West Africa in 1600

This map shows West Africa in 1600, at a time of considerable political upheaval and internal migrations.

By the turn of the 17th century, the inroads of Moroccan armies into the great Songhay trading state - which had once spread from modern Nigeria to the Atlantic - had reduced it to a rump on the middle reaches of the Niger. The same period also witnessed the final collapse of the great Mali empire, much of whose influence and territory had been controlled by the Songhay during the previous century.

The historical kingdom of Benin (part of what is now Nigeria) was already in the process of extending its influence from the Niger delta into Lagos. Over the next hundred years, the independent African states - including the group of Hausa states (shown in dark green on the map) and the Mossi states around the upper reaches of the White Volta - would be able to maintain or expand their territories. The kingdom of Dahomey (now southern Benin) and the Asante (now the southern part of Ghana) had yet to begin their respective expansions over the Slave Coast and Gold Coast.

Maps in Minutes (2003)
1. Yatenga 7. Borgu 12 Hausa states 13. Borno
2. Wagadugu 8. Oyo a. Gobir 14. Kanem
3. Mamprussi 9. Nupe b. Katsina 15. Kwararafa
4. Dagomba 10. Igala c. Daura  
5. Nanumba 11. Benin d. Kano  
6. Gonja   e. Zakzak  
    f. Zamfara  
    g. Kebbi  


back to top back to top