Africa and the Atlantic World Thematic Activity
Introduction • African Empires in transition: Gold Trade • Decline of Mali rise of Songhay. • Portugal looking to find a sea routes to the spice islands of the east sacks East Africa, most of Swahili speaking regions including Kilwa and Mombasa. • Portugal gradually become interested in the gold trade which brought them inland and in contact with the existing African institution of slavery.
Portugal in Africa • Largest empire of the time: Africa’s Songhay Empire a pro-Islamic faction under the leadership of great leaders like Sunni-Ali and King Aski Muhammad
Songhay • Askia Muhammad tried to expand Islamic influence in Africa but ran into resistance from tribal groups and non-muslims. • The demise of this powerful state was precipitated by the increasing European influence in Africa.
Kongo • Kongo under the leadership of King Afonso I saw the rise of a powerful, unified kingdom in the Kongolese region of Africa. • Their leader King Afonso I converted to Roman Catholicism developed close relations with the Portuguese. • Leaders like Queen Nzinga of Ndongo tried to preserve African autonomy and stem the tide of the slave trade and European intrusion.
Thematic Examination • Theme I: • The relationship of change and continuity across the world history periods covered in this course.
Theme I: negative change • Slave Trade • Expansion of economics, the triangle of trade • Rise and fall of kingdoms • Relations with Europe • Arrival of new faiths • Inability to maintain cultural traditions • Lack of indigenous African technology
Theme II: • Impact of interaction among major societies (trade, systems of international exchange, war, and diplomacy).
Theme II: the negative effects of European intrusion. • Demise of African cultural traditions • Demise of the empires of West Africa (Songhay, Kongo) • Intolerance and contempt. • Slavery/depopulation • Triangle of trade, economic dependence • Introduction of manufactured goods from Europe
Theme III: • Impact of technology and demography on people and the environment (population growth and decline, disease, manufacturing, migrations, agriculture, weaponry).
Theme III: A demographic nightmare • Introduction of firearms-technology • Lack of African technology • Lack of early manufacturing • Demography of the slave trade startling numbers. • A total of 16,000,000 persons lost in the trans-Atlantic slave trade • African diaspora
A view of slavery • Olaudah Equiano • Dutch perspective • Death rates? 50 percent on the “middle passage”. • Sugar plantations: surviving the journey-chance for survival on these plantations? Better than Europeans—had immunity to certain diseases. • 20% of slaves sold—under the age of 10. • Some estimates that 70% were male.
The slave trade • Initially obtained in the African manner, eventually moving to the “trade” with African leaders who had become dependent upon the manufactured goods from Europe. • Tribal politics of Africa • Afonso document • Africans often bought slaves from the Portuguese for gold, that the Portuguese coveted.
Theme IV: • Systems of social structure and gender structure (comparing major features within and among societies and assessing change).
Theme IV: Creation of a Matriarchal state. • Role of women • Lack of military defense • Vulnerability to colonization • Impacted education and intellegencia • Stagnated manufacturing and specialization of labor. • Ruined many kin based systems • Enhanced polygamy
Theme V: • Cultural and intellectual developments and interactions among and within societies.
Theme V: Cultural developments • Syncreticism of African faiths • Antonian movement • Afro-American cultures diffused • Cultural advancements in music, languages, and cuisine. • Resistance • Fulani movement
Theme VI • Changes in functions and structures of states and in attitudes toward states and political identities (political culture), including the emergence of the nation-state (types of political organization).
Theme VI: Political realities • Firearms and slavery meant political instability and political srife. Europeans devastated the Africans political experience. • Role of women? • Dependence on Europe for political and civic duties • Increased warfare • Tribalism/regionalism • Beginnings of colonization