The king eventually decreed a law by which all the gold nuggets would be in the royal palace, under his ownership. The people were only permitted to trade in gold dust. This made sure that the value of gold did not reduce. Other natural resources, such as iron ore, were also monopolized.
While the term 'Gold Coast' has only been attributed to Western Africa rather recently, we can hardly deny that the resources we now find there have prehistoric origins.
The Empire of Ghana or Ghana Empire is known as the first prosperous agrarian empire to have existed in West Africa. The adjacent Niger and Senegal Rivers brought a lot of fertile soils to the region, which was used to cultivate many crops. Agriculture, however, was not the only thing that thrived in Ghana. The empire's greatest achievement was that it opened many trade routes.
What was the Ghana Empire known for?
The ancient Ghana Empire of the Ghana region was known for many things. The most pertinent of them would be the trade routes that they established and the absolute monarchial system that was in order. This empire of West Africa was known for its gold trade routes and how the monarch controlled the possession of gold. This ancient empire has little to no relics which can tell us about the exact start or end dates, but some documents show that it was probably the most important and powerful empire in Western Africa until its decline in the 12th century.
Why did African empires collapse?
African empires were marched to their decline for a variety of reasons, the most potent being the arrival of European countries as colonizers. The fall of empires took place in different ways in Western and Northern Africa, there is no particular rule that the decline followed. However, most of the latter-day empires were gradually nullified as powers held by kings were reduced due to European influence. As for the Ghana Empire, which existed before Europeans could make their way into African countries, it declined due to civil wars, rebellions, and better-suited kings and empires from other parts of the continent.
What were two major trade goods that made Ghana rich?
Trade routes in Ghana Empire depended heavily on the Niger and Senegal Rivers. Even their navigable tributaries provided many possibilities for trade goods to be transported from one place to another. Two major trade goods were gold and ivory, both of which were available in immense amounts.
How did Ghana gain wealth?
The Ghana Empire quickly gained wealth since its location was near the West African goldfields. By controlling the mining and trade of gold, the king of the Ghana Empire was quickly able to gather wealth. Through what is already known about ancient Ghana, it is clear that its trade routes were exploited and ample amounts of ivory and gold in the region were monopolized through taxation.
How did Ghana use iron to become powerful?
This empire of medieval West Africa used its many resources such as iron, gold, and ivory to become rich and powerful. The monarch held absolute powers when it came to justice and religion, and also decreed many laws to make sure that trade was as profitable as possible. Another factor that played out well for the king's authority was that the empire had a strong army that would suppress any rebellions whilst the empire was at its peak.
What significant role did Ghana play?
The Ghana Empire of West Africa is important because it opened trade routes across the Niger River and Senegal River. The monarch was keen on trading with foreign places, which is why he also made efforts such as keeping a Muslim interpreter.
How did the rulers of Ghana grow rich?
The king's palace was the seat of ultimate power whilst the Ghana Empire was in power. The monarch had absolute powers in all matters. One of the clever moves made by the monarch was that he took the authority of owning gold nuggets. The entire idea behind this was that if gold was in wider circulation among people of the empire, its worth would reduce, and hence, trading would no longer remain profitable. This was one of the ways in which the ruler quickly became rich.
Why did the Almoravids declare war on Ghana?
The Ghana Empire went through two stages of decline, the first one started when the Almoravids of North Africa rebelled against them. This took place in 1076 CE. One reason why they declared war on ancient Ghana was because they envied its great riches and influence.
Which rivers did Ghana exist between?
The Ghana Empire was wedged between the Niger and Senegal Rivers. This was the factor that aided them in all their trading ventures.
Who defeated the Ghana Empire?
The Ghana Empire's decline is a largely unexplored subject. This is because there is not much historical evidence of how this empire came to an end. However, most theories say that the Ghana Empire was succeeded by the Mali Empire, and most sources also believe that it was incorporated into the latter.
Why is Ghana named after Ghana Empire?
The Ghana Empire was the most prominent and influential one at this time. Native tribes that lived in the area gave their warrior king the title of Ghana. When trade routes were established with places like Arab, an explorer named Al-Bakri visited the region. It is speculated that it might be through the documents of Al-Bakri and other explorers that the empire got its name, which was passed down to the Republic of Ghana that we now know of!
When was the rise of the Ghana Empire?
More is known about ancient Ghana than about the Ghana Empire. The simple reason is that there is no considerable information regarding the start of the empire. However, most assumptions say that the empire started around the fourth century.
Who is the biggest king in Ghana?
There are no records that would be able to tell us about the greatest warrior king from the ancient Ghana Empire.
What region did crops grow best in the kingdom of Ghana?
Regular floods of the Niger River provided fertile land for agriculture. The land was used to grow pulses, tuber and root crops, and cereals such as red-skinned African rice and millet.
Who were the Soninke?
The Soninke were the founders of the ancient Empire of Ghana.
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