The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 2: Exploring the Americas

Student Web Activity

"African Kingdoms"

In this chapter you have read about the people of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Each group developed its own culture, built cities, traded, and fought wars. In West Africa a series of great kingdoms arose—Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. In this activity you will take a closer look at the accomplishments and eventual downfalls of these kingdoms.

Destination Title: Ancient African States

Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window.
Need help using your browser for this activity? Click here for tips.

Start at the Ancient African States Web site.

  • Scroll down to the links at the bottom of the page.
  • Click on and read the information about Ancient Ghana, Ancient Mali, Ancient Songhay, and Great Zimbabwe.

After exploring these four topics, answer the following questions.

Describe the monarchy in the kingdom of Ghana.
What were some of Mali king Mansa Musa's accomplishments in Timbuctu?
What group lived in Great Zimbabwe? What does the name "Zimbabwe" mean?
What led to the downfall of the kingdom of Songhai?
Imagine that you are an archaeologist studying the ruins of one of the great ancient African kingdoms. Write a one-page paper in which you report on your findings. Where was the kingdom located? What caused its downfall? What did the artifacts you found reveal about the lives and culture of the people in this kingdom? Conduct additional research if necessary to find out more about the kingdom you chose.
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