The earliest West African Communities were small and made up of extended family members. These consisted of grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, and children, and usually housed around 15-20 people. They obtained almost everything they needed by themselves, but occasionally traded with other communities if necessary.
Hello there! I have a surplus of crops and am willing to trade them for some salt!
Our community did not have a good harvest this year. But we do have salt from the desert! I will definitely be willing to trade with your community!
The early family-based communities of West Africa eventually evolved into small villages because they needed help for a task or protection. These villages housed 100-200 people.
Papa, why did we join with the Ookabookalookawashahakatakawaka community?
Well, Son, it was because of many reasons. First and most importantly, the Niger River was flooding our community, so we needed help to control it.
Also, we discovered a mine with lots of gold in it, and we couldn't mine it all by ourselves.
The villages of West Africa evolved into towns and cities for two main reasons. Those reasons were were the growth of ironworking and the expansion of trade.
Wow, Papa! These new iron tools are great! Where did we get them?
We got them from a people called the Nok. They are masters of ironworking and provided us with these great tools!
What are we going to do with all of these crops?
Now that we have more time on our hands, what should we do?
And then I can trade my goods along rivers and at trading sites!
You can learn a new craft, like pottery, weaving, or metalworking.
I think we should sell our extra crops at the market.
After the success of towns and cities, they taxed all goods going in or out of the city. With this new wealth, they could afford to wondrous new things.
King Shploofbloofploofwoof! We just collected 100 pounds of gold!
Good. Send it to the military. Ghana will be so powerful that it will control all of West Africa!
With their large armies, these cities could now take over surrounding villages. These villages paid tribute, which is a sum of money but more importantly meant they accepted the king's authority.