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The Trans-Saharan Trade Strengthening The West African Kingdom

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The Trans-Saharan trade remained a constant source of wealth and ultimately enabled the spread of ideas, thus strengthening the West African kingdoms. The trade route was established due to mutual needs of different resources, but also brought knowledge to the kingdoms of Mali and Songhai. Mansa Musa, one of Mali’s greatest ever king, gained full control of the Trans-Saharan trade route and implemented tax towards it, which was a valuable source of income for Mali (Hamilton 4). The wealth was used to create an army, that eventually conquered neighboring areas and expanded Mali’s territory. While in Songhai, they managed to import a large number of slaves through the Trans-Saharan trade route, which was significant for their economy, as they produced an abundance of rice (Mckay 523). The large supply of rice nourished the Songhai citizens and therefore created a healthy society, which played a big part towards establishing Songhai’s dominance in the region. Not only does the Trans-Saharan trade route brought wealth to the West African kingdoms, it also brought knowledge to Mali and Songhai through a trade in books, which contains information on subjects such as astronomy, accounting, and poetry (Wonders of the African World). Those manuscripts first derived during the Mali empire and are preserved through the Songhai empire and until nowadays in Timbuktu, and as a result, the citizens of Mali and Songhai were very well educated, which helped contribute to the success of both kingdoms’ administration.
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