Ancient African Kingdoms

Mali Empire

The Empire of Mali was one of the largest empires in West African history, and at its height, it spanned from the Atlantic Coast to central parts of the Sahara Desert. The Empire was founded in 1235 CE by the legendary King Sundiata and lasted until the early 1600s CE. The Empire’s most famous ruler was Mansa Musa who travelled to Mecca on a pilgrimage and distributed so much gold, he caused great inflation that lasted a decade.

South African History Online

Kingdom of Benin

The Kingdom of Benin was established in the region of West Africa in the 1200s C.E. According to history, the Edo people of southern Nigeria founded Benin. They no longer wanted to be ruled by their kings, known as the ogisos. They asked a prince from Ife, an important West African kingdom, to take control. The first oba, or king, in Benin was Eweka. He was the son of the prince from Ife.

The kingdom reached its greatest power and size under Oba Ewuare the Great. He expanded the kingdom and improved the capital, present-day Benin City; the city was defined by massive walls. The height of power for Benin’s monarchs began during this period. 

National Geographic

Kingdom of Aksum

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