Mysteries and Legends of
Contrary to popular belief, modern Ghana does not feature in the history of ancient Ghana.
As a matter of fact, the two have no geographical or ethnical link either! Ancient Ghana was located some 400 miles northwest of where Ghana is now.
Check out the map below and you’ll see for yourself.
Nevertheless, the first leaders of Modern Ghana, Dr.Kwame Nkrumah & Co, felt enough of a spiritual link to adopt the name. The old Ghana empire was very wealthy – via some astute business/wheeling and dealing by it’s rulers.
They managed to procure huge reserves of gold and salt without ever owning any gold and salt mines.
Their wealth came from assuring traders a safe passage using their large and fearful army. The clever rulers controlled the trade routes between the salt mines and the gold mines so they were able to offer the traders a deal they could not refuse.
In an ostentatious move, the story goes that, in return for this safe passage, by restricting the trade Gold dust only the kingdom flourished by keeping the gold nuggets for themselves.
Ghana had such an abundance of gold that it was used to make almost everything – including cutlery.
Soon the so-called ‘Trans-Saharan’ trade increased greatly, partly due to the introduction of the camel, more and more gold (as well as silks and spices) were ‘procured’ by the canny ancient Ghanaians. So much so that that the empire and surrounding areas became collectively known as The Gold Coast.
The wealth and power of this almost mythical kingdom became unparalleled. It was even described as having the richest gold reserves on earth!
What was the significance of the camel in the rise of this once great empire?
The Trans-Saharan trade could not have happened without this creature. What other animal can travel long harduous distances on very little food or water. And in such excruciating heat of the desert?
The camel could also carry fantastic loads with a sure footing in the gritty, awkward sand. That’s why they are universally known as ‘the ship of the desert’. Being creatures of the desert, they
are simply the best local transportation for the terrain. Some would say that the mammals thrive on the desolation!
An to top it all, their temperament, if treated right, is guaranteed to be docile and obedient.
Just feed them – almost anything you care to – and they will happily work and work and work!