Compare and contrast Ghana and Mali. In what ways were the two kingdoms similar? How were they different?

Ghana and Mali were similar in that each kingdom was located in West Africa, and their power depended on control of the gold-salt trade routes stretching east to the Sahara Desert. They were different in that Ghana was an older polity, having collapsed before Mali would rise to power. Additionally, while each kingdom coexisted alongside the great Islamic powers of the time, Mali's rulers converted to Islam whereas Ghana's did not.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ghana and Mali were both rich and powerful West African empires that thrived on the continent before European colonization. Ghana rose first, benefitting from their rich gold resources and becoming a revered trading center. Mali would later grow on the ruins of Ghana, becoming even wealthier and more powerful than Ghana had ever been. Mali would turn into an internationally famous center of Islamic culture and learning. The kingdom's most famous ruler, Mansa Musa, is considered to be the richest man that has ever lived.

These two empires, along with the neighboring kingdom of Songhai, were powerful global influences between the fourth and sixteenth centuries. Historians also point to the fact that these empires prospered before European intervention or colonization of the continent, showing how creative, culturally rich, and innovative Africans have been since the dawn of history. These African kingdoms fly in the face of European colonial rhetoric that characterized Africa as “the dark...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1399 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on