By Basil Davidson
This article is designed for college students getting ready for O point heritage, supplying an exam of a few of the foremost developments and occasions in West African background from advert 1000-1800.
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Additional info for A history of West Africa, 1000-1800
It is l i k e l y that w h i l e Kangaba was a subject country of the G h a n a empire, perhaps sending yearly gifts to its ruler i n exchange for friendly protection against enemies and rivals, the traders of Kangaba enjoyed positions of privilege w i t h i n the empire. T h e r e was a two-sided interest here. T h e government of G h a n a needed gold, and it was largely from Wangara that G h a n a ' s gold must come. But the traders who dealt i n the gold of Wangara also needed a market, and it was only i n G h a n a that they could find this market.
These could serve the king by opposing the power of the nobles. Most people had no political rights of m u c h value. T h e y were obliged to serve the nobles, pay tribute i n cattle and other goods, and work for the nobles w h e n required. W i t h i n these limits, however, the Wolof empire was prosperous and stable. It endured for many years. H o w strong it was is shown by a Portuguese report of 1506. T h i s says that the Burba Jolof had an army of 10,000 horsemen and 100,000 foot soldiers, no doubt an exaggeration but obviously p o i n t i n g to the existence of a big military power.
So that w h i l e it is true that some of their distant ancestors undoubtedly came from the grassland country of the north, most were the descendants of peoples who had lived i n Sierra L e o n e since distant Stone Age times. 1 Southward from the Wolof states and S i n e - S a l u m , along the G a m b i a River and the coast towards Sierra L e o n e , there lived small populations i n the scrublands and forests. L i k e their neighbours, these peoples had long since entered their Iron A g e by AD 1000.
A history of West Africa, 1000-1800 by Basil Davidson