A New Paradigm of the African State: Fundi wa Afrika by Mueni wa Muiu, Guy Martin (auth.)

By Mueni wa Muiu, Guy Martin (auth.)

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The power of Axum was based on military conquest. Its empire extended over northern Ethiopia, southern Sudan, and southern Arabia. Axum was well-placed to benefit from trade routes that connected the Mediterranean to northeast Africa and Saudi Arabia. Trade also involved northeast Africa and the Red Sea through Axum and Port Adulis. From the first to the seventh centuries AD, Adulis was the single major coastal port of Axum on the Red Sea through which all the kingdom’s trade flowed. Restricting the activities of foreign merchants to Adulis allowed efficient collection of the custom duties that supported the state and its military power.

South of Egypt, under the monotheistic Sudanic religion, the later kings of Nubia retained their sacral aspects but could never be viewed as gods themselves. In contrast, in Egypt it was possible, by the time of the Third Dynasty, for a king to claim to being included among the gods. 3 The centuries from 3500 to 1000 BCE in Egypt are generally thought to comprise six main historical periods. The long predynastic era, characterized by a string of independent local polities, came to an end around 3100 BCE.

Gold was exchanged for wool, copper, and beads with merchants from Morocco. Mali also imported blades, horses, and silk from Egypt. Cities with which Mali traded included Kano (present Nigeria), Tripoli, Cairo, Murzuk, and Ghat. Mali entertained diplomatic relations—and exchanged embassies, emissaries, and gifts—with various North African states, including Morocco, Libya, and Egypt, as well as with the Kingdom of Portugal. Progressively, various parts of the empire fell under the control of foreign people.

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