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African Empires in the Early Modern Period: (1450-1750)

One of the comparative subjects in this time interval is “empire building” in Africa. The AP Jedi Masters need you to know solely one of many following: (Kongo, Benin, Oyo, Dahomey, Ashanti or Songhay) – so that they probably are not going to ask you to match two African Kingdoms since they stated you only have to know one – so they could ask you to compare the method of “empire building” in Africa to that in: (Asia, Latin America or Europe) – however I am providing you with data from three African Empires – simply in case – and each if from a different area in Sub-Saharan Africa – so totally different historic forces to consider.

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The Kongo (c. 14th – 17th century)

Located on the western coastal region of Central Africa – along the Congo river. Centralized state – with officials overseeing military, judicial, and financial affairs. The empire was divided into regions – and governors who were often related to the King oversaw these areas – some areas have been allowed to continue to rule so lengthy as they recognized the prevalence of the Kongo King – they had to report to him yearly for inspection and “renewal” of their title.

The empire was financed both by the taxing of trade as properly as a head tax collected by native administers and sent to the capital.

Songhay: (West Africa – Sudanic Empire) (Mid 1400’s – Mid-1600’s)  As the power of the Mali continued in the 1400’s a state within the Empire was capable of get hold of its independence – this was referred to as the Songhay Empire with its capital in the buying and selling city of Gao.

The height of the Empire got here beneath the leadership of Sunni Ali who ruled from 1464-1493. He built an elaborate administrative and navy apparatus to oversee affairs in his realm.

The Kingdom of the Asante (1680-1900)

The Asante had been one of the Akanspeaking peoples who settled in the forest region of recent Ghana between the 11thand thirteenth centuries. The separate Asante chiefdoms had been united by Osei Tutu within the 1670s and in 1696 he took the title of Asantehene (king) and founded the Asante empire. Asante was the only part of Africa where rich agricultural and mineral sources coincided. With its capital at Kumasia solely 30 miles south of the northern forest edge – it might draw on each forest and savanna produce some of the traditional crops have been: plantains, yams, and rice.

The Portuguese arrived within the late 15th century – Kings of the Kongo transformed to Christianity as a way to establish nearer commercial relations with Portuguese retailers and diplomatic relations with the Portuguese King.

He appointed governors to oversee provinces and maintained an expert military, with a cavalry and navy of small boats and canoes – which have been able to patrol the Niger River. He extended his empire over the areas formally managed by the Mali rulers – he conquered the cities of Timbuktu and Jenne (which took him 7 years of siege warfare – he finally married its Queen to solidify his rule). From the capital metropolis of Gao the Songhay rulers presided over a prosperous empire that participated within the transSaharan commerce that introduced: Salt, textiles and metal goods in exchange for gold and slaves. Despite the fact that the rulers had been Islamic and supported Islamic institutions: mosques / universities – the vast majority of the populace remained non-Muslim. The Songhay meet their demise in 1591 after they took on a Moroccan army armed with musket gun – the defeat left open a possibility for areas to revolt in opposition to Songhay administration.

Kongo Kings appreciated the truth that Christianity provided a strong endorsement of their monarchical rule – the new religion was handy additionally because the saints of the Roman Catholic Church have been much like spirits long acknowledged in Kongolese religions. For the primary variety of years Portugal and the Kingdom of the Kongo dealt with one another with a certain stage of equality – they exchanged ambassadors and a quantity of Portuguese went to Kongo: advisors, monks, troopers, tailors, shoemakers, masons, and minors.

One of crucial Kings of the Kongo was: Nzinga Mbemba – also referred to as King Afonso I (1506-1542) – he was a religious Roman Catholic and actively sought out to transform all his topics to Christianity – he attended non secular companies every day and all the time studied the Bible. Trade and relations with Portugal introduced wealth and overseas recognition to the Kongo – gadgets similar to: ivory, copper and slaves had been exchanged for European: textiles, weapons (guns, weapons, guns)!!!! – do not forget that during this time interval (1450-1750) Europeans have been “colonizing” the Western Hemisphere – as this time interval went on the demand for slaves elevated – this dramatically impacted societies such because the Kongo – one King in the course of the 16th century – himself had 20,000 slaves in his household.

However – the vast majority of wealth of the empire was in its gold deposits – the Europeans would name this the “Gold Coast” – which they used to buy European weapons – which additional solidified the ability of the Asante over close by areas which did not have entry.

Guns have been additionally obtained by providing the Europeans with slaves – the infamous “El Mina” – a fortress built alongside the coast where slaves had been housed till departure throughout the Atlantic was built on Ghana’s coast.

Other gadgets introduced by the Europeans were: iron, horses, cloth, tobacco and finished manufactured items.

Historians generally talk about Asante’s “metropolitan” and “provincial” spheres. “Metropolitan” Asante consisted primarily of the cities in a fifty-mile radius round Kumasi. The rulers of these cities, lots of whom have been associated to the ruling family, participated in the enthronement of Asante kings, served on the king’s advisory council, and retained appreciable autonomy.

Eventually the relationship between Portugal and the Kongo worsened as a outcome of the Portuguese want for increasingly more slave pushed them to barter with other areas around the Kongo – a few of with have been enemies of the Kongo while others have been protectorates – the authority of the Kongolese King was undermined – which led to warfare with the two nations.

The Songhay empire crumbled right into a sequence of small regional kingdoms – and with the arrival of the Europeans and the redirection of commerce in the path of the shoreline – the Sudanic Empires ceased to play a prominent position in West African politics.

By contrast, outlying regions had been more clearly subordinate and have been forced to pay tribute to the Asante rulers. The most distant districts of the state which were populated by non-Akan folks yearly despatched 1000’s of slaves to Kumasi. They placed all trade beneath state businesses managed by the Asante King, and created a complex bureaucracy to govern and acquire taxes. Asante achieved a high diploma of administrative efficiency (its wellmaintained roads, for instance, had been famous) and the power to implement sophisticated fiscal insurance policies.

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