How a kingdom or an empire formed?

How a kingdom or an empire formed?

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I wonder at the beginning when people form a country, how do they choose their first ever king or queen? How is a monarchy formed?

A monarchy is often formed during a time of war, when a successful and popular general is crowned king.

In the Bible, for instance, King Saul was anointed by the prophet Samuel as King of Israel, but his "dynasty" lasted only one generation because Saul was not successful in war.

But his successor, David, started as a private soldier in Saul's army, quickly rose to captain, eventually formed his own army, defeated the Philistines and other enemies, and became king. His dynasty lasted in some way shape or form for several hundred years.

Rome started out as a Republic, but was eventually embroiled in a number of foreign wars and some civil wars. Its most successful general, Julius Caesar, "crossed the Rubicon" with his army and became king of Rome.

Monarchy happens when people believe in the right of kings (and queens).

Consider how most monarchies developed.

  • There was an area with several tribes. Many had chieftains, and that might have been a hereditary office. At the very least, a child of the previous chieftain had better chances to get the job than a random peasant.
  • One of those tribes became more powerful, and that tribal leader was elevated above the other chieftains. He or she got a different title and the others took an oath of fealty.
  • For a long time, the approval of the Pope helped to confirm legitimacy.

Then a lot of history happened. Some monarchies disappeared again, others prospered. Ursurpers stole the throne but did not question the monarchy, revolutionaries overthrew the monarchy, counterrevolutionaries restored it.

Of course that raises the question where chieftains came from. Same principle, in a smaller area…


Additionally, Earl — who built his empire on theme restaurants such as Planet Hollywood— is the founder of Virtual Dining Concepts, which oversees MrBeast Burger and Tyga Bites.

For the first four years of his charmed career, Mahomes won a Super Bowl, became the face of the NFL, started a business empire , transformed Kansas City’s image of itself, urged Americans to vote and launched a presumed dynasty.

Much like the mysterious informant today, simply known as “Q,” Prokopios speaks to his intimate and first-hand knowledge of the secret dealings of empire .

In “Filthy Rich,” Kim Cattrall’s character manages a televangelism empire as a widowed mother of three grown children who navigates — dramatically if not traumatically — the surprise arrival of three other adult children fathered by her late husband.

A16z led both Clubhouse’s Series A and B and is trying to build out its own media empire .

Empire will be hate-watched and may set off some conversations on its way from fading from our minds.

The Virologist By Andrew Marantz, New Yorker How a young entrepreneur built an empire by repackaging memes.

One wonders if his subsequent battles with the “Evil Empire ” were animated by this belief.

Another rumor that has existed since before The Empire Strikes Back was released.

Even the queen saw fit to honor him with the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace in 2008.

On the establishment of the Empire Berthier, like many another, received the reward for his faithfulness to Napoleon.

Constantine the Great died, having divided the empire among his children and nephews.

During that fortnight of silence the whole of the Turkish Empire has been moving—closing in—on the Dardanelles.

She had seen England spread from an island into an empire she had seen America spread from a colony into an empire .

No Briton rejoiced more sincerely than this provincial American in the extension of the Empire .

The Kingdom of Prussia is Founded

The Prussian Kingdom was founded on January 18th, 1701, when the Elector Frederick III had himself crowned Frederick I at Konigsberg.

Prussia, which was to become a byword for German militarism and authoritarianism, began its history outside Germany altogether. The people called Preussen in German, who inhabited the land on the south-eastern coast of the Baltic, were Slavs, related to the Lithuanians and Latvians. They were conquered and forcibly Christianised in the thirteenth century by the Teutonic Knights, diverted from the Holy Land. German peasants were brought in to farm the land and by around 1350 the majority of the population was German, though the Poles annexed part of Prussia in the following century, leaving the Knights with East Prussia. Meanwhile Germans had conquered the Brandenburg area to the west and the margraves, or marcher lords, of Brandenburg became Electors of the Holy Roman Empire. Both Brandenburg and East Prussia fell under control of the Hohenzollern family, which mastered the Brandenburg hereditary nobility, the Junkers, and began the long march to power in Europe which was to end with the First World War and the abdication of the Kaiser in 1918.

The formidable Frederick William of Brandenburg, known as the Great Elector, who ruled from 1640 to his death in 1688, made Brandenburg-Prussia the strongest of the northern German states, created an efficient army and fortified Berlin. His son, the Elector Frederick III (1657-1713), was not a chip off the old block. Known in Berlin as ‘crooked Fritz’, because a childhood accident had left him with a twisted spine and a humped back, he was besotted with all things French and looked for a crown as a reward for aiding the Emperor Leopold I. There could not be a king of Brandenburg, which was part of the Empire, and there could not be a king of Prussia, because part of it was in Poland. By an ingenious formula, however, Frederick was permitted to call himself king in Poland. He put the crown on his head with great ceremony at Königsberg as Frederick I and so created the Prussian kingdom, with its capital at Berlin. Brandenburg from then on, though still theoretically part of Germany owing allegiance to the Emperor, was treated in practice as part of the Prussian kingdom.

Frederick and his second wife, Sophia Charlotte of Hanover, sister of George I of England, turned their court at Berlin into a miniature Versailles where French was the first language, French etiquette was de rigeur and the king trotted about in high-heeled red shoes and a long wig to hide his hump, spending money like water and doing his best to emulate Louis XIV. Artists and intellectuals were invited to court and Berlin was beautified as a Baroque city.

It was Frederick’s son and successor, Frederick William I, one of history’s sergeant-majors, who transformed his realm into the military autocracy that gave Prussia its lasting reputation. He ruled until 1740 and his son in turn, Frederick the Great, used his army to turn Prussia into a major European power later in the eighteenth century.


Origins of Francia

The first time that Francia is named is in the Panegyrici Latini in the early third century. At the time it described the area north and east of the Rhine, roughly in the triangle between Utrecht, Bielefeld, and Bonn. It corresponded with the joint lands of Frankish tribes of the Sicambri, Salians, Bructeri, Ampsivarii, Chamavi and Chattuarii. Some of these peoples like the Sicambri and Salians already had lands in the Roman Empire and delivered troops to Roman forces at the border. In 357 the Salian king entered the Roman Empire and made a permanent footprint there by a treaty granted by Julian the Apostate, who forced back the Chamavi to Hamaland.

As Frankish territory expanded, the meaning of “Francia” expanded with it. While many Franks operating on Roman soil, like Bauto and Arbogastes, were committed to the cause of the Romans, other Frankish kings, like Mallobaudes, were active on Roman soil for other reasons. After the fall of Arbogastes, his son Arigius succeeded in establishing a hereditary countship at Trier and after the fall of the usurper Constantine III some Franks supported the usurper Jovinus (411). Although Jovinus was dead by 413, the Romans could no longer manage the Franks within their borders.

The Frankish king Theudemer was executed by the sword, but to no avail. Around 428 the Salian king Chlodio, whose kingdom included Toxandria and the civitatus Tungrorum (Tongeren), launched an attack on Roman territory and extended his realm as far as Camaracum (Cambrai) and the Somme. Though Sidonius Apollinaris relates that Flavius Aëtius fought the Franks and temporarily drove them back (c. 431), this period marks the beginning of a situation that would endure for many centuries: the Germanic Franks ruled over an increasing number of Gallo-Roman subjects.

The kingdom of Chlodio changed the borders and the meaning of the word “Francia” permanently. Francia was no longer barbaricum trans Rhenum (barbarians across the Rhine), but a landed political power on both sides of the river, deeply involved in Roman politics. Chlodio’s family, the Merovingians, extended Francia even further south. Due to pressure from the Saxons, the northeastern borders of Francia were pressed southwest so that most of the original Frankish people came to live more southwesterly, roughly between the Somme and Münster.

Merovingian Rise and Decline, 481-687

The political divisions of Gaul at the inception of Clovis’ career. Note that only the Burgundian kingdom and the province of Septimania remained unconquered at his death. / New World Encyclopedia

Chlodio’s successors are obscure figures, but what can be certain is that Childeric I, possibly his grandson, ruled a Salian kingdom from Tournai as a foederatus of the Romans. Childeric is chiefly important to history for bequeathing the Franks his son Clovis, who began an effort to extend his authority over the other Frankish tribes and to expand their territorium south and west into Gaul. Clovis converted to Roman Catholicism and put himself on good terms with the powerful Church and with his Gallo-Roman subjects. In a thirty-year reign (481–511) he defeated the Roman general Syagrius and conquered the Roman enclave of Soissons, defeated the Alemanni (Tolbiac, 504) and established Frankish hegemony over them, defeated the Visigoths (Vouillé, 507) and conquered their entire kingdom (save Septimania) with its capital at Toulouse, and conquered the Bretons (according to Gregory of Tours) and made them vassals of Francia. He conquered most or all of the neighboring Frankish tribes along the Rhine and incorporated them into his kingdom. He also incorporated the various Roman military settlements (laeti) scattered over Gaul: the Saxons of Bayeux, the Alans of Armorica, and the Taifals of Poitou to name a few prominent ones. By the end of his life, he ruled all of Gaul save the Gothic province of Septimania and the Burgundian kingdom in the southeast.

The Merovingians were a hereditary monarchy. The Frankish kings adhered to the practice of partible inheritance: dividing their lands among their sons. Even when multiple Merovingian kings ruled, the kingdom—not unlike the late Roman Empire—was conceived of as a single realm ruled collectively by several kings and the turn of events could result in the reunification of the whole realm under a single king. The Merovingian kings ruled by divine right and their kingship was symbolized daily by their long hair and initially by their acclamation, which was carried out by raising the king on a shield in accordance with the ancient Germanic practice of electing a war-leader at an assembly of the warriors. At the death of Clovis, his kingdom was divided territorially by his four adult sons in such a way that each son was granted a comparable portion of fiscal land, which was probably land once part of the Roman fisc, now ceased by the Frankish government.

The division of Francia on Clovis’ death (511). The kingdoms were not geographic unities because they were formed in an attempt to create equally-sized fiscs. The discrepancy in size reveals the concentration of Roman fiscal lands. / New World Encyclopedia

Clovis’ sons made their capitals near the Frankish heartland in northeastern Gaul. Theuderic I made his capital at Reims, Chlodomer at Orléans, Childebert I at Paris, and Chlothar I at Soissons. During their reigns, the Thuringii (532), Burgundes (534), and Saxons and Frisians (c. 560) were incorporated into the Frankish kingdom. The outlying trans-Rhenish tribes were loosely attached to Frankish sovereignty, and though they could be forced to contribute to Frankish military efforts, in times of weak kings they were uncontrollable and liable to attempt independence. The Romanized Burgundian kingdom, however, was preserved in its territoriality by the Franks and converted into one of their primary divisions, incorporating the central Gallic heartland of Chlodomer’s realm with its capital at Orléans.

The fraternal kings, however, showed only intermittent signs of friendship and were often in rivalry. On the early death of Chlodomer, his brother Chlothar had his young sons murdered in order to take a share of his kingdom, which was, in accordance with custom, divided between the surviving brothers. Theuderic died in 534, but his adult son Theudebert I was capable of defending his inheritance, which formed the largest of the Frankish subkingdoms and the kernel of the later kingdom of Austrasia. Theudebert was the first Frankish king to formally sever his ties to the Byzantine Empire by striking gold coins with his own image on them and calling himself magnus rex (great king) because of his supposed suzerainty over peoples as far away as Pannonia. Theudebert interfered in the Gothic War on the side of the Gepids and Lombards against the Ostrogoths, receiving the provinces of Rhaetia, Noricum, and part of Venetia. His son and successor, Theudebald, was unable to retain them and on his death all of his vast kingdom passed to Chlothar. In 558, with the death of Childebert, the entire Frankish realm was reunited under the rule of one king, Chlothar.

The division of Gaul on Chlothar I’s death (561). Though more geographically unified realms were created out of the second fourfold division of Francia, the complex division of Provence created many problems for the rulers of Burgundy and Austrasia. / New World Encyclopedia

In 561 Chlothar died and his realm was divided, in a replay of the events of fifty years prior, between his four sons, with the chief cities remaining the same. The eldest son, Charibert I, inherited the kingdom with its capital at Paris and ruled all of western Gaul. The second eldest, Guntram, inherited the old kingdom of the Burgundians, augmented by the lands of central France around the old capital of Orléans, which became his chief city, and most of Provence. The rest of Provence, the Auvergne, and eastern Aquitaine were assigned to the third son, Sigebert I, who also inherited Austrasia with its chief cities of Reims and Metz. The smallest kingdom was that of Soissons, which went to the youngest son, Chilperic I. The kingdom Chilperic ruled at his death (584) became the nucleus of later Neustria.

This second fourfold division was quickly ruined by fratricidal wars, waged largely over the murder of Galswintha, the wife of Chilperic, allegedly by his mistress (and second wife) Fredegunda. Galswintha’s sister, the wife of Sigebert, Brunhilda, incited her husband to war and the conflict between the two queens continued to plague relations until the next century. Guntram sought to keep the peace, though he also attempted twice (585 and 589) to conquer Septimania from the Goths, but was defeated both times. All the surviving brothers benefited at the death of Charibert, but Chilperic was also able to extend his authority during the period of war by bring the Bretons to heel again. After his death, Guntram had to again force the Bretons to submit. In 587, the Treaty of Andelot — the text of which explicitly refers to the entire Frankish realm as Francia — between Brunhilda and Guntram secured his protection of her young son Childebert II, who had succeeded the assassinated Sigebert (575). Together the territory of Guntram and Childebert was well over thrice as large as the small realm of Chilperic’s successor, Chlothar II. During this period Francia took on the tripartite character it was to have throughout the rest of its history, being composed of Neustria, Austrasia, and Burgundy.

Gaul as a result of the Treaty of Andelot (587). The treaty followed the division of Charibert’s kingdom between the three surviving brother. It gave Guntram’s portion with Poitou and Touraine to Childebert in exchange for extensive lands in southern and central Aquitaine. / New World Encyclopedia

When Guntram died in 592, Burgundy went to Childebert in its entirety, but he died in 595. His two sons divided the kingdom, with the elder Theudebert II taking Austrasia plus Childebert’s portion of Aquitaine, while his younger brother Theuderic II inherited Burgundy and Guntram’s Aquitaine. United, the brothers sought to remove their cousin Chlothar from power and they did succeed in conquering most of his kingdom, reducing him to only a few cities, but they failed to capture him. In 599 they routed his forces at Dormelles and seized the Dentelin, but they then fell foul of each other and the remainder of their time on the thrones was spent in infighting, often incited by their grandmother Brunhilda, who, angered over her expulsion from Theudebert’s court, convinced Theuderic to unseat him and kill him.

In 612 he did and the whole realm of his father Childebert was once again ruled by one man. This was short-lived, however, as he died on the eve of preparing an expedition against Chlothar in 613, leaving a young son named Sigebert II. During their reigns, Theudebert and Theuderic campaigned successfully in Gascony, where they had established the Duchy of Vasconia and brought the Basques to submission (602). This original Gascon conquest included lands south of the Pyrenees, namely Biscay and Guipúzcoa, but these were lost to the Visigoths in 612. On the opposite end of his realm, the Alemanni had defeated Theuderic in a rebellion and the Franks were losing their hold on the trans-Rhenish tribes. In 610 Theudebert had extorted the Duchy of Alsace from Theuderic, beginning a long period of conflict over which kingdom was to have the region of Alsace, Burgundy or Austrasia, which was only terminated in the late seventh century.

During the brief minority of Sigebert II, the office of the mayor of the palace, which had for sometime been visible in the kingdoms of the Franks, came to the fore in its internal politics, with a faction of nobles coalescing around the persons of Warnachar, Rado, and Pepin of Landen, to give the kingdom over to Chlothar in order to remove Brunhilda, the young king’s regent, from power. Warnachar was himself already the mayor of the palace of Austrasia, while Rado and Pepin were to find themselves rewarded with mayoral offices after Chlothar’s coup succeeded and Brunhilda and the ten-year old king were killed.

Immediately after his victory, Chlothar II promulgated the Edict of Paris (614), which has generally been viewed as a concession to the nobility, though this view has come under recent criticism. The Edict primarily sought to guarantee justice and end corruption in government, but it also entrenched the regional differences between the three kingdoms of Francia and probably granted the nobles more control over judicial appointments. By 623 the Austrasians had begun to clamor for a king of their own, since Chlothar was so often absent from the kingdom and, because of his upbringing and previous rule in the Seine basin, was more or less an outsider there. Chlothar thus granted that his son Dagobert I would be their king and he was duly acclaimed by the Austrasian warriors in the traditional fashion. Nonetheless, though Dagobert exercised true authority in his realm, Chlothar maintained ultimate control over the whole Frankish kingdom.

The Frankish Kingdom of Aquitaine (628). The capital of Aquitaine was Toulouse. It included Gascony and was the basis of the later Duchy of Aquitaine. / New World Encyclopedia

During the joint reign of Chlothar and Dagobert, who have been called “the last ruling Merovingians,” the Saxons, who had been loosely attached to Francia since the late 550s, rebelled under Duke Berthoald and were defeated and reincorporated into the kingdom by the joint action of father and son. When Chlothar died in 628, Dagobert, in accordance with his father’s wishes, granted a subkingdom to his younger brother Charibert II. This subkingdom, commonly called Aquitaine, was a new creation. It corresponded to the southern half of the old Roman province of Aquitaine and its capital was at Toulouse. The other cities of his kingdom were Cahors, Agen, Perigueux, Bordeaux, and Saintes the duchy of Vasconia was also part of his allotment. Charibert campaigned successfully against the Basques, but after his death they revolted again (632). At the same time the Bretons rose up against Frankish suzerainty. The Breton leader Judicael ap Hoel relented and made peace with the Franks and paid tribute after Dagobert threatened to lead an army against him (635). That same year Dagobert sent an army to subdue the Basques, which it did.

Meanwhile, Dagobert had had Charibert’s infant successor Chilperic assassinated and reunited the entire Frankish realm again (632), though he was forced by the strong Austrasian aristocracy to grant his own son Sigebert III to them as a subking in 633. This act was precipitated largely by the Austrasians desire to be self-governing at a time when Neustrians dominated at the royal court. Chlothar had been the king at Paris for decades before becoming the king at Metz as well and the Merovingian monarchy was ever after him to be a Neustrian monarchy first and foremost. Indeed, it is in the 640s that “Neustria” first appears in writing, its late appearance relative to “Austrasia” probably due to the fact that Neustrians (who formed the bulk of the authors of the time) called their region simply “Francia.” Burgundia too defined itself in opposition to Neustria at about this time. However, it was the Austrasians, who had been seen as a distinct people within the realm since the time of Gregory of Tours, who were to make the most strident moves for independence. Dagobert, in his dealings with the Saxons, Alemans, and Thuringii, as well as the Slavic peoples beyond the borders of Francia, upon whom he tried to force tribute but who instead defeated him under their king Samo at the Battle of Wogastisburg, made all the far eastern peoples subject to the court of Neustria and not of Austrasia. This, first and foremost, incited the Austrasians to request a king of their own from the royal household.

The young Sigebert was dominated during his minority by the mayor Grimoald I, who convinced the childless king to adopt his own Merovingian-named son Childebert as his son and heir. After Dagobert’s death in 639, the duke of Thuringia, Radulf, rebelled and tried to make himself king. He defeated Sigebert in what was a serious reversal for the ruling dynasty (640). The king lost the support of many magnates while on campaign and the weakness of the monarchic institutions by that time are evident in his inability to effectively make war without the support of the magnates in fact, he could not even provide his own bodyguard without the loyal aid of Grimoald and Adalgisel. He is often regarded as the first roi fainéant: “do-nothing king,” not insofar as he “did nothing,” but insofar as he accomplished little.

Clovis II, Dagobert’s successor in Neustria and Burgundy, which were thereafter attached yet ruled separately, was a minor for almost the whole of his reign. He was dominated by his mother Nanthild and the mayor of the Neustrian palace, Erchinoald. Erchinoald’s successor, Ebroin, dominated the kingdom for the next 15 years of near-constant civil war. On his death (656), Sigbert’s son was shipped off to Ireland while Grimoald’s son Childebert reigned in Austrasia. Ebroin eventually reunited the entire Frankish kingdom for Clovis’ successor Chlothar III by killing Grimoald and removing Childebert in 661. However, the Austrasian demanded a king of their own again and Chlothar installed his younger brother Childeric II. During Chlothar’s reign, the Franks had made an attack on northwestern Italy, but were driven off by the Lombard king Grimoald near Rivoli.

Dominance of the Mayors of the Palace, 687-751

Gaul at the death of Pepin of Heristal (714). At this time the vast duchy of Aquitaine (yellow) was not a part of the Frankish kingdom. / New World Encyclopedia

In 673, Chlothar III died and some Neustria and Burgundian magnates invited Childeric to become king of the whole realm, but he soon upset some Neustrian magnates and he was assassinated (675). The reign of Theuderic III was to prove the end of the Merovingian dynasty’s power. Thoroughly Neustrian in outlook, he allied with his mayor Berthar and made war on the Austrasian who had installed Dagobert II, Sigebert III’s son, in their kingdom (briefly in opposition to Clovis III). In 687 he was defeated by Pepin of Heristal, the Arnulfing mayor of Austrasia and the real power in that kingdom, at the Battle of Tertry and was forced to accept Pepin as sole mayor and dux et princeps Francorum: “Duke and Prince of the Franks,” a title which signifies, to the author of the Liber Historiae Francorum, the beginning of Pepin’s “reign.” Thereafter the Merovingian monarchs showed only sporadically, in our surviving records, any activities of a non-symbolic and self-willed nature.

During the period of confusion in the 670s and 680s, attempts had been made to re-assert Frankish suzerainty over the Frisians, but to no avail. In 689, however, Pepin launched a campaign of conquest in Western Frisia (Frisia Citerior) and defeated the Frisian king Radbod near Dorestad, an important trading centre. All the land between the Scheldt and the Vlie was incorporated into Francia. Then, ca. 690, Pepin attacked central Frisia and took Utrecht. In 695 Pepin could even sponsor the foundation of the Archdiocese of Utrecht and the beginning of the conversion of the Frisians under Willibrord. However, Eastern Frisia (Frisia Ulterior) remained outside of Frankish suzerainty.

Having achieved great successes against the Frisians, Pepin turned towards the Alemanni. In 709 he launched a war against Willehari, duke of the Ortenau, probably in an effort to force the succession of the young sons of the deceased Gotfrid on the ducal throne. This outside interference led to another war in 712 and the Alemanni were, for the time being, restored to the Frankish fold. However, in southern Gaul, which was not under Arnulfing influence, the regions were pulling away from the royal court under leaders such as Savaric of Auxerre, Antenor of Provence, and Odo of Aquitaine. The reigns of Clovis IV and Childebert III from 691 until 711 have all the hallmarks of those of rois fainéants, though Childebert is founding making royal judgments against the interests of his supposed masters, the Arnulfings.

When Pepin died in 714, however, the Frankish realm plunged into civil war and the dukes of the outlying provinces became de facto independent. Pepin’s appointed successor, Theudoald, under his widow, Plectrude, initially opposed an attempt by the king, Dagobert III, to appoint Ragenfrid as mayor of the palace in all the realms, but soon there was a third candidate for the mayoralty of Austrasia in Pepin’s illegitimate adult son, Charles Martel. After the defeat of Plectrude and Theudoald by the king (now Chilperic II) and Ragenfrid, Charles briefly raised a king of his own, Chlothar IV, in opposition to Chilperic. Finally, at a battle near Soisson, Charles definitively defeated his rivals and forced them into hiding, eventually accepting the king back on the condition that he receive his father’s positions (718). There were no more active Merovingian kings after that point and Charles and his Carolingian heirs ruled the Franks.

After 718 Charles Martel embarked on a series of wars intended to strengthen the Franks’ hegemony in western Europe. In 718 he defeated the rebellious Saxons, in 719 he overran Western Frisia, in 723 he suppressed the Saxons again, and in 724 he defeated Ragenfrid and the rebellious Neustrians, ending the civil war phase of his rule. In 720, when Chilperic II died, he had appointed Theuderic IV king, but this last was a mere puppet of his. In 724 he forced his choice of Hugbert for the ducal succession upon the Bavarians of Hugbert and forced the Alemanni to assist him in his campaigns in Bavaria (725 and 726), where laws were promulgated in Theuderic’s name. In 730 Alemannia had to be subjugated by the sword and its duke, Lantfrid, was killed. In 734 Charles fought against Eastern Frisia and finally subdued it.

In the 730s the Arab conquerors of Spain, who had also subjugated Septimania, began advancing northwards into central Francia and the Loire valley. It was at this time (ca. 736) that Maurontus, the dux of Provence, called in the Arabs to aid him in resisting the expanding influence of the Carolingians. However, Charles invaded the Rhone Valley with his brother Childebrand and a Lombard army and devastated the region. It was because of the alliance against the Arabs that Charles was unable to support Pope Gregory III against the Lombards. In 732 or 737—modern scholars have debated over the date—Charles marched against an Arab army between Poitiers and Tours and defeated it in a watershed battle that turned back the tide of the Arab advance north of the Pyrenees but Charles’ real interests lay in the northeast, primarily with the Saxons, from whom he had to extort the tribute which for centuries they had paid to the Merovingians.

Shortly before his death in October 741, Charles divided the realm as if he were king between his two sons by his first wife, marginalizing his younger son Grifo, who did receive a small portion (it is unknown exactly what). Though there had been no king since Theuderic’s death in 737, Charles’ sons Pepin the Short and Carloman were still only mayors of the palaces. The Carolingians had assumed the regal status and practice, though not the regal title, of the Merovingians. The division of the kingdom gave Austrasia, Alemannia, and Thuringia to Carloman and Neustria, Provence, and Burgundy to Pepin. It is indicative of the de facto autonomy of the duchies of Aquitaine (under Hunoald) and Bavaria (under Odilo) that they were not included in the division of the regnum.

After Charles Martel was buried, in the Abbey of Saint-Denis alongside the Merovingian kings, conflict immediately erupted between Pepin and Carloman on one side and Grifo their younger brother on the other. Though Carloman captured and imprisoned Grifo, it may have been enmity between the elder brothers that caused Pepin to release Grifo while Carloman was on a pilgrimage to Rome. Perhaps in an effort to neutralize his brother ambitions, Carloman initiated the appointment of a new king, Childeric III, drawn from a monastery, in 743. Others have suggested that perhaps the position of the two brothers was weak or challenged, or perhaps there Carloman was merely acting for a loyalist or legitimist party in the kingdom.

In 743 Pepin campaigned against Odilo and forced him to submit to Frankish suzerainty. Carloman also campaigned against the Saxons and the two together defeated a rebellion led by Hunoald at the head of the Basques and another led by Alemanni, in which Liutfrid of Alsatia probably died, either fighting for or against the brothers. In 746, however, the Frankish armies were still, as Carloman was preparing to retire from politics and enter the monastery of Mount Soracte. Pepin’s position was further stabilized and the path was laid for his assumption of the crown in 751.

Carolingian Empire, 751-840

The growth of Frankish power, 481–814 C.E., showing Francia as it originally was after the crumbling of the Western Roman Empire. It was located northeasterly of that during the time of Constantine the Great. / New World Encyclopedia

Pippin the Short reigned as an elected king. Although such elections happened infrequently, a general rule in Germanic law stated that the king relied on the support of his leading men. These men reserved the right to choose a new “kingworthy” leader out of the ruling clan if they felt that the old one could not lead them in profitable battle. While in later France the kingdom became hereditary, the kings of the later Holy Roman Empire proved unable to abolish the elective tradition and continued as elected rulers until the empire’s formal end in 1806.

Pippin solidified his position in 754 by entering into an alliance with Pope Stephen II, who presented the king of the Franks a copy of the forged “Donation of Constantine” at Paris and in a magnificent ceremony at Saint-Denis anointed the king and his family and declared him patricius Romanorum (“protector of the Romans”). The following year Pippin fulfilled his promise to the pope and retrieved the Exarchate of Ravenna, recently fallen to the Lombards, and returned it to the Papacy. Pippin donated the re-conquered areas around Rome to the Pope, laying the foundation for the Papal States in the “Donation of Pippin” which he laid on the tomb of Saint Peter in Rome. The papacy had good cause to expect that the remade Frankish monarchy would provide a deferential power base (potestas) in the creation of a new world order, centered on the Pope.

Upon Pippin’s death in 768, his sons, Charles and Carloman, once again divided the kingdom between themselves. However, Carloman withdrew to a monastery and died shortly thereafter, leaving sole rule to his brother, who would later become known as Charlemagne or Charles the Great, a powerful, intelligent, and modestly literate figure who became a legend for the later history of both France and Germany. Charlemagne restored an equal balance of power between emperor and pope.

From 772 onwards, Charles conquered and eventually defeated the Saxons to incorporate their realm into the Frankish kingdom. This campaign expanded the practice of non-Roman Christian rulers undertaking the conversion of their neighbors by armed force Frankish Catholic missionaries, along with others from Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England, had entered Saxon lands since the mid-eighth century, resulting in increasing conflict with the Saxons, who resisted the missionary efforts and parallel military incursions. Charles’ main Saxon opponent, Widukind, accepted baptism in 785 as part of a peace agreement, but other Saxon leaders continued to fight. Upon his victory in 787 at Verdun, Charles ordered the wholesale killing of thousands of pagan Saxon prisoners. After several more uprisings, the Saxons suffered definitive defeat in 804. This expanded the Frankish kingdom eastwards as far as the Elbe river, something the Roman Empire had only attempted once, and at which it failed in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 C.E.). In order to more effectively Christianize the Saxons, Charles invited Irish monks like Alcuin, and founded several bishoprics, among them Bremen, Münster, Paderborn, and Osnabrück.

At the same time (773–774), Charles conquered the Lombards and thus included northern Italy in his sphere of influence. He renewed the Vatican donation and the promise to the papacy of continued Frankish protection.

In 788, Tassilo, dux (duke) of Bavaria rebelled against Charles. Quashing the rebellion incorporated Bavaria into Charles’ kingdom. This not only added to the royal fisc, but also drastically reduced the power and influence of the Agilolfings (Tassilo’s family), another leading family among the Franks and potential rivals. Until 796, Charles continued to expand the kingdom even farther southeast, into today’s Austria and parts of Croatia.

Charles thus created a realm that reached from the Pyrenees in the southwest (actually, including an area in Northern Spain (Marca Hispanica) after 795) over almost all of today’s France (except Brittany, which the Franks never conquered) eastwards to most of today’s Germany, including northern Italy and today’s Austria. In the hierarchy of the church, bishops and abbots looked to the patronage of the king’s palace, where the sources of patronage and security lay. Charles had fully emerged as the leader of Western Christendom, and his patronage of monastic centers of learning gave rise to the “Carolingian Renaissance” of literate culture. Charles also created a large palace at Aachen, a series of roads, and a canal.

On Christmas Day, 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charles as “Emperor of the Romans” in Rome in a ceremony presented as a surprise (Charlemagne did not wish to be indebted to the bishop of Rome), a further papal move in the series of symbolic gestures that had been defining the mutual roles of papal auctoritas and imperial potestas. Though Charlemagne, in deference to Byzantine outrage, preferred the title “Emperor, king of the Franks and Lombards,” the ceremony formally acknowledged the Frankish Empire as the successor of the (Western) Roman one (although only the forged “Donation” gave the pope political authority to do this), thus triggering a series of disputes with the Byzantines around the Roman name. After an initial protest at the usurpation, in 812, the Byzantine Emperor Michael I Rhangabes acknowledged Charlemagne as co-Emperor. The coronation gave permanent legitimacy to Carolingian primacy among the Franks. The Ottonians later resurrected this connection in 962. In many respects, the Empire was a confederacy local “counts” who governed “counties,” often with their distinctive cultural heritages, retained considerable autonomy. Charles did not attempt absolute rule from the imperial center.

Upon Charlemagne’s death on January 28, 814 in Aachen, he was buried in his own Palace Chapel at Aachen. Unlike the previous Roman Empire, which had never been advanced beyond the Rhine after the disaster at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, Charlemagne crushed all German and Slavic resistance he faced and extended his realm completely to the Elbe.

Divided Empire, Post-840

The Carolingian Empire at its greatest extent, with the three main divisions of 843. / New World Encyclopedia

Charlemagne had several sons, but only one survived him. This son, Louis the Pious, followed his father as the ruler of a united empire. But sole inheritance remained a matter of chance, rather than intent. When Louis died in 840, the Carolingians adhered to the custom of partible inheritance, and the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the empire in three:

  1. Louis’ eldest surviving son Lothair I became Emperor and ruler of the Central Franks. His three sons in turn divided this kingdom between them into Lotharingia, Burgundy and (Northern) Italy. These areas would later vanish as separate kingdoms.
  2. Louis’ second son, Louis the German, became King of the East Franks. This area formed the kernel of the later Holy Roman Empire, which eventually evolved into modern Germany. For a list of successors, see the List of German Kings and Emperors.
  3. His third son Charles the Bald became King of the West Franks this area became the foundation for the later France. For his successors, see the List of French monarchs.

Subsequently, at the Treaty of Mersen (870) the partitions were recast, to the detriment of Lotharingia. On December 12, 884, Charles the Fat reunited most of the Carolingian Empire, aside from Burgundy. In late 887, his nephew, Arnulf of Carinthia revolted and assumed the title as King of the East Franks. Charles retired and soon died on January 13, 888. Odo, Count of Paris was chosen to rule in the west, and was crowned the next month. At this point, West Francia was composed of Neustria in the west and in the east by Francia proper, the region between the Meuse and the Seine. The Carolingians were restored ten years later in West Francia, and ruled until 987, when the last Frankish King, Louis V, died.

West Francia was the land under the control of Charles the Bald. It is the precursor of modern France. It was divided into the following great fiefs: Aquitaine, Brittany, Burgundy, Catalonia, Flanders, Gascony, Gothia, the Île-de-France, and Toulouse. After 987, the kingdom came to be known as France, because the new ruling dynasty (the Capetians) were originally dukes of the Île-de-France.

Middle Francia was the territory ruled by Lothair I, wedged between East and West Francia. The kingdom, which included the Kingdom of Italy, Burgundy, the Provence, and the west of Austrasia, was an unnatural creation of the Treaty of Verdun, with no historical or ethnic identity. The kingdom was split on the death of Lothair II in 869 into those of Lotharingia, Provence (with Burgundy divided between it and Lotharingia), and Italy.

East Francia was the land of Louis the German. It was divided into four duchies: Swabia (Alamannia), Franconia, Saxony and Bavaria (including Moravia and Carinthia) to which after the death of Lothair II were added the eastern parts of Lotharingia. This division persisted until 1268, the end of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor was crowned on 2 February 962, marking the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire (translatio imperii). From the tenth century, East Francia became also known as regnum Teutonicum (“Teutonic kingdom” or “Kingdom of Germany”), a term that became prevalent in Salian times. The title of Holy Roman Emperor was used from that time, beginning with Conrad II.

Mali Empire

The Mali Empire (1240-1645) of West Africa was founded by Sundiata Keita (r. 1230-1255) following his victory over the kingdom of Sosso (c. 1180-1235). Sundiata's centralised government, diplomacy and well-trained army permitted a massive military expansion which would pave the way for a flourishing of the Mali Empire, making it the largest yet seen in Africa.

The reign of Mansa Musa I (1312-1337) saw the empire reach new heights in terms of territory controlled, cultural florescence, and the staggering wealth brought through Mali's control of regional trade routes. Acting as a middle-trader between North Africa via the Sahara desert and the Niger River to the south, Mali exploited the traffic in gold, salt, copper, ivory, and slaves that crisscrossed West Africa. Muslim merchants were attracted to all this commercial activity, and they converted Mali rulers who in turn spread Islam via such noted centres of learning as Timbuktu. In contrast to cities like Niani (the capital), Djenne, and Gao, most of the rural Mali population remained farmers who clung to their traditional animist beliefs. The Mali Empire collapsed in the 1460s following civil wars, the opening up of trade routes elsewhere, and the rise of the neighbouring Songhai Empire, but it did continue to control a small part of the western empire into the 17th century.


West Africa & the Sudan Region

The Sudan region of West Africa where the Mali Empire would develop had been inhabited since the Neolithic period as evidenced by Iron Age tumuli, megaliths, and remains of abandoned villages. The Niger River regularly flooded parts of this dry grassland and savannah, which provided fertile land for agriculture beginning at least 3,500 years ago, an endeavour greatly helped by the region's adequate annual rainfall. Cereals such as red-skinned African rice and millet were grown with success, as were pulses, tuber and root crops, oil and fibre plants, and fruits. Fishing and cattle herding were other important sources of food, while local deposits of copper were exploited and used for trade. Similarly, gold was probably locally mined or panned and then traded, but concrete evidence from this period is lacking.

The Ghana Empire (6th to 13th century) was the first major political power in West Africa to create an empire based on military might and the wealth gained from regional trade. Not geographically connected to modern-day Ghana but located to the northwest, the empire was in serious decline by the end of the 12th century. Beset by civil wars, rebellions of subjugated chiefdoms, and poor harvests, the empire began to disintegrate with a large part of its territory taken over by the kingdom of Sosso (aka Susu). When the Sosso king Sumanguru (aka Sumaoro Kante, r. from c. 1200), imposed trade restrictions on the Mali region, the native Malinke (Mandingo) tribe rose in rebellion.


Sundiata Keita & Government

Sundiata Keita (aka Sunjaata or Sundjata, r. 1230-1255) was a Malinke prince, whose name means 'lion prince', and he waged war against the kingdom of Sosso from the 1230s. Sundiata formed a powerful alliance of other disgruntled chiefs tired of Sumanguru's harsh rule and defeated the Sosso in a decisive battle at Krina (aka Kirina) in 1235. In 1240 Sundiata captured the old Ghana capital. Forming a centralised government of tribal leaders and a number of influential Arab merchants, this assembly (gbara) declared Sundiata the supreme monarch and gave him such honorary titles as Mari Diata (Lord Lion). The name Sundiata gave to his empire, Africa's largest up to that point, was Mali, meaning 'the place where the king lives'. It was also decreed that all future kings would be selected from the Keita clan, although the title was not necessarily given to the eldest son of a ruler, which sometimes led to fierce disputes among candidates.

The Mansa, or king, would be assisted by an assembly of elders and local chiefs throughout the Mali Empire's history, with audiences held in the royal palace or under a large tree. The king was also the supreme source of justice, but he did make use of legal advisors. In addition, the king was helped by a number of key ministers such as the chief of the army and master of the granaries (later treasury), as well as other officials like the master of ceremonies and leader of the royal orchestra. Nevertheless, the Mansa acted as a supreme monarch and monopolised key trade goods, for example, only he was permitted to possess gold nuggets, traders had to make do with gold dust. The king had certain mystical qualities attributed to him, and all slaves were exclusively loyal to him. No person had the right to be in the king's presence when he ate, for example, and all visitors before him had to be barefoot and bow down and pour dust over their heads. Such was this cult of leadership and the extreme centralisation of government in a single figure that the fortunes of the empire rose and fell depending on the talents or lack of them possessed by a particular king.

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These problems of governance were yet to come, though, and Sundiata would continue to expand his territory to include the old kingdoms of Ghana, Walata, Tadmekka, and Songhai. Niani, now no longer in existence but probably located on a plain near the all-year-round navigable Sankarani River, was selected as the empire's capital. It was protected by mountains and was close to the two key sources of trade goods: forests and waterways.

Tribute was acquired from conquered chiefdoms, although many local chiefs were permitted to continue to rule their own people but with a Mali-appointed governor to assist them, often backed by a garrison. Additional guarantees of loyalty included taking royal hostages and keeping them at the capital. This federation prospered, developing over the next century into one of Africa's richest ever empires whose wealth would astound both Europe and Arabia. Further, and perhaps more important for the ordinary people of Mali, foreign visitors noted the high degree of justice they saw, the safety with which one could travel from place to place, and the abundance of food in all villages.


Trade & Timbuktu

Like its political predecessors, the Mali Empire prospered thanks to trade and its prime location, situated between the rain forests of southern West Africa and the powerful Muslim caliphates of North Africa. The Niger River provided ready access to Africa's interior and Atlantic coast, while the Berber-controlled camel caravans that crossed the Sahara desert ensured valuable commodities came from the north. The Mali rulers had a triple income: they taxed the passage of trade goods, bought goods and sold them on at much higher prices, and had access to their own valuable natural resources. Significantly, the Mali Empire controlled the rich gold-bearing regions of Galam, Bambuk, and Bure. One of the main trade exchanges was gold dust for salt from the Sahara. Gold was in particular demand from European powers like Castille in Spain and Venice and Genoa in Italy, where coinage was now being minted in the precious metal.

Timbuktu, founded c. 1100 by the nomadic Tuaregs, was a semi-independent trade port which had the double advantage of being on the Niger River bend and the starting point for the trans-Saharan caravans. The city would be monopolised and then taken over by the Mali kings who made it into one of the most important and most cosmopolitan trade centres in Africa. Through Timbuktu there passed such lucrative goods as ivory, textiles, horses (important for military use), glassware, weapons, sugar, kola nuts (a mild stimulant), cereals (e.g. sorghum and millet), spices, stone beads, craft products, and slaves. Goods were bartered for or paid using an agreed upon commodity such as copper or gold ingots, set quantities of salt or ivory, or even cowry shells (which came from Persia).

Mansa Musa I

After a string of seemingly lacklustre rulers, the Mali Empire enjoyed its second golden era during the reign of Mansa Musa I in the first half of the 13th century. With an army numbering around 100,000 men, including an armoured cavalry corps of 10,000 horses, and with the talented general Saran Mandian, Mansa Musa was able to maintain and extend Mali's empire, doubling its territory. He controlled lands up to the Gambia and lower Senegal in the west in the north, tribes were subdued along the whole length of the Western Sahara border region in the east, control spread up to Gao on the Niger River and, to the south, the Bure region and the forests of what became known as the Gold Coast came under Mali oversight. The Mali Empire thus came to include many different religious, ethnic, and linguistic groups.


To govern these diverse peoples, Mansa Musa divided his empire into provinces with each one ruled by a governor (farba) appointed personally by him and responsible for local taxes, justice, and settling tribal disputes. The administration was further improved with greater records kept and sent to the centralised government offices at Niani. With more tribute from more conquered chiefs, more trade routes under Mali control, and even more natural resources to exploit, Mansa Musa and the Mali elite became immensely rich. When the Mali king visited Cairo in 1324, he spent or simply gave away so much gold that the price of bullion crashed by 20%. Such riches set off a never-ending round of rumours that Mali was a kingdom paved with gold. In Spain c. 1375, a mapmaker was inspired to create Europe's first detailed map of West Africa, part of the Catalan Atlas. The map has Mansa Musa wearing an impressive gold crown and triumphantly brandishing a huge lump of gold in his hand. European explorers would spend the next five centuries trying to locate the source of this gold and the fabled trading city of Timbuktu.

Spread of Islam

Islam spread through parts of West Africa via the Arab merchants who traded there. Noted Muslim travellers and chroniclers like Ibn Battuta (1304 - c. 1369) and Ibn Khaldin (1332-1406) recorded that even Mali's first ruler Sundiata converted to Islam. However, the Malinke oral tradition, which was kept up over the generations by specialised bards (griots), presents a different story. Although recognising Islam was present in Mali long before Sundiata's reign, the oral tradition maintains that the first ruler of the Mali Empire did not reject the indigenous animist religion. We do know that Sundiata's son, Mansa Uli (aka Mansa Wali or Yerelenku), went on a pilgrimage to Mecca in the 1260s or 1270s, and this would be a continuing trend amongst many of Mali's rulers.

Islam in West Africa really took off, though, from the reign of Mansa Musa I. He famously went to Mecca and, impressed with what he saw on his travels, Mansa Musa brought back home Muslim architects, scholars, and books. Mosques were built such as Timbuktu's 'Great mosque' (aka Djinguereber or Jingereber), and Koranic schools and universities were established which quickly gained an international reputation. Studies were actually much wider than religion and included history, geography, astronomy, and medicine. Great libraries were built up with tens of thousands of books and manuscripts, many of which survive today.


As more people were converted, so more Muslim clerics were attracted from abroad and the religion was spread further across West Africa. Many native converts studied in such places as Fez, Morocco, and became great scholars, missionaries, and even saints, and so Islam came to be seen no longer as a foreign religion but a black African one. Despite the spread of Islam, it is also true that ancient indigenous animist beliefs continued to be practised, especially in rural communities, as noted by travellers like Ibn Battuta who visited Mali c. 1352. In addition, Islamic studies were conducted in Arabic not native languages, and this further impeded its popularity outside the educated clerical class of towns and cities. Even the Islam that did take hold in Mali was a particular variation of that practised in the Arab world, perhaps because Mali rulers could not afford to completely dismiss the indigenous religious practices and beliefs that the majority of their people clung on to.

Mali Architecture

The buildings of the Mali Empire, some of which like the Sankore mosque in Timbuktu still stand, are one of the most recognisable features of the region and have become international symbols of Africa's rich pre-colonial history. Mali architects had a distinct disadvantage because of the rarity of stone in the region, and for this reason, buildings were typically constructed using beaten earth (banco) reinforced with wood which often sticks out in beams from the exterior surfaces. Despite the limited materials, the mosques, in particular, are still imposing multi-storied structures with towers, huge wooden doors, and tiered minarets. Other large buildings included warehouses (fondacs) which were used to store goods before they were transported elsewhere and which had up to 40 apartments for merchants to live in. Other examples of the Mali baked-mud buildings which impress today, although many are early 20th-century reconstructions, include the huge mosques at Mopti and Djenne.

On a smaller scale, excavations at Niani have revealed the remains of houses and their stone foundations, confirming later sources that the richer members of society built stone houses. Arab chroniclers describe another type of domestic building, which was constructed using beaten earth bricks and with ceilings made of wooden beams and reeds, the whole formed into a conical roof. Flooring was made using earth mixed with sand.

Mali Art & Culture

We have already noted that the Malinke had a rich tradition of recounting legends and community histories orally by specialised story-tellers know as griots. These stories, passed down from generation to generation (and continuing today), were often accompanied by music. During the Mali Empire, there were even songs reserved for certain people who alone had the right to have them sung in their honour, this was especially so for renowned warriors and hunters. Music was also an important part of religious festivals when masked dancers performed.

Pottery and sculpture were produced, as they had been at noted centres like Djenne since the 9th century. Sculptures are generally up to 50 cm tall and made of solid pottery but sometimes with a reinforcing iron rod interior. Wood and brass were other popular materials for sculpture and, to a lesser degree, stone. Decoration is typically incised, painted, or achieved by adding three-dimensional pieces. Subjects include human figures, especially bearded warriors riding a horse but also many kneeling or crouching figures with upturned faces. Figures are often realistic portrayals of ordinary people, sometimes showing symptoms of tropical diseases. Although it is rare for artworks of this period to come with a certain provenance obtained from professionally excavated sites, the sculptures are so numerous that it seems likely many were used as everyday decorative objects as well as for ritual or burial purposes.


The Mali Empire was in decline by the 15th century. The ill-defined rules for royal succession often led to civil wars as brothers and uncles fought each other for the throne. Then, as trade routes opened up elsewhere, several rival kingdoms developed to the west, notably the Songhai. European ships, especially those belonging to the Portuguese, were now regularly sailing down the west coast of Africa and so the Saharan caravans faced stiff competition as the most efficient means to transport goods from West Africa to the Mediterranean. There were attacks on Mali by the Tuareg in 1433 and by the Mossi people, who at that time controlled the lands south of the Niger River. Around 1468, King Sunni Ali of the Songhai Empire (r. 1464-1492) conquered the rump of the Mali Empire which was now reduced to controlling a small western pocket of its once great territory. What remained of the Mali Empire would be absorbed into the Moroccan Empire in the mid-17th century.

England under the rule of King Edgar the Peaceful

The new kingdom of England became more organised, and its government more powerful, during the reign of Edgar (959–975), or Edgar the Peaceful, as he became known.

Edgar came to the throne when he was a teenager, but he was advised by older churchmen who were inspired by reforms in the Carolingian Empire.

King Edgar was influenced in particular by his old tutor, Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester (963–984), Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury (959–988), and Oswald, bishop of Worcester and archbishop of York (died 992).

Æthelwold wanted churches and society in general to become more organised and uniform: ‘one [monastic] rule for one country’, he wrote. Æthelwold used his writings to promote the benefits of a strong central government and to praise Edgar’s government.

Æthelwold and his associates also came to control many of the bishoprics and richest monasteries in England. Changes to these monasteries and cathedrals had a wide impact, since these were major social and political centres that controlled large territories.

9 Ancient African Kingdoms You Should Know About

With the Cradle of Humankind found in modern-day South Africa and some of the oldest learning centers in the world spread across the continent, there can be no argument that Africa is the very root of human civilisation as we know it. From her fertile soils, societies were formed and homo sapiens spread across the globe, leaving empirical legacies in the form of Aztec and Mayan ruins in the Americas to remnants of the Roman Empire which we see dotted across Eurasia.

That said, there were plenty of African kingdoms and empires spread out across the continent, too regional and political powerhouses much like those that fill our history books today. Ancient Egypt is perhaps the most famous of all, but the hubbub around it sorely overlooks other impressive civilizations and the effects they had on the continent. Let’s take a look at some of Africa’s most notable empires and civilisations.

A camel caravan at dusk in Ethiopia

1. The Aksumite Empire

Where? Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen

When? circa 100 CE – 960 CE

Also known as the Kingdom of Aksum (or Axum), this ancient society is the oldest of the African kingdoms on this list and is spread across what is today Ethiopia and Eritrea in an area where evidence of farming dates back 10,000 years. The Aksumites were key players in the commercial trading routes which existed between the Romans and Ancient India and they were considered one of the four great powers of their time alongside China, Rome, and Persia. The Aksumites erected several stelae (stone wooden slabs acting as monuments in pre-Christian times) during their reign but one of them is the most famous of all. Standing at 79 feet, the Obelisk of Axum is approximately 1700 years old and is found in present-day Axum, Ethiopia. Later, when the Aksumites converted to Christianity, they unwittingly created the foundations for Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church. Today, Axum is also the rumoured resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

Chapel of the Tablet in Axum, Ethiopia, rumoured home to the Ark of the Covenant

2. The Kingdom of Ghana

Where? Spread across parts of what is now Mauritania, Senegal, and Mali

When? circa 700 CE – 1240 CE

More commonly known as Wagadu, this kingdom was an important stop along the trans-Saharan trade route which connected African societies in the Sahel to the markets found along the coastlines of the Mediterranean Sea and the trans-Saharan gold trade. Although its capital city was said to have changed several times, one of these, Koumbi Saleh, was the biggest city south of the Sahara Desert. At its peak, it was home to between 15,000 and 20,000 people – a phenomenal population for a city which had a limited water supply. They specialized in the trade of gold and kola nuts (the latter of which became the secret ingredient in Coca-Cola centuries later). The Kingdom of Ghana’s decline was cemented when it became part of the kingdom of Mali around the year 1240 CE.

Image Credit: African History Histoire Africaine

3. The Mali Empire

Where? Spread across parts of what is now The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal

When? circa 1230 CE – 1670 CE

It makes sense that our next entry comes after the Kingdom of Wagadu given that, in its decline, it was eventually annexed by the Kingdom of Mali. While the Ghana Empire traded in gold, the Malian Empire actually mined gold from its mines which, by the end of the 1200s, was the source of approximately 50% of the Old World’s gold supply. Of all the African kingdoms on this list, the Malian Empire’s most famous ruler, Mansa Musa, was the richest – even by today’s standards. He is regarded as one of the wealthiest people in world history with records suggesting that Mali was the largest producer of gold on Earth during his reign.

Mansa Musa, one of the richest men in world history Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

4. The Songhai Empire

Where? Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, The Gambia

When? circa 1000 CE – 1591 CE

Lauded as one of the largest states in history on the continent, you’ll probably know the Songhai Empire at the mention of one of its most prominent cities: Timbuktu, which was one of the most important learning centers in the region. Academics and skilled workers came from all over the continent, the Middle East, and even as far afield as Spain to study and work there. The Songhai Empire rose out of the decline of the Mali Empire and was responsible for expanding and controlling several important trans-Saharan trade routes at the time.

Timbuktu’s Ancient Mosque
Image Credit: World Atlas

5. The Kingdom of Zimbabwe

The Kingdom of Zimbabwe’s modern-day claim to fame is its capital, Great Zimbabwe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was home to around 18,000 people at its peak and spanned across an area of 7km 2 . While the kingdom’s heyday was from around 1220 CE onward, archaeologists estimate that the start of the kingdom was as early as the 11th century. This civilization had a monopoly on the trade of gold and ivory from the southeastern coast of the continent to the interior and were famed miners specializing in minerals such as copper, iron, and gold. While the success of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe led to the decline of Mapungubwe, Great Zimbabwe’s decline saw the rise of the Kingdom of Mutapa, the next entrant on our list.

Ruins of Great Zimbabwe
Image Credit: The African Exponent

6. The Kingdom of Mutapa

Where? Spread across parts of what is now Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

When? circa 1430 CE – 1760 CE

The Mutapa Empire encompassed a truly staggering portion of Southern Africa, from the Limpopo and Zambezi Rivers to the Indian Ocean coastline. Its territory was so large that if it were around today, it would stretch across parts of six Southern African nations. Legend has it, a warrior prince from the Kingdom of Zimbabwe established the Kingdom of Mutapa. Within a generation, Mutapa eclipsed the glory that was Great Zimbabwe and its surrounds. The Portuguese unwittingly became middlemen between India and the Mutapa’s smaller kingdoms in their bid to control trade in the region (which was also fueled by rumours that the biblical mines of King Solomon were held by the ruler of Mutapa). The Kingdom of Mutapa wielded such power, they acquired a subsidy from every captain who took office in Portuguese Mozambique and they imposed a 50% tax levy on all trade goods imported. Sadly, the kingdom’s decline began in the early 17th century due to factional in-fighting which gave the Portuguese an opportunity to make Mutapa a vassal state.

Kingdom of Mutapa as seen on a map.
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

7. The Ethiopian Empire

Where? Spread across parts of what is now Eritrea and Ethiopia

When? circa 1137 CE – 1975 CE

Stretching from the Middle Ages all the way to the Cold War, the Ethiopian Empire (or Abyssinia, as it was also known) is the longest lasting of the African kingdoms on this list. It survived some of the most tumultuous events in modern-day history. It resisted various enemies attempting to encroach on its territory, from the Ottoman and Italian armies to the Egyptians, and some of its rulers are said to have been descended from King Solomon. During the Scramble for Africa which saw European powers asserting colonial authority across African territories, Ethiopia successfully fought off and defeated Italy in the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The empire’s decline began when they lost the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in 1935 and the monarchy was abolished in 1974 by a military junta.

Dawit II, Emperor of Ethiopia, part of the Solomonic dynasty (a dynasty who claim to be descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba).
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

8. The Kingdom of Kongo

Where? Spread across parts of what is now Angola, DRC, Republic of the Congo, and Gabon

When? circa 1390 CE – 1914 CE

Before European powers divided the African continent during the Scramble for Africa, the modern-day countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo both formed part of the Kingdom of Kongo. Although the kingdom’s precise boundaries are uncertain today, this empire did eventually stretch into both modern-day Congos and Angola under the leadership of a Kikongo warrior, Luken Lua Nimi, whose military and political prowess dominated central Africa for centuries. Kongolese society was a quasi-feudal one and its economy was fueled by trade routes following rivers in the region and dealing in textiles, pottery, copper, and ivory.

A Grave Marker from the Kingdom of Kongo
Image Credit: Brooklyn Museum

9. The Benin Empire

When? circa 1180 CE – 1897 CE

Found in modern-day Nigeria, the Benin Empire was considered one of the oldest and most developed states in West Africa until its annexation by the British Empire. Famous artisans crafted masterpieces from ivory, bronze and iron. The Benin Empire had a strong trading relationship with the Portuguese, exchanging palm oil, pepper, and ivory for Manilla (a form of currency used in West Africa) and firearms. The relationship even saw an ambassador visit Lisbon in the 16th century. Britain’s first expedition to Benin occurred in 1553 and a mutually beneficial trading relationship existed throughout the 16th and 17th centuries until Benin suspected Britain of making controlling advancements. Dutch, British and Portuguese explorers brought numerous tales back to Europe of the beauty, wealth and sophistication of Benin.

An ivory mask of Queen Idia, made in the 16th Century
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

What other famous African kingdoms and empires do you think should be added to our list? Let us know in the comments section below!

Read more exciting tales about African history here:


The Fascinating History And Story of Hampi And Vijayanagara Empire

Also Read - COVID19 Update: Planning to Travel to Bengaluru? Here's All You Need to Know

Hampi, a village and a temple town in Karnataka is one of the most historically rich places. Listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site as the Group of monuments at Hampi, this city was also at one point one of the richest cities in the world when it was at its peak. Located inside the Vijayanagara city, Hampi has been one of the most significant tourist places of attraction. People from all over the country visit Hampi for its beautiful monuments and history. As per statistics of the year 2014, Hampi is said to be the most searched places of Karnataka online. People who visit Hampi are mostly people who love history and architecture. It is no surprise that Hampi is such a famous place for tourists that visit from all over the globe. Visit Hampi at any time of the year and you will see the place swarming with people. We will take you through the fascinating history of the city of Hampi and also the Vijayanagara Empire. First, let us tell you a little about Hampi. Also Read - COVID19: Check Latest Travel Guidelines For Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand And Karnataka

Hampi is also known as Pampa Kshetra, Kishkindha kshetra and even Bhaskara kshetra. These names were derived from the famous Tungabhadra River Pampa. According to mythology, it is said that Pampa was Brahma’s daughter who was later married off to Shiva. It was here where the city was built. Hampi word in is another version of Hampe, a Kannada name. Today, Hampi is also known as Vijayanagara who used to rule the city. As you walk through the remains of Hampi&rsquos magnificent forts, palaces and gateways, you will get a glimpse of the excellent architecture of those times. The monuments speak volumes about the history of Hampi that used to be a prosperous and rich kingdom in the 14th century which was eventually ruined owing to the attacks made by the Moghuls.

The history of Hampi dates back to the 2nd and also the 3rd century that is the Neolithic and Chalcolithic era. This fact has been established from the ceramic potteries that have been found here from those centuries. The popular folklore is that two local chiefs called Hakka and Bukka one on a hunting expedition report of an unusual sighting to their guru Vidyaranya. And the fascinating sight was that of a hare who was being chased by their hound. The hare suddenly becomes all brave and powerful and turns around to chase the hound. This made the Guru believe that the place where they found this unusually beautiful sight is very special and hence decided to shift their local capital to this very place. This was the start of an empire that went on to become one of the richest. In a span of over 200 years, a total of four dynasties ruled Vijayanagar that is also called the City of Victory.

At one point Hampi was also one of the biggest trading centers of the world. Vijayanagar brought a lot of wealth, fame and splendor to Hampi. In those times, most markets in Hampi were always crowded and swarming with buyers and also merchants. These merchants were not just Indians, but also people from various parts of the world. In no time, the markets grew tremendously and goods were exchanged for spices and cotton. In ancient times, the currencies were all silver and gold.

Hampi was also rich in art and architecture. The rulers who ruled the region were great lovers of religion and art and hence most Kings put in a lot of effort to set up magnificent empires using one of the best architectural designs, which is for you to see now. Hampi had reached its prime during the rule of Krishna Deva Raya who ruled this city between 1509 and 1529. This was the same period when international trading had flourished and reached great heights under the progressive trading practices and also several international trade agreements that were carried out. During this era, Vijayanagara Empire had almost taken up most of South India and also beyond. However, Hampi succumbed to the attacks carried out by five Deccan Sultans called Bidar, Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Golconda and also Berar. They attacked Hampi in 1565 and looted them for a long period, approximately six months. An attack of six months long definitely had to bring such massive destruction that it would have taken them forever to rise again. The temples of Hampi were damaged and most of the markets were robbed. This was one of the biggest attacks that Hampi witnessed and their golden era with this came to an end. After the attacks, the empire was ruled by different Kings however, nobody really could bring back the lost glory.

The city did function, but it had lost its strategic importance and thus got lost in time. Even today, the loss and destruction of the 1565 attacks can be seen in many parts of the city. During the colonial period, Hampi had stirred up some curiosity in the mind of archaeologists from abroad. For those who love watching ancient historical stories, you must definitely watch Robert Sewell’s ‘A forgotten Empire Vijayanagar’ that was made as an attempt to narrate the incidents that occurred during their ruling. Also, there is a travel guide that was also the first-ever, named Hampi&rsquos Ruins Described and Illustrated by Longhurst. In today&rsquos time, the monuments, which are almost hundreds of them, are very popular among tourists as well as pilgrims.

The Vijayanagara Empire is said to have been established and founded by Bukka and Harihara who were also known as Sangama brothers. The brothers initially lived in Warangal where they were working as treasurer and minister. In 1323, the brothers fled Warangal when the city was attacked by the Muslims and went to Kampili. They fled from there too again owing to the attacks by Muslims and crossed River Tungabhadra to form a new city which is now known as Vijayanagara. This city was ruled by four different dynasties from 1336 to 1565. Sangam dynasty, Saluva Dynasty, Tuluva Dynasty and Aravidu Dynasty were the four dynasties in ruling during that period. The kings and princes of each of these dynasties made sure that while in their ruling, they do whatever it takes to brings richness and wealth to the city and ended up building over 500 monuments. And because Hampi was the capital, it flourished in trade. We have listed down the four different dynasties with small information about each one of them.

Sangama Dynasty was founded by Bukka Raya 1 and Harihara 1. The ruling passed on from them to Harihara II and Devaraya II and several others.

The Saluva dynasty was ruled only by two rulers in the name of Saluva Narasimha Deva and Immadi Narasimha.

The Tuluva Dynasty was the third in a row to rule the Vijayanagara Empire. Immadi Marasimha who initially ruled the dynasty was killed by Vira Narasimha who then took over the throne and made the Tuluva dynasty in 1505.

The Aravidu Dynasty is the last dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire and Tirumala was the founder. This dynasty was defeated and taken over Bijapuri Muslims.

Before the Vijayanagar Kings rose in this area, the city was ruled by Kampili and his chiefs. Kampili is now a quaint town that is situated 19 km on the east of Hampi. It was Colin Mackenzie who discovered the ruins of Hampi in 1800. The Archeological Survey of India still does many excavations to discover the many beautiful temples and also other artifacts.

Mythological significance of Hampi:

Hampi also has a strong mythological story associated with it. And if these beliefs are anything to go by, it is said that the Kishkinda Vanara Kingdom is where Ram and Lakshman had stayed when they had set out in search of Sita who was abducted by Ravana. You will also find several spectacular mountains that are said to be spots where Ram, Hanuman, Sugreeva and Vali stayed. And because we are talking of Ramayana and its association with Hampi, the first thing that comes to mind is the Hazara Ram temple at Hampi that is one of the thousands of temples here. The word Hazara was derived from a Telugu word Hazarumu that also means an Entrance hall. If you have ever visited Hampi or if you are planning to make a trip son, you will find many intricately done carvings that depict a lot about Ramayana and the many stories surrounding the same. The Hazara Temple used to be a private temple to the royal family of those times.

The famous temples and monuments of Hampi:

Since Hampi is popular all over the world for its beautiful monuments and temples, here are some of them that you need to explore on your visit.

Virupaksha Temple

When in Hampi make sure to visit the Virupaksha temple that will be a treat to the eyes for people who love history and religion. Located on the banks of the beautiful Tungabhadra and is a part of the Group of Monuments in Hampi. And since it is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, there is no doubt that the beauty and charm of this temple are still eye-catching. The inscriptions that you will find on the structure go back to the 9th and 10th centuries. Built in dedication to Shiva, this site is one of the most important and visited pilgrim sites. When the temple was first built it was small however during the ruling period of the Vijayanagara Empire, the temple was extended. You must have read a lot about Hampi no longer having the same beauty as before, however, this temple is still beautiful and the sights of its architectural beauty is worth watching. The Virupaksha temple is also famously known as the Pampvathi temple and is exactly situated in the Hampi Bazaar. The most fascinating part about this temple is the stunning three gopuras and also a big high tower that stands tall at 160 feet hat is the main entrance. The temple also has an elephant called Lakshmi.

Vijaya Vittala Temple

Among the many Hampi attractions, the Vijaya Vittala temple is one of the most breathtaking pieces of architecture. Built in dedication to Vittala who is a form of Vishnu, you must explore this temple if you love architecture. You don’t really have to be a believer to be here. The several hallways, gateway, towers and pavilions make this temple very beautiful. The Vittala temple was built in the 15th century and many kings who ruled have tried their best to further enhance the beauty of this temple, and thus, it because of their efforts that Hampi was gifted with such a beautiful structure. The highlight of the Vittala temple is the stone chariot. It is almost considered as an iconic structure of Hampi. It also has musical pillars that are as iconic as the stone chariot. Each pillar of this temple depicts a musical instrument and also serves as the main support for the whole structure. This has been arranged around the main pillar of the temple which when struck gives out the 7 notes from each of the instruments that it represents.

The British found this pretty suspicious and went on to cut open the pillar to find out if there was anything hidden that produces the sound. However, on cutting it open they found nothing and it is considered as a miracle. The cut made by the British can still be seen. This temple is also a venue for the famous festival Purandaradasa festival that is held there annually.

The King’s Balance

Another great attraction is the King’s balance which is also famously called Tulapurushandana. It is situated on the southwest of the Vitala temple what we mentioned above. The King’s balance is just five meters tall and forms an archway like structure. The structure has been carved from stone and it is believed by many that during the lunar and solar eclipse and also during Dussehra, the King was weighed with gold and many other precious stones. These jewels were then given away to the priests of the temple. If you look closely you will also find three loops that may have been used by the King to hang on the swing and weigh. You will also find an image of the King on one of the pillars. The image carved is assumed to be that of King Krishna Deva Raya and his wives. The weighting procedure is also called Tula Bhara which is even today followed in many temples.

Achyutaraya Temple

Built and sanctified in AD 1534, the Achyutaraya temple is a classic example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture. The architecture used in this temple is much advanced in comparison to the other structures in Hampi. And it is said the Achyutaraya temple was the last grand temple to be built before the empire fell and got defeated in the hands of Sultans. This temple is also dedicated to another form of Vishnu- Tiruvengalanatha and was set up and built by an officer in Achyuta Raya’s court and that&rsquos how the temple got its name. Situated between two stunning hills namely- Gandhamadana and Matanga Hills, the scenic beauty is sure to leave you awestruck. The temple courtyard is lined by intricately carved pillars and the temple also houses an antarala, rangamantapa and also garbhagriha. This is one of the many temples in Hampi that you must explore on your visit to this religiously and historically significant place.

Archaeological Museum in Hampi

The very first museum that was built and set up by the Archeological Survey of India is this beautiful Archaeological Museum in Hampi. The museum exhibits ancient sculptures and also many artifacts and this is where you will get a glimpse of the history of Hampi. If you are a history buff, a visit to this museum is sure to leave you satisfied and awestruck. From silver coins to sculptures of several deities and gold coins, there is a lot that you will get to see here. There are different galleries that display different precious stones and sculptures. You will have to pay a fee of Rs 5 per head to explore this beauty.

Mbuya Nehanda

The original Nehanda was the child of the early Shona / Karanga King, Murenga Pfumojena Sororenzou. Nehanda’s brothers were Chaminuka, Runji, and Mushavatu. Nehanda’s spirit is a Mhondoro (a royal ancestral spirit / lion spirit), and it returned to possess powerful svikiros (spirit mediums). The ritual sister of the Mwene-Mutapa was called Nehanda. Mbuya (Grandmother) Nehanda once possessed a Mutapa princess named Nyamhita, however her more popular svikiro was Charwe.

Mbuya Nehanda advised the traditional leaders of Zimbabwe (madzishe) to fight the European invaders in the 1890s Chimurenga, also known as “Hondo ye Chindunduma”, or “The War of Rage.” When Mbuya Nehanda was eventually captured, she refused to convert to her enemy’s religion and was eventually executed. However, before she died, she said “My bones will rise again”, and indeed they rose, and indeed independence was eventually won…

Act of Union, 1707

The Treaty of Union was not a magnanimous, indeed unprecedented, act of altruism in which England rescued an impoverished Scotland - as it has sometimes been portrayed.

Certainly the Scottish balance of trade appeared far from healthy, with imports hugely exceeding exports.

Scottish government was also hard pressed financially. But several caveats are necessary. The impoverishment of government doesn't necessarily mean the impoverishment of the country.

The adverse balance was calculated on taxed trade, not on trade conducted. The balance took no account of imported goods re-exported or reprocessed as manufactures for domestic consumption.

Above all, the balance took no account of the invisible earnings from the thriving Scottish carrying trade from the Baltic to the Caribbean.

The financial capacity of Scottish commercial networks was powerfully demonstrated in the first four months of 1707, before the union became operative on 1 May.

Only 45 MPs were to be returned. Scottish representation was less than that of Cornwall.

Scottish networks exploited fiscal loopholes by investing £300,000 in brandies, wines, salt and whalebones (for manufacturing into bodices and stays) which they intended to export to England tax free after 1 May.

Until Anne sidelined the English ministry’s attempts to prescribe this activity on the eve of union, its actual implementation was imperilled by vociferous protests from Scottish politicians and merchants.

The enduring popular belief that Scottish politicians were bought and sold for English gold turns attention away from those Scots who negotiated union. They were not so much corrupt as inept.

Their ineptitude was manifested by their stance on colonial access, reparations for Darien and investment in manufactures. All three were secured conditionally.

The East Indies remained the preserve of English commercial interests. Marginally increased reparations were traded off against drastically scaled down investment from what the English ministry had been prepared to offer in return for political incorporation.

By agreeing that reparations and investment should be met by the raising of taxes to English levels, the Scots were effectively financing their own dividends from union.

The Scottish negotiators also accepted a drastic reduction in their nobility eligible for the House of Lords, their numbers being restricted to 16 elected peers. No less significant, only 45 Scottish MPs were to be returned from the shires and burghs to the Commons.

Scottish representation was less than that of Cornwall. In effect, the English parliament became the British parliament with marginal readjustment to accommodate Scottish interests.

NCERT Book for Class 6 History (Social Science): Download Chapter-wise PDFs

Download NCERT books for Class 6 History (Social Science) subject and prepare for CBSE Class 6 Social Science exam 2020-21.

Download NCERT books for Class 6 History (Social Science) subject. Links to download chapter-wise PDFs of CBSE Class 6 History (Social Science) NCERT textbooks are given below in the table.

NCERT Book Class 6 Social Science - History our Past

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 1 - What, Where, How and When?

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 2 - From Hunting – Gathering to Growing Food

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 3 - In the Earliest Cities

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 4 - What Books and Burials Tell Us

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 5 - Kingdoms, Kings and an Early Republic

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 6 - New Questions and Ideas

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 7 - Ashoka, The Emperor Who Gave Up War

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 8 - Vital Villages, Thriving Towns

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 9 - Traders, Kings and Pilgrims

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 10 - New Empires and Kingdoms

NCERT Books for Class 6 History: Chapter 11 - Buildings, Paintings and Books

There are 11 chapters in NCERT textbook of Class 6 History (Social Science) and important topics of each chapter are given below

Chapter 1 - What, Where, How and When?

Some important subheads of this chapter are given below

What can we know about the past? What can we know about the past? Where did people live? Names of the land, Finding out about the past, One past or many? What do dates mean? The beginning of agriculture (8000 years ago), the first cities on the Indus (4700 years ago), cities in the Ganga valley, a big kingdom in Magadha (2500 years ago), the present (about 2000 AD/CE).

Chapter 2 - From Hunting – Gathering to Growing Food

Some important subheads of this chapter are given below

The earliest people: why were they on the move? How do we know about these people? Choosing a place to live in, Finding out about fire, A changing environment, The beginning of farming and herding, Domestication, A new way of life, ‘Storing’ animals, Finding out about the first farmers and herders, Towards a settled life, A closer look — Living and dying in Mehrgarh, A Neolithic site

Chapter 3 - In the Earliest Cities

Some important subheads of this chapter are given below

The story of Harappa, What was special about these cities? Houses, drains and streets, Life in the city, New crafts in the city, In search of raw materials, Food for people in the cities, A closer look — Harappan towns in Gujarat, The mystery of the end.

Chapter 4 - What Books and Burials Tell Us

Important subheads of this chapter are given below

One of the oldest books in the world, Sanskrit and other languages, How historians study the Rigveda, Vishvamitra and the Rivers, Cattle, horses and chariots, Words to describe people, Silent sentinels—the story of the megaliths, Finding out about social differences, Were some burial spots meant for certain families? A special burial at Inamgaon, What skeletal studies tell us, Occupations at Inamgaon

Chapter 5 - Kingdoms, Kings and an Early Republic

Important subheads of this chapter are given below

How some men became rulers, Janapadas, Mahajanapadas, Taxes, Changes in agriculture, A closer look - (a) Magadha, (b) Vajji

Chapter 6 - New Questions and Ideas

Important subheads of this chapter are given below

The story of the Buddha, The story of Kisagotami, Upanishads, Six Schools of Indian Philosophy, The wise beggar, Jainism, The sangha, Monasteries, The system of Ashrams

Chapter 7 - Ashoka, The Emperor Who Gave Up War

Important subheads of this chapter are given below

A very big kingdom = an empire, Dynasty, How are empires different from kingdoms? Ruling the empire, The emperor and the capital city, Ashoka (a unique ruler), Ashoka’s war in Kalinga, Ashoka’s inscription describing the Kalinga war, What was Ashoka’s dhamma? Ashoka’s messages to his subjects.

Chapter 8 - Vital Villages, Thriving Towns

Important subheads of this chapter are given below

Iron tools and agriculture, Other steps to increase production: irrigation, Who lived in the villages? Finding out about cities, The clever poor man, The Story of Baryga, Coins, Cities with many functions, Crafts and crafts persons, Rules for spinning and weaving, A closer look — Arikamedu

Chapter 9 - Traders, Kings and Pilgrims

Important subheads of this chapter are given below

How to find out about trade and traders, A poem about trade, New kingdoms along the coasts, The story of the Silk Route, The spread of Buddhism, The quest of the pilgrims, The beginning of Bhakti, Bhakti, A poem by a bhakta.

Watch the video: What is an Empire, Exactly?


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