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The empire of Ghana was an important black trading state in West Africa. Arab camel caravans brought salt and copper from mines in the Sahara and dried fruits from North Africa to Ghana’s markets. There, the products were traded for gold, ivory, and slaves from regions south of Ghana. Ghanaian jewelry and leather goods were sold and traded for textiles, clothing, and fine tools from Arabia and Europe. Kumbi Saleh, the capital, and Audagost were probably the largest cities in West Africa. The king of Ghana was paid in gold for the taxes he charged on imports and exports. He also claimed all gold nuggets found in his kingdom. With this wealth, the king maintained an efficient government and an army that kept the trade routes to Ghana safe. Skilled ironworkers produced weapons that contributed to Ghana’s strength (World Book 2003).
Blacks in America are descendants of a great people. The ancestors of most American blacks came from an area of Africa known as the Western Sudan. This area included the empire of Ghana. Their ancestors lived in nations with economies that depended on farming, trade, and gold mining. These skills that Africans possessed, were brought with them on the slave ships to the Americas. The rising European demand for sugar helped create fierce competition for slaves and for new sugar colonies. "From the 1500’s to the mid-1800’s, the Europeans shipped about 12 million black slaves from Africa to the Western Hemisphere. Nearly 2 million of these slaves died on the way. About 65 percent of the slaves were brought to Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Saint Domingue (now Haiti), and other sugar colonies. Brazil alone received about 38 percent. North America got about 6 percent" (World Book 2003). The importation of millions of slaves to work for free is the biggest contribution of Africa to the growth of America. Highly skilled and hard-working Africans are the backbone of America's wealth.
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