thousand years ago, West Africa was a country where 6 to 8 million people
lived and they traded with each other. The West African society was influenced
by two different occurrences : - the coming of the Muslim teachers who
had an enormous power. - -the arrival of the Europeans on the West African
coastline. At first they were interested in gold, but later they traded
in other goods and slaves. West Africa has been described as a peninsula
set between the Sahara in the North and the Gulf of Guinea in the South.
There are different sorts of vegetation zones : the Sahel, the Savannah
and the Tropical rain forest.. There are three time divisions : Early
stone age, Middle stone age and the Late stone age. West African people
were very developed in the three division time.
Alexis Rainaut - Sébastian Harlander
The first traders
who crossed the North of Africa used animals for their transport. Later,
the Nomadic Berbers discovered the land of the Black people which they
called Billad Al-Sudan. They began trading their horses and cattle against
millet and cotton. In exchange the savannah farmers bought Salt. From
that trade three trading centres grew up they became the nucleus of future
West African Empires : Tekkur, Ghana and Kanem-Bornu.
The expansion of
Islam Before West African people believed in God and spirits. Many diviners
helped them to deal with the problems of everyday life. After the Prophet
Muhammad's death in 632 a new religion : Islam expanded.. His teachings
were collected into the Koran. Berber merchants contributed to the expansion
of Islam in West Africa. However the process was very slow. The first
converts to Islam were the dynasty of Ja who accepted the teachings of
Islam in Gao in 985.
The Peoples of West
Africa : 1000AD. A common stock In West Africa, in 1000AD, intermix of
the several peoples, races and cultures was extremely important, so there
was not any pure race : everyone is the same, considering that origin
everyone is equal , everyone belongs to the same species : homo sapiens.
Migrations and mingling. There were a lot of migrations in West Africa
because of famines in Sahara. That fact added to the long standing contact
and steady eastward movement of the stateless Fulani pastoralists led
to a great variety in ethnic groups in West Africa. The forest belt and
coastal regions Those regions were less open to migrations and some very
original societies developed there such as the Tiv.
The Kingdom of Tekrur
The Almoravids 1042-1140 The Almoravids were formidable Tuareg warriors
converted to an extremist Islamic faith, between 1042 and 1065 they controlled
most of the Maghrib, the Western Sahara and Spain.. They fought a jihad
notably against Ghana 1076-1077. After 1087 this kingdom began disintegrating.
The rise of Tekrur Tekrur on the Senegal river was founded around 800
and converted to Islam around 1041. Tekrur's importance Tekrur's people
were the first of the Sudanic kingdoms to have a strict interpretation
of the Islamic faith and to war against people who weren't Muslim. Tekrurian
soldiers were allied with the Almoravids and in 1056-1057 they warred
against pagan Ghanaians. The decline of Tekrur In Southern Tekrur, after
1250, the Sosso created their own kingdom. They were replaced by the Woloff
in 1445. Futa Toro is the successor state of ancient Tekrur and it appeared
in the XVIIIth century. In Futa Toro took place the second jihad in 1775
Tekrur's influence in the Fulani As the influence of Tekrur rose the Fulani
people moved eastwards.
The European presence
In 1482, the Portuguese built El Mina castle to protect their gold trade
from envious rivals. In 1637 the castle was occupied by the Dutch.. The
European presence had changed the social, political and military history
of the coastal people. The demand for slaves. The increased demand for
slaves and gold from European traders had favoured the ambition of West
African peoples who exchanged slaves and gold for firearms.
Jean-Maurice De Souza
The Asante Empire
The center is Kumasi. The Asante developed their empire more towards the
North than in the South by many battles. Two aspects of the Asante empire
: -the government with the golden stool which represents the unity of
the empire by the king Osei Tutu who garanteed the development of the
empire. -the war with the strategy with their battle formation which permits
them to win series of victories. The slave trade in West Africa and on
the Gold Coast : many slaves were exported from West Africa across the
Sahara to Europe. The main ports known are : Assini, Cape Coast, Elmina,