What Characteristics of an Advanced Civilization Did Ancient Ghana Possess?

Ancient Ghana, also known as the Ghana Empire, was a powerful West African kingdom that thrived from the 6th to 13th century. This empire was known for its wealth and power, and it possessed several characteristics of an advanced civilization. In this article, we will explore the key characteristics of Ancient Ghana that made it an advanced civilization.

Geography and Environment

The geography and environment played a significant role in the success of Ancient Ghana. The empire was located in the western region of Africa, along the Niger River and its tributaries. This location provided fertile land for agriculture and easy access to trade routes.


Agriculture was one of the primary economic activities in Ancient Ghana. The fertile land along the Niger River allowed for successful agricultural practices such as crop cultivation and animal husbandry. The kingdom produced crops such as millet, sorghum, and rice which were used for food as well as trading commodities.


The location of Ancient Ghana made it a hub for trade between North Africa and West Africa. The kingdom had access to valuable resources such as gold, ivory, salt, and slaves which were highly sought after by merchants from other regions. They exchanged these resources for luxury goods such as textiles, ceramics, glassware, and horses.


Ancient Ghana had a sophisticated political system that contributed to its success as an advanced civilization. The empire was ruled by a powerful king who had control over several provinces or states within the kingdom.

Centralized Government

The king had absolute power over his subjects and was responsible for maintaining law and order throughout his kingdom. He appointed governors to manage each province or state within his realm who reported directly to him. This centralized government allowed for efficient administration of resources such as taxation and military defense.


The military was a vital component of Ancient Ghana’s political system. The king maintained a strong army that protected his kingdom from external threats and also expanded his territory through conquests. The soldiers were well-trained and equipped with weapons such as spears, bows, and arrows, which made them formidable opponents in battle.

Religion and Culture

Ancient Ghana had a rich cultural heritage that was influenced by several religions such as Islam and traditional African beliefs.


Islam was introduced to Ancient Ghana through trade routes with North Africa. It quickly gained popularity among the ruling elite who saw it as a way to legitimize their power. The religion also helped to unify the empire by providing a common belief system for its subjects.

Traditional African Beliefs

Despite the influence of Islam, traditional African beliefs were still prevalent in Ancient Ghana. These beliefs were deeply rooted in the culture of the people and were expressed through art, music, dance, and storytelling.


Ancient Ghana possessed several characteristics of an advanced civilization that contributed to its prosperity and success. Its location along trade routes provided access to valuable resources while its sophisticated political system allowed for efficient administration of these resources. Its military strength ensured protection from external threats while its rich cultural heritage added to the kingdom’s diversity and unity.