The Arabic sources, the only ones to give us any information, are sufficiently vague as to how the country was governed, that we can say very little. According to the 11th-century Spanish-Arab chronicler Abū ʿUbayd al-Bakrī, the king welcomed to his capital many of the northern African traders of the Sahara, who, after the Arab conquest in the 8th century, had been converted to Islam. Trade was facilitated by the abundance of iron, copper, … “Akan of Ghana and their ancient beliefs” by Eva L.R. It was situated between the Sahara and the headwaters of the Sénégal and Niger rivers, in an area that now comprises southeastern Mauritania and part of Mali. As Ghana grew richer it extended its political control, strengthening its position as an entrepôt by absorbing lesser states. This made trans-Saharan trade possible and improved their wealth even more. By the time of the Muslim conquest of North … Much testimony on ancient Ghana depended on how well disposed the king was to foreign travellers, from which the majority of information on the empire comes. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Only the king was allowed to have solid gold in any form. According to oral tradition, the Ghana Empire was founded by Diabe Cissé, a younger son of Dinga, who is considered to be the ancestor of the Soninke people. While Delafosse produced a convoluted theory of an invasion by "Judeo-Syrians", which he linked to the Fulbe, others took the tradition at face value and simply accepted that nomads had ruled first. Gold was secured, often by mute barter, at the southern limits of the empire and was conveyed to the empire’s capital, where a Muslim commercial town developed alongside the native city. [33], In al-Bakri's time, the rulers of Ghana had begun to incorporate more Muslims into government, including the treasurer, his interpreter and "the majority of his officials."[24]. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The Almoravids’ domination of Ghana lasted only a few years, but their activities upset the trade on which the empire depended, and the introduction of their flocks into an arid agricultural terrain initiated a disastrous process of desertification. Corrections? and trans. Chu, Daniel and Skinner, Elliot. Ghana, first of the great medieval trading empires of western Africa (fl. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). and trans., "Listening for Silences in Almoravid History: Another Reading of “The Conquest that Never Was” Camilo Gómez-Rivas, "Law and the Islamization of Morocco under the Almoravids” Camilo Gómez-Rivas. It was protected by a stone wall and functioned as the royal and spiritual capital of the Empire. 7th–13th century). Al-Bakri's detailed geography of the region shows that in his day, or 1067/1068, Ghana was surrounded by independent kingdoms, and Sila, one of them located on the Senegal River, was "almost a match for the king of Ghana." The empire's capital is believed to have been at Koumbi Saleh on the rim of the Sahara desert. 7th–13th century). Trade As with many wealthy empires, Ghana’s location helped with its wealth. The site was excavated in 1949–50 by Thomassey and Mauny[26] and by another French team in 1975–81. The origins of Ghana have been dominated by disputes between ethnohistoric accounts and archaeological interpretations. Kaya Maghan (lord of the gold) was another title for these kings. Ghana, as a matter of fact, was the title of its ruler. During this time, the two most important trade items were gold and salt. After Soumaoro's defeat at the Battle of Kirina in 1235 (a date again assigned arbitrarily by Delafosse), the new rulers of Koumbi Saleh became permanent allies of the Mali Empire.

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