THE RISE AND DECLINE OF THE WESTERN SUDANIC STATES
The area known as the western Sudan encompasses the broad expanse of savanna that stretches between the vast Sahara Desert to the north and the tropical rainforests of the Guinea coast to the south
The early states in western Sudan were established in the region between the Sahara desert and the forest region of the South.
The most notable states were Ghana, Mali, Songhai and Karnem Bornu.
GENERAL FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF WESTERN SUDANIC STATES
1. Good geographical location
2. Iron technology
3. The growth of population
4. Development of local industries
6. Trans – Saharan Trade
7. Availability of valuable goods e.g. Gold
8. Good centralized government
9. Capable leaders
10. Strong Army
11. Development of Agricultural activities
A: GHANA EMPIRE
During its rise, Ghana had two main towns, one occupied by Muslims and the other by Pagans. The rulers and the people were Soninke speaking group.
The word Ghana as the King title emerged in 5th AD. The capital center of administration was Kumbisalehe.
FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF THE GHANA EMPIRE
1. Availability of valuable goods e. g gold
2. Trans – Saharan trade in gold and salt
3. Good leadership and efficient system of government.
4. Common language.
FACTORS FOR THE DECLINE OF GHANA EMPIRE
1. Almoravids‘ constant attacks
2. Disunity among people
3. Jihad wars
4. Lack of stable system of royal successions
5. The rise of rural kingdoms e.g. Mali
B: MALI EMPIRE
Early in the 3rd C Ghana fell apart as a result of the war between Samangwa the king of Ghana and Prince Sundiata Keita the king of Kangaba.
Ghana was defeated and Ghana fell Under Sundiata’s rule. Sundiata formed a large kingdom known as Mali the capital was Niami and the title of the rulers was Mansa.
FACTORS FOR THE RISE OF THE MALI EMPIRE
1. The fall of Ghana empire
2. Control of gold fields of Bure
3. Strong army
4. Agricultural activities
5. Trans – Saharan trade
6. Strong leadership of Sundiata Keita and later Mansa Kan Kan Musa
7. Islamic faith which promoted libraries and Islamic universities
8. Political system in Mali
FACTORS FOR THE DECLINE OF THE MALI EMPIRE
1. Weak leadership after the death of Mansa Mahmud IV
2. Empire became too large to control
3. Lack of unity and the empire was divided into three spheres of influence and they fought against each other.
4. Attacks by Tuaregs
5. Civil wars
6. The rise of Songhai empire
C: SONGHAI KINGDOM
In the late 15th Century the Songhai Empire originally the GAO, conquered neighboring states under the leadership of Sunni Ali and formed the large empire of Songhai.
GAO became its capital earlier on around the 11th C and remained the capital under the empire.
Its famous leaders were Sunni Ali, Askia Mohamed and Askia Daud.
FACTORS FOR THE GROWTH OF SONGHAI EMPIRE
1. Agricultural activities
2. Strong army
3. Trans – Sahara trade
4. Good administration
6. Islamic faith
FACTORS FOR THE DECLINE OF SONGHAI EMPIRE
1. Weak leadership after the death of Askia Daud
2. The Moroccan invasion
3. The empire was too large to control
4. Religious hostility between Islamic and traditional beliefs
5. The shift in orientation of trade towards the Atlantic following the introduction of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.