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Physical Geography. The Big Idea East Africa is a region of diverse physical features, climates, and vegetation. Main Ideas East Africa’s physical features range from rift valleys to plains.

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physical geography
Physical Geography
  • The Big Idea
  • East Africa is a region of diverse physical features, climates, and vegetation.
  • Main Ideas
  • East Africa’s physical features range from rift valleys to plains.
  • East Africa’s climate is influenced by its location and elevation, and the region’s vegetation includes savannas and forests.
main idea 1 east africa s physical features range from rift valleys to plains
Main Idea 1:East Africa’s physical features range from rift valleys to plains.

The Rift Valleys

  • Rift valleys are places where Earth’s crust stretches until it breaks.
  • A series of rift valleys stretches from north to south across the center of East Africa.
  • The Great Rift Valley of East Africa is the largest rift valley in the world.

Mountains and Highlands

  • East Africa has many high, snowcapped volcanic mountains, including Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
  • The Ethiopian Highlands are very rugged and cut by deep river valleys.
physical features of east africa
Physical Features of East Africa

Plains

  • Tanzania and Kenya have wide plains areas.
  • The Serengeti Plain in Tanzania is famous for its wildlife, such as elephants, giraffes, lions, and zebras. The government has made the plain a national park.

Rivers and Lakes

  • The Nile, the world’s longest river, begins in East Africa. It is formed by the joining of two rivers, the White Nile and the Blue Nile.
  • The White Nile flows out of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake.
  • Lakes have formed along both the eastern and western rift valleys.
slide5
East Africa’s location on the equator and its varied elevations influence the climates found there.

Areas near the equator receive the most rain, while areas away from the equator experience occasional droughts, or periods when little rain falls.

During droughts, crops die and people suffer.

Several droughts have affected East Africa in recent years.

Main Idea 2: East Africa’s climate is influenced by its location and elevation, and the region’s vegetation includes savannas and forests.

east africa s climate
East Africa’s Climate
  • South of the equator, the climate changes to tropical savanna.
    • Tall grasses and scattered trees
    • Rift floors are dry with grasslands and thorn shrubs.
  • North of the equator, plateaus and mountains have a highland climate and dense forests.
    • Temperatures are much cooler than on the savanna.
    • Heavy rains make farming possible.
    • Because of the rain and farming, most people in the region live in the highlands.
  • East of the highlands and on the coast, the land is much lower.
    • Desert and steppe climates
    • Only shrubs and hardy grasses can grow.
history and culture
History and Culture
  • The Big Idea
  • East Africa is a region with a rich history and diverse cultures.
  • Main Ideas
  • The history of East Africa is one of religion, trade, and European influence.
  • East Africans speak many different languages and practice several different religions.
main idea 1 the history of east africa is one of religion trade and european influence
Main Idea 1:The history of East Africa is one of religion, trade, and European influence.

Christianity

  • Missionaries brought Christianity to Ethiopia in the AD 300s. It moved into Nubia, now part of Egypt and Sudan, later.
  • In the 1200s an emperor named Lalibela had 11 rock churches carved out of the rocky ground.

Islam

  • Islam was a major religion in North Africa by 700.
  • Islam gradually spread from Egypt south into East Africa.
  • Muslims also moved into East Africa from the Indian Ocean. Cities like Mogadishu and Mombasa became Muslim centers.
the slave trade
The Indian Ocean slave trade began more than 1,000 years ago.

East Africans, Arabs, and Europeans kidnapped Africans, enslaved them, and shipped them to ports throughout Africa and Southwest Asia.

Most slaves went to Islamic countries.

The Portuguese built forts and settlements to support the slave trade.

In the 1700s Zanzibar became an international slave-trading center.

Most European countries ended slavery in the 1800s.

The Slave Trade
european influence and conflict
European Influence and Conflict

Europeans wanted goods like gold, ivory, and rubber that came from Africa.

  • To get these goods, Europeans thought they needed to dominate the regions of Africa that they came from.
  • European countries formed colonies in Africa. Only Ethiopia was not colonized.
  • In the 1880s Britain and other countries divided Africa among them. To maintain power in Africa, they used imperialism, a practice that tries to dominate another country’s government, trade, and culture.

In the 1960s most East African countries gained independence.

  • Some newly independent countries were faced with ethnic conflicts.
main idea 2 east africans speak many different languages and practice several different religions
Language

Many countries speak languages introduced by European imperialists:

French is an official language in Rwanda, Burundi, and Djibouti

English is common in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania

Swahili is the most widely spoken African language.

Ethiopians speak Amharic.

Somalians speak Somali.

Religion

Most religions emphasize honoring ancestors.

Many East Africans are animists. They believe that the natural world contains spirits.

Most Christians in East Africa live in Ethiopia.

Islam is also common. Sudan and Somalia are mostly Muslim.

Main Idea 2:East Africans speak many different languages and practice several different religions.
east africa today
East Africa Today
  • The Big Idea
  • East Africa has abundant national parks, but most of the region’s countries are poor and recovering from conflicts.
  • Main Ideas
  • National parks are a major source of income for Tanzania and Kenya.
  • Rwanda and Burundi are densely populated rural countries with a history of ethnic conflict.
  • Both Sudan and Uganda have economies based on agriculture, but Sudan has suffered from years of war.
  • The countries of the Horn of Africa are among the poorest in the world.
main idea 1 national parks are a major source of income for tanzania and kenya
Main Idea 1:National parks are a major source of income for Tanzania and Kenya.

More than 2 million tourists visit Tanzania and Kenya each year. One popular reason for visiting is the safari, an overland journey to view wildlife.

Tanzania is rich in gold and diamonds.

Farming is the major activity in both countries. Some people want to farm on national park land, but that would hurt tourism and endanger wildlife.

Kenya also produces geothermal energy, energy produced from the heat of Earth’s interior.

the cities of tanzania and kenya
Both Tanzania and Kenya have large, vibrant modern cities.

Tanzania’s capital is Dodoma.

The government began moving the capital there from Dar es Salaam in the mid-1970s.

Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s business center.

Kenya’s capital is Nairobi, an industrial center.

Connected to the rest of East Africa by railways

Both Dar es Salaam and Nairobi have been the site of terrorist attacks. The U.S. embassies in both cities were attacked by the al Qaeda terrorist group in 1998.

The Cities of Tanzania and Kenya
slide15
Main Idea 2:Rwanda and Burundi are densely populated rural countries with a history of ethnic conflict.
  • Rwanda and Burundi are populated by two main groups—the Hutu and the Tutsi.
  • Since they gained independence, Rwanda and Burundi have seen violent conflict between the two groups.
    • The borders drawn by Europeans often lumped members of the two groups together in the same areas.
  • In Rwanda in the 1990s ethnic conflict led to genocide, the intentional destruction of a people.
    • The Hutu tried to completely wipe out the Tutsi.
  • Both Rwanda and Burundi today are very densely populated.
  • Neither country has many resources, and both depend on coffee and tea exports to survive.
slide16
Main Idea 3:Both Sudan and Uganda have economies based on agriculture, but Sudan has suffered from years of war.

Sudan

  • Africa’s largest country, mainly agricultural
  • For years, Muslims and Christians have fought.
  • Recently, a genocide occurred in a region called Darfur. As a result, millions of people have fled Sudan as refugees.

Uganda

  • Recovering from decades of military dictatorship
  • Democratic since 1986
  • About 80 percent of the workforce is employed in agriculture. Coffee is the major export.
main idea 4 the countries of the horn of africa are among the poorest in the world
Ethiopia

Has never been under foreign rule

Rich soil in the highlands allows a profitable agricultural industry.

Droughts in the 1980s caused the loss of crops. The country has received plenty of rain recently.

Most people in the highlands are Christian. Most in the lowlands are Muslim.

Eritrea

Eritrea was an Italian colony in the 1800s and an Ethiopian one in the 1960s.

Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia in 1993. Since then the country has worked to improve.

Tourists are drawn to the coasts.

Most people are farmers or herders. Cotton is the main export.

Main Idea 4:The countries of the Horn of Africa are among the poorest in the world.
countries of the horn of africa
Somalia

Mostly covered with deserts and dry savannas

Too dry for farming, so most people are herders

Most people are ethnic Somali, practice Islam, and speak Somali.

Clans within Somalia have fought over rights to lands and cities such as Mogadishu, the capital.

In the 1990s drought and civil war caused much hardship in Somalia.

Djibouti

Small, desert country on the Bab al-Mandab, the strait that connects the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Was a French colony until 1977 so French is an official language

The capital and major seaport is also called Djibouti. It serves as the main port for Ethiopia, which is landlocked.

Two major ethnic groups fought for many years.

Countries of the Horn of Africa