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Paperback A Glorious Age in Africa: The Story of Three Great African Empires Book

ISBN: 0865431671

ISBN13: 9780865431676

A Glorious Age in Africa: The Story of Three Great African Empires

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Book Overview

Illustrated by Monetta Barnett. Tells the story of the rise of the great African empires - Ghana, Mali, and Songhay - and charts their progress from the eighth to the sixteenth century. This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

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Positive aspects of African civilization that are generally overlooked in western history

While the conventional history taught in the schools of the western world mentions and praises the quality of civilization in Egypt that constructed the pyramids, there is very little else that is lauded. Most of the remaining coverage of the history of Africa involves the slave trade, the colonial era and the post-independence struggles. That is unfortunate because there were some relatively recent times when civilizations in Africa were more dynamic and quite frankly more civilized than those in Europe. This book covers the three most powerful and wealthier empires that once reigned in Africa. Written records are sometimes scarce, but what exists describes very powerful and dynamic kings. The first is the empire of Ghana that rose sometime in the seventh century C. E. and remained strong until the first half of the eleventh century. After that it began a precipitous decade-long decline and fell apart in the late eleventh century. At its' peak, it was so powerful that it easily repulsed the armies of Islam that had swept across Northern Africa and through Spain into southern France. In the shadows of the Ghanaian Empire, there arose another powerful kingdom, that of Mali. It became the pre-eminent power in western Africa when the forces of Mali defeated those of Sosso in 1235 C. E. An Islamic state, it was the source of the greatest Hajj or trip to Mecca ever recorded. In 1324, Emperor Musa and an enormous entourage that may have contained as many as 60,000 people made the trip across Northern Africa to Mecca. What is certain is that Musa passed out so much gold in Egypt that it took over 12 years for the market to recover after he departed. As is so often the case with empires, it could barely survive the death of a powerful ruler. When Musa died in 1332, his son Maghan acquired the throne. There were immediate losses of territory to rival forces and by 1475 C. E.; Songhay became the predominant power in western Africa. The Songhay people originated in what is now the northernmost territory of Nigeria and as they expanded, they took control of what had been territory of the empire of Mali. The two princes (Ali Kolon and Sulayman Nar) that began the rise of the Songhay Empire had been imprisoned in Mali and as the empire declined, they were able to make their escape and travel back to their native Gao. Their great achievement was to defeat all attempts by the rulers of Mali to re-conquer Gao. Sunni Ali Ber, one of the greatest warriors to have ever lived in Africa, achieved the rise to dominance of Songhay. When Ali Ber took control of the city of Jenne in 1473 after a long siege, the Songhay Empire was secure. Songhay was also an Islamic state and was a center of great learning and commerce. The Sultan of Morocco ordered an invasion of Songhay in 1585 and while there were great battles and Morocco was never able to get total control of Songhay, it rapidly declined so that by the middle of the seventeenth century it was no more. The auth


This book has done a wonderful job of informing its readers about ancient African kingdoms. In doing so it informs the world, most of whom are ignorant, about great civilizations that stood long before Europe, namely Rome. It challenges the lies of those Caucasians who traditionally distort history so as to place European civilizations above all others,just as they took Egypt out of Africa, painted Jesus white and placed white Jews in the East.

Concise History of Early African Kingdoms

This slender volume provides a good basic account of the three primary kingdoms of ancient Africa. We have heard much in recent years from Afro-centric revisionist historians about the alleged wonder of ancient Africa. This book puts some of those myths into perspective. While obviously intended for a young reading audience, this book has some useful information. The maps and pictures have an ameturish quality to them, but will doubtless appeal to high school students and less sophisticated readers. The text is simple and a bit over-stated at times. The three African kingdoms discussed here were certainly impressive for their time and place, but seem to have left little lasting influence. They were primarily trading empires, with some literature (Islamic Koranic writing and study) some archectecture and medicine. Music, art and higher forms of literature that would be found in Europe in the Renissiance appear to be non-existent. It is interesting to note that all three Kingdoms were heavily influenced by Islam, a non-indigeneous religion. Thus it seems Africa's greatest kingdoms were due more to the influence of Islam than anything else. Much about these kingdoms remains obscure and will likely remain so, thus providing numerous revisionist historians the means to make all sorts of outrageous statements. The perfect atmosphere for invention and fabrication. Still, this book provides a clearer look at the early history of Africa more so than recent ethno-centric studies like those compiled by the dubious Louis Gates. Young and older readers alike can certainly find some merit in this work

Great Into to African history

I have used this book to teach both fifth graders and college students about the basics of African history. This book effectively tells the tales of the Sundiata epic, Sonni Ali, the rise and fall of Timbuktu in a way that is entertaining, but also educational. If you want a basic foundation into African history while avoiding the political minefield of "Afrocentrism," read this, learn, and enjoy.
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