3 Main Idea 1: Central Africa’s major physical features include the Congo Basin and plateaus surrounding the basin.LandformsThe Congo Basin is in the center of the region. A basin is a flat region surrounded by higher land.Plateaus and low hills surround the Congo Basin.High mountains lie to east.RiversThe Congo River is the main river of the region. Rapids and waterfalls along its route keep ships from sailing to the sea from Central Africa’s interior.The Zambezi River lies farther south. Victoria Falls are one of the many waterfalls on the river.
4 Main Idea 2: Central Africa has a humid tropic climate and dense forest vegetation. Humid tropical climate, since most of the region lies along the equatorWarm temperatures all yearPlenty of rainfallVegetationLarge, dense tropical forestTall trees in the forest form a complete canopy.Canopy leaves block sunlight from reaching the ground.AnimalsGorillas, boars, elephants, and okapis live in the forest.Because of the lack of sunlight, few animals live on the forest floor.Birds, monkeys, bats, and snakes live in the canopy.
5 Climate, Vegetation, and Animals Central Africa’s animals and forests are in danger.Forests are being cleared for farming and logging.Animals are hunted for food.Governments have set up national parks to protect forests and other natural environments.North and south of the Congo Basin are tropical savannas.Warm all year, but distinct wet and dry seasonsGrasslands with scattered trees and shrubsMountains in the east have highland climates.Steppe and desert climates can be found in the far south.
6 Main Idea 3: Central Africa’s resources include forest products and valuable minerals such as diamonds and copper.Most people in the region are subsistence farmers. Some people have begun to grow crops to sell in periodic markets, open-air trading markets that are set up once or twice a week.Tropical forests provide timber.Rivers produce hydroelectricity.Copper is the most important mineral in the region. Much of it is found in a copper belt that stretches through northern Zambia and Democratic Republic of the Congo.Other resources include oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, tin, zinc, diamonds, gold, and cobalt.
7 History and Culture The Big Idea Central Africa’s history and culture have been influenced by native traditions and European colonizers.Main IdeasGreat African kingdoms and European colonizers have influenced the history of Central Africa.The culture of Central Africa includes many ethnic groups and languages, but it has also been influenced by European colonization.
9 Main Idea 1: Great African kingdoms and European colonizers have influenced the history of Central Africa.The Kongo Kingdom was formed in the 1300s near the mouth of the Congo River. The Kongo grew rich from trade.Europeans arrived in the region in the 1400s. They wanted products like timber, ivory, and slaves for their colonies.In the 1800s European countries like France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal divided Central Africa into colonies.Boundaries drawn by the Europeans ignored the homelands of different ethnic groups. As a result, people from different groups were forced to live together, and conflict resulted.
11 Main Idea 2: The culture of Central Africa includes many ethnic groups and languages, but it has also been influenced by European colonization.PeopleAbout 100 million people live in Central Africa.They belong to many ethnic groups.LanguagesMost ethnic groups have their own languages or dialects, regional varieties of a language.Most people speak African languages in their daily lives.The official languages of most countries are European because of the influence of the colonial powers. For example, Portuguese is the official language of Angola.
13 Religion and the Arts Religion The Arts Europeans introduced Christianity to the region.Many people in former French, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies are Catholic.People in former British colonies are Protestant.Muslims and Hindus also live in the region.The ArtsFamous for sculpture, carved wooden masks, and cotton gownsCentral African music is also popular.The likembe, or thumb piano, was invented in the Congo area.A type of dance music called makossa was created there.
14 Central Africa Today The Big Idea War, disease, and environmental problems have made it difficult for the countries of Central Africa to develop stable governments and economies.Main IdeasThe countries of Central Africa are mostly poor, and many are trying to recover from years of civil war.Challenges to peace, health, and the environment slow economic development in Central Africa.
15 Democratic Republic of the Congo Main Idea 1: The countries of Central Africa are mostly poor, and many are trying to recover from years of civil war.Democratic Republic of the CongoBelgian colony until 1960A dictator named Joseph Mobotu came to power in He changed the country’s name to Zaire.Mobotu was corrupt and used his position to make himself rich.After a civil war in 1997 a new government took over and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo.The country is full of minerals, but bad government has scared investors away. As a result the resources are not used.Most people are poor. Many are moving to Kinshasa.
16 Countries of Central Africa Central African Republic and CameroonCentral African Republic is landlocked. It has faced many problems since independence:Military coupsCorrupt leadersImproper electionsWeak economyCameroon has a stable government and economy.Elected presidentHigher standard of livingEquatorial Guinea and São Tomé and PríncipeEquatorial Guinea is a republic, but some think its elections are flawed.Most people in the country are poor.São Tomé and Príncipe is an island country. It has struggled with political instability, and most people there are poor.
17 Countries of Central Africa Gabon and Republic of the CongoGabon has the highest standard of living in the region because of oil money.Republic of the Congo has oil, but civil war hurt it in the 1990s.The country is mostly urban. The largest city is Brazzaville.AngolaAfter years of civil war, Angola is now a republic.The economy is struggling. Most people are subsistence farmers.Inflation, a rise in prices, is a big problem.Angola has oil and diamonds.Zambia and MalawiA huge majority of Zambia’s workers are farmers. The country has copper, but it is developing slowly.Most people in Malawi are farmers. It depends heavily on foreign aid.
18 Main Idea 2: Challenges to peace, health, and the environment slow economic development in Central Africa.A mix of ethnic groups and the desire for power has led to civil war in many countries.Thousands of people have died in these wars.Wars have also hurt the region’s economies. People who are killed or injured in the fighting can no longer work. In addition, fighting destroys land and other resources.
19 HealthDiseases like malaria kill many people in Central Africa each year. Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes that causes fever and pain.International health organizations and governments are working to prevent the spread of malaria, but the preventative measures are expensive.Malaria is not the only disease that causes problems in Central Africa. AIDS also kills hundreds of thousands of people each year.Partly because so many people die from disease, Central Africa has a very young work force. As a result, productivity suffers.
20 Resources and Environments Central African countries need to develop their natural resources more effectively.Agricultural production has declined in many areas.As a result malnutrition—the condition of not getting enough nutrients from food—has increased.Current policies regarding resources are also leading to environmental problems.Forests are being cut down for timber.Mining destroys the landscape.Organizations around the world are working to find ways to help Central Africans improve their use of resources and protect their environment at the same time.