- 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. Ghana’s wealth grew out of its location on the trade route that brought salt from the Sahara to western Africa and gold from western Africa to North Africa and the Middle East. Arab traders crossed the Sahara to Ghana, a place they called the “Land of Gold.” The king of Ghana collected taxes from merchants traveling through his empire. They had to pay taxes on the goods they brought to sell and on the goods they purchased. The king also claimed ownership of 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 that kept the trade route through Ghana safe.