After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the continent fell into a state of decadence, despair, and disarray. The continent was ravaged by the bubonic plague, experienced poor sanitation and hygiene, crumbling infrastructure and illiteracy. While Europe and Europeans struggled, Africa prospered during the Middle Ages. Africans might have lived irritating lives in the past with so many ups and few downs.
During their ups, black people rose and various African empires and kingdoms became powerful. it is worth mentioning that during their heyday, they held sway and was the epitome of civilization.
During the sixth to the thirteenth century, Europe was experiencing its dark times. This affected the Europeans economically, intellectually and culturally. On the other hand, entire Africa was experiencing a renaissance.
Below is the list of empires and kingdoms that led to its civilization and rebirth: the Axum Empire, the Mossi kingdom, the Ethiopian empire, the Kingdom of Ghana, the Songhai Empire, the Benin Empire, and the Mali Empire.
Historians are of the opinion that the empire was discovered by the Sabaeans, a Semitic-speaking people, who crossed the Red Sea from modern-day Yemen on the basis of Conti Rossini’s theories.
However, most scholars would now agree that when it was founded it was an indigenous African development. The Axum Empire was one of the only major international superpowers of its day alongside Rome, China, and Persia. The Axum Empire subjugated several territories from northern Ethiopia, northern Sudan, Djibouti, to Western Yemen, southern Egypt, Eritrea, and southern Saudi Arabia. Which totals about 1.25 million square kilometers, almost half the size of India. Trades from Axum expanded further afield into India and China with coins minted in Axum later founded in 1990.
The Mossi Kingdom
Burkina Faso was referred to as the Mossi Kingdom and enjoyed its dominance from the region of the Upper Volta River for about hundreds of years. The Mossi kingdom was enjoying absolute control
but later got into larger conflicts with regional powers. In 1328 and 1477 respectively, the Kingdom of Yatenga played a crucial role in attacking the Songhai Empire. They took over Timbuktu and pillaged
the important trading post of Macina.
In 1497, when Askia Mohammad has named the leader of the Songhai Empire with the aim to spread Islam, he attacked the Mossi kingdom in what he called the Holy War. Though the Mossi forces might have been defeated in this effort, they resisted attempts to have Islam imposed on them. There were a number of jihadi states in the region trying to forcibly spread Islam, including Massina Empire and the Sokoto Caliphate, but the Mossi kingdom retained its traditional religious and ritual practices.
The Ethiopian Empire
The Ethiopian Empire popularly called “Abyssinia”, covering a geographical area that is today the northern half of Ethiopia. The Zagwe Kingdom was overthrown in 1270 by a king claiming an as an
heir of the Aksumite emperors named Solomon. The Solomonic Dynasty was founded and ruled by the Habesha, from whom Abyssinia coined its name. It started from about 1137 and ended until 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown in a coup.
From 1270 until the late 20th century, the reign of Habesha was in full sway and had only a few interruptions. It was under his reign that most of Ethiopia’s modern history took place. Within this period, the empire recorded victories and incorporated virtually all the peoples within modern Ethiopia.
They successfully fought off Italian, Arab and Turkish armies and made fruitful alliances with some European powers, especially the Portuguese, with whom they allied in the battle against the latter two occupiers.
Kingdom of Ghana
The kingdom of Ghana was undoubtedly one of the biggest and perhaps powerful of the seven listed here, the kingdom of Ghana enjoyed its dominance in West Africa from 750 and 1078 A.D. widely called by North Africans as the “Land of Gold,”. Ghana was known to possess highly modern methods of administration and taxation, a large army, and control over notoriously well-concealed gold mines.
This was completely centered in present-day Senegal and Mauritania.
The practice of Islam in this kingdom was actually slim as the king of the Soninke people who discovered Ghana never really accepted, Islam. However, good human and working relations with Muslim traders were nurtured and maintained.