Published byClaude Beasley Modified over 7 years ago
3.1 Class Notes: The Rise of African Civilizations
I. Geography Africa is the second largest continent.
It is made up of rainforest, grasslands (savannas), large deserts, and coastal areas. The great rift valley has the earliest human fossils. The Nile, Niger, and Congo Rivers are very important.
The Diversity of Africa
II. Africa Trading Empires
The Bantu people (“the people”) migrated from West Africa south of the Sahara Desert and spread a common culture (language, religion, iron tools, pottery).
Trans-Saharan Gold and Salt Trade
People called the Berbers crossed the Sahara in caravans to trade with West Africa. They also brought Islam and the Arabic language. They traded salt and cloth from the north for gold and ivory from West Africa. They had a very important system of trading called the “Silent Barter.”
Salt for Gold Trade
Rise of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai Kingdoms
Ghana, the “Land of Gold,” was located on gold and salt trade routes on the Niger River. Traders had to pay a tax. The army enforced this with iron weapons. Powerful kings ruled the African kingdoms and settled arguments, controlled trade, and protected the empire. Many kings and traders accepted Islam because it helped them trade with Muslim Arabs. After Ghana declined, Mali was founded by a warrior king, Sundiata Kieta, the “Lion Prince” who conquered Ghana and the city of Timbuktu.
Mansa Musa, King of Mali, worked to spread Islam
Mansa Musa, King of Mali, worked to spread Islam. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca, with a caravan of thousands of people and gold. He convinced Islam’s finest architects, teachers, and scholars to come back to Mali and he brought fame to his kingdom. Songhai King Sunni Ali drove the Berber invaders out of Timbuktu and seized control of river trade and Berber salt mines. The Songhai empire became the largest in West Africa and Timbuktu was a center of Islamic learning and culture.
The city of Djenne
III. Other African Nations
Rain forest kingdoms enjoyed natural advantages and traded their surplus of food. They were the first to interact with Europeans. Judaism, Christianity and Islam influenced East Africa.
IV: Religion in Africa
IV: Religion in Africa Many African groups believed one supreme god ruled the world. They worshipped the spirits of dead relatives, called ancestor worship. Ibn Battua, from Morocco, travelled throughout Islamic lands for 30 years and wrote a book: “The Journey.”
In East Africa, the Swahili culture and language is a blend of African and Muslim elements.
Arabic became an important language of government and learning. Islam influenced art and architecture (mosques).
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