Medieval Africa

Unit Highlights

In this unit, students will analyze primary and secondary sources to the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the sub-Saharan civilizations of Ghana and Mali in Medieval Africa. Students will be able to:

  • Describe and classify the vegetation zones of Africa and their significance to trade and the importance of the Niger River.

  • Explain how the salt for gold trade contribute to the emergence of the empires of Ghana and Mali.

  • Explain how labor and trade allowed for West African society to develop.

  • Explain the causes of how Islam spread in West African society

  • Explain the effects Arabs and Islam had on West Africa.

  • Explain the importance of written and oral traditions in Africa.


Unit Vocabulary

  • Family Labor Specialization

  • Ghana

  • Griots

  • Mali

  • Mansa Musa

  • Niger river

  • Sahara Desert

  • Salt For Gold Trade

  • Songhai

  • Sundiata

  • Vegetation zones

Activity 1: Medieval Africa Pre-Test

Using your prior knowledge, brainstorm, list, and/or draw what you know about Medieval Africa in a thinking map. Complete this assignment on the Thinking Maps Learning Community or on paper. You may include:

  • Information you know or kind of know about Medieval Africa.

  • Guesses about Medieval Africa.

  • Questions you have about Medieval Africa.

  • Information you would like to know about Medieval Africa.

  • What comes to mind when you think of Medieval Africa.