Teacher’s Resource: Ancient King & Queendoms

The information on this page should help you guide your pupils through their tasks, but feel free to do some further research of your own. You may want to use Wikipedia or just a straightforward Google search, or perhaps a visit to your local library would be more informative.

The tasks are designed to stimulate conversation and debate about the themes of this research topic. We would also recommend that you have a world map to hand so that you or your pupils can find the geographical location of these ancient sites.

You know your pupils, so you can set the limitations of the tasks accordingly. Even a very basic response to these suggested topics can stimulate new thinking, or your pupils may create some very detailed and inspiring material. Pupils could work together in groups or on their own projects. Again, you should be the judge of this, based on how much time you have for this subject or how much space you have for artwork that they might create.

Skip to: Naqa | Abu Simbel | Lunda | Mali | Songhai


Naqa or Naga’a is a ruined ancient city of the Kushitic Kingdom of Meroe in modern day Sudan. The ancient city lies about 170 kilometers north-east of Khartoum and about 50 kilometers east of the Nile River.

Naqa is one of the largest ruined sites in the country and indicates that an important ancient city once stood in the location. It was one of the centres of the Kingdom of Meroe, which served as a bridge between the Mediterranean world and Africa.

The site has two notable temples, one devoted to Amun and the other to Apedemak which also has a Roman kiosk.


Abu Simbel is one of the most beautiful and certainly the most unusual and majestic temples in Egypt. It is considered a Nubian temple, built in the heart of Nubian territory, near the present day border of Sudan.

The temple was dedicated to the triad Amon-Ra, Harmakes and Ptah and was built by Rameses II. Most likely it was built to impress the Nubians, ward off potential enemies or to show the power of Rameses II, the great builder.


The Lunda Empire was an empire in central Africa, located along the Kisai tributaries, which was very influential to the modern day Shaba Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, eastern Angola and western Zambia.

History has it that around 1450 Mulopwe Chibunda Ilunga, the legendary hunter from the Luba kingdom, founded a new Lunda dynasty by marrying the Lunda princess Rweej. Their son became the supreme lord, Mwaant Yaav (Lord of Vipers) by unifying the Lunda people and expanding the empire.


The Almoravid or the Senegalise Empire lasted about one century, followed by the Soso or Susa Empire which lasted again for about one century.

After the fall of the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire took over around 1240 AD and grew to be larger than the Ghana Empire. The first capital of the Mali Empire was Djeriba then Niani and then eventually Mali.

Mali was famous for weaving, mining and architecture. By the close of the 14th century the Mali Empire had achieved greater wealth and power than Ghana. Civil war attacks from Songhai and the arrival of the Portuguese in Africa reduced Mali’s power.

Its greatest leaders were Sundiata, Sakura, Mansa Musa, Maghan, Sulayman, Maria Jata and Musa.


The third of the great empires of West Africa was Songhai. By 1500 AD it had become the largest and most powerful state in West Africa. Songhai was famous for its progress in education, a uniform system in weights and measures and the improvement in banking and credit procedures.

The empire’s riches in gold encouraged invasions of Songhai. The Moroccans took control of Timbuktu which was a great centre of learning. Once again this great empire was weakened by internal conflicts and went into decline.

The existence of great kingdoms and empires has shown that Africans created important civilisations long before Europeans arrived in Africa.

Important rulers of the Songhai Empire were Sonni Ali, Bakari Da’a, Askia the Great, Musa, Askia Ismail, Askia Daud and Askia Ishak.

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