9. The Empire of Ethiopia
Located in various regions of what is currently Eritrea and Ethiopia
between 1137 and 1975 CE
The Ethiopian Empire, also known as Abyssinia, was the longest-lasting African country and one of the Ancient Civilizations of Africa , ruling from the Middle Ages all the way up to the Cold War.
It has endured some of the most turbulent times in recent history. It withstood several foes that tried to invade its area, including the Ottoman, Italian, and Egyptian troops. Its leaders, according to legend, are decedents of King Solomon.
Ethiopia successfully resisted and beat Italy in the First Italo-Ethiopian War during the Scramble for Africa, when European powers consolidated colonial rule over African regions.
The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, which Italy lost in 1935, marked the start of the empire’s downfall. A military junta eventually ended the monarchy in 1974.
Ethiopia’s Dawit II, emperor and member of the Solomonic dynasty (a dynasty who claim to be descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba).
10. The Kongo Kingdom in Africa
Located in regions of what are now Angola, the DRC, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo
between 1390 and 1914 CE
The modern-day nations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo were both formerly a part of the Kingdom of Kongo, which existed before European forces split the African continent during the Scramble for Africa.
This empire ultimately reached into both the contemporary Congos and Angola, however its exact borders are still unknown.
The leadership of a Kikongo warrior named Luken Lua Nimi was responsible for this period of growth. It ruled central Africa for centuries thanks to its strength in politics and the military.
The quasi-feudal Kongolese society’s economy was supported by trading routes that followed the area’s rivers and dealt in textiles, ceramics, copper, and ivory.
11. The Benin Empire
Between around 1180 and 1897 CE
Before being annexed by the British Empire, the Benin Empire, which was based in present-day Nigeria, was regarded as one of the oldest, most advanced empires and Ancient Civilizations of Africa. Ivory, bronze, and iron were used to create masterpieces by renowned artists.
The Portuguese and the Benin Empire engaged in extensive trade. They traded Manilla, a sort of money used in West Africa, and weapons for palm oil, pepper, and ivory. In the 16th century, an ambassador even traveled to Lisbon as a result of the alliance.
The first British mission to Benin took place in 1553. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a prosperous economic relationship, but Benin began to feel that Britain was gaining control.
Numerous accounts of Benin’s splendor, riches, and intellect were carried back to Europe by Dutch, British, and Portuguese explorers.
Also Read: The Benin Empire
12. The Commonwealth of Ghana
Located in regions of what are currently Mauritania, Senegal, and Mali
when? between 700 and 1240 CE
This African nation, more often known as Wagadu, served as a significant halt on the trans-Saharan trade route that linked the Sahelian communities to the Mediterranean Sea coast markets and the trans-Saharan gold trade.
The largest city south of the Sahara Desert was Koumbi Saleh, notwithstanding the country’s rumored several capital city changes.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 people called it home during its busiest point—a remarkable number for a city with a meager water supply.
They were experts in the trade of kola nuts and gold (the latter of which became the secret ingredient in Coca-Cola centuries later).
When Ghana joined the kingdom of Mali about the year 1240 CE, the collapse of the Ghanaian monarchy was furthered.
Also Read: History of the Asante Kingdom in Ghana
13. Oyo Empire
In the 1300s, the pre-colonial kingdom of Oyo was established in modern-day Nigeria. Oyo, one of the most powerful republics in the Yoruba-speaking area, was founded by Oranmiyan of the Yoruba people of West Africa.
This early 1500s small state, which had its center at Oyo-Ile, had by 1550 conquered two nearby kingdoms, Borgu and Nupe, to become the most powerful political force in the area.
An alafin (king) who shared authority with the Oyo Mesi, aristocratic rulers from each of the city’s seven wards, governed Oyo.
The choice of the alafin was made by the Oyo Mesi. In addition, if an alafin misused his authority, they may order his suicide.
Oyo moved southwestward to the Atlantic coast under Alafin (King) Obalokun, joining the Atlantic Ocean trading network.
Also Read: History of the yoruba tribe of Nigeria
Oyo was able to earn much-needed foreign currency through primarily trading in slaves.
Under Alafin Ajagbo, Oyo continued to grow westward over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, growing into a significant empire but never conquering all Yoruba-speaking peoples.
Oyo significantly increased its militarization and reorganized its cavalry and infantry in the sixteenth century in reaction to invasions by the Nupe people.
The cavalry eventually served as the army’s core. Oyo was able to get horses for its cavalry from Europe and North Africa because to its Atlantic ports.
Oyo’s prosperity from trade, particularly slave trade, sparked discussions over the future of the monarchy.
Some alafins want the money for extravagant expenditure, while others wished to sustain the army and increase the state’s territory.
Civil wars resulted from these conflicts as contenders fought for control of the kingdom and Oyo’s sizable coffers. Alafin Abiodun (1754–1789), who limited the army’s influence, put a stop to this period of internal struggle.
The Kingdom of Oyo fell rather quickly. The Oyo army was allowed to collapse by Abiodun, who was more interested in lavish displays of royal riches than anything else.
In turn, this made it possible for weaker periphery states to elude Oyo’s rule. Dahomey, one of the states in the southwest, quickly developed into a political and military foe.
The Muslim-led Fulani Jihad that took place on Oyo’s northern border had an impact as well. These provinces also attained independence eventually.
Beginning in the first decade of the 19th century, Oyo lost control of lucrative trade routes that had previously been a significant source of state income.
The Oyo kingdom had fallen by 1837.