West Africa - Whorrall - 7.4.1 Empires

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West Africa Quizzes & Trivia

Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Growth of Ghana  Reason #1      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. Reason #2      As the trade in gold and salt increased, Ghana’s rulers gained power. Over time, their military strength grew as well. With their armies they began to take control of this trade from the merchants who had once controlled it. Merchants from the north and south met to exchange goods in Ghana. As a result of their control of trade routes, the rulers of Ghana became wealthy. Reason #3      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.      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. Ghana's Decline Reason #1:  Invasion      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.  These outside attacks weakened the country because the government was too focused on these attacks to continue maintaining the well-being of the country. Reason #2:   Overgrazing      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. Reason #3:   Internal Rebellion      A third factor also helped bring about the decline of Ghana’s empire. In about 1200 the people of a country that Ghana had conquered rose up in rebellion. Within a few years the rebels had taken over the entire empire of Ghana. Growth of the Mali Empire Reason #1     After Sundiata had conquered Ghana, he took over the salt and gold trades and continued taxing merchants, thus gaining wealth for the Mali Empire. Reason #2      He also worked to improve agriculture in Mali. Sundiata had new farmlands cleared for beans, onions, rice, and other crops. He even introduced a new crop to Mali— cotton. People used cotton to make clothing that was comfortable in the warm climate. Realizing its value, they also sold cotton to other people. Reason #3      Mansa Musa ruled Mali for about 25 years. During that time, his army captured many important trade cities, including Timbuktu (tim-buhk-TOO), Gao (GOW), and Djenné (je-NAY). These cities became part of Mali’s empire. Reason #4      Religion was very important to Mansa Musa. In 1324, he left Mali on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Making such a journey, or hajj, is a spiritual duty of all Muslims.  Through his journey, Mansa Musa introduced the empire of Mali to the world. Before he came to power, only a few people outside of West Africa had ever heard of Mali, even though it was one of the world’s largest empires. Mansa Musa made such a great impression on people, though, that Mali became famous throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe. Decline of the Mali Empire Reason #1      When Mansa Musa died, his son Maghan (MAH-gan) took the throne. Unlike his father, however, Maghan was a weak ruler. When raiders poured into Mali, he couldn’t stop them. The raiders set fire to Timbuktu’s great schools and mosques. Mali never fully recovered from this terrible blow. Weakened, the empire gradually declined. Reason #2      One reason the empire declined was its size. The empire had become so large that the government could no longer control it. Parts of the empire began to break away. For example, the city of Gao declared its independence in the 1400s. Reason #3      Invaders also helped weaken the empire. In 1431 the Tuareg (TWAH-reg), nomads from the Sahara, attacked and seized Timbuktu. Soon afterward, the kingdom of Takrur (TAHK-roohr) in northern Mali declared its independence. Gradually, the people living at the edges of Mali’s empire broke away. By 1500, nearly all of the lands the empire had once ruled were lost. Only a small area of Mali remained.    

  • 2. 

    1. One cause of Ghana's growth of its empire is

    • A.

      A. overgrazing

    • B.

      B. trading gold and salt

    • C.

      C. invading Northern Africa thus gaining resources

    • D.

      D. limited resources on trade routes

    Correct Answer
    B. B. trading gold and salt
    Explanation
    Ghana's growth of its empire can be attributed to its trading of gold and salt. Gold was abundant in Ghana, and the empire established trade routes that allowed them to exchange gold for salt with the Berbers of the Sahara. This trade was highly profitable and contributed to the wealth and expansion of the empire. The availability of these valuable resources gave Ghana a strong economic base and allowed it to establish its dominance in the region.

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  • 3. 

    A cause of the growth of the Ghana Empire is

    • A.

      A. strong leadership

    • B.

      B. developing longer trade routes

    • C.

      C. common religion of Islam

    • D.

      D. taxing merchants on trade routes

    Correct Answer
    D. D. taxing merchants on trade routes
    Explanation
    Taxing merchants on trade routes was a cause of the growth of the Ghana Empire. By imposing taxes on merchants, the Ghana Empire was able to generate revenue and accumulate wealth. This allowed them to expand their territory, build a strong military, and establish control over trade routes. The taxation system provided the empire with the necessary resources to invest in infrastructure, promote economic growth, and maintain political stability. This contributed to the overall growth and prosperity of the Ghana Empire.

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  • 4. 

    3. One reason for the decline of the Ghana Empire is

    • A.

      A. overgrazing of grass

    • B.

      B. citizens rebelling within the Empire

    • C.

      C. attack of outside invaders

    • D.

      D. all of the above

    Correct Answer
    D. D. all of the above
    Explanation
    The decline of the Ghana Empire can be attributed to a combination of factors. Overgrazing of grass led to the degradation of the land, making it less suitable for agriculture and contributing to a decline in food production. Citizens rebelling within the Empire weakened its political stability and disrupted its governance. Additionally, the Empire faced attacks from outside invaders, further destabilizing its power and control. Therefore, all of these factors - overgrazing, internal rebellion, and external attacks - played a role in the decline of the Ghana Empire.

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  • 5. 

    4. One reason for the growth of the Mali Empire is

    • A.

      A. capturing important trading cities

    • B.

      B. strong leaders like Mansa Musa

    • C.

      C. none of the above

    • D.

      D. A and B

    Correct Answer
    D. D. A and B
    Explanation
    The growth of the Mali Empire can be attributed to both capturing important trading cities and having strong leaders like Mansa Musa. Capturing important trading cities allowed the empire to gain control over valuable resources and expand its influence. Additionally, strong leaders like Mansa Musa were able to maintain stability, promote economic growth, and establish diplomatic relations with other regions, further contributing to the empire's growth. Therefore, the correct answer is d. A and B.

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  • 6. 

    5. This city was captured by the Malians which helped strengthen and expand their empire

    • A.

      A. Mecca

    • B.

      B. Dejenne

    • C.

      C. Timbuktu

    • D.

      D. Tripoli

    Correct Answer
    C. C. Timbuktu
    Explanation
    Timbuktu is the correct answer because it was indeed captured by the Malians, which in turn helped to strengthen and expand their empire. Timbuktu was a major trading and intellectual center in West Africa during the height of the Mali Empire, and its capture allowed the Malians to gain control over important trade routes and resources, further solidifying their power and influence in the region.

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  • 7. 

    The decline of the Mali Empire was caused by

    • A.

      A. outside invasion of raiders

    • B.

      B. trade routes were destroyed

    • C.

      C. gold and salt was limited

    • D.

      D. the death of Maghan

    Correct Answer
    A. A. outside invasion of raiders
    Explanation
    The decline of the Mali Empire was caused by the outside invasion of raiders. This invasion weakened the empire's military and disrupted its political stability. It also led to the destruction of trade routes, limiting the empire's access to valuable resources such as gold and salt. The death of Maghan, while potentially contributing to the empire's decline, was not the primary cause.

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  • Current Version
  • Mar 21, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Feb 16, 2012
    Quiz Created by
    Cajhist
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