Old Ghana historically was situated betwixt Sahara and the forewaters of the Senegal and Niger rivers, in an area that now made up  southeastern Mauritania and part of modern Mali.

Ghana was made up mostly by Soninke clans of Mande speaking people who acted as intermediaries between the Arab and Amazigh (Berbers) salt traders to the north and the producers of gold, kola nuts, skins, cotton, gum, honey and ivory to the south which they consume and also used for barter trade.


The people who settled in old Ghana went on trading with the people of north Africa. From old Ghana, traders took gold, slaves, kola nuts, skins, cotton, ivory, gum, corn and honey to north Africa and exchange them for clothes and salt which they brought back to old Ghana. Ghana was in a good geographic place for trading with the north, and the country became rich. However, many Muslims came to old Ghana to trade, and stayed in the country.

The Government Of Old Ghana:

Many Muslims were well educated and they helped the king of old Ghana to rule the country. Old Ghana had a strong army of soldiers who fought with bows and arrows. They also have iron spears and swords because the people of old Ghana had now learned how to use iron.

Old Ghana had law court where cases are settled. The rulers made taxes too. Anyone bringing in goods for trade, or taking goods out of the country for barter, had to pay a sum of gold to the government. This taxation helped the country to become rich.

Life In Old Ghana:

The people of old Ghana lived in mud and thatched houses. Only few who are rich lived in stone houses. The people wore simple cotton garments. They wove the cloth for their clothes from the cotton they grew. They ate corn and nuts which they also grew.

The Fall Of Old Ghana:

In 1076, Muslims from north Africa called Almoravids attacked and conquered old Ghana. But they governed old Ghana for ten (10)years only because they were too few in number and were not strong enough. Once again old Ghana came under its former rulers, the Soninke. But gradually the kingdom became weak.

In AD 1203, Sumanguru, the king of old Ghana, attacked Old Mali. He did so because he was afraid that Mali was growing significantly stronger and he thought that Mali would grow too powerful and conquer old Ghana.

He killed the eleven (11) heirs to the throne of Mali, leaving the twelfth (12th) because he was lame. The lame prince was "Sundiata".

When Sundiata grew up, he was cured of his lameness. He became strong and conquered the people around Mali. He united the people into a great kingdom.

Sundiata was liked and respected by his people. When he became ruler of Mali, Sundiata changed his name to Mari Djata which means "Lion Prince". He encouraged trade and the kingdom grew rich.

In 1240, Sundiata defeated and killed Sumanguru. Sundiata's army destroyed the capital of Old Ghana. Old Ghana was re-annexed to Mali.

Source: Throwback Times