- from African Kingdoms
The rulers of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai built big empires.
South of those were the grasslands and forests of western Africa. There, smaller kingdoms grew up around major market areas. The Hausa people lived on the grassy plains of what is now northern Nigeria. Each city-state had its own ruler and laws. South of the Hausa lands was the forest kingdom of Benin. It was near the Atlantic coast. This kingdom was on trade routes between the coast and the northern plains. That made it rich from the mid-1400s to the mid-1600s. Back then, craftsmen made sculptures for the obas. They were the kings of Benin. Today, this art is seen in some of the world’s best museums.