Ghana

Ghana
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  •    Hi! My name is Beatrice. I live between the North African and West African trade route. You may know my kingdom as Ghana. 
  • Ghana was a rich kingdom. On the south, there was a region called Wangaran. It had secret gold mines. Nobody knows about it. Even now in the 21st Century, nobody knows the exact location of the gold mines. 
  • Most of the trading took place in Kumbi, Ghana. It was hard to trade when the Wangarans and Caravans spoke different languages. So, they came up with the concept of Silent-Barter. The Caravans would spread out their goods along the river. Once they've spreaded it out, they would play the drum and leave. Then, the Wangarans will look at the goods and set a trade. Once they've set their trade, they would play the drum and leave. If the traders are at agreement then the trade is made. If not, they repeat the process until they agree, but sometimes they won't trade. 
  • Dad, how are we rich? We must've started from nothing. 
  • Why would salt-traders come to trade if they lose their gold?
  • When salt traders come to trade, they get more gold from us (for future trades). We need salt too because it helps us keep our food from spoiling and in addition it tastes good. 
  • Well, we could say that we're rich because of salt traders. Everytime they bring salt over, they have to give us gold. 
  • Can you tell me some things about it? 
  • I've always wondered about the Trans Saharan Trade. Do you know anything about it?
  • Sure! So, the Trans Saharan Trade is when people from the North and South of the Sahara trade. Traders from the South have to pass Ghana and it's not exactly free. The traders have to pay us gold. Well, it's more like paying taxes on their goods. We kind of have to thank them because they made us rich.
  • Of course I do! My dad inspects the route and makes sure nobody is cheating. 
  • That's interesting! Where does all the gold go?
  • The king takes all the gold. In order to prevent cheating, the king makes sure all the gold is kept safe. A lot of the gold is used to preserve the king's wealth too. Although the king takes the gold, he does not collect taxes. Taxes are collected separately. The king assigns a governor to a certain area of Ghana's society. They are the leaders.
  • Paying us the gold wasn't even the hard part. The hard part was to walk through the Sahara Desert. Centuries later, people brought in camels. They used camels because camels can travel for several days without stopping. They're pretty much made for the desert.
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