Africa andTrans-Sahara Trade Routes 600-1450
“Always something new out of Africa” (Greek Proverb; 1st C CE) • What do you suppose this proverb is referring to?
Pre-600 CE • West Africa: domesticated millet & sorghum • Ironworking technology • Between North Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa: trade included ivory, hides, cola, copper, slaves, and dates • Expanded to Islamic World by 700 CE • 300 CE: introduction of camels
Pre-600 • Predominately Christian orATR • State-level societies: Jenne-Jeno and Gao (in present-day Mali) • Stateless societies: organized around kinship boundaries • Not-consolidated power: power-vacuum • Common language: Bantu
Trans-Sahara Trade Routes • Began with Soninke Empire (Ghana) in the 5th century • Linked to Mediterranean Empiressupplied gold and salt • Used camels (Ibn Battuta, camel caravan size = 1,000-12,000) • Eventually sent slaves north
Trans-Sahara Trade Routes • Beginning of trade: Ghana • Height of trade: Mali • Decline of trade: Portuguese invaders/Atlantic slave trade
African Political Organization • Kinship groups • Through family groups • Village council = male family heads • Chiefs • District • Chiefdoms • Population growth increased conflict • Organized military forces, around 1000 CE • Powerful chiefs overrode kinship networks and imposed authority • Ex: Benin and Ife (Yoruba)
African Political Organization • Kingdom of Kongo • Villages formed small city-states along the Congo River, 1000 CE • Small stateslarger principalities, 1200 CE • One conquered others: Kongo • Centralized government • Royal currency system • Until mid-17th century
African Political Organization: Christian Kingdoms: • Reached Africa by 1st C; Axum by 4th C • Nubia • Independently Christian until the 13th C. • Ethiopia • King Lalibela (13th C) • Egypt: Copts
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms • Spread of Islam • When did it spread through Africa? • How? • Why?
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms • Islamic Impact • Active trade with Islamic world (Dar al-Islam) • Islamic world interested in Ghana: • “The richest king on the face of the earth by reason of wealth and treasure of [gold]” • By 11th C, Muslims part of culture of the Savannah
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms • Mansa Musa • Malian Muslim King • 1324-1325, set out to take a Hajj • Thousands of retainers • 100 camel loads of gold • Prices skyrocketed in Alexandria • Reports of wealthy Africans to Europe • Set out to build new mosques
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms • Timbuktu: Center of learning • Young men “kept in irons until they had memorized the entire Qu’ran” (Ibn Battuta) • “Salt comes from the north, gold from the south, but the word of God and the treasures of wisdom come from Timbuktu." • High literacy rate
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms • Oral Tradition • What is a griot? • Any connections to other traditions? • What is the value of oral traditions? • What were the qualities people expected in a king? • What’s the connection between Africa and the wider world?
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms • Songhay Kingdom • Refer to your notes from chapter 8: • What are key components of the Songhay Kingdom? • Timbuktu at its height; decline of Mali and Ghana • Replaces Mali by the late 15th C
Clans, kinship groups, etc. formed social aspects Unified states allowed for coexistence of diverse groups and communities Islam served as a common religion Islam fused with existing traditions and beliefs Matrilineal societies Slavery and slave trade: Africa and Islamic world: 4.8 million people in the 700 years of the trans-Saharan trade Commonalities in Sudanic Islamic States:
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms: East Africa • Swahili • Arabic term meaning “coasters” • Mogadishu to Sofala • Swahili: Bantu derivative language + Arabic • Trade with Muslim merchants • City-States • Chiefs gain power by taxing trade on ports • Portscity-states governed by kings in 11th and 12th centuries
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms: East Africa • Great Zimbabwe • The stone complex known as Great Zimbabwe built in 12th C • 18,000 people lived there in the 15th C (some say up to 30,000!) • Kings organized flow of gold, ivory, slaves • Wealth lie in cattle production
African Political Organization: Islamic Kingdoms: East Africa • Kilwa • Began around the 9th C • Traded throughout the Indian Ocean • Trade: • Gold and iron from Great Zimbabwe • Ivory and slaves from mainland Tanzania • Jewelry, porcelain and spices from Asia. • Islamic: mosques • Ibn Battuta
African Society and Cultural Development • Social classes: • Diverse dependent upon location • Kinship groups • No private property
Men Heavy labor Public authority Kings/chiefs Women child rearing, domesticity High honor as source of life Aristocratic women could influence public affairs Women merchants All-female military units African Society and Cultural Development
African Society and Cultural Development • Slavery • Most were captives of war, debtors, criminals • Agricultural labor • Increased after 11th C • Demand outstripped supply from eastern Europe • Large states began slave raids from small states or villages