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Chapter 19: States and Societies of Sub- Saharan Africa

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1 Chapter 19: States and Societies of Sub- Saharan Africa
By Jonny Friedman

2 Chapter Summary from the textbook website
Agriculture and herding spread gradually throughout sub-Saharan Africa from about 2000 B.C.E. until the end of the first millennium C.E. through a process known as the Bantu migrations. After about 500 B.C.E. the knowledge of iron metallurgy was also disseminating throughout Africa. As a result of these movements, of the introduction of new nutritious foods such as bananas, and of long-distance trade, the population of Africa grew dramatically, and increasingly complex forms of government began to emerge. Most sub-Saharan African cultures were kin-based and organized into relatively small villages that were loosely allied into districts governed by a chief. Occasionally larger and more structured kingdoms and empires appeared. These larger states generally consolidated their position through controlling long-distance trade in their regions. In general, the history of sub-Saharan Africa from 1000 to 1500 C.E. is noted for The introduction and widespread dissemination of the Islamic religion. In many cases the belief in Islam supplemented rather than supplanted traditional religious practices. Some sub-Saharan societies became important centers of worship and learning in the Islamic world. A regular and reliable flow of trade goods: gold, ivory, and slaves being the most important exports. These trade networks were both overland—particularly notable was the trans-Saharan camel caravan routes—and maritime, where east African city-states became important stops on the Indian Ocean seaways. The emergence and growth of states that became highly influential in the cross-cultural interactions of this period. The states of Kongo, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Mali, and the Swahili city-states became trade and religious centers whose fortunes were clearly tied into those of Eurasia.

3 The important parts… Bananas
Kin-Based societies- Villages and Districts Ivory, Gold and Slaves Islam Kingdom of Ghana The Kingdom of Kongo Mali Sundiata & Mansa Musa Swahili city-states The Great Zimbabwe Native Religion Christianity

4 Important Areas of Africa for this Chapter

5 Bananas… Really? Bananas did not originate in Africa, they came from Southeast Asia (Indonesia area) during the 4th century Bananas were brought to the island of Madagascar in the 300’s C.E., and quickly found it’s way to the mainland Previously, the Bantu peoples staple crops were millet, sorghum and yams, which cannot grow in jungle areas Bananas can grow in jungle areas, allowing the Bantu peoples to expand into the dense rainforest areas of Africa’s interior

6 Villages The Bantu people were farmers, so after about 1000 C.E., most Bantu people settled in small villages In a village, the eldest male from each family was on the council of elders, which made decisions that affected the villages public affairs The most important member of the council of elders was the chief. The chief represented the village when dealing with other villages. Within a village, families disciplined their members as necessary Stories and epics were handed down to each generation by oral transcription by professional singers or griots

7 Districts Districts were made-up of several villages
This was the level where people held their ethnic loyalties The chief of a village would negotiate with the chief of another village in their district if a problem arose There were no ruling authorities at the district level, which made a government impossible

8 Ivory, Gold, and Slaves (This is the slide about trade)
These three things were the reason that trade in Sub-Saharan Africa flourished. Gold- sub-Saharan Africa has many large deposits of gold. Islamic caravans (discussed later) flocked across the Saharan desert for gold, because there was a surging economy in the Eastern Hemisphere and gold coins were fueling it. Ivory- Well… It’s rare, and looks nice… Slaves- No one in sub- Saharan Africa owned their own land, so what ever they and the slaves they owned harvested was theirs to keep. More slaves= More Food. For Islamic traders also wanted slaves, making slaves one of the most contested over items in sub- Saharan Africa. Caravans traveling to kingdoms of sub-Saharan Africa were carrying such wares as: copper, horses, manufactured goods and SALT.

9 Islam Spread by North African merchants via two different routes: to west Africa by trans-Saharan traders, and to the East African coast on the sea lanes in the Indian Ocean Basin trade route First sub- Saharan converts were the kings of Ghana in the 900’s C.E. Being an Islamic empire/kingdom in sub-Saharan Africa improved trade with the Islamic merchants from North Africa, as well as having validation for a king’s rule Islam tended to always supplement the native religion rather than replace it in sub-Saharan Africa A major difference between traditional Islam and African Islam: women in Africa were still allowed to work, go outside without veils, and socialize with other men even if they were married

10 Kingdom of Ghana Est. ≈500 C.E. High Point: 1000’s-1200’s C.E.
Location: West Africa- Between the Senegal and Niger Rivers Center of gold trade in west Africa Also a major center for trading ivory and slaves Kings made a large amount of money by taxing the trade Capital: Koumbi- Saleh By the 900’s C.E., the kings of Ghana had converted to Islam Did not force Islam upon anyone Fell in the early 1200’s, due to Muslim Conquest

11 The Kingdom of Kongo 1300’s-mid 1600’s C.E.
Location: Congo River Basin Large trading centers of copper, raffia cloth, and nzimbu shells Had a central government- a king  6 provinces, each one had a governor each governor administered several villages  village chief Was stable enough to maintain a royal currency: cowries (shells)

12 Mali 1230- mid 1400’s C.E. Est. by Sundiata in 1230 C.E.
Location: West Africa (including lands that used to be Ghana) Capital: Niani Even larger trading center than Ghana Taxed and controlled all trade in and going through the kingdom First “Muslim” kingdom in sub-Saharan Africa Major trade cities: Timbuktu, Gao, Jenne Did not force Islam on it’s people Close relations with Islamic lands in North Africa

13 Sundiata Nicknamed “The Lion Prince of Mali”
Founded the Mali empire in 1235 C.E. Reigned from C.E. Followed Islam, but still observed native religious beliefs and magic

14 Mansa Musa Grand-nephew of Sundiata
Reigned C.E., the highpoint of the Mali empire Made his hajj to Mecca from C.E. After returning, he was more devoted to his faith Built many mosques in the cities where Muslim traders frequently visited

15 Swahili City-States 1000’s-1400’s C.E.
City- States developed in the 1000’s and 1100’s C.E. Location: East coast of Africa Swahili is Arabic for “coasters” Trade-based society Major Cities: Kilwa (the busiest), Malindi, Sofala, Mogadishu, Lamu, Mombasa, Mozambique, Zanzibar Highly involved in the Indian-Ocean trade routes Traded products from the African interior with mariners from Persia, dar-al-Islam, China, the Malay islands, India Was not connected in any form by a kingdom; However, Swahili City-States progressed at similar rates in the areas of : language, technology, religion and architecture

16 The Great Zimbabwe Early 1200’s-1400’s C.E. Location: South Africa
One of the few inland empires in sub-Saharan Africa at this time The people in these kinds of kingdoms did not have all of the luxuries enjoyed by kingdoms close to shore The capital was The Great Zimbabwe- a stone city surrounded by stone walls 16’ thick and 32’ tall Kings of The Great Zimbabwe controlled and taxed the trade going from the African interior (where the goods can be found) to the coastal regions (where the goods are sold) No resources of it’s own, just purely controlling the flow of trade between these two vital regions

17 Native African Religions
Throughout the continent, just as there are many different language, differing only slightly, so are there native religions All follow the same basic structure, with differences in: names, rituals, and deities All believe that there was a male force in the beginning of things, but most differ as to what he did: set the world in motion, intervenes everyday, always there and watching, etc Recognized lesser g-ds and spirits, usually in the form of an element of nature (e.x. tree, river) Venerated ancestors, and believed that they determined an individuals luck This notion caused the people of sub-Saharan Africa to have strict moral ethics and behavior- for fear of disgracing their ancestors Did not concern themselves with theology (Taoism did deal with theology)

18 Christianity Soon after the appearance of Christianity, it spread to Egypt and North Africa Did not spread to sub-Saharan Africa in this time period Around the mid 300’s C.E., Christianity spread to the Ethiopian highlands to the kingdom of Axum Remained isolated in this African foothold until the socialist revolution in Ethiopia in 1974 C.E.

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