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Kingdoms and Empires of Africa. Chapter 20, Section 2. Setting the Scene. Adulis was the most important city in Aksum, a bustling trade center along the Red Sea. In the year A.D. 1, a Greek writer made a list of things you could buy there.

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Kingdoms and Empires of Africa


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    1. Kingdoms and Empires of Africa Chapter 20, Section 2

    2. Setting the Scene Adulis was the most important city in Aksum, a bustling trade center along the Red Sea. In the year A.D. 1, a Greek writer made a list of things you could buy there. “Cloth made in Egypt… and brass, used for ornaments; sheets of soft copper, used for cooking utensils, bracelets and anklets; iron, which is made into spears…”

    3. An East African Kingdom • Around 3,000 years ago, African and Arab traders settled in Aksum, in present day Ethiopia and Eritrea. • In time, Aksum came to control trade in the Red Sea and eventually created a trade network from the Mediterranean Sea to India.

    4. Aksum • Goods weren’t the only thing that traveled along these trade routes. Ideas, such as Christianity, traveled to Aksum, which became a center of the early African Christian church. • As Aksum began to decline in the 600’s, Arabs took control of the region’s trade. Granite obelisks mark the tombs of Aksum’s Kings

    5. West African Kingdoms • Other kingdoms arose after Aksum, but most were in West Africa. • The power of West African kingdoms was based on the trade of salt and gold. • People need salt to survive, especially in hot areas like West Africa, but people there had no salt.

    6. Ghana • West Africans did have plenty of gold. The opposite was true in North Africa; they had salt, but no gold. • Trade between the two regions grew and brought power and riches to three West African kingdoms- Ghana, Mali and Songhai. The gold mask of a king of Ghana

    7. Ghana • From the 700’s to about 1100, Ghana’s kings grew rich from the taxes they charged on the goods that flowed through their lands. • The flow of gold was so great that Arab writers called Ghana the “land of gold.” After a time though, Ghana lost control of its trade routes.

    8. Mali and the Spread of Islam • The kingdom of Mali arose in the 1200’s. The powerful kings of Mali controlled both the gold mines of the south and salt from the north. • Mali’s most famous king was Mansa Musa, who brought peace and order to Mali with his laws based on the Quran. Mansa means “emperor”

    9. Mansa Musa • In 1324, Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage to the holy Muslim city of Mecca. • A pilgrimage is a religious journey. • Musa brought 60,000 people and 80 camels with him. Each camel carried 300 pounds of gold, which was given to people along the way. • Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage opened new trading ties between Mali and other Muslim states. It also made him famous in far away places like Europe.

    10. Songhai • Songhai eventually became West Africa’s most powerful kingdom. Its rulers controlled important trade routes and wealthy trading cities like Tombouctou. • Tombouctou was a great Muslim learning center, and Islam still remains important there today.

    11. East African City-States • Trade also helped East African cities to develop. • After Aksum declined, traders from Africa’s east coast carried animal skins, ivory, gold and other metals to India and China. • They brought back goods like spices and silks.

    12. East African City-States • Many of the traders in the region were Arab Muslims. In time, a new language, called Swahili, developed. • Swahili was a combination of Bantu and Arab languages. • Some East African cities grew into powerful city-states. • A city state has its own government and controls much of the surrounding lands.

    13. East African City-States • Among the greatest city states were Malindi, Mombasa and Kilwa. These towns also grew rich from taxing traders. • Ibn Batuta, a Muslim traveler, visited Kilwa in 1331. He had visited China, India and West Africa, but wrote that Kilwa was “one of the most beautiful and best constructed towns in the world.” • People there lived in three and four story houses made of stone and sea coral.

    14. European Influence and African Independence Chapter 20, Section 3

    15. Trade with Europeans • Europeans and Northern Africans had been trading since before written history. • Europeans traded salt and gold for clothing, copper and crops. • Even before Europeans, Africans had commonly used other Africans as slaves, but the enslaved usually won their freedom after a few years.

    16. The Atlantic Slave Trade • Europeans, however, viewed slaves as property. Freedom in the future was not considered possible. • Europe’s relationship with Africa changed greatly after 1500. • Europeans began transporting Africans across the Atlantic to work on plantations and mines in the Americas.

    17. The Effects of Colonization • Portugal was the first European country to build an African trading post. • The effects of slavery, especially on West Africa, were disastrous. • Many European nations began to colonize Africa. • To colonize means to settle an area and take over its government.

    18. The Effects of Colonization • Europeans saw Africa’s natural resources as a new way to build wealth and empires. • Africans resisted colonization, but were overwhelmed. • European rulers joined forces and set up rules for how to claim African land. • In most colonies, African people had little power in the governments that ruled them.

    19. The Effects of Colonization • Europeans also gained power by encouraging Africans to fight each other. • They took the best land and often forced Africans to work under terrible conditions. • New political boundaries divided some ethnic groups and crammed others together. • Africa is still effected by the conflict from this time.

    20. The Growth of African Independence • Many Africans dreamed of independence in the late 1800’s. • In order to win independence from the colonial powers, African leaders encouraged the growth of nationalism. • Nationalism is a feeling of pride in one’s homeland. • In 1912, a political party, now called the African National Congress, was formed in South Africa to win rights for black Africans. Similar groups sprang up all around Africa.

    21. Paths to Independence • A movement called Pan-Africanism was formed in the 1920’s to promote unity and cooperation among all Africans. • Their motto was “Africa is for Africans.” • In the 1940’s, African countries helped the Allies defeat the Axis countries in World War II. African soldiers, drivers and workers took part in the war.

    22. Paths to Independence • World War II inspired many Africans to demand their independence. They accomplished this in two ways: • Through peaceful transition.Some European countries let go of their colonies peacefully, as when Britain granted Ghana its independence. • Through armed conflict. Others had to fight for their freedom. One example is Algeria, who fought a six year war of independence against France.

    23. Ghana: From Past to Present • In the West African colony of the Gold Coast, Kwame Nkruma organized protests, strikes and boycotts against British rule in the 50’s. • A boycott is a refusal to buy or use certain products or services. • Nkruma was jailed, but the protests continued and the colony gained independence. • The colony took the name Ghana, after the great trading kingdom of ancient times. Nkruma became Ghana’s first president.

    24. The Challenges of Independence • Africa’s new leaders had spent many years working for freedom, but had very little experience governing. • Many new African governments were unstable. • In some countries, military leaders took control. In most of these countries, people had few rights and citizens were jailed for protesting the government.

    25. The Challenges of Independence • Other African countries, like Botswana, have a long history of democracy. • Many people believe that many African countries are unstable because most are only 40 years old. They need time to develop and stabilize their governments. • The United States, for example, is 200 years old and therefore has a more stable government than young African countries.