Early African Civilizations

Early African Civilizations

Classical Era Variations: Africa and the Americas 500 BCE - 1200 CE AP World History Notes Chapter 7 Early Africa Few written records of early African people Historians learn about early African people through oral traditions

= legends & history passed by word of mouth through generations We also learn about them through art and artifacts that have been left behind Geography & Environment African continent is 3 times larger than the

U.S. Contains deserts, mountains, grasslands, river valleys, rainforests, etc. 5 regions (N, S, E, W, and Central) Geography & Environment Sahara Desert in the north = the worlds

largest desert Another major desert = the Kalahari in the south Geography & Environment South of the Sahara lies a great plateau = high, flat area = called the Sahel Sahel = covered by savannas =

treeless grasslands Geography & Environment Major highlands and mountains in eastern Africa Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya Tropical rainforests in

central Africa Geography & Environment Geography and Environment As a result of Africas size and environmental variations, many separate societies, cultures, and civilizations grew throughout Africa Africas Climate

Africa is one of the most tropical continents in the world As a result of this tropical climate: 1) Poorer and less fertile soil = less productive agriculture than in Eurasia 2) Many disease-carrying insects and parasites = long-term health problems Africas Proximity to Others Close to Eurasia and Arabia

This facilitated trade, interaction, and cultural diffusion Africa in the Classical Era Nubian Civilization Nubia = along the southern Nile; south of Egypt Had close contact with Egyptians; trade, cultural

diffusion, and warfare between the two Tombs of Nubian kings found with gold, jewelry, and pottery from Egypt Same objects (like eating utensils) found in both civilizations Nubian Civilization Meroe Pyramids

Focused on city of Meroe after Egyptian kingdom fell apart Government = all-powerful monarch Gained wealth and military power from trading to the north via the Nile and to the east and west via camel caravans Flourished from 300 BCE

to 100 CE Nubian Civilization Weavers Potters Merchants Urban Center Slaves

Iron workers Servants Masons Laborers e o r e M e k

i L Rural Areas Herders & farmers Rain-based agriculture Nubian Civilization Fell apart in the centuries following 100 CE due to:

Deforestation Conquest by the neighboring state of Axum Axum Located along the Red Sea Very productive agricultural system Plow-based farming Made wheat, barley, millet, and teff

Became a trading power in Red Sea and Indian Ocean Commerce Axum Many cities/ports on the East African coast got products from the African interior to sell in the Indian Ocean trading network

Axumite Coins Ivory, rhinoceros horns, tortoiseshells, obsidian, slaves, etc. Placed taxes on these items to bring in more revenue Axum Known for their stone obelisks Royal grave markers

Funeral monuments As a result of its trade connections, it absorbed parts of Roman culture, including Christianity Axum Decline Heart of Islam Started to decline

in the 600s CE due to: Soil exhaustion and erosion Deforestation Rise and spread of Islam Niger River Valley City-based civilization Biggest city = Jenne-jeno (about 40,000 people)

NO monarch, emperor, or other kind of leader controlling the cities NOT city-states because each city did NOT have its own individual monarch and/ or bureaucracy Statue excavated from site of Jenne-jeno City Clusters:

Set Up of a Typical City Clusters of economically specialized settlements surrounded a larger central town Griots (Praise-singers who preserved and recited the oral traditions of their socieites)

Iron Smiths Larger Central Town Leather Workers Cotton Weavers

Potters Niger River Valley Artisan communities became occupational castes Skills and jobs were passed down to children Only allowed to marry within your own group Niger River Valley

In the rural areas surrounding these urban clusters were the farmers Specialization occurred even out here Fishing Rice cultivation Animal domestication Dinners Ready! Bantu Migrations People left West Africa for less populated areas Settled all across southern and western Africa

Called the Bantu Migrations because descendants of the people that migrated shared elements of a language known as Bantu These people brought their culture & knowledge as they migrated Bantu languages became dominant south of the Sahara Bantu Migrations Bantu Migrations Bantu people were able to displace, absorb,

or eliminate hunter-gatherers they encountered due to: 1) Agriculture - they had a productive economy and could sustain a larger number of people in a small area 2) Iron -- used it to make tools and weapons 3) Disease -- they brought infectious diseases (like malaria) with them Bantu Africa Bantu-speaking people became

divided into hundred of ethnic groups Bantu Religion Bantu people focused on ancestral and nature spirits Power of dead ancestors accessed through sacrifice rituals Charms also used -could be activated to control the rains, defend

the village, achieve success in hunting, etc. Bantu Religion Diviners = could connect to the supernatural world Divination Horn Used dreams, visions, charms, or trances to

identify the source of misfortune and to prescribe remedies Bantu Arts Sculpture was an important art form Masks worn at dances & ceremonies -symbolized link between living & dead Music was important --> choral singing, dances

for ceremonies

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