"[41] Some modern traditions identify the Susu as the Sosso, inhabitants of Kaniaga. Given the scattered nature of the Arabic sources and the ambiguity of the existing archaeological record, it is difficult to determine when and how Ghana declined and fell. The African Arabist Abu-Abdullah Adelabu has claimed that some non-Muslim historians played down the territorial expansion of the Ghana Empire in what he called an attempt to undermine the influence of Islam in old Ghana. [32] These "kings" were presumably the rulers of the territorial units often called kafu in Mandinka. These contributing factors all helped the empire remain powerful for some time, providing a rich and stable economy that was to last over several centuries. (The empire should not be confused with the modern Republic of Ghana.). The king was able to enforce obedience from lesser groups and to exact tribute from them.

Al-Bakri noted that merchants had to pay a one gold dinar tax on imports of salt, and two on exports of salt. It was protected by a stone wall and functioned as the royal and spiritual capital of the Empire. 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. Although this continent is full of natural resources and diverse wildlife, how much do you really know about Africa? [24] (El-Ghaba, coincidentally or not, means "The Forest" in Arabic.). The name of the other section of the city is not recorded. [21] The Dar Tichitt site had clearly become a complex culture by 1600 BCE and had architectural and material culture elements that seemed to match the site at Koumbi-Saleh. An unconfirmed tradition dates the origins of the kingdom to the 4th century ce. Ghana appears to have had a central core region and was surrounded by vassal states. 24 Russel Square London. 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. Conrad and Fisher (1982) argued that the notion of any Almoravid military conquest at its core is merely perpetuated folklore, derived from a misinterpretation or naive reliance on Arabic sources. Complex societies based on trans-Saharan trade in salt and gold had existed in the region since ancient times,[1] but the introduction of the camel to the western Sahara in the 3rd century CE, opened the way to great changes in the area that became the Ghana Empire. In order to achieve power in his final location he had to kill a goblin, and then marry his daughters, who became the ancestors of the clans that were dominant in the region at the time of the recording of the religion. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965. al-Bakri in Levtzion and Hopkins, eds. Levtzion and Spaulding for example, argue that al-Idrisi's testimony should be looked at very critically due to demonstrably gross miscalculations in geography and historical chronology, while they themselves associate Ghana with the local Soninke. Al-Kati favored another interpretation in view of the fact that their genealogies linked them to this group, adding "What is certain is that they were not Soninke” (min al-Zawadi). Behind the king stand ten pages holding shields and swords decorated with gold, and on his right are the sons of the kings of his country wearing splendid garments and their hair plaited with gold. 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. The earliest descriptions of the Empire are vague as to its maximum extent, though according to al-Bakri, Ghana had forced Awdaghost in the desert to accept its rule sometime between 970 and 1054. At the door of the pavilion are dogs of excellent pedigree that hardly ever leave the place where the king is, guarding him. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Updates? The Ghana Empire flourished in West Africa from at least the 6th to 13th century CE. In 1240 the city was destroyed by the Mande emperor Sundiata, and what was left of the empire of Ghana was incorporated into his new empire of Mali. 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. Much of the empire was ruled through tributary princes who were probably the traditional chiefs of these subject clans. According to Kati's Tarikh al-Fettash in a section probably composed by the author around 1580, but citing the authority of the chief judge of Messina, Ida al-Massini who lived somewhat earlier, twenty kings ruled Ghana before the advent of the prophet, and the empire extended until the century after the prophet. "[43] According to a modern tradition, this resurgence of Mali was led by Sundiata Keita, the founder of Mali and ruler of its core area of Kangaba. Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Not quite Venus from the waves: The Almoravid conquest of Ghana in the modern historiography of Western Africa", Ghana Empire - Ancient History Encyclopedia, Kingdom of Ghana, Primary Source Documents, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ghana_Empire&oldid=990451899, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from September 2014, All Wikipedia articles needing clarification, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Soumaba Cisse as vassal of Soumaoro: 1203–1235, Soumaba Cisse as ally of Sundjata Keita: 1235–1240, "Empire" as a description of foreign policy, This page was last edited on 24 November 2020, at 15:29. Ghana, first of the great medieval trading empires of western Africa (fl. Al-Bakri Siffah Iftiqiyyah Wal-Maghrib (Description Of Africa and The Maghreb), D. Slan, Algeria, 1857, p. 158. [29] The main centre of trade was Koumbi Saleh.
[25] It is likely that these inhabitants were largely black Muslims known as the Wangara and are today known as Dyula and Jakhanke. In more recent work in Dar Tichitt, and then in Dhar Nema and Dhar Walata, it has become more and more clear that as the desert advanced, the Dhar Tichitt culture (which had abandoned its earliest site around 300 BCE, possibly because of pressure from desert nomads, but also because of increasing aridity) and moved southward into the still well watered areas of northern Mali. Imports probably included products such as textiles, ornaments and other materials. [24], According to al-Bakri, the major part of the city was called El-Ghaba and was the residence of the king.