21 Sep World Civilization – Empires of West Africa
Empires of West Africa
Topic 1: Empires of West Africa
The Empires of the Western Sudan (read The Empires of the Western Sudan page and all the primary essays: 1) The Empires of the Western Sudan: Ghana Empire; 2) The Empires of the Western Sudan: Mali Empire; 3) The Empires of the Western Sudan: Songhai Empire; 4) Trade and the Spread of Islam in Africa; 5) The Trans-Saharan Gold Trade (Seventh–Fourteenth Centuries)
Website: Al-Bakri, Roads and Kingdoms (1067 CE)
Website: Kingdom of Mail (Al-Umari, ca. 1330 CE)
Website: Leo Africanus describes Timbuktu (1652 CE)
Website: Proverbs from Ghana
After reading Chapter 6 and the material on the websites, and viewing the videos, please make a 250-word initial post that answers the following questions about the primary sources:
Al-Bakri and Leo Africanus were not native to the areas they discussed. What difference might that make to their view of Ghana and Mali? How might their background have influenced what they saw and described? Did they see everything they described, or were things described to them by others? Did they think the culture that they were writing about was lesser than their own or equal to it? How does Al-Umari’s discussion of Mali differ from Leo’s? What might account for those differences? What do the Ghanaian proverbs add to your understanding of that culture?
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