|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)