- from African Kingdoms
The rulers of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai built huge empires.
Farther south, in the grasslands and forests of western Africa, smaller kingdoms rose around major market centers. The Hausa people lived on the grassy savanna of what is now northern Nigeria. Each city-state had its own ruler and government. Farther south, near the Atlantic coast, was the forest kingdom of Benin. For 200 years, its wealth came from its place on trade routes between the coast and the northern plains. It thrived from the mid-1400s to the mid-1600s. Back then, craftsmen made sculptures for the obas, or kings. Today, the world’s greatest museums are proud to own these artworks.