WEST AFRICA

Ethnic and Cultural Diversity

People, cultures and traditions

Forgotten Empires 

Memories of a slave trade

Animist tribes

Voodoo rituals

Wildlife of the savannah and rainforest

Amazing local architecture

 

Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin

Empires of West Africa

There were a number of medieval empires of the southern Sahara and the Sahel, based on trans-Saharan trade, including the Ghana Empire and the Mali EmpireSonghai Empire, the Kanem Empire and the subsequent Bornu Empire.[ They built stone structures like in Tichit, but mainly constructed in adobe. The Great Mosque of Djenne is most reflective of Sahelian architecture and is the largest adobe building in the world.

In the forest zone, several states and empires emerged. The Ashanti Empire arose in the 16th century in modern-day Ghana and Ivory Coast. The Kingdom of Nri, was established by the Igbo in the 11th century. Nri was famous for having a priest-king who wielded no military power. Nri was a rare African state which was a haven for freed slaves and outcasts who sought refuge in their territory. Other major states included the kingdoms of Ifẹ and Oyo in the western block of Nigeria which became prominent about 700–900 and 1400 respectively, and center of Yoruba culture. The Yoruba's built massive mud walls around their cities, the most famous being Sungbo's Eredo. Another prominent kingdom in southwestern Nigeria was the Kingdom of Benin 9th–11th century whose power lasted between the 15th and 19th century and was one of the greatest Empires of African history documented all over the world. Their dominance reached as far as the well-known city of Eko which was named Lagos by the Portuguese traders. The Edo speaking people of Benin are known for their famous bronze casting and rich coral, wealth, ancient science and technology; and the Walls of Benin, which is the largest man-made structure in the world.

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