Chapter 13 Essay: Interpreting Political Maps Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

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Chapter 13 - Essay: Interpreting Political Maps Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

  1. Complete the following map skill to help you understand the difference between Ghana, Mali, and Songhai.

  1. Using Interpreting political maps on page 400 and the map outline, your group needs to outline each empire in different colors *be sure to include a key

  2. Answer the 4 questions below

  1. Which empire was older? Which empire expanded the most?


  1. Was Songhai ever part of the Mali Empire? Explain how the map provides this information.




  1. Who likely controlled the city of Gao in the year 1100? In 1325? In 1515?



  1. By what date do you know for sure that the Mali Empire had disintegrated? How do you know?




Map Key

Using Interpreting political maps on page 400 ***Use colored pencils only

  1. Outline Ghana (use page 387) use Green

  2. Outline Mali and give the year they ruled use purple

  3. Outline Songhai and give the year they ruled use orange

  4. Make a map key

Using the information provided in the map as well as the text that follows and your class notes:

Explain why both Mali and Songhai would have been more successful trading empires than Ghana. Be sure to use indicators evident in the map as well as support from the text.

image (4)

West African Kingdoms:

The Kingdom of Ghana: The Kingdom of Ghana is generally given the dates 9th to the 13th century CE by historians. It marks the beginning of a series of empires in West Africa that were involved in extensive commercial trade. Some have called the Kingdom of Ghana the "land of gold, " an excellent description since it was abounding in gold. The gold trade was largely responsible for the development of Ghana into a powerful, centralized kingdom. The peoples of West Africa had independently developed their own gold mining techniques and began trading with people of other regions of Africa and later Europe as well. At the time of the Kingdom of Ghana, gold was traded for salt that came down from the Sahara desert. Today, gold is still being mined in West Africa.

The Kingdom of Mali: The Kingdom of Mali includes all of Ghana plus a lot more territory! During its time, Mali was the second largest empire in the world only after the Mongolian empire in Asia. The dates that historians have designated for the Kingdom of Mali are from the 13th to 15th centuries CE.

The Kingdom of Mali came to control the gold trade that the Kingdom of Ghana had controlled before it, but it also expanded its trading in many ways. The Kingdom of Mali controlled the salt trade in the north and many caravan trade routes. Additionally, it traded extensively with Egypt and the copper mine areas to the east.The founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Mali was Sundiata Keita. Sundiata expanded the kingdom to include the Kingdom of Ghana and West African gold fields.The most celebrated king of Mali was Mansa Musa. He greatly extended Mali's territory and power during his reign.

Several great centers of Islamic learning were also established during the Kingdom of Mali. Among them were the legendary Timbuktu, Djenne, and Gao. Scholars came from all over the Muslim world to study at these places, which have a long and rich history of learning in religion, mathematics, music, law, and literature. Although many people in Mali maintained their indigenous religions during this time, Islam was becoming well established throughout the kingdom.

The Kingdom of Songhai: The Kingdom of Songhai encompassed part of the Kingdom of Mali, as well as land beyond to the east and north. The dates for the Kingdom of Songhai are between 1350 and 1600 CE.

The first of two great rulers in the Kingdom of Songhai was Sonni Ali. He came to power in 1464 CE and made the Songhai perhaps the most powerful state in western/central Africa at the time. He seized Timbuktu and Djenne, which had been parts of the Kingdom of Mali. These, as well as the capital city of Gao, continued to be important centers of learning and commerce. Sonni Ali was not a devout Muslim himself, but was sympathetic to indigenous religious practices. Most of all, he was concerned about his own ambitions to build a great empire.

His successor was Mohammed Askia, who came to power in 1493 CE. He expanded the kingdom even further and set up an even more advanced and strongly centralized government. Unlike Sonni Ali, he was a devout Muslim, who used the combination of Islam and commerce to build his kingdom. He brought peace and stability to the kingdom during his reign.

Explain why both Mali and Songhai would have been more successful trading empires than Ghana. Be sure to use indicators evident in the map as well as support from the text. Students must complete 5 paragraphs of content.

Paragraph One: Thesis statement and background information
Thesis statement: Africa the world’s second largest continent evolved from nomadic tribes to sedentary communities and then to powerful empires. Ghana, Mali, and Songhahi were all empires that relied heavily on trade of salt and gold, powerful militaries, and Islamic influence to become powerful empires.

Background information:

Paragraph Two Ghana Opening Sentence:
Ghana became a powerful state when it gained control of valuable trade routes with the help of a strong military.

Paragraph Three Mali Opening Sentence:
The empire of Mali reached its height under the ruler Mansa Musa, but the empire fell to invaders in the 1400s.

Explain importance of Mansa Musa

Paragraph Four Songhai Opening Sentence:
The Songhai built a new Islamic empire in West Africa, conquering many of the lands that were once part of Mali.

Include importance of Timbuktu

Paragraph Five: Answer question directly and closing

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