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African Civilizations and the Spread of Islam. Chapter 8. Africa. Rich with gold Africa south of the Sahara has some connections with Egypt, W. Asia, the Mediterranean but contacts are difficult and widespread Connections with Byzantium and Islamic world

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  • Rich with gold
  • Africa south of the Sahara has some connections with Egypt, W. Asia, the Mediterranean but contacts are difficult and widespread
  • Connections with Byzantium and Islamic world
  • Social, religious, technology, trade changes with the arrival of Islam
  • Islam provides a link with the outside world
  • State Building:
    • Islam
    • Military Power
    • Dynastic Alliances
    • Merchant Communities
    • Trade Connections
  • 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
  • Welcoming Lands
    • Northern coast and southern tip of Africa have Mediterranean climates
    • Savannas, or grasslands, cover almost half of Africa
  • Nomadic Lifestyle
    • Earliest people are nomadic hunter-gatherers
    • Herders drive animals to find water, graze pastures

Great Rift Valley

3,000 miles long

  • 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
  • The Nok Culture
    • Nok—West Africa’s earliest known culture—made iron tools, weapons
  • 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
bantu migrations
Bantu 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”
  • 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
  • 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
african societies
African Societies
  • Africa is a vast and diverse continent
    • Geography, languages, religion, politics (lack of political unity)
  • No universal state or religion
  • Influences: Christianity and Islam
  • States: some societies are ruled through hierarchy of officials
  • Stateless Societies:
    • Kinship rules
    • Lack of concentration of power
    • Could be larger than states
    • Council of Family/Community = Power
    • No taxing
    • Little government affect on the lives of the people
  • Secret Societies:
    • Men and women who controlled customs and beliefs to limit authority of rulers
    • Develop along lineage divisions
    • Allegiance to these groups transcend lineage ties
    • Settle disputes, maintain stability, provide alternative to state authority
    • Dissidents could leave and establish a new village
    • Difficulty in avoiding state building (war, building projects, providing stable conditions, trade)
common elements in african society
Common Elements in African Society
  • Languages
    • Even though different languages exist, the Bantu language was the root.
      • Provides for a linguistic base where understandings of other languages can be made
  • Religion:
    • Animism: power of natural forces personified as spirits or gods
    • Rituals and Worship: dancing, drumming, divinations, sacrifice
    • Diviners/Priests: Specialists who combat evil and eliminate witches
      • Lead community and guide religious practices
    • Cosmology: view of how universe worked, guides ethics and behavior
    • Creator Deity: Power and action are expressed through spirits and lesser gods through founding ancestor groups
      • First Settlers = owners of land and resources
  • Families, Lineage, Clan
    • Deceased ancestors provide a link between living relatives and spiritual world
    • Veneration of ancestors
    • Remains strong in the face of Christianity and Islam
  • Economics:
    • North Africa: Involved in the Mediterranean and Arab economies
    • Sub Sahara:
      • Settle Agriculture
      • Iron Work
      • Specialization
      • Trade- with Islamic world
      • Markets- run by men and women
  • Population:
    • 30-60 Million

Hunters and Gatherers

    • Studying hunting-gathering groups today can give clues to the past
  • Forest Dwellers
    • Efe live in forests of Democratic Republic of Congo
    • They live in groups of 10 to 100 related people
    • Women gather vegetable foods, men hunt
  • Social Structure
    • An older male leads, but each family makes its own decisions
    • Problems within group are settled by discussion; no written laws
ruling through lineage
Ruling Through Lineage
  • Lineages
    • Some societies group people in lineages—those with common ancestor
    • Members of a lineage have strong loyalties to one another
    • In some African societies, lineage groups take the place of rulers
    • These stateless societies balance power among lineages
    • Stateless societies—no centralized system of power
  • Tracing Family Descent
    • Some societies are patrilineal—trace ancestry through fathers
    • Others are matrilineal—trace ancestry through mothers
    • Lineage determines how possessions are inherited
  • Age-Set System
    • Age set—group of people born about same time who form close ties
    • Age sets go through life stages together, such as warrior or elder
    • Ceremonies mark the passage to each new stage

Aksum (First Kingdom --- East Side)

  • 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 HaileSelassie
  • 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

Aksum Culture

• Blended cultural traditions of Arab peoples and KushitesAdulis 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
  • 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
  • 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
islamic states in africa
Islamic States in Africa
  • North Africa
    • Starting in 630s, Muslims conquer North Africa
    • Western part—Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco—called Maghrib
    • Many Africans convert to Islam; religious scholars advise rulers
  • Islamic Law
    • Islamic law brings order to Muslim states, especially North Africa
    • Original inhabitants of North Africa are the Berbers
    • Berbers convert to Islam but maintain their own culture
    • The Almoravids and Almohads, two Berber groups, form empires
  • Almoravid Reformers
    • In 1000s, devout Berber Muslims make hajj, pilgrimage, to Mecca
    • Muslim scholar founds Almoravids—strict religious group
    • Around 1050, Almoravids begin to spread Islam through conquest
    • They conquer southern Ghana and Spain, where they are called Moors
  • Almohads Take Over
    • In mid 1100s, Almohads—group of Berber
    • Muslims—overthrow Almoravids
    • Almohads strictly obey teachings of Qur’an and Islamic law
    • By 1148 they control most of Morocco, keep Marrakech as their capital
    • Almohad Empire lasts 100 years; unites Maghrib under one rule
the arrival of islam

What Stearns Says….

The Arrival of Islam
  • Mediterranean Africa had been influenced by Christianity because of its connections with the classical civilizations (Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans)
  • 640-700 CE: Muslims move across north Africa from Suez to Morocco
  • 670: Rule Tunisia (Ifriqiya- what the Romans called Africa)
    • Maghrib: Arab word for lands to the west
  • Message of Islam spreads among population of North Africa
  • Rapid conversions because of political unity from the Abbasids, eventually the unity breaks down causing separate states and competing groups to form.
  • Berbers: The peoples of the desert
      • Form own groups opposed to Arab states
      • Fez (Morocco), Sijilimasa (City on Saharan caravan trade routes)
    • Almoravids: Puritanical reformist movement followers
      • Jihad- Holy war to purify, spread, protect the faith
      • Move against the African kingdoms of the Savannah and into Spain
      • Almohadis- group that follows the same pattern
      • Essential to the movement of Islam into Sub Saharan Africa.
    • Attractions:
      • All Muslims are equal within the community of believers
        • Makes acceptance of conquerors and new rulers easier
      • Uniting the powers of the state and religion through ruler or Caliph
        • Appeals to African kings as a way to reinforce their power
    • All member of the Umma were equal
      • Put groups on equal footing with Arabs
  • Differences:
    • Social stratification and ethnic divisions divide believers
    • Equality between men and women
      • Fine for killing a man twice that for killing a woman
    • Disparity between law and practice
      • Equality before God, inequality in the world, leads to reform movements.
common characteristics of the sudanic states
Common Characteristics of the Sudanic States
  • The States:
    • Patriarchal, Council of Elders, family groups
    • Territorial cores
      • Linguistic and ethnic groups
    • Conquest states
      • Taxes, tributes, military
    • Control subordinate territories
    • Rulers are sacred
common characteristics of the sudanic states1
Common Characteristics of the Sudanic States
  • The Cities:
    • Commercial towns
      • Craft specialists
      • Foreign merchant communities
      • State protects traders
    • Merchants and scholars live a court life
    • “Port” Cities
      • Centers of trade
      • Timbuktu
        • Population: 50,000
        • Mosque, library, Muslim university
      • Jenne
    • Book trading was a lucrative industry in the Islamic world
      • Books were a symbol of civilization
    • 80% of people living in villages farmed
      • It was difficult with sandy, shallow soil
      • Hoes were used to work the land instead of plows
      • Crops: rice, millet, wheat, fruit, vegetables
      • Most farms were about 10 acres with communal clearing of the land
      • Polygamy was common = more people to work the land
      • Problems: droughts, pests, storage
      • Bow and the Hoe: symbols of the people
common characteristics of the sudanic states2
Common Characteristics of the Sudanic States
  • Political and Social Life
    • Important aspects of life = village community, clans, ethnic groups
    • Unified states allow groups to coexist
    • Islam = universal faith
      • Common religion = trust for traders
    • Islam is used to reinforce the rulers right to rule
      • Rulers surrounded by Muslim scribes and advisors
      • Use the ideas of the Caliph or Emir
    • Islam fused with existing African beliefs and traditions
      • Rulers would intercede with local spirits
      • Islam accommodates some pagan beliefs and practices
      • Some never convert to Islam or maintain dual beliefs
    • Women
      • Some societies are matrilineal
        • This sometimes went against traditional Sharia law
      • Muslim visitors to Africa were sometimes shocked at the relationship between men and women
    • Slavery
      • Exists in Africa before Islam
        • African enslaved each other
      • With Islam, the slave trade to the outside world begins to develop
      • Muslims view slavery as a part of the process of conversion
        • Conversion did not = freedom
      • Used as: servants, laborers, soldiers, administrators, enuchs, concubines
      • Muslim trans-Saharan slave trade = 2-4 million Africans

Growing Trade in Ghana

    • In 200s, Berbers begin using camels to cross Sahara for trade
    • Muslims use word ghana “chief” to refer to people of that land
    • By 700, trade is making people rich in the kingdomGhana
  • Gold-Salt Trade
    • Gold mined in forests south of Sahara; traded to north
    • Salt mined from Sahara and carried to West Africa
    • Ghana provides protection, taxes trade, and ensures fairness
  • Land of Gold
    • By 800, king of Ghana rules an empire and taxes surrounding kings
    • Only king can own gold nuggets; this keeps prices high
    • King commands army, acts as chief judge and religious leader
  • Islamic Influences
    • Islam spreads through region south of the Sahara through trade
    • In 1000s, Ghana’s rulers convert to Islam and take Islamic advisers
    • Ghana falls in 1076 to Almoravid conquest and never rises again
ghana empire
Ghana Empire
  • The empire owed much of its prosperity to trans-Saharan trade and a strategic location near the gold and salt mines. Both gold and salt seemed to be the dominant sources of revenue, exchanged for various products such as textiles, ornaments and cloth, among other materials.
  • Many of the hand-crafted leather goods found in old Morocco also had their origins in the empire. The main centre of trade was KoumbiSaleh.

The Ghana Empire or Wagadou Empire (existed c. 750-1076) was located in what is now southeastern Mauritania, Western Mali, and Eastern Senegal

It is believed to be the first of many empires that would rise in that part of Africa. It first began in the eighth century, when a dramatic shift in the economy of the Sahel area south of the Sahara allowed more centralized states to form.

The introduction of the camel, which preceded Arabs and Islam by several centuries, brought about a gradual revolution in trade, and for the first time, the extensive gold, ivory, and salt resources of the region could be sent north and east to population centers in North Africa, the Middle East and Europe in exchange for manufactured goods.


The Kingdom of Ghana probably began when several clans of the Soninke people of West Africa came together under the leadership of a great king named DingaCisse.

Ghana had few natural resources except salt and gold. They were also very good at making things from iron. Ghanaian warriors used iron tipped spears to subdue their neighbors, who fought with weapons made of stone, bone, and wood.


Ghana became a rich and powerful nation, especially when the camel began to be used as a source of transport. Ghana relied on trade and trade was made faster and bigger with the use of the camel. ../salt/photo6.html

ghana s economy decline
Ghana’s Economy & Decline

The taxation system imposed by the king (or 'Ghana') required that both importers and exporters pay a percentage fee, not in currency, but in the product itself. Tax was also extended to the goldmines.

In addition to the exerted influence of the king onto local regions, tribute was also received from various tributary states and chiefdoms to the empire's peripheral.

The empire began struggling after reaching its apex in the early 11th century. By 1059, the population density around the empire's leading cities was seriously overtaxing the region.

The Sahara desert was expanding southward, threatening food supplies. While imported food was sufficient to support the population when income from trade was high, when trade faltered, this system also broke down.



empire of mali
Empire of Mali
  • Rise of Mali
    • By 1235, Ghana replaced by Mali—another kingdom based on gold trade
    • Mali becomes wealthy as the gold trade routes shift eastward
  • Sundiata Conquers an Empire
    • Sundiatabecomes emperor of Mali by overthrowing unpopular ruler
    • Conquers Ghana and cities of Kumbi and Walata
    • Reestablishes the gold-salt trade and encourages agriculture
  • Mansa Musa Expands Mali
    • Some later rulers become Muslim
    • Most famous is Mansa Musa—rules Mali from 1312–1332
    • Mansa Musa was skilled military leader and fair ruler
    • After returning from hajj, he builds mosques in Timbuktu and Gao
  • Travels of IbnBattuta
    • In 1352, IbnBattuta—Muslim scholar and traveler—visits Mali
    • By 1400, Mali begins to decline
mali empire
Mali Empire

• The Mali Empire or Manding Empire or MandenKurufa was a medieval West African state of the Mandinka from c. 1235 to c. 1610.

• The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa I.

• The Mali Empire had many profound cultural influences on West Africa allowing the spread of its language, laws and customs along the Niger River.

mali empire1
Mali Empire

The Mali Empire flourished because of trade above all else. It contained three immense gold mines within its borders unlike the Ghana Empire, which was only a transit point for gold.

The empire taxed every ounce of gold or salt that entered its borders.

By the beginning of the 14th century, Mali was the source of almost half the Old World's gold exported from mines in Bambuk, Boure and Galam.


A powerful king named Sundiata ruled this area from around 1230-1255 AD. He led the people in conquering and expanding his kingdom to be as great as Ghana had been.

Perhaps the greatest king of Mali was Mansa Musa (1312-1337). He developed the gold and salt trade of Mali and his kingdom became very powerful and rich.

Mansu Musa: Lord of the Negroes of Guinea. (Photo courtesy of History of Africa)


In 1324, Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage or hajj to Mecca with 60,000 servants and followers and 80 camels carrying more than 4,000 pounds of gold to be distributed among the poor. Of the 12,000 servants, 500 carried a staff of pure gold. This showed his power and wealth to the other people he visited.

Salt, Copper, Gold


When Mansa Musa died, there were no kings as powerful as he was to follow. The great kingdom of Mali weakened. Eventually a group of people known as Berbers came into the area and other people came up from the south to claim territory that was once part of the kingdom. Although Mali fell, another advanced African kingdom took its place, the Kingdom of Songhay.



empire of songhai
Empire of Songhai
  • Songhai
    • Songhai—people east of Mali, control gold trade moving farther east
  • Sunni Ali, a Conquering Hero
    • In 1464, Sunni Ali begins rule; captures cities of Timbuktu, Djenné
  • Askia Muhammad Governs Well
    • Sunni Ali’s son overthrown by Askia Muhammad, devout Muslim
    • Rules for 37 years; appoints ministers and governs well
    • Songhai Empire falls in 1591 to Moroccan invaders with cannons
    • Collapse of empire ends 1,000-year period of West African empires
songhay empire
Songhay Empire

The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire was a pre-colonial African state centered in eastern Mali.

From the early 15th to the late 16th Century, Songhai was one of the largest African empires in history.

Its capital was the city of Gao, where a small Songhai state had existed since the 9th Century. Its base of power was on the bend of the Niger River in present-day Niger and Burkina Faso.

songhay economy
Songhay Economy

The Songhai economy was based on a traditional caste system. The clan a person belonged to ultimately decided their occupation. The most common castes were metalworkers, fishermen, and carpenters. Lower caste participants consisted of mostly non-farm working slaves, who at times were provided special privileges and held high positions in society.

At the top were nobleman and direct descendants of the original Songhai people, followed by freemen and traders. At the bottom were war captives and slaves obligated to labor, especially in farming.

Dogons, Tuareg, and others


This map was created in 1375. The same trade routes were used by the merchants of the Songhay kingdom.


The great Songhay leader, Sunni Ali saw that the kingdom of Mali was weakening and he led his soldiers to conquer the area. He began the kingdom of Songhay. He also set up a complex government to rule all the lands he had conquered.


Many mosques were built of local materials.

Sunni Ali died in 1492 CE. His son took over the rule of Songhay but he did not accept Islam as a religion.

Islam was accepted as a religion by many people in northern Africa. One of Sunni Ali’s generals, named Muhammad Ture, overthrew the new king and made himself king of Songhay.

Ture was a follower of Islam (Muslim) and so he made Islam the religion of his kingdom.


Songhay remained a rich and strong kingdom under Muhammad Ture’s rule.

It had a complex government centered in the city of Gao, and great centers of learning. But later rulers were not as powerful.

In the late 1500s, Morocco invaded Songhay to take its rich trade routes. Moroccans had a new weapon, the gun, and the army of Songhay did not. This led to the fall of Songhay.

(Photo courtesy of African Origin of Civilization by Cheikh Anta Diop)

songhay society
Songhay Society

Upper classes in society converted to Islam while lower classes often continued to follow traditional religions. Sermons emphasized obedience to the king.

Timbuktu was the educational capital. Sonni Ali established a system of government under the royal court, later to be expanded by Askia Muhammad, which appointed governors and mayors to preside over local tributary states, situated around the Niger valley.

Local chiefs were still granted authority over their respective domains as long as they did not undermine Songhai policy.


Following Dauoud's death, a civil war of succession weakened the Empire, leading Morocco Sultan Ahmad I al-Mansur Saadi to dispatch an invasion force under the eunuch Judar Pasha.

Judar Pasha was a Spaniard by birth, but had been captured as an infant and educated at the Moroccan court. After a cross-Saharan march, Judar's forces razed the salt mines at Taghaza and moved on Gao; when Askia Ishaq II (r. 1588-1591) met Judar at the 1591 Battle of Tondibi, Songhai forces were routed by a cattle stampede triggered by the Moroccans' gunpowder weapons despite vastly superior numbers.

Judar proceeded to sack Gao, Timbuktu, and Djenné, destroying the Songhai as a regional power.

Governing so vast an empire proved too much for the Moroccans, and they soon relinquished control of the region, letting it splinter into dozens of smaller kingdoms.

other peoples of west africa
Other Peoples of West Africa
  • City-States Develop
    • As empires fall, city-states grow in West Africa
  • Hausa City-States Compete
    • Hausa—people named for their language—have city-states in Nigeria
    • Three powerful city-states are Kano, Katsina, and Zazzau
    • Rulers control their capitals and surrounding farming villages
    • City-states trade cloth, salt, grain, and enslaved people
    • Rulers fight so much that none can build an empire
  • Yoruba Kings and Artists
    • Yoruba—people sharing common language who build city-states
    • Live in Benin and Nigeria, in small farming communities
    • Yoruba communities eventually join together under strong kings
    • Yoruba kings are believed divine and king of Ife is religious leader
    • From 1100, Ife is most powerful; in 1600, Oyo grows stronger
    • Yoruba craftsmen in cities carve in wood and ivory
  • Kingdom of Benin
    • Another kingdom rises in 1200s in Benin—a kingdom on the Niger
    • In 1400, the oba, or ruler, of Benin raises army; builds city walls
    • Artisans work on palace; make heads and figurines in copper or brass
    • In 1480, Portuguese begin trading with people of Benin

Swahili Coast


Trade Builds Cities

    • Seaports thrive on trade from Persia, Arabia, and India
    • New language arises—Swahili—blending Arabic and Bantu languages
    • By 1300, over 35 trading seaport cities grow wealthy
  • The City-State of Kilwa
    • Kilwa controls trade from southern Africa to India due to location
    • Seizes Sofala, port city that controls gold mines
  • Portuguese Conquest
    • Starting in 1488, Portuguese conquer Kilwa, Mombasa, and Sofala
  • Islam in East Africa (aka Zanj)
    • Muslim merchants spread Islam as they trade on eastern coast
    • Most cities governed by a Muslim sultan and officials
    • Most people in the region follow traditional religions
  • Enslavement of Africans
    • Enslaved Africans sold in Arabia, Persia, and India
    • Trade in slaves fairly small, though steady
    • Increases drastically in the 1700s
swahili coast
Swahili coast

1800 miles long

Diffusion from Indian, Arab, Chinese, and others

Islam perhaps most enduring

swahili coast1
Swahili Coast

While the Swahili Coast had kingdoms, it was not controled by just one kingdom.

The region was a center hub of trade and commerce in east Africa.

The introduction of various traditions such as Islam helped to shape the character of the Swahili Coast.

swahili coast2
Swahili Coast

While trans-Saharan caravan traffic linked west Africa to the larger trading world, merchant mariners sailing in the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean formed a similar service for coastal east Africa or the Swahili Coast.

Swahili is an Arabic term meaning “coasters.”

The Swahili dominated the east African coast from Mogadishu in ht north to Kilwa, the Comoro Islands, and Sofala in the south.

swahili coast3
Swahili Coast

By the tenth century, Swahili society attracted increasing attention from Islamic merchants.

From the interior regions of east Africa, the Swahili obtained gold, slaves, ivory, and exotic local products.

In exchange, the Swahili city-states received pottery, glass, and textiles that the Muslim merchants brought from Persia, India, and China.

the swahili coastal areas
The Swahili Coastal Areas
  • Influenced by the Bantu
  • Populated by Africans as well as immigrants
    • Indonesia, Malaya, Madagascar (Bananas and Coconuts), Oman, Persian Gulf
  • Small coastal villages
    • Fishers, Farmers, pottery, iron
  • Languages: Bantu and Swahili (Arabic influenced, means “coastal)
  • Towns: Mogadishu, Mombasa, Malindi, Kilwa (rich trading town), Pate, Zanzibar
    • Total of about 30 coastal towns
  • Exports: Ivory, Gold, Iron, Slaves, Exotic animals
  • China trades with the region around the 13th century
islamic influence on the swahili coast
Islamic Influence on the Swahili Coast
  • 13th century brings expansion of Islam
  • Mosques and palaces are build in many coastal towns
  • Swahili language shows Arabic influences
  • Living conditions show differences
    • Muslim: Stone/Coral houses
    • Non Muslims: Mud and thatch houses
  • Lineage
    • Matrilineal- (Traditional African) meant control of land
    • Patrilineal- Muslim custom
the forests and plains of africa
The Forests and Plains of Africa
  • Interior portions of African continent and forests of West Africa
  • Agriculture based with herding
  • Use iron tools and weapons
  • Small villages
  • Preliterate (culture without a language)
    • Rely on oral traditions and direct instruction
  • Advanced in art, building, statecraft, urban areas
southern africa great zimbabwe
Southern Africa & Great Zimbabwe
  • A New City
    • Shona build Great Zimbabwe—southeastern empire based on gold trade
  • Great Zimbabwe
    • Shona farm and raise cattle between Zambezi and Limpopo rivers
    • After 1000, Great Zimbabwe controls gold trade routes to Sofala
    • Leaders gain wealth by taxing traders, chiefs
    • Abandoned by 1450 for unknown reasons
    • Ruins of Great Zimbabwe discovered in 1871
  • Mutota
    • Mutota—Shona who leaves Great Zimbabwe and founds a new state
    • Mutota’s army dominates northern Shona people, who pay him tribute
  • Mutapa Rulers
    • The northern Shona call their rulers mwenemutapa or “conqueror”
    • Mutapa—name for African empire that conquers Zimbabwe
    • By 1480 Matope, Mutota’s son held large area inland and along coast
    • Gained wealth by mining gold