Celebrating the Rich Heritage of African Cultures and Civilizations



Black History Month provides educators with the opportunity to explore the rich heritage of African civilizations in greater depth. Curriculum Pathways has extensive resources that cover the breadth of African history, culture, and geography.

The West African kingdoms of Ghana and Mali are celebrated for their wealth and prominence in the 11th to 14th centuries. Sundiata Keita established the kingdom of Mali after the fall of Ghana in the late 1200s. The famous king Mansa Musa brought Islam to Mali in the early 1300s and reportedly shared African gold throughout the Muslim world.


Ghana established a famous gold-salt trade in the 11th century.

Mali’s reputation for riches and its unique blend of African and Islamic traditions attracted the attentionn of Ibn Battuta, a medieval traveler who visited the modern equivalent of 44 countries. Much of what we know about the Kingdom of Mali comes from Battuta’s travelogue, the Rihla.


Ibn Battuta's travels covered much of the 14th century world.

Using the interactive tool, African Kingdoms: Kingdom of Mali, students explore the remarkable history, geography, and culture of Mali. Analyzing primary source excerpts from the Rihla, students decide which aspects of Ibn Battuta’s impressions of Mali’s food, religious traditions, and hospitality to believe and which ones to take “with a grain of salt.”

Looking for more African resources? Here is just a sample of the extensive African history and geography resources in Curriculum Pathways:

African Kingdoms: Timbuktu
Imperialism: Scramble for Africa
Nile Kingdoms: Kush and Axum
Apartheid in South Africa
Mapping the Sahara Desert
African Kingdoms: The Dilemma Tale
African Kingdoms: Nok, Benin, and Yoruba Art
Age of Exploration: Transatlantic Slave Trade


About Author

Molly Farrow

Molly Farrow taught high school history for 11 years in Wake County and Durham County. She also taught at the Taipei American School in Taiwan. She received a M.A.T. degree from the University of North Carolina and a B.S. degree in Political Science from Wake Forest University. Outside work, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and their dog, Dante.

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