Chapter 8 – African Civilizations and the Spread of Islam
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Chapter 8 – African Civilizations and the Spread of Islam. The spread of Islam in Africa linked its regions to the outside world through trade, religion, and politics States like Mali and Songhai are built on military power and dynastic alliances

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Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

Chapter 8 – African Civilizations and the Spread of Islam

  • The spread of Islam in Africa linked its regions to the outside world through trade, religion, and politics

  • States like Mali and Songhai are built on military power and dynastic alliances

  • Parts of sub-Saharan Africa entered into the expanding world network; many others remained isolated

  • Christianity and Islam sometimes influenced political and cultural development


Empires of the western sudan west northwest africa

Empires of the Western Sudan(West/Northwest Africa)

Ghana: 4th – 11th centuries

Mali: 13th – 15th centuries

Songhai: 15th – 16th centuries


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Stateless Societies– varied in size; organized through kinship and lacking the concentration of power found in centralized states

  • Weaknesses of stateless societies: delayed ability to respond to outside pressures, mobilize for war, undertake large building projects, or create stability for long-distance trade.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Common Elements in African Society

  • Migration of Bantu speakers provided a common linguistic base

  • Animistic religion– belief in natural forces personified as gods

  • Families, lineages, and clans had an important role in dealing with gods

    • Deceased ancestors were their link to the spiritual world

  • International trade increased in some regions, mainly toward the Islamic world

  • Both women and men were important in market life (trade)

  • In general, Africans exchanged raw materials for manufactured goods


The kingdom of nubia kush

The Kingdom of Nubia/Kush

  • Heavily influenced by ancient Egyptian culture

  • Lasted for 1000 years 3000 BCE–2000 BCE

  • Kush - 2000 BCE emerges from Nubia

  • King Piankhi led the Kingdom in the conquest of Egypt

  • City of Meroe - center of trading empire of Kush


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Nubia, Kush, Axum and the Nok all served as a basis for later civilizations that formed Islamic Africa

  • Nubians resisted Muslim incursions until the 13th century.

  • Axum– (1st – 6th centuries) Developed in the Ethiopian highlands; traded with India and the Mediterranean areas to gain Greek and Arabian cultural influences; conversion of the king to Christianity in 350 C.E. laid the basis for Ethiopian Christian culture

  • The Ethiopian successors to Christian Axum formed their state during the 13th & 14th c.

  • Ethiopia retained Christianity despite increasing pressure from Muslim neighbors

^Christian Churches in the mountains of Ethiopia


The axum

The AXUM

  • Great geographic location – best of African and Arabic culture

  • (Why a “great” geographic location?) – HINT = red lines

  • King Ezana made Christianity official religion of the Axum


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Jihad - an Islamic term used for holy war waged to purify, spread, or protect the faith. (you SHOULD already know this!)

  • Ethiopia – A Christian kingdom in the highlands of eastern Africa

  • Sahel – The extensive grassland belt at the southern edge of the Sahara; an exchange region between north & south Africa

  • Christian Kingdoms:Nubia and Ethiopia

  • Coptic influence from Egypt to Nubia (Kush)

King Lalibela– early 13th century Ethiopian King/ruler; built great rock churches (pg. 175 in textbook)


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Muslim armies pushed westward from Egypt across Africa

  • Conversion to Islam was rapid, but unity divided north Africa into various competing Muslim states

  • Almoravids: A puritanical Islamic reform movement among the Berber tribes of northern Africa; conquered Ghana in 1076 CE; built an empire reaching from the northwest African savannah into Spain.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Ghana– Territory in west Africa, north of the Senegal and Niger rivers; inhabited by the Soninke people in the 5th c.

  • Soninke called their ruler “Ghana,” thus was created the name of the Kingdom

  • First kingdom on the Niger River valley

  • Gold and Salt main products

  • Attacks by Almoravids (Muslim group) led to decline around 1100-1200 C.E.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Mali – Next Kingdom to settle on the Niger River (1250 C.E.)

  • Timbuktu: major city of Mali (salt and gold major products)

  • Sundiata – Created a unified state that became the Mali Empire; died in 1260

  • Mansa– Title of the ruler of Mali

  • Mansa Musa– Mali’s greatest king. Made a pilgrimage to Mecca during the 14th c. that became legendary because of the wealth distributed along the way; he also created Timbuktu as a great learning center

  • Agriculture & gold trade, was the economic base of the state of Mali


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

Sundiata successors in this wealthy state extended Mali’s control through most of the Niger valley to near the Atlantic coast.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Timbuktu– Niger River port city of Mali; had a famous Muslim university

  • Griots – professional oral historians who served as keepers of traditions and advisors to kings


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Songhai – Successor state to Mali; dominated middle reaches of the Niger valley; capital at Gao

  • Muhammad the Great– Extended the boundaries of Songhai in the mid -16th century –

  • Songhai people dominated the middle areas of the Niger valley; Men and women mixed freely; women went unveiled


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Askia Muhammad controlled salt and gold trade

  • Sunni Ali Ber– Ruler of Songhai who led forces to dominate the regions along the Niger River; once conquering the region he presided over an efficient hierarchical bureaucracy of ministers and advisors.

  • Ibn Batuta– Muslim traveler who described African societies and cultures

  • “Islamization” – The spread of the Islamic faith across the Middle East, southwestern Asia, and northern Africa

Sunni Ali Ber


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Political and Social life in the Sudanic States:

  • Rulers reinforce authority through Muslim officials and ideology, but existing traditions continued to be vital, many subjects were not Muslims

  • Islam provided a universal faith and a mixed law that served common interests

  • Many Sudanic societies were matrilinealand did not seclude women. Slavery and slave trade to the Islamic world lasting more than 700 years had a major effect on women and children

  • All individuals might become slaves, but the demand for concubines and eunuchs increased demand for women and children

  • Caliph – Term meaning supreme ruler; used by Muhammad’s successors as secular and religious heads of Islam (you SHOULD already know this!)

  • Sharia – Codified Islamic law which is ethically based on the Qur’an

  • Matrilineal – Designating of kinship through the mother


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

Compare the Travels of Ibn Batuta and Marco Polo


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • East African trading ports – Urbanized commercial centers mixing African and Arab cultures; included Mogadishu, Mombassa, Malindi, Kilwa, Pate, Zanzibar

  • Demographic Transition– The change from slow to rapid population growth; often associated with industrialization; occurred first in Europe and is more of a characteristic of the “developed world.”

  • The Swahili Coast of East Africa– A series of trading ports, part of the Indian Ocean network, developed along the coast and islands between the Horn of Africa and Mozambique


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • The Coastal Trading Ports:

  • With the rise of Islam, individuals from Oman and the Persian Gulf settled in coastal villages

  • They exported raw materials in return for Indian, Islamic, and Chinese luxuries.

  • All were tied together by coastal commerce and by an inland caravan trade.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Mixture of Cultures on the Swahili Coast:

  • The expansion of Islamic influence in the Indian Ocean facilitated commerce*(what is commerce?)

  • A dynamic culture developed , using Swahili as its language, and incorporating African and Islamic practices

  • Family lineages passed through both maternal and paternal lines

  • There was not a significant penetration of Islam into the interior of Africa.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

Yoruba Benin

  • Yoruba– A highly urbanized group of Nigerian agriculturist societies that were organized into small city-states; each ruled under the authority of regional divine kings presiding over elaborate courts.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

Ile-Ife – The holiest Yoruba city; inhabitants created terra-cotta and bronze portraits heads that rank among the greatest achievements of African art.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • Benin– Nigerian city-state formed by the Edo people during the 14th c.; famous for its bronze art work.


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

Congo Kingdom– Large agricultural state on the lower Congo River; capital at Mbanza Congo; The Congo was a federation of states grouped into eight major provinces


Chapter 8 african civilizations and the spread of islam

  • The Great Zimbabwe was the center of a state flourishing by the 11th century.

  • Zimbabwe dominated gold sources and trade with coastal ports of the Indian Ocean network. Internal division split Zimbabwe during the 16th century


More that you need to know

More that You Need to Know

  • At its height, the Islamic Empire encompassed all of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain

  • During the seventh century, the Islamic faith split into two groups, the Shi’i and the Sunni, over the issue of succession

  • Trade led not only to the exchange of goods but also of cultural ideas that affected the way African civilizations developed (DIFFUSION!)


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