New
New
Year 8

The kingdoms of the Sahel

I can explain how trade across the Sahel made West African Kingdoms richer, but also brought some problems.

New
New
Year 8

The kingdoms of the Sahel

I can explain how trade across the Sahel made West African Kingdoms richer, but also brought some problems.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. The Sahel was home to kingdoms rich in culture and wealth such as Mali, Kano and Mossi.
  2. The Sahel was rich in gold which was the basis of trade between West African kingdoms and Islamic states.
  3. West African kingdoms traded gold in exchange for textiles, meaning a unequal trade with wealth leaving West Africa.
  4. The trade across the Sahel attracted thieves and robbers increasing violence in the region.
  5. Europeans arrived in West Africa from the 1440s looking for gold.

Common misconception

European merchants arrived in West Africa with the intention of starting to enslave people.

European merchants were attracted by the potential amount of gold they would be able to trade in West Africa.

Keywords

  • The Sahel - the Sahel is a dry region bordering the southern Sahara Desert

  • Mansa - Mansa is the word used in the kingdom of Mali to refer to the ruler

  • Devout - to be devout is to show strong religious commitment

  • Oral tradition - oral tradition is a form of communication where ideas and knowledge are shared by word of mouth

  • Caravan - a caravan is a group of merchants travelling together on a long journey through a desert

When explaining the problems that emerged in the Sahel, make clear that not all kingdoms fell apart - as Songhay is an example of a kingdom that flourish in this time. Therefore, European merchants arrived at a time of great change in West Africa.
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains conflict or violence.

Supervision

Adult supervision suggested.

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

Video

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6 Questions

Q1.
Where in the world would you find the Kingdom of Mali?
Eastern Europe
Correct answer: West Africa
South East Africa
South America
East Asia
Q2.
When European explorers and merchants arrived in West Africa in the 1400s, what did they plan to do?
Correct Answer: trade, Trade, to exchange goods, To exchange goods
Q3.
Which of the following kingdoms were located in West Africa?
Morocco
Correct answer: Songhay
Correct answer: Benin
Aksum
Q4.
Which religion was spreading from the Middle East to West Africa in the 13th and 14th centuries?
Christianity
Correct answer: Islam
Hinduism
Buddhism
Q5.
Which of the following explains what makes a kingdom stronger?
Trading expensive goods for less valuable goods
Correct answer: Keeping control of valuable areas, like gold mines
Sharing control of valuable areas, like gold mines
Correct answer: Building and maintaining trade routes across several continents
Resisting trade with other kingdoms and groups of merchants
Q6.
Put these events in chronological order, starting with the earliest.
1 - West African communities come together to form small states.
2 - Some small states come together to form kingdoms in West Africa.
3 - Kingdoms grow richer from controlling gold mines and trade in the area.
4 - Europeans hear of rich West African kingdoms.
5 - European merchants arrive in West Africa to trade.

6 Questions

Q1.
Match the words with the correct definitions.
Correct Answer:the Sahel,a dry region bordering the southern Sahara Desert

a dry region bordering the southern Sahara Desert

Correct Answer:Mansa,the word used in the Kingdom of Mali to refer to the ruler

the word used in the Kingdom of Mali to refer to the ruler

Correct Answer:devout,to show strong religious commitment

to show strong religious commitment

Correct Answer:oral tradition,when ideas and knowledge are shared by word of mouth

when ideas and knowledge are shared by word of mouth

Correct Answer:caravan,a group of merchants on a long journey through the desert

a group of merchants on a long journey through the desert

Q2.
What word describes someone who shows strong religious commitment?
Correct Answer: devout
Q3.
Which of the following best explains what Mansa Musa is remembered for?
being a devout Christian
Correct answer: being a devout Muslim
loosing the wealth of the Mali kingdom
Correct answer: sharing the wealth of the Mali kingdom
writing lots of books about the Mali kingdom
Q4.
How many royal servants did Mansa Musa take with him on his pilgrimage to Mecca?
100
1 200
Correct answer: 12 000
1 200 000
Q5.
Which of the following were major problems in the Sahel?
Correct answer: trade across the Sahel was unequal
there was no gold left in the Sahel
Correct answer: caravans were attacked by thieves and robbers
caravans were attacked by opposing kingdoms
Q6.
What have historians focused on in the absence of written records about some West African kingdoms?
Correct Answer: oral tradition, oral history, Oral tradition, Oral Tradition

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