Art of the Month

As African kingdoms begin to rise and fall, outsiders begin to creep in with eyes on the treasures throughout the land.

In 1200 Mali Empire rises under Sunjata Keita and after 1250 expands to the Atlantic coast.

In 1324 Mansa Musa, emperor of Mali, pilgrimages to Mecca

In 1413 Portuguese voyagers landed on the African Coast.

By 1444 the first African captives were sold in Europe.

Toby Green in Fistful of Shells wrote that medieval Europeans named African regions based on “commodities on offer for exchange…Ivory Coast, Grain Coast (modern Liberia) and the Slave Coast (between modern Benin and southwestern Nigeria).” Green said it became a continent thought of in terms of what could be extracted or consumed. Europeans were not the only ones who thought of the continent in that way, because trade routes to the middle east existed before the Europeans came.