Museum of Africa’s Gold-Salt TradeThesis(subject+rationale): The gold/salt trade influenced the development of Ghana’s through funding for the people within the government, and culture by having the trade spread Islam.CD1- Primary Source:The primary source was an excerpt from Al-Bakri’s travel journal. The excerpt describes the wealth and affluency of the Ghana Empire. This is because this states the king adorned himself with jewelry, and lives in a domed palace, where there are many guards that also wear gold jewelry and have swords and shields made out of gold. CM 1 – This primary source, once again, displays the opulence of the Ghana Empire. This excerpt was chosen because it shows that the king was very wealthy, and gave him the means to things that were necessary for the government and that also influenced the culture. Furthermore, the reason why the government was even able to be established was because of the wealth of the gold-salt trade, as they were able to hire officials to be placed within the government, as shown in the primary source. Additionally, the gold-salt trade allowed for the spread of Islam, because they interacted with them during the trade. CD 2- ImageThis image is the kingdom of Ghana, and includes the cities of Kumbi Saleh, Walata, and Awdaghost. CM 2-This image is a map of Ghana, and appears different that Ghana today. This image represents the magnitude of Ghana. Although Ghana was the smallest of the three empires, this still shows the massive territory that the Ghana Empire encompasses. This image ties back to the focus of the gold-salt trade on government and culture because it shows how the Ghana Empire encompassed such a large piece of territory that it allowed them to take control of the gold-salt trade which allowed them to fund officials in the government and their control also allowed them to come in contact with Islam. CD 3- ArtifactThe artifacts that were selected for Ghana’s exhibit were: pyrite flakes suspended in a fluid, and salt with a miniscule wooden spoon. CM 3-These objects were picked to represent how the gold-salt trade affected the government and culture of the Ghana Empire. The pyrite, or fool’s gold, represents the affluence and prosperity of the Ghana Empire, which allowed them to, once again, hire officials to place in the government. The salt and the spoon represents how the gold-salt trade allowed copious contact with Muslims, and thus Islam, which shaped their culture.  ConclusionFor our focus aspects, we decided to try to find out how the gold-salt trade impacted the government and the culture of the Ghana Empire. In summary, the gold-salt trade brought in a large quantity of wealth and this allowed the king to hire officials in the government, which allowed the government to create a secure infrastructure and set of rules. Additionally, the culture was largely affected by the gold-salt trade, as it opened a door to the world of Islam, and allowed African leader’s to convert, though some of the Soninke people decided to keep following their prior beliefs in animism. The primary source covers this, by showing the opulence of the kingdom in the government by showing how the military and people in the government adorned themselves with gold jewelry. Furthermore, the image shows that the amount of territory that the Ghana Empire controlled allowed them to gain control of the gold-salt trade, and thus have access to great wealth and elect officials for the government as well as come into contact with Muslims and spread Islam, although Islam did not completely exterminate any other culture, as a few of the Soninke people kept their own customs and culture. Lastly, the artifacts showed how the gold-salt trade allowed the government and culture to develop with access to ample wealth and the trade itself. Overall, without the gold-salt trade, there would not be quite as much opulence, thereby preventing the king from hiring the officials in the government, and prevent the Muslims from coming into direct contact with the empire, thus not allowing for the spread of Islam. The empire of Ghana may have never developed a strong governmental infrastructure of allowed for the spread of Islam without the gold-salt trade, and therefore, the gold-salt trade allowed both of these aspects to occur.

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