The Bantu PeopleMigration from 3000 BCE—1100 CE through Sub-Saharan Africa By Priyanka Juneja, Sasha Ree, and Lauretta Zhao
Chronology • 3000 BCE – Bantu migration begins from north Africa and expands through west Africa because of population pressures • 1500 – 1000 BCE – Bantu migration spreads south all over sub-Saharan Africa • ca. 1000 BCE – Bantu groups arrive in what is modern-day Uganda • 500 BCE – 600 CE – massive transfer of Bantu traditions and practices southward, eastward, and westward • 500 BCE – 800 CE – Bantu language spreads throughout the African Great Lakes region • 750 CE – The first towns built by the Swahili people in Kenya emerge • 1 – 1000 CE – Bantu people bring the skill of metalworking, mostly iron, throughout sub-Saharan Africa – the Iron Age of Africa • 1000 CE – Mapungabwe, the capital of a Bantu kingdom, develops from settlements along the Limpopo River and controls most of the surrounding territory • ca. 1000 CE – First great kingdoms of sub-Saharan Africa are established in regions immediately south of the desert • 1000 – 1800 CE – East Africa experiences a wave of Bantu migration.
This shows the approximate distribution of African languages that are spoken today. The orange represents the Bantu languages, which shows how widely spoken the Bantu language is throughout Africa.
This map shows the early age iron findings in sub-Saharan Africa. As shown, the areas where the iron findings occurred parallels the Bantu migrations which show how the Bantu migrations affected the African knowledge of iron smelting.
Modern-day Bantu people. This picture shows the progression of the Bantu migrations throughout Africa. This map traces the large expanse of the Bantu people's migrations. Key: 1 = 2000–1500 BC origin2 = ca.1500 BC first migrations2.a = Eastern Bantu, 2.b = Western Bantu3 = 1000–500 BC Urewe nucleus of Eastern Bantu4–7 = southward advance9 = 500 BC–0 Congo nucleus10 = 0–1000 AD last phase
Comparison and Contrast The impacts of Bantu migrations on the various regions of Africa are very similar as their culture is essentially sustained throughout this period. In the field of politics, the Bantu migrations created local administration that later evolved into a more centralized government. The Bantu also had many intellectual innovations, such as their use and maintenance of the Bantu languages. They also promoted the same land clearing techniques throughout Africa. Religion was also essentially the same. It was pantheistic, and very tolerant in nature allowing for most of them to be converted to Christianity. In the field of economics, the Bantu depended mostly on agriculture and introduced new fruits like bananas and yams. However the artistic impacts do vary. In South Africa the Zulu made wooden figures and clay models of cattle. The Ndebele of the modern province of South Africa painted and decorated their walls. Artistic basketry, pottery, the carving of wooden vessels, stools and headrests, ceremonial weapons, spoons, pipes, and beadwork was also prevalent in both South and East Africa. However the Kuba, who created masks that represented deities and spirits and were worn on special occasions by select people like the community head dancer, were spread throughout Africa. Societal impacts varied as well. The Bantu migrations enabled the creation of many new ethnic groups derived from the Bantu. Each region grew distinct ethnic groups. In East Africa Shona, the Xhosa, the Kikuyu, and the Zulu were created. IN West Africa the Herero and Tonga formed and in the south Zimbabwe, Dhlo-Dhlo, Kilwa, and Sofala stone-states were created.
Change Over Time • Bantu refers to a group of languages spoken by certain groups of people throughout Africa. As the people spread, a variety of different Bantu languages developed. • The Bantu migration was most likely caused by a population increase, which was a result of more efficient food production of new crops such as the banana. • Societies were mostly agriculture-based, and the development of iron tools would have helped make farming more efficient. • Political organization was mostly local, though later larger kingdoms developed in western and central Africa. • At the beginning of the first millenium BCE, two major linguistic branches emerged, the Eastern and Western language branches. • The Eastern branch migrated south, and the Western branch migrated north. • The spread of Bantu traditions and ideas intermingled with preexisting societies, and the new ideas that emerged became known as Pan-African traditions.
Impact on the World Today • The Bantu peoples migrated throughout sub-Saharan Africa and as a result their language spread throughout Africa as well. Today, Bantu languages are spoken throughout the entire continent. An example of a Bantu language is Swahili, which is the most widely spoken language in Africa today. The widespread knowledge of the Bantu languages is a result of the extensive Bantu migrations that occurred in 1000-800 BCE. • Another impact that the Bantu migrations had on the world today is the spread of different agricultural products, such as yams, bananas, and plantains. Because the Bantu peoples dispersed these agricultural products, many villages grew greatly in size. Therefore, the Bantu peoples are responsible for the development of village life until today. An example of one of the city-states the Bantu peoples created is Zimbabwe, which is still successful today. • The Bantu migrations are also responsible for the widespread knowledge of iron smelting. Before the Bantu migrations, the knowledge of iron smelting was confined to a small area in sub-Saharan Africa. However, when the Bantu migrations occurred, the Bantu peoples spread the knowledge and therefore affected the growth of many city-states that still exist today.
Jobs • Priyanka Juneja – PIRATES (1), Comparison/Contrast (4a) • Sasha Ree – Pictures (3), Impact on World Today (5) • Lauretta Zhao – Chronology (2), Change Over Time (4b)
Bibliography • http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/timelines/htimeline.htm • http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/timelines/htimeline2.htm • http://www.slideshare.net/gdholbrookwhap/ch-7-bantu-migrations-spread-of-religions-5377296 • http://www.novelguide.com/a/discover/aes_01/aes_01_00042.html • http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab24 • http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/CIVAFRCA/IRONAGE.HTM • http://www.south-africa-tours-and-travel.com/bantu.html