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African Civilizations

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Presentation on theme: "African Civilizations"— Presentation transcript:

1 African Civilizations
West South East Ghana, Mali Songhai Great Zimbabwe Axum

2 SOL Standards Essential Questions
What were the characteristics of civilizations in sub-Saharan Africa during the medieval period?

3 African Empires East: Egypt, Kush, Axum North: Carthage
West: Ghana, Mali, Songhai South: Great Zimbabwe (area of Monomotapa)

4 Axum Also spelled Aksum
Axum was located in sub-Saharan East Africa (south of Kush and Egypt) Located in the Ethiopian highlands Present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea

5 Trade in Axum Axum’s location on the Nile and Red Sea enabled it to become an international trading center Trade brought economic, cultural, and religious influences to Axum.

6 Christianity in Axum Axum became a Christian Kingdom under King Ezana
When the Muslims invaded North Africa, Axum moved to the highlands and remained Christian.

7 Axumite Architecture Stelae: Huge stone pillars carved out of granite
Christian Rock Churches: carved out of existing rock.

8 The Small green building on the right supposedly holds the Ark of the Covenant

9 West African Kingdoms Ghana – 11th century Mali – 14th century
Arose in the area of present-day Mali Ghana – 11th century Mali – 14th century Songhai – 15th century

10 Western Empires These kingdoms arose on the Niger River, just south of the Sahara Desert in the savannah region (Sahel). They grew strong by controlling the gold-salt trade.

11 Salt necessary for survival in Africa’s hot climate, so it was as valuable as gold. lost through sweat in hot climates and must be replaced. used to preserve foods.

12 Gold- Salt Trade Salt was plentiful in the Sahara desert, but the Sahel and forests to the south lacked salt. Gold was plentiful in the Sahel and the forest regions.

13 Gold-Salt Trade North and South were interdependent on each other for these natural resources, so they traded.

14 Trans-Sahara Trade The Niger River and the Sahara desert were the highways of this gold-salt trade. Ghana, Mali, and then Songhai prospered because they lay on trade routes located between these resources.

15 Ghana The Land of Gold Ghana grew rich by taxing traders that carried goods through their territory Traders would have to pay the king of Ghana (in gold or salt) whenever they exchanged goods.

16 Animism Animisim: belief that there are spirits present in animals, plants, and other natural forces which play an important part in daily life.

17 Spread of Islam Islam spread to West Africa through trade.
Ghana’s rulers converted to Islam, but many people remained animists. Some people observed Islam, but also kept their former beliefs.

18 West African Religions
Islam continued to spread through trade and conquest. Islam and Animism continue to coexist in West Africa today.

19 As Ghana declined, Mali seized power and grew into an Empire
he Mandingo empire, called Mali, gained control over the salt trade from Taghaza and the copper trade of the Sahara. The gold trade was a source of wealth for Mali, and so too was trade in food: sorghum, millet and rice. And regarding trade, Mali dominated the town of Timbuktu, nine miles north of the Niger River, which had risen a century or two before as a point of trade for desert caravans. After Sundiata's death in 1255 more conquests were made by his successors -- Mansa Uli and then Sakura. Sakura had been a freed slave serving in the royal household and had seized power after the ruling family had become weakened by quarreling among themselves. It is surmised that Sakura was responsible for Mali's expansion to Tekrur in the west and to Gao in the east. By the 1300s, Mali's kings had converted to Islam, which gave them advantages of good will in diplomacy and in commerce. But, again, the pagan rituals and artifacts that were a part of the ideology and justification of rule were maintained. And the king's loyal subjects continued their traditional prostrations and covering themselves with dust to display their humility.

20 Sundiata Restablished the gold-salt trade Known as “The Lion King”

21 Mansa Musa King who made Timbuktu into a great center of learning
Went on a Hajj across Africa to Mecca. One well known Mali emperor who was Muslim was Mansa Musa, who ruled from On record is Mansa Musa's pilgrimage to Mecca, his entourage described as including 500 slaves with gold staffs and 100 camels each with 300 pounds of gold. Mansa Musa is described as spending lavishly in the bazaars of Cairo and his spending is said to have increased the supply of gold to an extent that its price depreciated on the Cairo exchange. And, as usual, scholars were not immune from being influenced by wealth, Mansa Musa bringing a collection of  them back with him from Mecca. Mali was literate, but only insofar as it employed Muslim scribes at the court of its kings. As in Europe, the common people of Mali were not yet expected to read and write.

22 Timbuktu Largest trading city in Mali.
Located where the desert met the Niger River.

23 Timbuktu Became a great Muslim learning center
Had three universities and a library with Greek and Roman writings.

24 Songhai As Mali declined, Songhai grew into an empire
Songhai was the last and largest of the powerful empires which ruled central West Africa. Mali reached its peak in fame and fortune in the 1300s. Then weak and incompetent kings inherited power.  Late in the 1300s the old problem of dynastic succession brought quarrels that weakened the Mali kingship and gave others opportunity. The others in this instance were the Songhai people, who lived along the middle of the Niger River and monopolized fishing and canoe transport there. Trade at Gao had brought Islam to the Songhai. Some Songhai royalty had converted to Islam, as had an unknown percentage of Songhai commoners. Mali control over the Songhai capital, Gao, had always been tentative, and the spirit of independence had not died among Songhai kings. A Songhai king led his people in rebellion. The rebellion disrupted Mali's trade on the Niger River. Mali's empire suffered as the Songhai sacked and occupied Timbuktu in In 1464 a Songhai king, Sonni 'Ali took power, and again Timbuktu was attacked, Sonni 'Ali capturing the city after a great loss of life. Five years later, Sonni 'Ali conquered the town of Jenne which had been thought impregnable. In his twenty-eight years of military campaigning, the victorious Songhai king  won the title of King of Kings. He dominated trade routes and the great grain producing region of the Niger river delta. Sonni 'Ali's competitor, the Mali empire, was deteriorating, and the Mali empire was to die in the 1600s.

25 Great Zimbabwe Capital of a trading empire that thrived in southeastern Africa from

26 Located on a plateau between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers in modern Zimbabwe.

27 This location had many advantages.
It had fertile land. It was close to trade routes linking inland gold fields with Sofala, a trading city located on the Indian Ocean.

28 Great Zimbabwe took control of these trade routes.
Trading Empire Great Zimbabwe took control of these trade routes. In Sofala gold was traded for goods from North Africa, India, and China he University was organized around three great Masajids or Mosques. The Masajid of Jingaray Ber, The Masajid of Sidi Yahya, The Masajid of Sankore. Masajids are places of worship for Muslims. Not only did students seek knowledge, but they also purified their souls through the sciences of Islam. Islam breeds leaders that are God fearing, just, honest, trustworthy and of excellent moral character. Graduate students were the embodiment of the teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the traditions of the Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam. Around the 12th century, the University of Timbuktu had an attendance of 25, 000 students in a city which had a population of 100, 000 people. The students came from all corners of the African continent in search of excellence in knowledge and trade. On graduation day, students were given Turbans. The turban symbolizes Divine light, wisdom, knowledge and excellent moral conduct. The turban represents the demarcation line between knowledge and ignorance. The knots and circles of the turban represent the name Allah. This means that the graduate students know the Divine obligations and responsibilities to be discharge honorably in their communities and toward their fellowmen. The University curriculum had four degrees or levels: 1. The primary degree At this level the students memorized the Holy Qur'an, perfected their mastery of the Arabic language and learned to communicate and write effectively. The students were also introduced to the basics in other sciences. This level is also called Qur'anic school. 2. The secondary degree Now the students have committed the Holy Qur'an to memory. This is very important because all the Islamic sciences are routed and derived from the Qur'an which constitute the source of authentic and authority. Any teachings or narrations that are not supported by the verses of the Qur'an are rejected and constitute an innovation. This level may be called the General Studies level. Here the students are introduced to the different branches of Islamic knowledge. These Islamic sciences are: grammar, commentaries of the Qur'an, the Hadiths or the Prophetic narrations, jurisprudence, mathematics, geography, history, Islamic schools of thoughts, physics, astronomy, chemistry, sciences of the purification of the heart and soul, etc. The students also spend time in learning a trade and the Islamic business code and ethics. The university trade shops offered classes in business, carpentry, farming, fishing, construction, shoe making, tailoring, navigation etc. This is very important because as an Imam or Islamic scholar one has to impart honest and unbiased judgments in settling legal issues. This integrity will be compromised if the Imam or the scholar living expenses are being supplied by the rich people. In order the Imam or scholar to be just and fair in discharging legal decrees, he has to earn his own halal (permissible) income. 3. The superior degree The curriculum was highly specialized. The students sat in classes of renowned professors. Sankore was one of the most important departments of the University in this regard. At this level, the studies were of higher learning and mastery and are comparable to any university in the Islamic world. The students did more of the research work. For instance, the professors of the different branches of Islamic knowledge would give the students questions on different subjects and topics to be researched. Each student would then present, argue and defend his position in front of the professors and other students who would storm him with a flow of tough questions. Students go from one department to the others and from one professor to the others in search of knowledge. Most students at this stage would find a Shayk or master and study under his guidance. The Shayk would purge the student of all his Shaytanic characteristics and tendencies, and then would ensure that the same graduate student be a good Islamic model for the generation to come. Graduation was based upon a student's excellent Islamic character and his mastery of Islamic knowledge. 4. The circle of knowledge This is the club of Muslim Imams, Scholars and Professors. It here that most of the important and crutial issues of Islam are being discussed. The caliphs or Muslims state leaders such as Askia Mohammed of the Songhai Empire, Mansa Musa of the Malian Empire, Shayk Amadu of the Fulani caliphate of Massina, The Amirs and sultans of the provinces of the Sudan would send crutial questions to the Ulemas or scholars of Timbuktu. The scholar who received the questions will make copies of these question or issues and distribute them among the members of the circle of knowledge. Each scholar will research the issue and then they all get together to share their answers and thus put together a manuscripts dealing in detail with the questions or issues and then issue a Fatwa or legal Islamic ruling by the government authorities will abide. There was also the case of one Muslim who was wealthy and generous. Whoever was in need in Timbuktu approached him and secured a loan. As time went by, the Imam ofJingare Ber noticed that the number of attendance of Mosque was decreasing each Friday. (Jingare Ber, up to the present day, is the only Masjid open on Fridays in Timbuktu. The entire population converges to this famous Mosque). The Imam inquired about the cause of the lowered attendance at the Masjid and discovered that most people of Timbuktu owed money to the generous wealthy man. The people who owed him money were unable to pay their debt so they decided to stay home for fear and embarassment of running into the man. The dilemma now is what to do. The matter was submitted to the circle of knowledge who decided that the wealthy man should stayed home or forgive the debt. The wealthy man was called in. He forgave the debtees and said he had no idea that the lower attendance was because of him.

29 Ruins of Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe means “great stone buildings”

30 Most of what we know about Great Zimbabwe comes from these ruins.

31 The city was the political, economic, and religious center of its empire.
1 700m wide.





36 Reflection Religion spread across the hemisphere. Islam spread into A. China. B. Japan. C. West Africa. D. East Europe. Which of the following kingdoms in Africa is located near the Limpopo and the Indian Ocean coast? A. Ghana B. Mali C. Zimbabwe D. Axum

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