Geography and the Early History of Africa
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Creation Story of the Kikuyu

  • People from the land of Kenya

    • Called the Kikuyu

  • Used to explain how they are connected to the land

    • “This land I hand over to you. O man and woman it’s yours to rule and farm in peace, sacrificing only to me, your God, under my sacred tree.”

  • ?? Why do cultures have creation stories ??

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Vast Continent

  • Africa is the world’s second (2nd) largest continent

  • Location on the Earth:

    • Africa is located on the Equator (1/2 of the country is above and ½ below)

    • Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean

    • Mediterranean SeaandRed Sea border it as well

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Explain the importance of

being surrounded by

oceans and seas.

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Regions of Africa

  • Main Regions of Africa are:

    • North Africa- from Morocco to Egypt.

    • West Africa- south of the Sahara Desert.

    • East Africa- Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, etc…

    • Central Africa- Democratic Republic of the Congo (On the Equator).

    • Southern Africa- from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.

  • Look at page 62 in your textbook (Map of Africa)

Geography helps to determine lifestyle and culture

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Landforms of Africa

  • Most of Africa is plateau region

    • Plateau- large area of high flat, or gently rolling land

  • These plateaus are at different elevations throughout Africa

    • Escarpments- steep cliffs that divide the plateau from the coastal plain

    • Cataracts- large waterfalls and rapids

  • Changes in elevation cause the rivers to change course and direction

  • Explain how these cataracts would have made passage on the rivers problematic.

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Great Rift Valley

  • Goes through the Eastern part of Africa

    • See page 61 in your textbook

  • It is a giant fault (break in the Earth’s crust)

    • From the Red Sea to the Zambezi River

  • High cliffs surround the valley and deposit rich soil into the valley

  • Many minerals and metals are also here

  • Costly and dangerous to mine these areas

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  • Rivers provide:

    • Fish, Irrigation, and transportation

    • Hydroelectric Power- energy produced from moving water

This is how the

power of water

is used to



What is important about this method ??

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  • The Nile- flows for 4,160 miles (largest in the world)

    • Played a major role in human development

    • Deposits rich soil onto the land for farming

    • Aswan Dam created in 1970 for hydroelectric power

    • Begins in the highlands of East Africa and flows northward across Africa

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  • Congo River- drains the area of Central Africa

    • Major source of hydroelectric power

    • Large parts are unable to be navigated

  • Niger River- starts in Sierra Leone and Guinea

    • Forms a large swamp by the Sahara

    • Major transportation route for ships and barges

  • Zambezi River- flows in Southern Africa

    • Flows over Victoria Falls

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Natural Resources

  • Africa’s rivers provide many precious metals and minerals

    • Gold and Diamonds

  • Vast resources of precious minerals were the reason that European powers carved up Africa

  • Examples:

    • Oil, diamonds, gold, cobalt, copper

  • Resources are distributed unevenly through the country

What problems would this have caused?