Archaeology Quiz On The Ghana Empire!

8 Questions | Total Attempts: 181

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Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Ghana Controls TradeFor hundreds of years, trade routes crisscrossed West Africa. For most of that time, West Africans did not profit much from the Saharan trade because the routes were run by Berbers from northern Africa. Eventually, that situation changed. Ghana (GAH-nuh), an empire in West Africa, gained control of the valuable routes. As a result, Ghana became a powerful state.As you can see on the map, the empire of Ghana lay between the Niger and Senegal rivers. This location was north and west of the location of the modern nation that bears the name Ghana.
  • 2. 
    Archaeology provides some clues to Ghana’s early history, but we do not know much about its earliest days. Historians think the first people in Ghana were farmers. Sometime after 300 these farmers, the Soninke (soh-NING-kee), were threatened by nomadic herders. The herders wanted to take the farmers’ water and pastures. For protection, groups of Soninke families began to band together. This banding together was the beginning of Ghana.
  • 3. 
    Once they banded together, the people of Ghana grew in strength. They learned how to work with iron and used iron tools to farm the land along the Niger River. They also herded cattle for meat and milk. Because these farmers and herders could produce plenty of food, the population of Ghana increased. Towns and villages grew.Besides farm tools, iron was also useful for making weapons. Other armies in the area had weapons made of bone, wood, and stone. These were no match for the iron spear points and blades used by Ghana’s army.
  • 4. 
    Ghana lay between the vast Sahara Desert and deep forests. In this location, they were in a good position to trade in the region’s most valuable resources—gold and salt. Gold came from the south, from mines near the Gulf of Guinea and along the Niger. Salt came from the Sahara in the north.People wanted gold for its beauty. But they needed salt in their diets to survive. Salt, which could be used to preserve food, also made bland food tasty. These qualities made salt very valuable. In fact, Africans sometimes cut up slabs of salt and used the pieces as money.
  • 5. 
    Salt was traded for gold in the Ghana Empire.
  • 6. 
    The exchange of gold and salt sometimes followed a process called silent barter.Silent barter is a process in which people exchange goods without ever contacting each other directly. The method made sure that the traders did business peacefully. It also kept the exact location of the gold mines secret from the salt traders.In the silent barter process, salt traders went to a riverbank near gold fields. There they left slabs of salt in rows and beat a drum to tell the gold miners that trading had begun. Then the salt traders moved back several miles from the riverbank.Soon afterward, the gold miners arrived by boat. They left what they considered a fair amount of gold in exchange for the salt. Then the gold miners also moved back several miles so the salt traders could return. If they were happy with the amount of gold left there, the salt traders beat the drum again, took the gold, and left. The gold miners then returned and picked up their salt. Trading continued until both sides were happy with the exchange.
  • 7. 
    By 800 Ghana was firmly in control of West Africa’s trade routes. Nearly all trade between northern and southern Africa passed through Ghana. Traders were protected by Ghana’s army, which kept trade routes free from bandits. As a result, trade became safer. Knowing they would be protected, traders were not scared to travel to Ghana. Trade increased, and Ghana’s influence grew as well.
  • 8. 
    With so many traders passing through their lands, Ghana’s rulers looked for ways to make money from them. One way they raised money was by forcing traders to pay taxes. Every trader who entered Ghana had to pay a special tax on the goods he carried. Then he had to pay another tax on any goods he took with him when he left.
  • 9. 
    Traders were not the only people who had to pay taxes. The people of Ghana also had to pay taxes. In addition, Ghana conquered many small neighboring tribes, then forced them to pay tribute. Rulers used the money from taxes and tribute to support Ghana’s growing army.
  • 10. 
    Not all of Ghana’s wealth came from taxes and tribute. Ghana’s rich mines pro- duced huge amounts of gold. Some of this gold was carried by traders to lands as far away as England, but not all of Ghana’s gold was traded. Ghana’s kings kept huge stores of gold for themselves. In fact, all the gold produced in Ghana was officially the property of the king.Knowing that rare materials are worth far more than common ones, the rulers banned anyone else in Ghana from owning gold nuggets. Common people could own only gold dust, which they used as money. This ensured that the king was richer than his subjects.
  • 11. 
    Ghana’s kings used their great wealth to build a powerful army. With this army the kings of Ghana conquered many of their neighbors. Many of these conquered areas were centers of trade. Taking over these areas made Ghana’s kings even richer.The empire of Ghana reached its peak under Tunka Manin (TOOHN-kah MAH-nin). This king had a splendid court where he displayed the vast wealth of the empire.
  • 12. 
    In the mid-1000s Ghana was rich and powerful, but by the end of the 1200s, the empire had collapsed. Three major factors contributed to its end.
  • 13. 
    The first factor that helped bring about Ghana’s end was invasion. A Muslim group called the Almoravids (al-moh-RAH-vidz) attacked Ghana in the 1060s in an effort to force its leaders to convert to Islam.The people of Ghana fought hard against the Almoravid army. For 14 years they kept the invaders at bay. In the end, however, the Almoravids won. They destroyed the city of Koumbi Saleh.The Almoravids didn’t control Ghana for long, but they certainly weakened the empire. They cut off many trade routes through Ghana and formed new trading partnerships with Muslim leaders instead. Without this trade Ghana could no longer support its empire.
  • 14. 
    A second factor in Ghana’s decline was a result of the Almoravid conquest. When the Almoravids moved into Ghana, they brought herds of animals with them. These animals ate all the grass in many pastures, leaving the soil exposed to hot desert winds. These winds blew away the soil, leaving the land worthless for farming or herding. Unable to grow crops, many farmers had to leave in search of new homes.
  • 15. 
    The Ghana Empire lay between the Nile and Senegal rivers.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 16. 
    The Soninke founded Ghana.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 17. 
    The Soninke had an advantage over their neighbors because they had weapons made of
    • A. 

      Bone

    • B. 

      Iron

    • C. 

      Copper

    • D. 

      Gold

  • 18. 
    Ghana was located between the region's two most valuable resources - gold and salt.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 19. 
    Every trader who entered Ghana had to pay a tax when he entered.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 20. 
    Ordinary people could own gold nuggets.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 21. 
    Ghana reached its height under Tunka Manin.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 22. 
    Overgrazing is one reason for the decline of the Ghana Empire.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

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