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Chapter 21 blog notes


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  • 1. West Africa
    Chapter 21
  • 2. Physical Geography
    Section 1
  • 3. Landforms & Climate
    Variety of climates, but not a variety of landforms
    Plains & Highlands
    Plains cover much of W. Africa
    Coastal plain: home to cities
    Interior plains: where few crops & animals are raised
    Plains are vast w/ a few highland areas
    SW has plateaus & cliffs
    Tibesti Mt. in NE
  • 4. The Niger River
    Most important in West Africa
    Starts 150 miles from Atlantic Ocean & flows east & southward for 2,600 miles
    Brings life-giving water to West Africa
    People farm along its banks or fish in its waters
    Important transportation route
    Divides into network of channels, swamps, & lakes in areas (inland delta)
  • 5. Climate & Vegetation
    Region’s climates are zonal
    4 Zones
    The Sahara: largest desert; northernmost parts of region; few to no people
    Steppe Climate: the Sahel (strip of land that divides the desert from wetter areas) an area of dry grasslands; rain fall varies; overgrazing by animals, cutting of trees for firewood, & winds blowing away fertile soil causing death to many people & animals
    The Savanna: good soil, thick grass, & scattered tall trees; dangerous tsetse fly lives here, caused sleeping sickness & death
    The Coast & Forest: many of largest cities are here, wet, humid climate; plentiful rain supports rain forests; trees have been cut to back way for expanding populations; environmental damage is a serious problem
  • 6. Resources
    Variety of resources
    Agricultural products, oil, and minerals
    Climate of region helps with growing crops
    Mineral riches: diamonds, gold, iron ore, & manganese, & bauxite
    Nigeria is a major exporter of oil
    95% of exports
  • 7. Section 2
    History & Culture
  • 8. West Africa’s History
    Much of early history based on archaeology & oral history (spoken information passed down from person to person through generations
  • 9. Great Kingdoms
    Artifacts suggest earliest trading towns developed into great kingdoms
    Earliest kingdom of Ghana became rich and powerful by about A.D. 800
    Empire of Mali replace Ghana
    Mansa Musa famous king
    Used wealth from trade to support artists and scholars
    Songhai kingdom replaced the Mali kingdom
    Timbuktu became a cultural center
    Universities, mosques, & schools
    W. African trade cities faded when Sahara trade decreased
    Europeans began sailing along the west coast of Africa
  • 10. The Slave Trade
    1440s Portuguese explorers began sailing along the west coast of Africa
    Europeans & Africans profited from trade with each other for awhile
    1600s the demand for labor in Europe’s American colonies changed everything
    Enslaved Africans were sold to colonists
    It was very profitable for traders
    Slave trade devastated West African communities
    Families were broken up
    Many died on the voyage to America
    Most who survived were sent to the West Indies or Brazil
    Ended in 1800s; millions of African had been forced from their homes
  • 11. Colonial Era & Independence
    1800s many European countries competed for colonies in West Africa
    France claimed most the northwest, Britain, Germany, & Portugal seized the rest
    Only tiny Liberia remained independent
    Founded in 1820s by Americans as a home for free slaves; Sierra Leone (British colony) also became a home for freed slaves
    Some Europeans moved to West Africa to run the colonies
    They built roads, bridges, & railroads
    Teachers & missionaries set up Christian churches and schools
    After WWII Africans worked for independence
    Most gained it during the 1950s & 1960s
    Portugal gave up their colonies in 1974
  • 12. Culture
    Culture reflects traditional African cultures, European culture, & Islam
    People & Languages
    100s of different ethnic groups
    Some still live in traditional villages
    Others mix in region’s cities
    Colonial political borders separated ethnic groups
    More loyal to ethnic group than country
    French, English, or Portuguese are universal languages
  • 13. Religion
    Many forms exist
    Traditional Africans
    Animism: belief that bodies of water, animals, trees, & other natural objects have spirits
    Most common
    Islam & Christianity
  • 14. Clothing, Families, & Homes
    Mix of traditional & modern
    Western-style; traditional robes, skirts, blouses
    Small and simple
    In Sahel they are circular straw or mud huts
    Extended families live close together
  • 15. Challenges
    Borders of West Africa ignored human geography
    People had stronger ties to their ethnic group than to their new country
    Few people were trained to run new governments
    Dictators took control in many countries
    Still trouble region today
    Birthrates are high in West Africa
    More and more people most make a living from the small amount of fertile land
    Many are moving to already crowded cities, even though jobs are few
    Countries also must find ways to educate more of their people, but many families can not afford to send their children to school
  • 16. Section 3
    West Africa Today
  • 17. Nigeria
    2nd largest country in W. Africa
    Africa’s largest population
    On e of the strongest economies
    People & Gov’t
    Many ethnic groups
    Conflict has occurred (In 1960s Igbo tried to secede & bloody civil war followed)
    Capital was chosen in low population density area to help avoid conflicts
    Democratic gov’t today
  • 18. Nigeria
    Rich natural resources
    Oil accounts for 95% of export earnings
    Good roads railroads have been built
    Rich in resources but most people are poor
    High birthrate (can not produce enough food for population)
    History of bad gov’t (corrupt official have enriched themselves)
  • 19. Senegal & Gambia
    Odd borders of countries created by French & British
    Larger & richer
    Peanuts are major crops
    Tourism is important
    Speak Wolof
    Griots (story tellers) are important
  • 20. Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Cape Verde
    Guinea & Guinea-Bissau are poor countries
    Guinea natural resource: Bauxite
    G-B: undeveloped mineral resources
    Cape Verde
    Volcanic islands in Atlantic
    Has most stable democratic gov’t
    Tourism forms main part of economy
  • 21. Liberia & Sierra Leone
    Oldest republic
    Home to freed slaves in 1820s
    Freed slaves clashed w/ Africans already living there; led to civil war which ended in 2003
    Sierra Leone
    Civil war from 1991-2002
    Wrecked economy, killed thousands, & forced millions from their homes
    Trying to rebuild
    Natural resources could help build up economies
    Rubber, iron ore, & diamonds
  • 22. Ghana & Cote d’lvoire
    Named after African kingdom
    Cote d’lvoire:
    Former French colony, name mean “Ivory coast”
    Largest Christian church building in Africa
    Rich natural resources
    Gold, timber, cacao, & coffee
    Economy hurt by civil war
  • 23. Togo & Benin
    Unstable gov’t
    Periods of military rule
    Fragile economies & violent politics
    Poor countries
    People depend on farming & herding
    Palm products, cacao, & coffee are main crops
  • 24. Mauritania, Niger, & Chad
    Once nomadic herders
    Expand desert has moved herders into cities
    Very poor people
    Farming & fishing are important
    Corrupt gov’t & ethnic tensions between blacks & Arabs add to troubles
    3% of land good for farming
    Farmers grow staple food crops (millet & sorghum)
    Crops destroyed by locusts & drought in 2000s
    Caused widespread famine; international groups supplied aid
    Land for farming
    Lake Chad once had healthy fishing industry & supplied water
    Drought has caused evaporation
    Faced civil wars in 1990s
    Oil recently discovered in 2004
  • 25.
  • 26. Mali & Burkina Faso
    40% covered by Sahara
    Among world’s poorest countries
    Some farmland along Niger River
    People fish or farm
    Cotton & gold are main exports
    Fairly stable democratic gov’t has begun economic reform
    Tourism is important
    Burkina Faso
    Poor country
    Thin soil & few minerals
    Few trees remain
    Jobs in cities are scarce
    Men often try to find work in other countries
    When unrest disrupts work opportunities the economy suffers