Test Your West African Empires Quiz

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West Africa Quizzes & Trivia

African Empires was an umbrella term used in African studies which referred to a number of historical states in Africa with multinational structures. Today we’ll be quizzing you on African Empires in the west of the continent.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    One similarity between the ancient African kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai is that all of these kingdoms were located ___________?

    • A.

      In rain forest areas

    • B.

      In mountainous terrain

    • C.

      On major trading routes

    • D.

      On the European border

    Correct Answer
    C. On major trading routes
    Explanation
    The ancient African kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai were all located on major trading routes. This is evident from historical records and archaeological evidence that show these kingdoms were strategically positioned along important trade routes, such as the trans-Saharan trade routes. Their location allowed them to engage in extensive trade with neighboring regions and beyond, facilitating the exchange of goods, ideas, and cultural influences. The prosperity and wealth of these kingdoms were largely dependent on their ability to control and benefit from the trade networks that passed through their territories.

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  • 2. 

    How did the ruler of Ghana profit from the trade routes that met in his empire?

    • A.

      By ambushing merchants and stealing their goods.

    • B.

      By collecting a tax on all merchants or traders who went through their land

    • C.

      By allowing trade only on certain days of the week

    • D.

      By bribing traders who came to them

    Correct Answer
    B. By collecting a tax on all merchants or traders who went through their land
    Explanation
    The ruler of Ghana profited from the trade routes that met in his empire by collecting a tax on all merchants or traders who went through their land. This allowed the ruler to generate revenue and accumulate wealth by imposing a fee on the goods being transported through his empire.

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  • 3. 

    A major trading town in the African savanna was?

    • A.

      Timbuktu

    • B.

      Zimbabwe

    • C.

      Accra

    • D.

      Cairo

    Correct Answer
    A. Timbuktu
    Explanation
    Timbuktu was a major trading town in the African savanna due to its strategic location on the trans-Saharan trade routes. It was a hub for the exchange of goods such as gold, salt, ivory, and slaves between North Africa, the Mediterranean, and sub-Saharan Africa. Timbuktu's position allowed it to thrive economically and culturally, attracting scholars, merchants, and travelers from across the region. The city's wealth and reputation as a center of learning made it an important trading destination in the African savanna.

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  • 4. 

    Ancient African kingdoms, such as Ghana and Mali, based their economic systems on which of the following:

    • A.

      Oil exports

    • B.

      Fishing

    • C.

      Hunting and gathering

    • D.

      Trade and agriculture

    Correct Answer
    D. Trade and agriculture
    Explanation
    Ancient African kingdoms, such as Ghana and Mali, based their economic systems on trade and agriculture. Trade played a crucial role in their economies as they engaged in long-distance trade routes, exchanging goods such as gold, salt, and other commodities. Agriculture was also an important aspect of their economic systems, as they cultivated crops and practiced farming to sustain their populations and support trade activities. These kingdoms thrived and prospered through their ability to engage in trade and utilize agricultural resources effectively.

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  • 5. 

    Mali reached the height of its wealth, power, and fame under _____________________, its most famous ruler.

    • A.

      Ramses II

    • B.

      Askia Muhammed

    • C.

      Mansa Musa

    • D.

      The Hittites

    Correct Answer
    C. Mansa Musa
    Explanation
    Mansa Musa is the correct answer because he was a famous ruler of Mali who brought great wealth, power, and fame to the empire. He is known for his extravagant pilgrimage to Mecca, during which he distributed so much gold that it caused inflation in the regions he passed through. This display of wealth showcased the immense riches of Mali and solidified its reputation as a prosperous empire.

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  • 6. 

    Griots are _____________________.

    • A.

      A group of people who formed the empire of Mali

    • B.

      West African storytellers

    • C.

      Bandits who hung out on the trade route

    • D.

      People who opposed the king

    Correct Answer
    B. West African storytellers
    Explanation
    Griots are West African storytellers. They are known for their oral tradition of passing down history, culture, and traditions through storytelling. Griots hold a significant role in preserving the cultural heritage of West Africa and are highly respected for their knowledge and skill in storytelling. They often serve as historians, genealogists, and entertainers, using their storytelling abilities to educate and entertain their communities.

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  • 7. 

    Visitors traveled to Timbuktu because _______________________.

    • A.

      They wanted to relax in the sun and swim in the ocean

    • B.

      It was loaded with Egypt's treasures

    • C.

      They charged no tax to stay in the city

    • D.

      It was the center of Islamic learning with schools and mosques.

    Correct Answer
    D. It was the center of Islamic learning with schools and mosques.
    Explanation
    Visitors traveled to Timbuktu because it was the center of Islamic learning with schools and mosques. Timbuktu was renowned for its prestigious educational institutions and numerous mosques, attracting scholars and students from all over the Islamic world. It was a hub of intellectual and cultural exchange, offering a rich environment for learning and religious practice.

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