Rise to Glory: West Africa
The earliest of the west African states to develop was Ghana.
Ghana was to the north of the Upper Niger river on the trade routes
that carried salt and gold across the Sahara to the Mediterranean
Sea. It was first mentioned in 833 AD by the Arab historian
Kwarizmi, and described in great detail about two hundred years
later when the Almoravids of North Africa captured Aoudaghast, a
minor city of Ghana.
It was a large city with many fine houses, buildings and
markets, as well as rich palm trees and henna plantations. El
Bekri, another Arab historian, talks about armies of 200,000
warriors, including 40,000 with bows and arrows, governed by a king
called Tunka Manin.
It took the Almoravids fourteen years to conquer Ghana and take
its capital. This was made up of two cities nine km apart with
houses in between. The king lived in one city which was surrounded
by a wall, and where he governed in style, surrounded by objects of
gold dressed in cloth of gold. The second city was for the Muslim
merchants and had numerous mosques. 1 2 3