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World’s second largest continent Earliest human beings appeared there and then spread to other areas of the world World’s second oldest civilization, Egypt,

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Presentation on theme: "World’s second largest continent Earliest human beings appeared there and then spread to other areas of the world World’s second oldest civilization, Egypt,"— Presentation transcript:

1 World’s second largest continent Earliest human beings appeared there and then spread to other areas of the world World’s second oldest civilization, Egypt, was in northeastern Africa Carthage was also located in northern Africa Kush Axum Ghana Mali Great Zimbabwe

2 KUSH Located south of Egypt in modern-day Sudan Flourished between 700 BC-300 AD Egyptian influences were of paramount importance in the development of this region – Had trade contacts with Egypt since Middle Kingdom – New Kingdom Egypt actually took over the region and turned it into a satellite state

3 EGYPT AND KUSH New Kingdom would leave indelible mark on Kush – Sons of elite were sent to Egypt for education – Egyptian temples, gods, rituals, traditions, and writing system were transplanted into Kush – Even buried their rulers in pyramids

4 BLACK PHARAOHS Once New Kingdom faded and Egyptian culture became diluted by wave after wave of foreign invaders, Kush saw itself as the guardian of pure Egyptian culture – Even invaded Egypt in 750 BC to drive out nomadic invaders from Libyan Desert Occupied the country for 50 years Known as the period of the “Black Pharaohs”

5 GOLDEN AGE OF KUSH Kush was driven out of Egypt by the Assyrians – But its greatest days still lay ahead Golden Age of Kush was between 300 BC and 100 AD – Keys to its success were: Its location Its land Its energetic people

6 MEROE In general, Kush was rich in minerals but arid – Not well-suited for agriculture Exception was the area immediately around the capital of Meroe – Well-watered by Nile River and heavy annual rainfall – Possessed a broad expanse of crop and pasture land that fed the entire kingdom and produced a surplus for export Upriver from Egypt – Its best trade partner Along several caravan routes – To Red Sea and Arab cities Meroe

7 CULTURE Culture flourished in Kush – Huge walls surrounded Meroe engraved with military victories, famous rulers, and gods – Huge stone pyramids However, Kush abandoned hieroglyphics around 300 BC – Developed their own alphabet Not deciphered entirely yet So we don’t yet know what they wrote after this date

8 REASONS FOR DOWNFALL I Limited agricultural land around Meroe finally became exhausted as farmers overworked it in attempt to keep up with growing population – Began to dry up and become part of the Sahara Desert Best trading partners, the Egyptians, were squeezed dry by the Romans and plunged into poverty – Business with Kush suffered as a result

9 REASONS FOR DOWNFALL II Trade with Arabs taken over by new peoples who had established themselves along the African coast of the Red Sea – In fact, one of these new Red Sea powers, the Kingdom of Axum, conquered a weakened Kush around 350 AD Golden Age of Kush over forever

10 ORIGINS OF THE AXUMITES Around 600 BC, Arabs crossed the Red Sea and settled in the region that is now Ethiopia – Over time, they merged with the native people who already lived there Eventually produced the hybrid nationality known as the Axumites (100 BC)

11 MERCHANTS Axumites were merchants above all else – Obtained rhinoceros horn, ivory, and gold from African interior Then shipped these commodities to the rest of the world at fantastic prices Merchants were active in Red Sea region, the eastern Mediterranean, Rome, and maybe even India

12 POWER AND CULTURE Used wealth to increase political and military power of Axum – Conquered all the land from Kush down to what is now South Africa Capital city, Axum, developed highly sophisticated culture – Stone castles – Massive engraved walls – Obelisks

13 CHRISTIANITY Originally polytheistic – But King Ezana converted to Christianity 400 AD Tore down old temples and replaced them with churches Conversion to Christianity originally strengthened Axum’s trade contacts with Christian Middle East – But the spread of Islam throughout Middle East and North Africa cut Axum off from rest of Christian world Axum then began long decline

14 DECLINE AND SOLACE Axumite Empire disappeared by 900 AD – Survivors lost their power and wealth but they clung to their Christian faith Comforted them in the long centuries of poverty and isolation that followed Allowed them to survive to become the ancestors of Africa’s oldest independent people, the Ethiopians

15 Prosperity of Islamic North Africa stimulated trade across the Sahara Desert Merchants sought West African kola nuts, gums, cotton cloth, hides, slaves, and gold Exchanged salt for these items Merchants had to follow very specific routes across the desert This allowed local strongmen who controlled these valuable routes to tax all caravans that came their way These individuals often evolved into powerful rules who controlled impressive states Also used learning and literacy they gained from Moslem merchants to create impressive administrative systems and sophisticated cultures Soon after the creation of an Islamic world economy, a number of states developed along the southern border of the Sahara Desert which monopolized key trade routes and gained widespread fame for their wealth and power.

16 KINGDOM OF GHANA King of Ghana was basically a middleman who controlled the caravan route between the Moroccan commercial city of Sijilmassa and the gold mines further to his south – Used profits from this geographic position to develop a powerful army and expand his territory into what is now Senegal and Nigeria

17 ISLAM AND GHANA Rulers of Ghana welcomed Moslem merchants and teachers – Used Moslem learning for economic and administrative purposes – But they did not convert to Islam until the last days of their civilization

18 END OF GHANA Prosperity of Ghana was based solely on its control of the Sijilmassa caravan route – Did not manufacture any products or even grow much of its own food Just bought these things with profits of its caravan route monopoly But Ghana lost control of caravan route to desert nomads – And it quickly broke apart and collapsed

19 KINGDOM OF MALI Main trade route across Sahara shifted westward after the collapse of Ghana – Provided the base for the rise of Kingdom of Mali Local chieftain Sundiata came to control this new caravan route – Used huge profits gained from this control to create a powerful army and extend his territories into the west Thus creating the Kingdom of Mali Sundiata

20 CULTURE OF MALI Mali developed a system of internal trade based on the production and sale of agricultural products – Had a more diversified economy than Ghana had Rulers of Mali converted to Islam early in their history – Turned their capital of Timbuktu into a famous center of Islamic learning and worship

21 MANSA MUSA King Mansa Musa made trip to Mecca in 1324 – Accompanied by huge army of retainers and servants – Gave away huge amounts of gold to local rulers along his route in order to broadcast his wealth – Also spent vast amounts for provisions for his entourage Trip also intensified Islamic influence in Mali

22 END OF MALI After the death of Mansa Musa, Mali was attacked by desert tribes – Took over Timbuktu and northern part of kingdom At the same time, local strongmen in other parts of the kingdom exploited the general chaos, broke away, and set up independent states By the 1370s, the Kingdom of Mali had completely collapsed

23 GREAT ZIMBABWE Located in what is now the modern country of Zimbabwe – Named after ruins – Formerly the colony of Rhodesia Ruins are still impressive – Massive stone walls – A stone fortress – Stone towers – Strange statues of birds

24 WHO BUILT IT? Ruins first discovered by a white prospector in 1871 – Thought he had found King Solomon’s mines Other white “experts” variously attributed the construction of the city to: – Phoenicians – Lost tribe of Israel – Arabs – Immigrants from India Racism prevented them from seeing the obvious fact that the city had been built by native black people – “Experts” simply assumed that black people did not have the skill or intelligence to build something like this

25 THE REAL GREAT ZIMBABWE It was only during the 1960s that the obvious fact that black people had built the city became commonly accepted Had been capital of a large state in southeaster Africa Active in international trade May have been a religious center since the numerous bird statues may have represented their god of the sky

26 ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE Population reached 25,000 people – But this growth put tremendous strain on fragile agricultural and grazing environment of the region Which ultimately collapsed due to over-farming and over-grazing With collapse of local environment, people began to leave the city – By 1600, the site was completely abandoned

27 SUMMARY Many more civilizations rose and fell in other parts of Africa – All of which points to the same thing: Even though most of the rest of the world didn’t know about it, Africans frequently developed sophisticated and prosperous civilizations long before Europeans arrived on the continent with their allegedly gift of civilization


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