History: Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, Songhai

We’re so excited to officially be back in school! Last week, I shared some of our science plans.  For history we will be doing a big unit on Slavery and the Civil War.  As we ease back into our routine, we’re going to spend some time learning about history West Africa just prior to the onset of the slave trade.  We’re going to talk about the salt and gold trade and the growth of education and scholarship in West Africa.  We will be talking first about the Kingdoms of Ghana (440-1200s) and Mali in the 12-1300s (well before the European slave trade began).  We touched on this many years ago, but it’s time to cover that again! 🙂

We’ll be talking about Mali’s first important ruler – Sundiata Keita who ruled from 1230 to 1255.  Sundiata captured Ghana’ capital and the gold mines that had been under their control.  Mali’s influence then began to spread into the Sahara, south, and west.

We’ll then go on to talk about his great nephew, Mansa Musa when Mali took over the trading centers of Timbuktu and Gao.  Mansa Musa was a Muslim and made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca. He brought with him nearly 60,000 people and more than 12 tons of gold! This made a huge impression. Europeans began to draw Mali on their maps.

There are two books we’re reading about these two leaders:


We’ll then touch on the Kingdom of Songhay and the military leader who became the ruler of the large empire, Askia Mohammad.

We have a couple of free notebook pages that we’re going to use again about the history of West Africa.  These are free to download if you can use them. 🙂 ~Liesl

West African History: Empire of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai


You might also be interested in some of the other posts we have about Africa from our unit several years ago:


Next we’ll be going on to learn more about the beginnings of slavery in the New World.

That’s it for today! See you again soon here or Homeschool Den Facebook page. Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~Liesl

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