2 West Africa’s key physical features include plains and the Niger River. Plains and HighlandsPlains cover most of the region.Most cities are on coastal plains.A few areas of highlands are scattered around the region. The only high mountains are the Tibesti Mountains.The Niger RiverThe Niger River is the largest river in West Africa.The Niger provides fish, water for farming, and an easy transportation route for people in the region.In Mali, the Niger breaks into a network of channels, marshes, and lakes called the inland delta.
3 West Africa has distinct climate and vegetation zones that go from arid in the north to tropical in the south.SaharaWest Africa’s climates are zonal, or organized by zone.The northern part of the region lies in the Sahara, the world’s largest desert.Almost no vegetation grows there.Dry, so few people live in many areasSahelThe semiarid Sahel is south of the Sahara.The area has a steppe climate, and rainfall varies from year to year.It has enough vegetation to support livestock.Desertification, the spread of desertlike conditions, is making the Sahel more like the Sahara every year.
4 Climate Zones of West Africa SavannaLies south of the SahelThe savanna is an area of tall grasses and scattered trees and shrubs.When rain falls regularly, farmers can grow many crops.Humid TropicalLies along the coasts of the Atlantic and the Gulf of GuineaPlentiful rain supports tropical forests.Many trees have been cut down to make room for people.
5 West Africa has good agricultural and mineral resources that may one day help the economies in the region.The climate in part of the region is good for agriculture.Ghana is the world’s largest producer of cacao, which is used to make chocolate.Coffee, coconuts, and peanuts are also grown in the region.Oil is the most valuable resource in the region.Found off the coast of NigeriaOther mineral resources include diamonds, gold, iron ore, and bauxite, the main source of aluminum.
6 In West Africa’s history, trade made great kingdoms rich, but this greatness declined as Europeans began to control trade routes.One of the earliest kingdoms in West Africa was Ghana. It grew rich from the Sahara trade in salt and gold.The kingdom of Songhai came to power as Mali declinedThe Songhai city of Timbuktu was a cultural center with more than 100 schools.West African trade cities declined as Europeans began to sail along Africa’s west coast. Europeans could trade for gold on the coast rather than paying traders to bring it across the desert.
7 Colonial Era and Independence Later West AfricaThe Slave TradeIn the 1500s the demand for labor in Europe’s American colonies led to the creation of the slave trade.The slave trade was profitable for traders.The slave trade devastated West Africa.Families were broken up when members were enslaved.Many Africans died on the voyage to America.Colonial Era and IndependenceFrance, Britain, Germany, and Portugal claimed colonies in West Africa in the 1800s.Some Europeans moved to West Africa to run colonies.They built schools, roads, and railroads.Europeans created many economic problems in the colonies.After World War II, Africans worked for and gained independence.
8 West African Culture Religion Traditional religions are forms of animism, the belief that natural objects have spirits.The two most common religions in the region are Christianity and Islam.ClothingMix of modern and traditional clothesWestern-style clothes are common in cities.Traditional clothes includes robes, pants, blouses, skirts, and wrapped headdresses.Families and ShelterRural houses are small and simple.Extended families, or large groups of relatives, often live together in one house.In urban areas, many people live in apartments.
9 Africa’s Struggle Europeans treated Africans as homogenous Did not respect tribes, but divided up Africa on their terms.Preservation of independencePoor economies created desire to “catch up” and to foster trade within African, rather than to the former colonial mother countryCulture of obedienceAfricans become accustomed to subservience to Arabs, polarizes continent as “with” or “against” Arabs
10 Most triggers of conflict: structural, political, economic, social and cultural, are all at play in AfricaAll types of conflict are also present: violent and non violent.These conflicts are not just about power and resources but are rooted in the denial of human needs such as identity, security, respect and recognition- All needs to do with the human spirit and social reality