~ AKS 35 ~ Describe the diverse characteristics of early African societies before 1800.
35a – Identify the Bantu migration patterns & contribution to settled agriculture
1. What is migration? (p.220)
Permanent move from one country or region to
2. Complete the following chart on Migration: Push-Pull Factors using p. 221.
Migration: Push-Pull Factors
Push Examples Migration Factors Pull ExamplesC Climate changes, exhausted resources,
earthquakes, volcanoes, drought/famine
Abundant land, new resources, Good climate
Unemployment, slavery
Employment opportunities
Religious, ethnic, or political persecution, war
Political and/or religious freedom
3. Describe at least 5 effects of migration? (p.221)
1. Redistribution of the population may change population density.
2. Cultural blending of languages or ways of life may occur.
3. Ideas and technologies may be shared
4. People’s quality of life may be improved as a result of moving
5. Clashes b/w groups may create unrest, persecution or even war.
6. Environmental conditions may change, causing famine or depleted natural
7. Employment opportunities may dry up, creating unemployment and poverty.
4. Who are the Bantu-speaking peoples? (p.222)
Speakers of a related group of languages who, beginning about 2,000
years ago, migrated from West Africa into most of the Southern half of
Africa spreading their language and culture.
5. What shared cultural characteristics brought the Bantu speaking people together?
They were farmers and nomadic herders who developed and passed along
the skill of ironworking.
6. What was the cause of the Bantu people moving every couple of years? Describe
it. (p.222)
Their farming, they used slash and burn farming which causes soil to lose
its fertility quickly forcing them to look for new locations every few years.
7. How did the Bantu speakers influence the people they came in contact with when
they migrated to new areas? (p.224)
The Bantu shared their ideas and intermarried with people they joined.
This created new cultures, unique customs, and traditions.
8. What contributions did the Bantu speakers make on settled agriculture and Africa
as a continent? (p.224).
Passed on the technology of ironworking to forge tools and weapons from
copper, bronze, and iron.
Shared ideas about social and political organization. Their impact can still
be seen today.
The migrations produced a great diversity of cultures; language had a
unifying influence on the continent.
35b – Describe the development & decline of the Sudanic Kingdoms: Ghana, Mali
(Including the roles of Sundiata & the pilgrimage of Mansa Musa to Mecca), &
1. What was the key for trade occurring on a more frequent basis (discovered by the Berbers)?
The Berbers began using camels , they could plod steadily over much longer
distances, covering as much as 60 miles in a day. They could also travel more than
10 days without water, twice as long as most pack animals.
2. How was the kingdom of Ghana able to amass its riches? (p.413)
They taxed the goods that traders carried through their territory.
3. How was Ghana able to protect its empire and wealth? (p.414)
Tax collectors, officials made sure traders weighed goods fairly and did business
according to law. They also had royal guards to provide protection from bandits.
4. What did the king of Ghana do in order to protect the value of gold? (p.414)
The king controlled the supply of gold so the price would not fall. He controlled the
price by outlawing anyone other than the king from owning gold nuggets.
5. What caused the gold-salt trade to be so badly disrupted that it never allowed Ghana to
regain its power? (p.415)
1076 the Muslim Almoravids of North Africa completed their conquest of Ghana,
eventually they withdraw from Ghana but it is too late for Ghana to regain it’s
6. How was the rise of the kingdom of Mali similar to that of Ghana? (p.415)
Built on gold
7. What allowed the kingdom of Mali to seize its power? (p.415)
Ghana was weakening and gold was being discovered further east causing the most
important trade routes to shift eastward giving Mali a chance to grow rich.
Including the roles of Sundiata & the pilgrimage of Mansa Musa to Mecca
8. Who was Sundiata and how did he obtain his power? (p.415)
Sundiata was Mali’s first great leader. He came to power by
crushing a cruel, unpopular leader through a series of military
victories. He also took over the trading cities of Kumbi and Walata.
9. What achievements did Sundiata accomplish outside of military victories?
He put able administrators in charge of Mali’s finances, defense,
and foreign affairs. Promoted agriculture and re-established the
gold-salt trade. He set up Niani as the new capital and it became
the center of commerce and trade.
10. How was Mansa Musa able to expand his empire to twice the size of
Ghana’s? (p.416)
He had a large army of 100,000 men and to govern his empire he
divided it into provinces and appointed governors, who ruled fairly
and efficiently
11. Mansa Musa was a devout Muslim and went on the Hajj to Mecca.
What did he do on his travels to let others see the wealth of Mali? (p.416)
He gave away an enormous amount of gold. He gave away so
much gold in Cairo the value of gold declined in Egypt for the next
12 years.
12. What did Mansa Musa do upon his return from the Hajj.
He ordered the building of new mosques at the trading cities of
Timbuktu and Gao. Timbuktu would become one of the most
important cities of the empire. It attracted judges, doctors,
religious leaders, and scholars from far and wide. They attended
Timbuktu’s outstanding mosques and universities.
13. What were the reasons for the decline of Mali? (p.417)
Mansa Musa’s successors lacked his ability to govern well for the next fifty
years and the gold trade began to shift eastward as new goldfields
developed elsewhere.
14. What allowed the Songhai to become the new dominant empire of West Africa?
Mali had weakened and trade routes shifted eastward. They were able to
build up their army and extend their territory. These factors allowed them
to gain control of the very important trade routes the both Ghana and Mali
had grown rich by controlling.
15. Describe Sunni Ali and his military achievements,
He was an extraordinary Songhai ruler who built his empire through
military conquests. Sunni Ali built a professional army that had a riverboat
fleet of war canoes and a mobile fighting force on horseback. He was a
great military commander and used aggressive leadership to expand his
empire. He was able to capture Timbuktu in his first major military
triumph. He was also able to take the city of Djenne (a trade city that had
a university) by surrounding the city with his army for 7 years and then
married its queen.
16. What was the main reason that Songhai lost its empire? How was this different
from Mali’s and Ghana’s loss of power?
Lack of technology. They did not have modern weapons like their
enemies. They were fighting with swords and spears and their opponents
had guns and cannons. Ghana and Mali lost control of their empires
mainly due to shifting trade routes whereas Songhai lost it because it
lacked modern weaponry to defend itself.
35c – Describe the trading networks by examining trans Saharan trade in
gold, salt, & slaves. Including the Swahili trading cities.
1. Why did the Gold-Salt trade work for both parties? (p.413)
Both areas had an abundance of one resource but not the other. The forest
region south of the savanna b/w the Niger and Senegal rivers had an
abundance of gold. They were however lacking in salt which was a
material essential to human life. The Sahara had large deposits of salt. At
one time the Saharan village of Taghaza had so much salt they built their
houses out of salt blocks because it was the only available material.
2. How were the East-African coast trade cities similar to the empires of West
Africa?(413-419. 422)
They both thrived by controlling trade and fell because they lost their
stronghold on trade.
3. What caused the creation of the Swahili language? (p.422)
The Bantu speaking people settle along the East coast of Africa which
would turn into bustling seaports, built on trade with Arabia, Persia, and
India. As trade increased Muslim Arab and Persian traders settled in the
port cities and eventually the Arabic blended with Bantu language to
create Swahili.
4. What were enslaved East Africans used for before slavery dramatically increased
in the 1700’s due to colonial plantations? (p.425).
Arabia, Persia, and Iraq used slaves for domestic tasks. Indian rulers
employed them as soldiers. They were also used to work on docks and
ships at Muslim-controlled ports and as household servants in China.
35d – Analyze the process of religious syncretism as a blending
oftraditional African beliefs, Animism, with new ideas from Islam &
1. What is Animism? (p.415)
The belief that spirits present in animals, plants, and other natural
objects play a role
in daily life.
2. What brought Islam to Ghana? How was this different than North
Africa? (p.415)
Islam spread to North Africa through conquest, but spread to
Ghana because of trade. Muslim merchants and teachers settled in
the states south of the Sahara and introduced their faith there.
3. Describe the reactions that Ghana’s people had to Islam? (p.415)
Ghana’s rulers converted to Islam. Their people however were
reluctant to give up their animistic beliefs. They develop religious
syncretism which is a blending or fusion of differing beliefs. Some
people never converted, those that did kept their former beliefs of
Animism, which they observed along with Islam. Islam’s growth
does promote the spread of literacy because in order to study the
Qur’an, converts had to learn Arabic.
4. Trade spread Islam and Christianity throughout Africa. What was the
typical reaction to these religions by the average African?
Mostly rulers would convert but the majority of the people stuck
with their old beliefs or blended them (religious syncretism) with
the new religions being introduced.

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