West African Kingdoms Essay example

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West African Kingdoms It is generally accepted by scholars and scientists today that Africa is the original home of man. One of the most tragic misconceptions of historical thought has been the belief that Black Africa had no history before European colonization. Whites foster the image of Africa as a barbarous and savage continent torn by tribal warfare for centuries. It was a common assumption of nineteenth-century European and American Whites - promoted by the deliberate cultivation of pseudoscientific racism - that Africans were inferior to Whites and were devoid of any trace of civilization or culture.

It is only recently that more reliable studies have brought to light much information about great civilizations that developed
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Islam contributed the Arabic script and language to the Sudanic empires, which became known as centers of learning and culture. The invasion of Ghana by the Muslems along with a disastrous series of droughts that dried up the vital Bagana and Wagadu Rivers helped to plunge the empire into economic decline; and it became easy prey for hordes of conquerors who completed its destruction by the thirteenth century.

After the fall of Ghana, a Black state called Mali became the successor power in West Africa. The king of Mali formed alliances with other Islamic rulers, and this military and religious strength made him the most powerful ruler in Africa. Mali was founded by the Mande people of the upper Niger River, famous for their weaving, mining and architecture. By the close of the fourteenth century, the Mali empire had achieved greater wealth and power than Ghana. Civil warfare, attacks from Mossi and Songhay, and the arrival of the Portuguese in Africa mortally reduced Mali's power.

The third of the great kingdoms of the West, Songhay, began in the early eight

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