Blacksmiths emerged in West Africa around 1500 BCE. They are feared in some societies for their skill in metalworking, considered a form of magic. They are also much admired and hold high social status. Because the trade is so specialised and dangerous, blacksmiths are often requisitioned by towns and villages where there are none (Ross). Other ironworking societies such as the Mandé peoples of Mali and the Bamana exist in West Africa.