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Africa Essay

Between 600-1450, Africa went from governments with increased wealth from trade with varying religious traditions, also with some beliefs of polytheism; to governments with extensive powerful bureaucracies with many people converting to Islam. the more advanced forms of government ,trade and local traditions however, remained constant.

Prior to the introduction of Islam as a religion, there were various belief systems with animistic beliefs. There was also some polytheism as well as monotheism. all the traditional religions remained, although Islam became the more prominent religion. Islam became an important religion because of trade and umayyad conquest out of the middle East into North Africa . Islam also became the more important religion because of the Kings of Ghana and later Mali, who had converted because it benefited them in that they got more money. The conversion of authority figures influenced people to convert, as well as they were convinced by an authority figure .

The introduction of Islam and the connection to trade routes in the Dar-Al-Islam marked a turning point for Africa. During this time, after the fall of Rome, the power vacuum then led to the Umayyad conquest out of the middle East into North Africa.Also West Africa’s connection to Northern Africa via Trans-Saharan trade by Berber nomads allowed for the spread o9f islam to sub-saharan Africa. Trade and conquest brought Islam to North Africa, making it a slow ,but widely growing religion in Africa at the time.

After the introduction of islam and the connection of trade routes in the Dar-al-Islam, political changes were prominent within africa. The Qur’an also promotes trade as a blessing to humanity, so trade had increased steadily. Because of the increasing trade, organized governments increased considerably. Increased Trans-Saharan trade of gold for salt led to the need to regulate trade. it also led to increased wealth. the increased wealth in turn led to a more powerful government with an extensive bureaucracy and also led to the government controlling and taxing their trade routes. the kingdom of ghana fell and became the Empire of Mali which had control over the greater region. The kingdom of Ghana went from governments to stateless societies.

Although africa went through many changes, there were still some continuities. for example, although people converted to Islam, it was a very slow process and initially it was only the kings and merchants were converting because it benefited them; local traditions were still prominent because of thousands of years of the local animistic beliefs being passed down. Most people still practiced animistic worship and rituals. Another continuity would be the advances in government. There were still many advancements in government because of the steady increases in population and the need for regulation. Another continuity would be how trade is constant throughout the area. This is because it is needed to increase wealth and grow the economy to increase the population.


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