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African Civilizations Early African civilizations (the Nok and the Khoi/San) The Yoruba Kingdoms of Ife and Benin The Niger River Civilizations (Ghana,

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Presentation on theme: "African Civilizations Early African civilizations (the Nok and the Khoi/San) The Yoruba Kingdoms of Ife and Benin The Niger River Civilizations (Ghana,"— Presentation transcript:

1 African Civilizations Early African civilizations (the Nok and the Khoi/San) The Yoruba Kingdoms of Ife and Benin The Niger River Civilizations (Ghana, Mali and Songhay Empires) The Kingdom of Aksum Great Kingdom of Zimbabwe

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3 The Sahel

4 The Niger River Basin Among earliest and most accomplished African cultures lived along the Niger: the Nok, proto- Bantu peoples, Ghana, Mali and Songhay Empires

5 The Nok The Nok culture appeared in Nigeria around 1000 BCE and vanished around 200CE. It was among the earliest advanced African cultures Iron use appears in Nok culture in Africa by 500 BCE

6 The Nok The Nok were the earliest sub-Saharan producer of life- sized terracotta figures Based on similarities it is supposed that the society eventually evolved into the later Yoruba community at Ife

7 Djenne and Djenne-Djeno Historically and commercially important small city in the Inner Niger Delta Archaeological excavations suggest that Djenné-Djeno was first settled around 250 BCE and developed into a large walled urban complex by 850 CE. Djenné became a center of trade and learning Djenne and its sister city Timbuktu were later important destinations for merchants throughout the period

8 Empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay From A.D. 700 to 1600 the ancient empires of Ghana ( ), Mali ( ) and Songhay ( ) controlled areas of West Africa in the Niger River Basin

9 Ghana Empire (Wagadou) CE With the introduction of the camel, extensive gold, ivory, and salt resources of the region could be sent north and east to North Africa, the Middle East and Europe in exchange for manufactured goods Ghana grew rich from the trans-Saharan trade in gold and salt. Large urban centers develop. Expansion to gain control over trade routes increased

10 Mali Empire At its peak, the Empire incorporated an estimated 40 to 50 million people The acceptance of Islam by Ghana, Mali and Songhay encouraged trade among the empires and North Africa. It also instituted more cosmopolitan social structures, universities, and centralized state systems and military forces The imperial powers were located in active commercial centers like Djenne, Timbuktu and Gao

11 Mali Empire Oral histories included poems, praise songs, and accounts of past events. Official oral historians, known as griots, recorded the peoples' and courts' histories The epic poem Sundiata chronicles the life of Sundiata Keita (ca ), the son of the king who defeated the Ghana king Sumanguru and founded the empire of Mali

12 Mali Empire At its peak ( ), the Mali Empire covered an area encompassing parts of present- day Mali, southern and western Mauritania and Senegal Written accounts of Mali were recorded by Arab travelers and scholars. The most famous travelogue is Rihlah by the African-born Ibn Battuta ( ), a great Arab traveler

13 Mali Empire The wealth of the Empire is illustrated by emperor Mansa Musa's pilgrimage to Mecca in His entourage reportedly included thousands of soldiers, officials and attendants, 100 camels each carrying 300 pounds of gold, and 500 maids and slaves The cities of Gao, Djenne and Timbuktu boasted large mosques built of specially prepared mixtures of mud

14 Timbuktu Djenne and its sister city Timbuktu were important destinations for merchants throughout the period Timbuktu became the intellectual and spiritual capital of Islam throughout Africa under Mansa Musa Timbuktu is assumed to have had one of the first universities in the world, the University of Sankore

15 Songhai Empire The Songhai Empire, was an African state that asserted its independence from the Mali Empire and expanded under Sunni Ali. From the early 15th to the late 16th century, Songhai was one of the largest and most impressive African empires in history. Its capital was the city of Gao, where a small Songhai state had existed since the 11th centuryGao

16 Yoruba Kingdoms of Ife and Benin Ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria Evidence of urbanization at the site has been discovered to date back to roughly 500 AD

17 Yoruba Kingdoms of Ife and Benin Between 700 and 900 CE. The Yoruba city of Ife began to develop as a major artistic center known for its ancient and naturalistic bronze, stone and terracotta sculptures. Peak of artistic expression between 1200 and 1400 CE Political and economic power shifted to the nearby kingdom of Benin which developed into a major empire

18 Ife Sculpture

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20 The Kingdom of Benin The Benin kingdom was founded by the son of an Ife king in the 13 th century CE Art was produced mainly for the court of the Oba the divine ruler for whom the craftsmen produced a variety of ceremonial objects. Clear Ife influence The kingdom reached its maximum size and artistic splendor in the 15th and 16th centuries

21 Bronze and Brass Sculpture of Benin

22 Benin Ikegobo, or "altars to the hand," were created to celebrate accomplishments of exceptional individuals Associated with action and productivity, the hand was considered the source of wealth, status, and success for all those who depend on manual skill and physical strength

23 Proto-Bantu Migrations

24 Khoikhoi and San Cultures (Khoisan) The San are the people of southern Africa, whose territory once spanned much of southern Africa and Kalahari Also referred to as Beswara, Kung, Khwe (or pejoratively Bushmen). These people were traditionally hunter- gatherers, part of the Khoisan group They are related to the traditionally pastoral Khoikhoi (Hottentots)

25 Great Zimbabwe Located between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers German explorer Karl Mauch found the remains of a powerful and prosperous civilization in 1871 Estimates are that Great Zimbabwe had as many as 25,000 inhabitants. The ruins span 1,800 acres and cover a radius of over 100 miles German Mauch and others have failed to credit Africans

26 Great Zimbabwe The word Zimbabwe literally means "stone dwelling" in the Shona language Construction began in the 11th century and continued for over 300 years and are some of the oldest and largest structures located in Southern Africa The city wall (Great Enclosure) is built of cement and stone 38 feet high and 820 feet long

27 Great Zimbabwe Evidence suggests that Great Zimbabwe also became a center for trade, with artifacts indicating that the city was part of a trade network extending as far as China. Chinese pottery shards, coins from Arabia, glass beads and other non-local items have been excavated

28 Kingdom of Aksum Axum or Aksum a city in northern Ethiopia which was the original capital of the kingdom of Aksum. A naval and trading power that ruled the region from 400 BC into the 10th century. The kingdom was also identified as Abyssinia and Ethiopia in medieval writings


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