Africa 1215 CE

The expansion of trade in West Africa is leading to the rise of new kingdoms.

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What is happening in Africa in 1215CE

Ethiopia and North Africa

Ethiopia is now experiencing something of a Golden Age. Powerful and prosperous, its Christian culture, though isolated, is flourishing and giving rise to the great rock-cut churches of king Lalibela.

In North Africa, a series of Islamic movements, the Almoravids and the Almohads have conquered large areas, at one point even stretching into West Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa

These movements have given the Islamic religion a huge boost in the West African kingdoms, and by this date their ruling classes are mostly Muslim, at least nominally. By this period, also, extensive trade networks criss-cross the region. Several large trading cities, such as Timbuktu and Jenne, flourish, and to the east of the river Niger, the Hausa people have founded their own powerful city states. Trade routes are also penetrating into the southern rainforest region, leading to the rise of the first kingdoms there, especially the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo.

Trade is also playing a decisive role in Central and East Africa. Here, the Indian Ocean trade between Africa, Arabia and India has resulted in the rise of coastal city-states. Trade routes have spread inland, leading to the appearance of the wealthy and powerful Shona kingdom, centered on the famous urban center of Great Zimbabwe.

Next map, Africa 1453

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The Islamic Caliphate

African Kingdoms

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