Baker & Taylor Explores the people, places, and ideas of the Mali, Songhay, and Ghana Empires which spread their influence across the western horn of Africa beginning around 1200.
Facts on File While Europe experienced the early medieval period, a series of empires spread across West Africa, making advances in trade, language, culture, and economy. Beginning around 1200 CE, the Mali, Songhay, and Ghana empires spread their sequential influence across the western horn of Africa. Influenced heavily by Islam in their later periods, these empires flourished and grew under a series of powerful leaders, including Mansa Musa, whose skills were celebrated in European capitals.
Drawing on a rich oral tradition, numerous trips to the region, and the latest scholarship available on this important but little-studied era, scholar and author David Conrad explores the people, places, and ideas that made up this trio of empires. Empires of Medieval West Africa discusses the vital role salt and other natural resources played in the development of the empires, the rich and diverse cultures, and the influence of the growing Islamic Empire on everyday life. Included are several transcriptions of the oral tradition that in many cases is the only record of the deeds and achievements of these peoples. Connections to life today include the continuing impact of Islam and tribal groups in Africa, and the influence of the medieval traditions on modern music and cuisine.