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Notes 16-2. “Other Countries of West Africa”. Land of the Sahel. Five countries - Mauritania , Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad - are located in an area known as the Sahel. Since the area receives little rainfall, only short grasses and small trees can grow .

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notes 16 2

Notes 16-2

“Other Countries of West Africa”

land of the sahel
Land of the Sahel
  • Five countries - Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad - are located in an area known as the Sahel.
  • Since the area receives little rainfall, only short grasses and small trees can grow.
  • Most people in the Sahel have traditionally herded livestock where their flocks have overgrazedthe land in some places.
  • In the Sahel, dry and wet periods usually follow each other.
  • If the seasonal rains do not fall, drought takes hold.
  • Over the years, both overgrazing and drought have led to desertification.
history of the sahel
History of the Sahel
  • From the A.D. 500s to 1500s, three great African empires - Ghana, Mali, and Songhai - arose in the Sahel.
  • These empires controlled the trade in gold, salt, and other goods between West Africa and the Arab lands of North Africa and Southwest Asia.
  • Eventually the Sahel region came under French rule.
  • In 1960 the Sahel countries became independent.
the people of the sahel
The People of the Sahel
  • The people of the Sahel are mostly subsistencefarmers who practice a mix of African, Arab, and European traditions.
  • Most people of the Sahel are Muslims.
  • Nomadic groups such as the Tuareg and the Fulani would cross the desert with herds of camels, cattle, goats, and sheep.
  • The recent droughts forced many of them to give up their traditional way of life and move to the towns, where they often live in crowded camps of tents.
  • Two countries in the Sahel, Mali and Burkino Faso, are among the poorest countries in the world.
the coastal countries
The Coastal Countries
  • The coastal countries of Africa include the Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, and Benin.
  • Because they border the ocean, the coastal countries receive plenty of rainfall.
  • Warm currents in the Gulf of Guinea create a moist, tropical rain forest climate in most coastal lowlands year-round.
  • Damage to rain forests is also a problem along the densely settled West African coast, where forests have been cleared to make space for palm, coffee, cacao, and rubber plantations, as well as for many small farms.
history of the coastal countries
History of the Coastal Countries
  • Ancient Ghana was a prosperous empire located on trade routes.
  • Later, the powerful kingdoms of Ashanti and Abomey ruled this region.
  • The European slave trade made it possible for trade in human beings to become a major source of income for West African kings.
  • The French, British, and Portuguese set up colonies to obtain the region’s rich resources.
  • By the late 1970s, all the coastal countries had become independent.
people of the coastal countries
People of the Coastal Countries
  • Guinea is rich in bauxite and diamonds and Senegal is an important source of phosphate, used in fertilizers.
  • Liberia is the only West African nation that was never a colony.
  • African Americans freed from slavery founded Liberia in 1822.
  • Sierra Leone was also created as a home for freed slaves.
  • The name Cote d’Ivoire refers to the European trade in ivory elephant tusks, however today the ivory trade is illegal.
  • Ghana has 100 ethnic groups. Many still keep their local kings, but these rulers have no political power.
  • They are ceremonial leaders who direct seasonal festivals and keep traditions alive.