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Aim: What are the geographical and cultural characteristics of Western African society? June 12, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Aim: What are the geographical and cultural characteristics of Western African society? June 12, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aim: What are the geographical and cultural characteristics of Western African society? June 12, 2014

2 I. Africa’s Geography A.Diverse Climates and Terrains 1. Northern Africa is largely desert (Sahara): Very dry, extremely hot temperatures during the day, little vegetation 2. Sahel Region – Sub Saharan 3. Savanna – Grassy plains in central and southern Africa. Generally have good soil, rain to support farming. 4. Rainforests along the equator

3 II. Traditional Society and Culture A.Village Government: Power was shared among members of a community / village rather than by a single leader. B.Family Patterns: 1. Generally extended families (several generations live in one household). 2. Extended families with common ancestors formed clans / tribes a. Patrilineal: Trace ancestors through fathers b. Matrilineal: Trace ancestors through mothers

4 II. Traditional Society and Culture C. Religious Beliefs: Animism - Belief that all things living and non-living had spirits. Departed ancestors were among these spirits. D. Literature: No written language. Oral traditions

5 III. Kingdoms of Western Africa A. Why did the Western Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali and Songhai flourish? 1.They were located in the Sahel region, between the salt mines in the Sahara and the gold mines in the Savanna. All gold/salt trade will flow through these kingdoms, and they will come to control the major trans-Saharan trade routes as well.

6 I. Kingdoms of Western Africa 2. Developed agriculture and efficient farming methods 3. Strong central governments 4. Use of iron for powerful weapons 5. Had large armies

7 I. Kingdoms of Western Africa B. Ghana (800 A.D A.D.) 1. Control trade in gold and salt across west Africa 2. Women have high status: Worked in business and government 3. Muslim cultural influences: Arabic writing / Architecture. Leaders will convert to Islam, but most common people will not.

8 I. Kingdoms of Western Africa C. Mali (1200 A.D. – 1450 A.D.) 1. Conquer Ghana’s former territories, reestablish control over trade routes 2. Sundiata (founder of the kingdom) and Mansa Musa are great emperors: Strong armies, efficient governments. 3. Mansa Musa converts to Islam and takes the hajj ( ): Visiting the Muslim world inspires him to build the city of Timbuktu: Great center of trade, culture and education.

9 I. Kingdoms of Western Africa D. Songhai ( ) 1. Largest West African Kingdom ever seen, continues to dominate trade routes. 2. Askia Muhammad: Powerful leader, divides empire into provinces ruled by chosen officials, uses Muslim law to rule (very strict). 3. Timbuktu remains a major cultural center. 4. Empire falls to the Moroccans, who had European weapons (guns)


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