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Ancient african civilization

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Ancient african civilization

  1. 1. Ancient African Civilizations Kush, Axum, Ghana, Mali, Songhai & Bantus 750 BCE – 1500CE
  2. 2. Geography Sahara Desert Africa is the second largest continent on Earth. Africa has several distinct geographical zones. The northern fringe, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is mountainous. South of the mountain ranges is the largest desert on Earth, the Sahara. South of the Sahara, Africa is divided into several regions. In the west, the Sahara gradually gives way to grasslands in the interior and tropical jungles on the coast. Savann Rain Forest a (African In the East, the Great Rift Valley is full of Plains) snow-topped mountains and deep canyons, with a grassland region that is Congo Basin populated with animals. Kalahari The Congo Basin is full of dense Desert vegetation fed by the Congo River. These tropical rainforests eventually fade to hills and plateaus, high flat land areas and deserts to the south.
  3. 3. Climate Africa has four distinct climate zones: Desert, Rain Forest, Savanna, and the Mild Zones. The Mild Zones are the smallest regions (dark green, left), and stretch across the Northern coast and the southern tip of Africa, plus a region near the Drakensberg Mountains in the Southeast. Deserts form the second climate zone. The Sahara in the north and the Kalahari in the south are the tow largest deserts. Together they cover about 40% of Africa. The rain forest is the third climate zone. It stretches along the equator and is about 10% of the continent. Heavy rains and warm temperatures produce dense forests where little farming and travel are possible. The rainforest is also home to disease-carrying insects, including the tsetse fly, which produces sleeping sickness in humans and animals. The final climate zone is the Savannas, the grass plains with small trees and shrubs. The Savannas make up about 40% of the continent. They receive enough rainfall for farming and herding animals. Each of the zones is populated with people, who have adapted to the geographical and climate challenges in unique ways.
  4. 4. Kush  By 2000 BCE, the area south of Egypt, called Nubia, had developed extensive trade.  Nubians traded ivory, ebony, frankincense, and leopard skin  Nubia was controlled by Egypt until around 1000 BCE  In 750 BCE, the Kush conquered Egypt, but were overwhelmed by the Assyrians less than a hundred years later, in 663 BCE  The Kush were still using bronze and stone, while the Assyrians used iron spears and swords  After the Assyrians conquered Egypt, the Kushites returned to their land in Nubia
  5. 5. Kush Economics & Society  Kush economics were based on farming and trade.  They built a capital city in Meroe, which became a trading center.  Meroe had a large supply of iron ore; the Kush were able to make the iron weapons they had seen on the Assyrians  The Kush was a major trading empire, taking advantage of the Nile and land routes  Kush trade went as far as Rome, India, and Arabia  Traded: iron, ivory, ebony,  Received: jewelry, silver, luxury goods  Not much is known about Kush society. They left behind tombs full of luxury items, demonstrating that they were prosperous and had traded with distant countries. This suggests there was probably a large trader or merchant class in Kush society.  The Kush flourished from about 250 BCE to approximately 150 CE, but declined because of the rise of a new power in the region. Kush Tombs
  6. 6. Axum South of the Kush was Ethiopia, where the Axum were located. Originally started as an Arab colony, Axum emerged as an independent state that combined African and Arabic cultures. Axum was prosperous because of it’s prime location on the Red Sea, which allowed them to trade between India, the Mediterranean, and southern Africa. Like the Kush, they exported ivory, spices, and slaves. They imported textiles, metal goods, wine and olive oil.
  7. 7. Axum Axum competed with the Kush for control of the ivory trade. In the fourth century CE, King Ezana, the Axumite ruler, invaded Kush and conquered it. The most distinctive feature of the Axumites was their religion. Around 330 CE, the king converted to Christianity, which was brought to Axum by Syrians. The king made Christianity the official religion of Axum. After King Ezana died, the Axum kingdom flourished until the rise of Islam, which brought Arab forces into northern and eastern Africa. In 641, Arab forces took control of Egypt. By the 700s, the entire coast of North Africa was under Arab rule. The Muslim trading states lived peacefully with Axum until the 12th century, when the Muslims started moving inland into Africa. By the 15th century Axum was in constant conflict with King the Muslim states. Ezana
  8. 8. Kingdom of Ghana  Ghana was the first great trading state of Western Africa  Ghana emerged around 500 CE; Ghana was a series of villages and farmlands organized under strong rulers  The kings of Ghana governed without laws, instead they used a well-trained army to enforce their wishes  Kings based their wealth on the gold and iron trade
  9. 9. Ghana Economy & Trade  The Ghana kingdom was rich in both iron and gold  They had trained blacksmiths to turn the iron into weapons and tools  The heartland of Ghana was one of the richest gold-producing areas of all of Africa, making it the center of an enormous trade empire  Muslim merchants from North Africa brought textiles, metal goods, horses, and salt, which they exchanged for iron and gold.  Ghana also exported ivory, ostrich feathers, hides, and slaves  Many of the trade goods were carried by the Berbers, nomadic peoples whose camel caravans became known as “fleets across the desert”.  Merchants from Ghana were very wealthy and paid a tax to the king, but nearly all trade was conducted through the Berbers, who brought the goods to Muslim traders.  Ghana collapsed in the 1100s, weakened by wars and the competition from other trading societies.
  10. 10. Mali Mali was established by Sundiata Keita, who defeated the Ghanians and captured their capitol in 1240 CE. He united the people of Mali under a strong government. Mali’s greatest trading center was Timbuktu. Mali built it’s wealth and power on the gold and salt trade. Sundiata Keita Most of Mali’s citizens were farmers, living in villages with local rulers, who sent tax revenues to the Mali Kings. Mansa Musa ruled Mali from 1312 to 1337. He doubled the size of the kingdom and built a strong central government. He divided Mali into provinces ruled by appointed governors. Mansa Musa embarked on a pilgrimage to Makkah, accompanied by a huge caravan. He gave away lavish gold gifts, causing the value of gold to drop. Musa also imported scholars and books into his kingdom. He also built the Sankore mosque in Timbuktu. Sankore Mosque
  11. 11. Songhai The Songhai established themselves on the Niger River in western Africa. Like the Nile, the river flooded regularly, providing a rich soil for farming and herding. In 1009 CE a ruler named Kossi converted to Islam and established the Dia Dynasty. The Sunni dynasty began in 1464, established by Sunni Ali. Ali expanded the Songhai The Songhai states benefited empire. Ali was a great military commander from Muslim trading routes who led his army on conquests. Ali conquered that linked them to Timbuktu and Jenne, two major trading cities. Arabia, Northern Africa, and West Africa. Gao became the The Songhai reached their height under the chief trade center of the rule of Muhammad Ture, a military Songhai kingdom. commander who overthrew the son of Sunni Ali and seized power in 1493.
  12. 12. Songhai  Under Muhammad Ture, the Songhai expanded even further. The new empire was over a thousand miles long and centered on the Niger River.  Muhammad Ture divided the empire into provinces and used the navy and army to maintain peace and security.  Songhai prospered from salt and gold trading.  After Ture’s death, the Songhai slowly declined.  At the end of the 16th century, the Sultan of Morocco invaded and occupied a large section of the Songhai empire.  Under the Sultan’s rule, Songhai became a dangerous, insecure place, with increasing poverty, violence, and distress.
  13. 13. African Trading Empires, 1000 BCE – 1600 CE
  14. 14. Societies in East Africa South of Axum, along the shores of the Indian Ocean and inland from the mountains of Ethiopia, through the lake district of central Africa, lived a mixture of peoples. In the first millenium BCE, farming peoples who spoke dialects of the Bantu family of languages began to move from the region of the Niger River into East Africa and the Congo River Basin (phase I, right). Two migrations followed (phase II and III, right), moving their descendants into most of Eastern Africa. Bantu society was based on subsistence farming, or growing just enough crops for personal use. The primary crops were grains, yams, melons, and beans. The farmers used iron and stone tools. Bantu society also herded animals and traded among their communities.
  15. 15. Indian Ocean Trade & Ports On the Eastern fringe of Africa, the Bantu-speaking peoples began to participate in the regional trade. The spread of Islam during the 7th and 8th centuries increased the importance of Eastern Africa trading network formed along the Eastern coast, Arabian Peninsula, and Persian Gulf (see red lines, left). A string of trading ports formed along the Eastern coast, including Mogadishu, Mombasa, and Kilwa. Merchants in these cities grew wealthy from the lucrative trade. Kilwa was a magnificent city; two monumental buildings from this period were the Great Mosque of Kilwa and the Husuni Kubwa palace, built on a clifftop. Kilwa began to decline and the Portugese sacked it in 1505, destroying most of its buildings.
  16. 16. Kilwa Husuni Kubwa Palace Kilwa Mosque
  17. 17. Swahili  The mix of African and Arabian culture on the East Coast of Africa eventually became known as Swahili.  Intermarriage was common among ruling groups.  Muslim religion and architectural style became a large part of African culture  The major language of the area was name Swahili (meaning “people of the coast”).  This language combined Bantu with Arabic words and phrases.  It is now the national language of Kenya and Tanzania
  18. 18. Southern Africa Societies  Most of the people in Southern Africa lived in stateless societies, meaning they lived in independent villages organized by clans and led by a local ruler or clan leader.  In the grasslands of the Zambezi River a mixed economy of farming, cattle herding, and trade developed over a period of many centuries. Villages often had walls to keep the domestic animals safe from wild animals.  In the 1300s, some of these villages started to consolidate into states. One of the first southern states was Zimbabwe, which became the wealthiest and most powerful state in the region.  Zimbabwe traded gold with the Swahili trading communities.  Great Zimbabwe was the capitol city, which housed over 10,000 residents at its height.  Great Zimbabwe had a Great Enclosure that dominated the city, historians are still not sure what it was used for!

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