6th Grade UBD - Unit 8 - Geography of Africa Geography of Africa
Preview • African Geography- Africa is a large continent surrounded by oceans and seas. It is divided in two by the Sahara Desert. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region south of the Sahara Desert. • Farming, Herding, and Trade- The lives of people in Sub-Saharan Africa were shaped by their environment. People migrating between climate zones had to adapt.
Reach Into Your Background • Predict how geography affects patterns of settlement and commerce? Then explain how the geographic features of an area affect its development. ( 5 minutes)
Partner Activity • Work with a neighbor and compare your answer with theirs. What things are the same and what things are different? (3 minutes)
Key Ideas- African Geography • Africa lies between two oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian. It also is bordered by the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. • Africa has four major rivers: the Nile, the Niger, the Congo, and the Zambezi. All of the rivers are navigable in places. However, near the coast, each river has a series of cataracts, or waterfalls. These keep boats from traveling from the coast to the interior. • Sub-Saharan Africa has four climate zones: desert, semiarid or Sahel, savanna (grasslands), and tropical forests.
Key Term Africa- The second-largest continent in the world. It is large enough that you could put the United States, Europe, China, and most of India within its borders.
Africa's Geography Video- Africa's Geography
African Geography • Africa is the second-largest continent on Earth, comprising about one-fifth, or 20 percent, of the world’s total land mass. • In 2010, its population topped 1 billion; its peoples spread across 54 countries—and several territories, or states of disputed status.
African Geography • Most of Africa lands lie within the tropics. • Despite this, Africa has diverse vegetation and climate zones as well as many unique physiographic features. • Its landscapes range from tropical rainforest to desert and from savanna to snow-capped mountain.
Key Term Rainforest- A dense forest rich in biodiversity, found typically in tropical areas with consistently heavy rainfall.
Climate and Vegetation Video- Climate and Vegetation
The Sahel Reading Handout- The Sahel
Large Rivers • Perhaps Africa’s greatest resource throughout its history has been its rivers, which carry much needed water inland, vital to the growth of agriculture and civilization.
Large Rivers • Although Africa is best known as home to the Nile River, the longest river on the globe, the Niger, Congo, and Zambezi river systems, as well as many smaller rivers, have also helped shaped the land and its peoples.
African Geography • The continent is also bordered by three oceans—the Atlantic, the Indian, and the Southern—and by the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
On the Move • It was from Africa that the earliest ancestors of modern humans mostly likely first walked. • The Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania, part of the Great Rift Valley, has been credited as the home of the oldest stone tools and was once inhabited by human ancestors, known as homo habilisand homo erectus, more than a million years ago.
Major Cities • Africa is also home to the great civilization of the ancient Egyptians, which emerged along the Nile River more than 5,000 years ago. • Its greatest cities included Memphis and Thebes and, later, Alexandria.
On the Move • These waterways and landways made possible not only early human migration but also later trade and conquest. • Traffic among the peoples of Europe, Asia, and Africa has a long tradition, especially in the north and along the eastern and western coasts of the continent.
Major Cities • The modern capital of Egypt is Cairo. • Cairo is situated close to the renowned pyramids at Giza, would not be built until centuries later during Arab rule.
Key Ideas- Farming, Herding, and Trade • Climate zones have determined how people made a living in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the forests, farmers grew yams, palm trees, and kola trees. In the savannas, farmers grew grain crops. In the semiarid and desert areas, people were nomadic herders. They moved from place to place seeking water and food for their animals. • There were different resources in each climate zone. People traded for goods they could not produce themselves. This caused trade routes to develop.
Key Term Climate Zone- Aspecific area that has a specific climate. Each climate zone will have its own certain parameters. Climate zones can be tropical, dry, temperate, or polar.
On the Move • Although Egypt has long been the source of myth, legend, and even popular movie-making, other great civilizations also arose across Africa. • Among these were the Bantu peoples.
On the Move • The Bantu peoples who spread from West Africa south and east in a series of migrations from 2000 BCE to 1000 CE. • Most of the modern-day peoples of southern and eastern Africa descend to some degree from the Bantu who branched out across the lands, forming their own ethnic groups, languages, and cultures.
Trade • In West Africa, several kingdoms—Ghana, Mali, and Songhai—prospered from the trade of gold and salt. • On the Horn of Africa, the trading city of Aksum (or Axum) flourished from the 300s through the 600s, after which it began to decline.
Trade • The waters of Africa proved valuable as a source of irrigation for agriculture, travel, and trade. • The vast deserts of the Sahara, though largely uninhabited, nonetheless saw frequent use by nomadic herders and trade caravans.
Key Term Desert- An arid region that it receives little precipitation. Most deserts receive an average of fewer than 10 inches of precipitation each year.
Key Term Caravan- A company of traders or other travelers journeying together, often with a train of camels, through the desert.
The Sahara Desert Video- The Sahara Desert
Resources • The forests of Africa, particularly along the western coast and the interior, also provided valuable sources of goods such as kola nuts, cacao, and the wood itself.
Resources • African gold once helped give rise to great trading empires, many other minerals continue to bolster the economy in Africa, even to this day—most notably diamonds.
History • The continent of Africa has had a long, complicated history rich in diverse and celebrated peoples but marked as well by tragedy. Its resources have given rise to great empires but have also attracted not only foreign trade but also foreign invasion.
History • Some conquests sought to reap raw materials; others took Africa’s peoples for the purpose of enslavement. • Today, the many countries and territories of Africa struggle to overcome not only geographic challenges—including a scarcity of clean water sources—but also the legacy of their colonial histories and rivalries between ethnic, religious, and tribal groups.
Independent Activity • What has been the “muddiest” point so far in this lesson? That is, what topic remains the least clear to you? (4 minutes)
Partner Activity • Work with a neighbor and compare your muddiest point with theirs. Compare what things are the same and what things are different? (3 minutes)