Ghana Trading Salt for Gold in West Africa Standard 7.4 Niger River
Standard 7.4.1: Identify how trade in the Niger River region of Africa led to the development of powerful and wealthy empires in West Africa. Content Objective: SWBAT trace the steps and roles in the gold and salt exchange. Language Objective: SWBAT list and discuss the steps and roles in the gold and salt exchange on an organizer.
Key Vocabulary: • Nomadic: Person who moves from place to place. • Silent Barter: Process in which people exchange goods without ever contacting each other directly. • Caravans: Group of traders that travel together Salt Gold
Background: • In the early 300’s Soninke families banded together to protect themselves from nomadic herders who wanted to take their lands. This group became Ghana.
Control of Trade: • Ghana lay between the Sahara Desert and the forest of the Niger River valley. From this location, Ghana was in a good position to trade the region’s most valuable resources- gold and salt. With the development of iron weapons, Ghana was able to gain control of these trade routes and forced traders to pay taxes. Salt Gold
The Role of Salt: • Salt was very valuable. Africans used salt to preserve food, as a currency, but most importantly Africans needed salt in their diets to survive.
The Activity: • The purpose of this activity is to allow the students to experience the practice of Silent Barter. Silent Barter is a process in which people exchange goods without ever contacting each other directly. Salt Gold
The Characters: • North Africans: Salt traders who traveled in large caravans to Ghana. • Wangarans: Mined gold from the Niger River Valley forests. • Soninke Warriors: Supervised the Silent Barter process. • Drummers: Provided cheerful music during the Silent Barter process.
Step 2: North Africans place salt on the banks of the Niger River. Ghana Niger River
Step 3: North Africans retreat into the Sahara Desert. Ghana Niger River
Step 4: Wangarans sail down the Niger River to Ghana. Ghana Niger River
Step 5: Wangarans examine the North African salt trade proposal. Ghana Good Trade Niger River
Step 6: Wangarans place the gold tokens they want to trade alongside North African salt. Ghana Niger River
Step 7: North Africans react to the trade proposal of the Wangarans. Ghana Niger River
Step 8: Soninke (Ghana) collects taxes from North Africans and Wangarans. Ghana Tax Niger River Tax
Review Question Which of the following statements about trade routes in Africa is true? Salt was carried south while gold was carried north. Salt was carried north while gold was carried south. Salt was carried east while gold was carried west. Salt was carried west while gold was carried east.
Review Question How did Ghana become such a powerful state? Ghana owned more salt than other states. Leaders in Ghana formed alliances with other groups of people. It had the strongest army in all of Africa. It gained control of the valuable trade routes.
Review Question Towns and villages grew and the population of Ghana increased mostly because Ghana’s farmers and herders could produce plenty of food. The people of Ghana believed in having very large families. Families needed many members to work the trade caravans. By law, families in Ghana were required to have many members.
Review Question What was significant about the location of the Ghana Empire? It had access to the Atlantic Ocean and therefore valuable shipping routes. It was located between the gold mines in the south and valuable salt resources in the north. People needed salt in their diets and they used it to preserve and season foods. Most of the empire was located in the mountains overlooking other empires.
Review Question Why was salt so valuable? Salt was important for religious ceremonies. Salt was used as a fertilizer for crops. Salt was an important trade item. Salt was used as a medicine against disease.