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Why Are There No Recorded Wars?

The West Africa nations during the time of the supposed trans-Atlantic slave trade were the centers of a series of kingdoms and empires in the Sahel and Sudan. Eventually the region was densely populated by people who had a social organization based on kinship ties, political forms that are properly called states, and cities based on Saharan trade, at least as far south as modern-day Djenne.

When the Portuguese first explored the West African coastline in the 1400s, the cultures of African societies were highly evolved and had been so for centuries. In the thousand years before Portuguese exploration, three large centers of medieval African civilization developed sequentially along the west coast of sub-Saharan Africa. Islamic scholars and African oral traditions tell us that all of these states had centralized governments, long-distance trade routes, and educational systems.

The first polity that is known to have gained prominence was Ancient Ghana. Between 500 and 1250 CE, Ancient Ghana flourished in the southern Sahel north of the middle Niger and middle Senegal Rivers. From the work of two Arabic scholars — Al-Bakri, writing in 1067, and Al-Idrisi, writing in 1154 — we know that Ancient Ghana had a civil service, a strong monarchy based on a matrilineal system of inheritance, a cabinet, an army, an effective justice system and a regular source of income from trade as well as tribute from vassal kings. Why then were there no wars initiated, no record of wars or attempts of warfare to stop the kidnapping of the African people being taken from West African nations?



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