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    Kobina Kwasi


      The word Ghana means warrior or war chief. It was the title given to the rulers of the original kingdom whose Soninke name was Ougadou. Another name given to them was Kaya Maghan which translates to the king of gold.



      The Ghana empire which was also known as Wagadou or Awkar was a West African empire based in the modern-day South-East of Mauritania and Western Mali. It was founded by the Soninke people.



      It was a very complex society; some of them were based on trans-Saharan trades in salt and gold and had existed in the region for centuries at the time of the empire formation. Nobody knows exactly when the empire came into existence.



      In the 3rd century AD, camels were introduced to Western Sahara, this served as a major catalyst for the transformative social changes that resulted in the empire’s formation.



      During the time of the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the 7th century, the camel changed the more ancient, more irregular trade route into a trade network running from Morocco in the Niger river. The Ghana empire grew rich from this increased trans-Saharan trade in gold and slaves and salt, allowing for large urban centers to develop. The traffic encouraged territorial expansion so they could gain control over the different trade routes.



      The empire flourished from at least the 6th century to the 13th century CE. The trade was facilitated by the abundance of Iron, copper, gold, and ivory and also the easy access to the Niger and Senegal rivers and their tributaries.



      Despite the collapse of the empire, its influence can still be felt in the establishment of numerous urban centers throughout its former territory.



      The British Colony of the Gold Coast under leadership of Kwame Nkrumah named itself Ghana upon its independence in honor and remembrance of the historic empire.


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