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Sub-Saharan Africa. Geography East Africa West Africa. Geography: Sub-Sahara. The plateau: “upside down bowl” – rivers flowing to the sea have rapids. Nile – cataracts Zambezi – Victoria Falls Sahara Desert: north ¼ of Africa – natural barrier – Mediterranean coast – lower 3/4.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

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Sub-Saharan Africa

Geography

East Africa

West Africa


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Geography: Sub-Sahara

  • The plateau: “upside down bowl” – rivers flowing to the sea have rapids.

  • Nile – cataracts

  • Zambezi – Victoria Falls

  • Sahara Desert: north ¼ of Africa – natural barrier – Mediterranean coast – lower 3/4


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Geography continued

  • Sahel region: southern edge of Sahara Desert – little rainfall – harsh droughts – poor farming and herding difficult.

  • Savannas: large grasslands - sorghum, millet, rice - cereals/bread; herd cattle, Masai: cattle for wealth, trade, “bride price”

  • Tropical rainforests: 100” rain; diseases – malaria, yellow fever, river blindness, and sleeping sickness



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Geography continued

  • Great Rift Valley: Tectonic Plates slowing pulling apart – Chapter 1: Leakey Family and finds of early hominids (Lucy) Ethiopia

  • Kalahari, Namid Deserts - South


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Early Culture

  • Great diversity: 1,000 ethnic groups, four major languages

  • Bantu language: migration pattern – west Africa to east – central and south Africa – major language group

  • Griots: Oral historians – family, clan, tribe – story tellers, moral lesson, entertainment



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Early Culture

  • Small villages: farming, herding, fishing

  • No advanced irrigation, community centered, mud, brick, straw, clay, stylized and decorative

  • Matrilineal: trace ancestors through mother, property – strong influence

  • Religion: animists – spiritual world – places, animals, nature (sun, moon)


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Caravans: Gold, ebony, ivory, & Ostrich feathers

Meroe: “iron”

pyramids, temples, pottery, metal ornaments, & written language

Kush: Kingdom in the East


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Location: trade with Red Sea and African interior: ivory, gold & exotic animal hides

Decline: Due to Arab traders re-organizing the trade routes

Aksum: 100 BC – 650 AD


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Axum: Christianity & Ethiopian Christianity gold & exotic animal hides

  • King Ezana – after years of influence with Christian world – trade – missionaries became isolated by Arab traders

  • Ethiopia – isolated due to highlands –

  • King Labibela – had churches built


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Bantu gold & exotic animal hides

  • Linguistic group: various adaptations: Tutsi – cattle; cash-crops; The Nok (Nigeria): iron workers & lost wax bronze work; Congo: hard wood – fire for iron

  • Shared characteristics: higher deity; ceremonial carved masks & other icons, family centered, balance with nature; age grades & gender division (education); rites of adulthood; Gender division in labor; male adult government participation – varied governments


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Gold and Salt; ivory, slaves, jewels, copper gold & exotic animal hides

Timbuktu: center of learning

Mansa Musa: Muslim on a pilgrimage to Mecca

West Africa


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Ghana:750 - 1076 gold & exotic animal hides

  • Gold (Volta R) – salt trade (Sahara) also - copper, ivory and some slaves

  • 1076, the Almoravids, a Muslim group, conquered Ghana


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Mali: 1200 to present gold & exotic animal hides

  • Rise: strategically located between the West African gold mines agriculturally rich Niger River floodplain

  • Mansa Musa, most famous Malian Emperor elaborate pilgrimage to Mecca

  • Decline: Due to Rise of Songhai in late 1400s


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Mansa Musa from Mali: 4 tons gold gold & exotic animal hides


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Songhai: gold & exotic animal hides1375 - 1591

  • Rise: Conquered region from Mali – Major trade route – gold – salt

  • Decline: Civil War weakened state – Conquered by Moroccan army -


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Songhai falls to Moroccans gold & exotic animal hidesTimbuktu: Center of Islamic Learning – Great University


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Cultural Diffusion: Arabs traders, merchants spread Islam by 700s

Interior: Gold, Ivory, hides

India, SE Asia, China: cotton, silk, glassware, spices, porcelain

Swahili: Bantu language with Arabic and Persian influences - culture: architecture, dress, food

Eastern Trading Nations

Eastern Cities



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