For many centuries there have been organized states and powerful empires in West Africa. Their wealth came from agriculture and mining, which gave rise to trade through the region and with Central and North Africa. Emperor Mansa Musa who reigned over Mali in the 14th century established trade and cultural relations with the Islamic world. King Osei Tutu of Asante (17th century Ghana) used commercial ties with the Europeans to expand his territories. Ndate yalla Mobdj, queen of Walo in 19th century Senegal tried to protect the trade and independence of her realm from a French takeover. These royal figures shaped the course of history in West Africa through their strength, wisdom and vision. Readers get to examine these great lives and their impact on the region today.
What People are Saying About This
Trevor Getz ,Department of History, University of New Orleans
Diouf presents a remarkably even account of the lives and context of Mansa Musa, Asantehene Osei Tutu, and Ndata Yalla Mbodj of Waalo. . .
Moreover, her presentation of the lives of these famous West Africans is contextual and appealing. The author intertwines cultural and economic descriptions of Mali with Musa's pilgrimage to Mecca, evenhandedly interposes traditional and economic explanations for the location of Kumasi, and allows us to see Ndate Yalla as a leader caught between French and Moorish power. Each of the monarchs is presented as complex (and in Osei Tutu's case, somewhat troublesome) individuals. Finally, Kings and Queens of West Africa represents a modern text in its use of a multitude of techniques to help young readers. Chief amongst these are a bibliography of texts and websites, highlighted words accompanying an accurate glossary, and sideboards illuminating cultural and personal tidbits.