West African Kingdoms 500-1590: Social Class and Economy Research Article from World Eras

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Contemporary Icons. Popularized by Africanists and African historians since the 1960s as a sequential triad of trade-based empires, ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai have become icons of African history and culture. Although much of what has been written about these rulerships is fairly credible, a significant portion remains within the realm of mythmaking rather than accurate history. For example, though the hypothesis about Greek, Roman, or Arab-Muslim origins of these empires has generally been dispelled, it has been replaced by the myth that these three kingdoms—and Kanem-Bornu—represent radical departures from the surrounding political realities of the Western Sudan. On the contrary, these three rulerships are expanded versions of the basic Sudanic kafu—the groupings of clans and lineages in villages under a single clan head—that were characteristic of Mande speakers and their neighbors, who dominated the residential and migratory populations of...

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This section contains 1,555 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the West African Kingdoms 500-1590: Social Class and Economy Encyclopedia Article
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West African Kingdoms 500-1590: Social Class and Economy from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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