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MIGHTY PEOPLE OF COLOR An Essay on Caravans of Gold and Africa A History Denied A powerful and peaceful land of trade and scholarship was established in Africa long before European ships even landed there Great African Empires flourished from the wealth of Africas natural resources that marked its rich and lavish history Though Europeans and Arabs people who most benefited from the wealth of Africa denied Africa its legacy the magnificence of people of color is embedded in the history of powerful empires such as Ghana Mali Songhai Cairo and Zimbabwe The gold deposits of West Africa brought great wealth to the surrounding people from which great empires emerged The first of the three most powerful successive empires of West Africa is Ghana By the 11th century the armies of Ghana made master trade routes extending from modern-day Morocco in the north to the coastal forests of West Africa in the South Though the gold deposits brought much wealth to Ghana the Niger River served as a source of fish which was also a valuable medium of trade Soon Arabs and Muslims began to exploit these trade routes Late in the 11th century a militant Muslim group destroyed Ghana but the Susu people regained power during the 12th century The people of Mali conquered them in turn in about 1240 Mali the second and most extensive of the three successive empires of West Africa rose to dominance in the 13th and 14th centuries The Mali Empire was one of the largest trading post of the world with its roots in the gold of West Africa There was a complete sense of safety stability and prosperity in the Mali Empire Tombouctou a city in the Mali Empire came to be a center of African scholarship as well as a famed market town which attracted traders from as far as across the Sahara Desert There were many judges doctors and learned people who resided in
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