Ghana gained power by having rulers of some trading cities in West Africa became wealthy by collecting taxes from the goods that were purchased and sold. With their wealth, they could afford to raise large armies to conquer other trading areas nearby. Then the ruler could take over the trade of those areas and become even wealthier. Rulers also collected tribute (payments) from the people they conquered.
To preserve his wealth, the king tightly controlled the supply of gold. All the gold nuggets, or chunks, found in the kingdom had to be given to the king. Ordinary people could have only gold dust.
Each day, the king held court with his people. The king, splendidly dressed in colorful robes, gold jewelry, and a cap decorated with gold, arrived at court to the beating of royal drums. His people demonstrated their respect for him by kneeling and throwing dust on their heads as he approached.
In the second half of the 11th century, Muslim warriors known as Almoravids began attacking Ghana's empire. war and the loss of natural resources led to the West African empire's downfall.increasing population added great stress on scarce resources, such as trees and water.