Early African Civilizations
Describe the rise and achievements of African civilizations.
Geography – largest continent after Asia
Regions – North Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan – savanna, Rift Valley, rain forest, desert
Rain Forest Desert Mild zone Savanah
Kush – Nubia developed into Kush by 2000 B.C.
Assyria – iron weapons; defeated Egyptians & Kushites, 671 B.C. Meroe – new capital & center for iron production
Location on Red Sea – facilitated prosperity as trading power
Axum – founded by Arabs Location on Red Sea – facilitated prosperity as trading power Ezana – made Christianity official religion, A.D. 330
Ghana – name for “king” & a region; 1st great trading state
Located between Saharan salt mines & tropical gold mines Berbers – nomads; camel caravans – “fleets of the desert”
The Salt Mines
Fleets of the Desert
Mali – “where the king resides”
Sundiata Keita – “lion prince;” brought prosperity in mid-13th century Mansa Musa – greatest king of Mali; introduced Islamic culture Timbuktu – capital, center of Islamic art & learning
Songhai – region along the Niger River
Sunni Ali – early ruler who conquered Timbuktu Askia Muhammad – “usurper” ruled Songhai Empire at height of glory Morocco – defeated the Songhai in A.D. 1589
Bantu Kingdoms – Central & South Africa
Bantu migrations – West Africa to other parts of continent Bantu – became language spoken by many groups Great Zimbabwe – “stone house;” largest fortress; no mortar
East Africa – trade with South Asia began as early as 500 B.C.
Coastal city-states: Kilwa, Mombasa, Mogadishu Blending of cultures – adopted Islam & Islamic culture Swahili – Bantu-based, Arabic-influenced language
Aspects of society – reliance on oral tradition
Lineage groups – claimed descent from common ancestor Women – subordinate to men; valued for work & child raising Matrilineal – traced descent thru mother Patrilineal – traced descent thru father Education – boys & girls raised together until age six Girls – “house of the women,” home & field work Boys – “house of the men,” hunt, fish, grow crops Initiation ceremonies at puberty Slavery – an ancient practice in Africa
Religious beliefs – polytheistic
Animism - souls inhabit all or most objects Communicated with gods thru ritual Diviner – power to foretell events Ancestors – important because they were closer to the gods Islam – challenged but did not replace religious beliefs
Culture – art was meant to express religious conviction
Rock paintings – earliest art form, B.C. Dance – means to communicate with the spirits Music – words served to transmit legends & traditions Griots – storytellers who kept alive a people’s history
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