- from African Kingdoms
Gold and salt helped create the kingdom of Ghana around A.D. 300.
It was the first of the great West African trading empires. Its wealth grew out of its place on a major trade route. On this route, salt went from the Sahara to western Africa, and gold went from western Africa to North Africa and the Middle East. Arab traders crossed the Sahara to Ghana, which they called the “Land of Gold.” The king collected taxes from merchants who came through his empire. They had to pay taxes on goods they were selling and goods they bought. The king also took all gold nuggets found in his kingdom. However, he let traders keep gold dust they bought from the gold fields. With this wealth, the kings of Ghana built a strong army. The soldiers kept the trade route through the kingdom safe.