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History Of Africa

History of Africa: Desert Empires

Duration: 45 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC WORLD NEWS Middle EastLatest broadcast: on BBC WORLD NEWS Middle East

This is the second series of the History of Africa with Zeinab Badawi. A series based on a unique project, overseen by UNESCO, known as the GHA: the General History of Africa - Africa's history, culture and heritage told by Africans themselves. Zeinab Badawi visits many countries in west, east, central and southern Africa, capturing key chapters in Africa's history, from the 8th to the 20th century. In this first episode Zeinab Badawi visits rarely seen historic sites and magnificent ruins in Mali and Mauritania in West Africa.

In this first episode Zeinab Badawi visits rarely seen historic sites and magnificent ruins in Mali and Mauritania in West Africa. We hear from Africans about how trans-Saharan trade, mainly in gold, meant that by about the 7th century rich kingdoms became established in West Africa. These eventually gave rise to three of the greatest empires on the continent, including the Mali Empire which began in the 13th century. Under armed guard Zeinab visits the fabled city of Timbuktu, which was overrun by extremists in 2012. Mali's ruler Mansa Musa was reputedly the wealthiest individual to have ever lived. In Desert Empires Zeinab Badawi brings a rich narrative of a period in Africa's history when it was a significant player in the world economy, and influenced global thinking through great centres of learning.

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