- from African Kingdoms
The rulers of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai built vast empires.
Farther south, in the grasslands and forests of western Africa, smaller kingdoms rose around important market centers. The Hausa people lived on the grassy savanna of modern-day northern Nigeria. Each Hausa city-state had its own ruler and government. Farther south, near the Atlantic coast, was the forest kingdom of Benin. For 200 years, from the mid-1400s through the mid-1600s, Benin’s wealth came from its position on trade routes between the coast and the northern plains. Today, sculptures made by craftsmen for the obas, or kings, of Benin during that time are prized possessions of the world’s greatest museums.