Effects Of Islam In West Africa

Submitted By vsparks28
Words: 672
Pages: 3

Essay L In West Africa from 800 CE to 1600 CE, Islam greatly changed life. Islam had been originally encountered by African traders along the routes that went through the area. The culture within West Africa was strongly influenced, as well as the economies of Ghana, Mali and Songhai. The politics in these kingdoms were changed as well. However, some African cultural and political systems continued to exist. Culture was one of the main points of influence under Islamic rule. Under Muslim rule, the culture from 800 onward changed to be more settled and united. Tribes and nomads settled down to cities. Women’s status stayed the same or worsened under Islam. Violence became less common throughout West Africa, at least until Sunni Ali came along. This was because Islam was a more organized religion. Some continuities occurred in Ghana, Mali and Songhai. Some people wanted to continue their traditional ways, such as tribal appointments and ceremonies. These groups were not outcasts; they just were not as large as the supporters of Islam. Some of these groups still practice their traditional beliefs to this day. The economy was also influenced, but it was the least out of the three. One major aspect of trade was the fact that the gold trade exploded. It was estimated that two-thirds of the world’s gold supply came from West Africa until about 1350. The reason it increased so much is because of the abundance of gold in the region. Money was made much easier to deal with because a currency system was established. Some important goods were brought into the region, such as horses, that were used around the world but not in Africa prior to this point. Continuities existed in that some goods that were traded before this time frame in Africa were still traded into this time frame. In addition, some of Africa’s traditional trade methods stayed intact, such as the old bartering system. It was not a simple overnight process that Islam became the main focus of Africa; it took centuries. Politics was influenced more by Islam than economics but less than culture. A change was that Muslim politicians were usually elected versus the previous methods of appointing kings and emperors. The kings and emperors now used Islam to their advantage because the religion was intertwined with the government. Islam also affected certain laws and practices of the time, as Islamic rulers were forceful in the ruling of their people. They set up their own way of running the government. The Muslim invaders that later came spread