The Kingdom of Axum, frequently spelled Aksum, originated in Ethiopia and at its peak controlled the area around the Red Sea, establishing a major trade empire, constructing impressive stone monoliths and adopting Christianity at an early stage in the religion's development.
Axum arose during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, and it grew into a major trading power along the Red Sea, ultimately supplanting other regional kingdoms in the area. The kingdom became the most important marketplace of east Africa, connecting Asia with the rest of Africa and the Mediterranean. This trade, according to On Islam, allowed the movement of everyday essentials as well as more expensive items, such as turtle shells, ivory, obsidian, rhino horns, emeralds, cattle and gold.
According to EduPlace, Axum also achieved a substantial amount in the area of architecture, constructing massive pillars of stone that memorialized the victories and achievements of the civilization. After its conversion to Christianity, the kingdom replaced temples with lavish Christian churches, one of which allegedly houses the original Ark of the Covenant.
Finally, the Kingdom of Axum developed and adopted Ge'ez, a written alphabet that allowed for high levels of literacy and the legacy of a written history. Because this script is still used today, scholars are able to use it to trace the chronology of the kingdom via coins and other primary sources.