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Africa and The Americas. Differences in Classical Civilizations Important differences -the Americas lacked animals suitable for domestication -Africa.

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Presentation on theme: "Africa and The Americas. Differences in Classical Civilizations Important differences -the Americas lacked animals suitable for domestication -Africa."— Presentation transcript:

1 Africa and The Americas

2 Differences in Classical Civilizations Important differences -the Americas lacked animals suitable for domestication -Africa imported previously domesticated sheep, goats, chickens, horses, camels -metallurgy was less developed in the Americas Writing -limited in the Americas to Mesoamerica; most highly developed among the Maya – used hieroglyphs -in Africa, was confined to north and northeast Fewer and smaller classical civilizations in the Americas and Africa

3 Mayan Hieroglyphics

4 The African Northeast Africa had no common cultural identity in the classical era. - great environmental variation within the continent - enormous size of the continent Africa is the most tropical of world’s supercontinents -climate means poorer soils and less productive agriculture -more disease-carrying insects and parasites Africa also shaped by interaction with nearby Eurasia and Arabia -North Africa as part of the Roman Empire -Arabia as source of the domesticated camel

5 Meroe – A continuation of the Nile Valley civilization Nubian civilization was almost as old as Egyptian civilization -constant interaction -remained a distinct civilization With decline of Egypt, Nubian civilization came to focus on Meroë -civilization there flourished 300 b.c.e.–100 c.e. Ruled by an all-powerful sacred monarch (usually female) -buried with human sacrifices City of Meroë had craft specialization -ironworking was especially important

6 Meroe continued.. Rural areas had combination of herding and farming -paid tribute to the ruler -farming was based on rainfall, not irrigation -so population was less concentrated on the Nile, less directly controlled by the capital Major long-distance trade was the source of much of wealth and military power -had contact with the Mediterranean -also traded to east and west by means of camel caravans -less Egyptian influence than earlier times

7 Meroe Architecture

8 Decline of Meroe Decline of Meroë after 100 c.e. -deforestation (too much wood used in iron industry) -conquest in 340s c.e. by Axum -penetration of Christianity; Christian dominance for 1,000 years -penetration of Islam after about 1300

9 Axum Modern day Ethiopia Productive agriculture, plow based farming Center of trade, lots of state revenue from taxing merchants King Ezana adopted Christianity around 300 c.e. Expanded into the middle east, by modern day yemen Both Meroe and Axum rivaled European civilizations and had direct contact with the Mediterranean

10 King Ezana

11 Stateless Societies Along the Niger River– No evidence of states or city- states. Little evidence of social inequality Iron-smithing was the most popular profession villages of cotton weavers, potters, praise-singers (griots) grew up around central towns The middle Niger cities were stimulated by a network of West African commerce. Large-scale states emerged in West Africa in the second millennium c.e.

12 South of the Equator: The World of Bantu Africa over time, 400 distinct Bantu languages developed Bantu-speaking peoples interacted with established societies disease: Bantu brought new diseases to people with little immunity gathering and hunting peoples were largely displaced, absorbed, eliminated

13 Bantu People

14 Bantu - Religion religion placed less emphasis on a remote High God and more on ancestral or nature spirits -sacrifices (especially cattle) to access power of dead ancestors -power of charms was activated by proper rituals -widespread belief in witches -”diviners” could access world of the supernatural -no missionary work

15 Civilizations of Mesoamerica There was a lack of interaction with other major cultures, including with other cultures in the Americas Important civilizations developed in Mesoamerica and the Andes long before Aztec and Inca empires Without large domesticated animals or ironworking

16 Maya Development of advanced mathematical system Elaborate calendars Creation of most elaborate writing system in the Americas Large amount of monumental architecture (temples, pyramids, palaces, public plazas)

17 Mayan Pyramid (ziggurat)

18 Mayan Politics Large engineering projects. Aqueducts, terracing City-states very fragmented (like Greece) Rapid collapse in the century after a long-term drought began in 840 -extremely rapid population growth after 600 c.e. outstripped resources -political disunity and rivalry prevented a coordinated response to climatic catastrophe -warfare became more frequent

19 Teotihuacán: America’s Greatest City city was begun ca. 150 b.c.e. by 550 c.e., population was 100,000–200,000 much about Teotihuacán is unknown city was centrally planned on a gridlike pattern specialized artisans Aztecs named the place Teotihuacán: “city of the gods”

20 Moche: A Regional Andean Civilization Agriculture based on complex irrigation system Rule by warrior-priests Rituals mediated between humans and gods Use of hallucinogenic drugs Human sacrifice

21 North America in the Classical Era Hopewell “Mound Builders” Gathering and hunting peoples still populated much of Americas Agriculture began to supplement hunting and gathering Large burial mounds

22 North America - Iroquois 5 Iroquois tribes from New York Lived in “longhouses” Formed Iroquois Confederacy (democracy)


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