African Civilizations
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African Civilizations , 1500 B.C.–A.D. 700. African cultures adapt to harsh environments, spread through major migrations, and establish powerful kingdoms . Kuba ceremonial mask, Congo . NEXT. African Civilizations , 1500 B.C.–A.D. 700. Diverse Societies in Africa. SECTION 1.

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African Civilizations,

1500 B.C.–A.D. 700

African cultures adapt to harsh environments, spread through major migrations, and establish powerful kingdoms.

Kuba ceremonial mask, Congo.

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African Civilizations,

1500 B.C.–A.D. 700

Diverse Societies in Africa

SECTION 1

SECTION 2

CASE STUDY: Migration

The Kingdom of Aksum

SECTION 3

Map

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Section 1

Diverse Societies in Africa

African peoples develop diverse societies as theyadapt to varied environments.

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SECTION

1

Diverse Societies in Africa

A Land of Geographic Contrasts

Geography of Africa

• Large continent but coastline has few ports, harbors, or inlets

Challenging Environments

• Africa has many deserts, including huge Sahara

• The southern edge of the expanding Sahara is called the Sahel

• Rainforests found near central part of continent

Image

Welcoming Lands

• Northern coast and southern tip of Africa have Mediterranean climates

•Savannas, or grasslands, cover almost half of Africa

Image

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Early Humans Adapt to Their Environments

Nomadic Lifestyle

•Earliest people are nomadic hunter-gatherers

• Herders drive animals to find water, graze pastures

Image

Transition to a Settled Lifestyle

•Agriculture probably develops by 6000 B.C.

•As the Sahara dried up, farmers move to West Africa or Nile Valley

• Agriculture allows permanent settlement, governments to develop

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Early Societies in Africa

Societies Organized by Family Groups

•Extended families made up of several generations

• Families with common ancestors form groups known as clans

Local Religions

• Early religions usually include elements of animism—belief in spirits

Keeping a History

•Few African societies have written languages

•History, literature, culture passed on by storytellers called griots

• Cultures in West Africa are advanced long before outsiders arrive

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1

West African Iron Age

Learning About the Past

•Artifacts reveal how people lived in the past

• Evidence of sub-Saharan cultures producing iron around 500 B.C.

The Nok Culture

•Nok—West Africa’s earliest known culture— made iron tools, weapons

Image

Djenné-Djeno

•From 600–200 B.C., cities begin to develop near rivers, oases

•Djenné-Djeno—Africa’s oldest known city (250 B.C.), discovered in 1977

• Bustling trade center; linked West African towns, camel trade routes

Image

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Section 2

Migration

CASE STUDY: Bantu-Speaking Peoples

Relocation of large numbers of Bantu-speaking people brings cultural diffusion and change to southern Africa.

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2

Migration

CASE STUDY:Bantu-Speaking Peoples

People on the Move

Migration

• Migration—permanent move to new place; a

pattern in human culture

Causes of Migration

• Push-pull factors—Conditions that push people

out of an area or pull them in

Chart

Effects of Migration

• Brings diverse cultures into contact; changes life in

the new land

Tracing Migration Through Language

• One way to trace migration is to study how

languages spread

• Africa has many complex language families

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2

Massive Migrations

Bantu-speaking Peoples

• Bantu-speaking peoples—early Africans who

spread culture and language

• Originally lived in savanna south of Sahara; now

southeastern Nigeria

• The word Bantu means “the people”

Image

Migration Begins

• Bantu speakers migrate south and east starting

about 3000 B.C.

• Live by slash-and-burn farming, nomadic herding

• Share skills, learn new customs, adapt to

environment

Map

Continued . . .

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2

continued Massive Migrations

Causes of Migration

• Bantu speakers move to find farmland, flee

growing Sahara

• Need iron ore resources and hardwood forests for

iron smelting

• Within 1,500 years they reach southern tip of

Africa

Effects of the Migration

• Bantu speakers drive out some inhabitants; intermix

with others

• Bantu migrations produce a great variety of cultures

• Language helps unify the continent

Image

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Section 3

The Kingdom of Aksum

The kingdom of Aksum becomes an international trading power and adopts Christianity.

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SECTION

3

The Kingdom of Aksum

The Rise of the Kingdom of Aksum

Map

Aksum’s Geography

• Aksum—kingdom replaces Kush in East Africa;

blend of Africans, Arabs

• Located on Horn of Africa, modern day Ethiopia and

Eritrea

• Trading kingdom linking Africa and Indian Ocean

trade routes

The Origins of Aksum

• Land first mentioned in Greek guidebook in A.D. 100

• Rulers take control of areas around Blue Nile and

Red Sea

• Dynasty of Aksum rules until 1975; ends with death

of Haile Selassie

Image

Continued . . .

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3

continued The Rise of the Kingdom of Aksum

Aksum Controls International Trade

• Aksum is hub for caravan routes to Egypt and

Meroë

• Adulis, chief port, has access to Mediterranean

Sea, Indian Ocean

A Strong Ruler Expands the Kingdom

• King Ezana—strong ruler of Aksum from A.D. 325 to

360

• He conquers part of Arabian peninsula, now Yemen

• In 350 conquers Kushites and burns Meroë to

ground

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3

An International Culture Develops

Aksum Culture

• Blended cultural traditions of Arab peoples and

Kushites

• Adulis population: Egyptian, Arabian, Greek,

Roman, Persian, Indian

• Greek is international language; Aksumites trade

gold to Rome

Aksumite Religion

• Believe in one god, Mahrem, and that king

descended from him

• Are animists—worship spirits of nature and

ancestors

• Exposed to Christianity by traders

Continued . . .

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3

continued An International Culture Develops

Aksum Becomes Christian

• Young King Ezana educated by Christian man

from Syria

• As ruler, Ezana declares Christianity as

kingdom’s official religion

• Aksum, now part of Ethiopia, still home to millions

of Christians

Image

Aksumite Innovations

• Written language, minted coins, irrigation canals and

dams

• Aksumites invent terrace farming due to hilly

location

• Terraces—steplike ridges constructed on mountain

slopes

Image

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3

The Fall of Aksum

Islam

• Aksum kingdom lasts 800 years; witnesses rise of

Islam religion

• Followers of prophet Muhammad conquer all of

Arabia by 632

Islamic Invaders

• Between A.D. 632 and 710, Islamic invaders leave

Aksum alone

• In A.D. 710, they attack port city of Adulis, causing

Aksum’s decline

Aksum Isolated

• As Islam spreads, Aksum rulers move capital to

northern Ethiopia

• Isolation, soil erosion, deforestation cause loss of

remaining power

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