• Strength of Empires depended on trade networks.• History accounts come from oral accounts/stories and writing of African scholars and Islamic Traders.• Trade Exchange: Mined Gold was traded for salt from the desert.• Large amounts of Gold were traded until 1500CE. Then ivory and even slaves were traded for textiles.
African Civilizations• West African Kingdoms – Location of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai empires relative to Niger River and the Sahara – Importance of gold and salt to trans-Saharan trade – City of Timbuktu as center of trade and learning – Role of Animism and Islam
• Ghana earliest kingdom (NW of present day Ghana) Profit from Gold-Salt exchange• Reached peak around 1050CE• 1235CE neighboring people overthrew Ghana and established the Empire of Mali• Mali Takes over area that was Ghana and spreads over large areas to the North and West along the upper Niger River• Mali’s power reached its peak under leader Mansa Musa• Mansa Musa supporter education, arts, built buildings, and JUSTICE.• Timbuktu became a leading center of learning.• Musa made a pilgrimage to Mecca. (Muslim – 5 Pillars)
• Songhai 1468CE rebel leader Sonni’Ali captures Timbuktu and builds up the kingdom of Songhai• City of Gao became one of Africas busiest commercial centers on the Niger River.• Songhai becomes the biggest of the African Kingdoms and uses warships to patrol the Niger River. Governors are used to control provinces.• 1591 the Moroccan army with guns defeats the Songhai troops.
• East Africa – Nubians(Kush)/Axum• Bantu- language that spread across Africa with migrating people• African languages today have similarities to Bantu• Women- were primary farmers. Many historians believe the societies to be matrilineal. (mom in charge) – People traced their ancestors and inherited property through the mothers• Religion – spirits in everything animism – Spirits of ancestry, with a supreme creator god
• 710bc the Nubians(Kush) conquered upper Egypt and ruled for 50 years• 671bce Assyrians invade and weaken kingdom• Taken over by Aksum (Axum) in the Ethiopian Highlands (plateau)• Successful ivory trade for gold, rhinoceros horns, ivory, incense, decorative obsidian stones with the Mediterranean.• Imported glass, metal ornaments, pottery, wine, and olive oil• Only Africa Kingdom that becomes Christian. (Others =Islam)
Christian Church, Lalibela [Ethiopia] Coptic Christian Priest
• African culture Swahili developed in East Africa. Swahili is from the Bantu language.• Cultures connected by trade to South Africa.• Mogadishu on Indian Ocean Trading Center• Ibn Battuta was a famous Islamic traveler wrote about his journeys
Swahili-Speaking Areas of E. Africa SWAHILI [“the coast’] = Bantu + some Arabic
• Great Zimbabwe – Location relative to the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers and the Indian Ocean Coast – City of “Great Zimbabwe” as capital of a prosperous empire – Gold traded for salt, tools, cloth – Great fortification (maze of walls) – Unknown reason for decline. 1400s
Great Zimbabwe [1200-1450] “Zimbabwe” = “stone enclosure”
• States and empires flourished in Africa during the medieval period, including Ghana, Mali, and Songhai in West Africa, Axum in east Africa, and Zimbabwe in southern Africa.• Trade brought important economic, cultural, and religious influences to African civilizations from other parts of the Eastern Hemisphere.