The Songhai Empire

The Songhai Empire was an overall powerful, lucrative, and economically, politically, and religiously stable nation. The Songhai Empire stretched from the area around the West coast of Africa, to around the easternmost areas of modern-day Niger. The Songhai Empire had an economy based around Salt, Slaves, and Gold, but they also had other things up for trade, which weren’t as vital to the economy. The Songhai Empire’s religion was Muslim, which helped for trade routes with Arab empires. The Songhai Empire had several notable religious features, including a mosque. The Songhai Empire had strong military, which helped for it to expand over a large amount of land, and improve the economy. The Trade was very lucrative, which is why Songhai was one of the trade centers in the Atlantic World. The Songhai Empire was an advanced and strong nation.


The Songhai Empire Economy

The Songhai Empire had a booming economy, with many things always being imported, and exported. The main things up for trade, which could always be found in the in the markets at the Songhai Empire were kola nuts, slaves, salt, and gold. Songhai was famous across Europe for its slave trading. The value of salt in the Songhai markets was just about equivalent to that of gold, if not more than, and it wouldn’t be very surprising if gold was being traded off for the same weight in salt. Songhai’s most famous trade city was Timbuktu, which was an incredibly lucrative addition to the empire, until it was sacked by the Moroccans. Things that were often being imported into Songhai included horses, textiles, and luxury goods. The economy of the Songhai Empire helped it stand out amongst other nations.

The Religion of the Songhai Empire

The Songhai Empire’s religion was helpful to the empire. The religion of the Songhai Empire was Muslim. The religion of the empire helped with trade routes to Arab empires. The trade routes often led to abundant sources of gold or salt, which helped build up the economy of the empire. The more notable of the religious features include an earthen mosque (one of the greatest examples of architecture with dirt and mud at the time), a highly religious university in the center of Timbuktu, and over 100 Qur’anic schools spread across the nation. Their religion helped build up the economy, which led to the empires’ golden age.

Daily Life and Social Structure

Daily life/Social structure in the Songhai Empire was quite defined. There were the poor, who couldn’t afford to go to the schools, and the rich. The poor lived in low quality, small, and often 1-room homes. The poor worked a lot, and had arduous jobs such as farming and mining, but the rich didn’t have to do much physical labor, if not any work at all. The rich and famous lived in large, lavish, and overall luxurious homes, with many imports. The rich and poor could be told apart by their dressing. The rich would wear more whimsical, colorful clothing, whereas the poor weren’t as fortunate, and had less whimsical clothing. The only exception for the rich and poor rule was craftsmen, who lived in nice homes, and had somewhat easy jobs. The social structure separates the high from the low, and in the Songhai Empire, the social structure was easy to see, even walking down just a city street.

Technology in the Songhai Empire

Songhai was a somewhat technologically advanced nation, compared to some surrounding nations. Songhai had a basic court of law, which allowed for the nation to have a fairer system of law. The Songhai nation also had water diversion technology, which helped with farming, which supported the nation. The Songhai nation had great architectural technology, which helped with making buildings, including the mosque that was made out of solid mud. The technology for the Songhai nation helped it rise above the other nations.


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