Before Europeans were firmly entrenched in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Afrikans built great empireson the west coast of the continent. High culture and advanced technology were commonplace. The boundaries of their territories were much larger then they are today. When the Europeans divided Afrika during the Berlin Conference in 1884-85, the sizes of the various cultural territories were vastly reduced. At the time of the great West Afrikan Empires, they were called: Ghana, Mali, andSonghai.