8 Ancient African Empires You Didn’t Know Existed

8 Ancient African Empires You Didn’t Know Existed


Ancient Africa is a continent shrouded in mystery, but it was home to some amazing empires. Although many people think of Africa as being a single entity, there were actually many different kingdoms across the continent that existed at the same time as each other and had their own unique cultures. I’m going to tell you about eight of those ancient African empires that you may not have heard of before!

8 Ancient African Empires You Didn’t Know Existed

Ancient Kush

Ancient Kush was a kingdom in the Nile Valley that flourished from about 800 BC to 300 AD. Its capital is now located in northern Sudan, at Napata (the modern city of Karima). The Kushites were Nubians who established themselves there and built their empire on trade routes through Egypt and Ethiopia. They became powerful enough to conquer Egypt itself for about 100 years before being conquered by Rome, who occupied Kush until it fell apart around 350 AD.

The Egyptian Empire

The Egyptian Empire was the first African empire and lasted for a staggering 3,000 years. It was ruled by pharaohs who were considered to be gods on earth. The most famous of these rulers is Tutankhamun who died when he was just 19 years old but left behind an incredible legacy in his tomb at Luxor, which has been visited by millions since it was discovered in 1922.

The Kingdom Of Aksum

The Kingdom of Aksum was a powerful kingdom in the Horn of Africa. It existed from about 100 AD to 940 AD, when it eventually fell to invaders from Ethiopia.

Aksumite Empire was a trading nation that controlled much of what is now Eritrea, northern Ethiopia and southern Somalia. The empire was famous for its gold trade with Arabia and Persia, as well as ivory tusks from elephants imported from what is now Kenya.

The capital city of Aksum was also named Aksum (also spelled Axum), which served as both its economic hub and cultural center during this period–it’s thought that this may have been where Christianity first came into contact with Judaism or Islam through traders who frequented these areas along the Red Sea coast

Benin Empire

The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial African state in what is now southern Nigeria. It was ruled by the Oba (king) of Benin and had a complex political structure that included a council of chiefs and a king.

The origins of the Benin Empire are unclear, but it appears that it began as two smaller kingdoms: one centered on Oyo-Ile (or Ile-Ife), which was founded around 1400 CE; another centered on Nri (also known as Amaigbo), which may have been founded as early as 800 CE. These two kingdoms eventually united under one ruler sometime between 1300 and 1400 CE to form what we know today as the Benin Kingdom or Empire.[1]

Kingdom Of Ghana

The Kingdom of Ghana was an ancient West African state that flourished between the 10th and 13th centuries. It was founded by the Soninke people, who settled in what is now southeastern Mauritania and western Mali. The kingdom had a strong military, economy and trading power, which it used to maintain control over its territory for many years.

Songhai Empire

The Songhai Empire was a West African state that thrived from the 13th to the 16th century. Its capital was Timbuktu, and it became known for its wealth and scholars.

The empire controlled trade routes between West Africa and North Africa, which allowed them access to goods such as gold and salt that were used for currency in other areas of Africa at that time.

Mossi Kingdoms

The Mossi Kingdoms were located in what is now Burkina Faso and Mali. The Mossi people have a rich history of art, music, and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The kingdom was founded in the 15th century by King Zadi Kabore and Queen Yennenga after they united two different tribes: the Nakomse and Lobi. The queen ruled alongside her husband as co-queens until his death when she took sole control of the kingdom until her own death at age 90! The kings were known as “king” or “monarch” while queens were referred to as “queen mother”.

Swahili City-States

Swahili City-States were independent city-states in East Africa ruled by a sultan with a council of advisers. The Swahili people lived in these city states and it was an Islamic society.

There were some amazing kingdoms in Africa that you should learn about.

There were many powerful kingdoms in Africa, some of which you may not know about. These kingdoms each had their own culture and traditions, as well as ways of doing things that were unique to them. They were all worth learning about because they helped shape the world we live in today.


There are so many amazing African empires that you may not have heard of. They were all unique, but they also have some things in common. For example, many of them had a great deal of trade and cultural exchange with other nations around the world. This makes sense considering how long many of these kingdoms existed before Europeans arrived on the continent!