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Success of Mali and Ghana

             On the continent of Africa which historically had little more than isolated tribes and endless open countryside two of the most successful empires emerged from the empty savannah. The territory of the two kingdoms stretched over all of West Africa and the influence of the kings spread far beyond their boarders. The wealth of Ghana and Mali, unmatched by any government in the world, allowed vast palaces to be built in honor of the kings. The unprecedented achivements of Ghana and Mali can be attributed to their strong military, the fortunate geographic position and efficient organization of both kingdoms.
             The military of both Ghana and Mali offered protection of the boarders and the trading system. The force loyal to the king of Ghana was said to be two-hundred thousand men strong with forty thousand of them archers, a formidable army to say the least. The other one hundred sixty thousand men carried spears, shields and swords. The surrounding peoples scarcely dared to threaten the powerful warriors of Ghana and Mali. The army also discouraged traders from cheating or ripping anyone off for fear of swift and decisive retribution. This allowed the Muslim traders from the north and the southern gold traders to have faith in the dumb barter system. In this way the army protected the wealth and the people of Mali and Ghana.
             The unique and fortunate area that the two empires occupied was beneficial to their wealth and power. The empires stretched from the Atlantic Ocean nearly to lake Chad, south of the Sahara and north of the tsetse fly's northern boundary. The kingdoms were located on the only rout between the gold fields near the niger river and the salt mines of the Sahara. Because of the size of the armies of Mali and Ghana the traders were happy to pay the import-export taxes of the two empires. In effect the empires were making themselves the middleman of the salt gold trade which became immensely profitable.

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