Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
Chapter Outline
I. The African Environment
II. African Cultural Patterns
III. Peopling of Africa
IV. The Bantu Dispersion
V. Ethiopia and Northeastern Africa
VI. Empires of the Western Sudan
VII. West African Forest Kingdoms
VIII. Swahili City-States in East Africa
IX. Kingdoms of Central and Southern Africa
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
I. The African Environment
A. Physical Environment
Savanna
B. Cultivation Patterns
shifting cultivation, clear land, use,
move on
Bush fallow lets field rest, restores fertility
Intercropping, growing complementary plants
Rain forest areas: root crops (yams,
cassava)
Savanna (grasslands): cereals (sorghum,
millet)
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
II. African Cultural Patterns
A. Family, Gender Roles
bride wealth
polygyny
Lineage,
Women often rulers
Queen mothers could
represent lineages
B. Land — held in trust by community
C. Religion
Some more complex
Yoruba
four levels of spiritual beings
Oludumare — pinnacle
Subordinate gods
Priests
Ancestors — Shango
D. Arts
Cire perdue (“lost wax”)
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
III. The Peopling of Africa
A. Agriculture
Ethiopian grasslands, 3000 B.C.E.
teff, finger millet, noog (oil plant), sesame,
mustard, forests, ensete (bananalike
plant), coffee
After 1000 B.C.E., wheat, barley imported
Central Sudan, 4000 B.C.E.,
sorghum, millet, rice, cowpeas, root crops
West African savanna
introduced cattle, sheep, goats, pigs
West African Forests
B. Iron Technology
Egypt, Nubia by 6,000 B.C.E., Meroë
Nok (central Nigeria), 700–400 B.C.E.
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
IV. Bantu Dispersion
Bantu (“people”)
languages: Niger-Congo
A. Origins
Cameroon
movement out from 3000 B.C.E.
why?
South to Angola, Namibia
East to Lake Victoria,
south to Congo, Zambia
B. Interactions
bananas and yams
from Malaysia, Polynesia, via
Madagascar
intermarried with hunter-gatherers
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
V. Ethiopia and Northeastern Africa
A. Early Contacts
Egyptian traders to Ethiopia (“Land of
Punt”)
from Fifth Dynasty (c. 2494–2345 B.C.E.)
frankincense
myrrh
aromatic herbs
ebony
ivory
gold
wild animals
Saba’ (Yemen) traders to Eritrean coast
from 800 B.C.E.
Ge’ez develops
> Kingdom of Da’amat, ivory trade
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
V. Ethiopia and Northeastern Africa
B. Aksum
Red Sea trade, from 4th century
ties with Egypt, Roman Empire, Sri Lanka
Exports: ivory, tortoise shells, rhinoceros horns,
slaves
Imports: cloth, glassware, wine
Aksum
Adulis
Meroë
Coinage
Christianity, by 4th century
King Ezana (320–350)
Frumentius and Aedisius, Syrians
Old and New Testaments > Ge’ez
language of the Church
"Nine Saints,” Syrian Monophysite monks
Kiing El-Asham, 615
refuge for fleeing Muslims
Yemen, 6th century
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
V. Ethiopia and Northeastern Africa
C. Zagwe Dynasty
Aksumites and Agaws (Cushitic)
descent from Moses
King Lalibela (1185–1225)
cathedrals at Roha
D. Solomid Dynasty
Yikunno-Amlak
leads rebellion, 1270
negus (“king of kings”)
Kebre Negast ("Glory of the Kings")
Royal chronicle
claimed ties to Aksum, Makeda (Queen of
Saba’):
Makeda visited Solomon, bore son, Menelik
Menelik brought Ark of Covenant to Ethiopia
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
V. Ethiopia and Northeastern Africa
(D. Solomid Dynasty)
Emperor Amde-Siyon (?–1344)
(“Pillar of Zion”)
Zara Yakob (1434–1468)
(“Seed of Jacob”)
Alliance with pope against Muslims
gults (fiefs)
Decline after 15th century
Oromo
Muslim states 1527–43
Ahmad al-Ghazi, Ahmad Gran of
Adal
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VI. Empires of the Western Sudan
A. Camel Caravans and Trade
Salt for gold
Villages from 9th century B.C.E.
Jenne-jeno
B. Ghana (Aoukar or Wagadu)
Soninke farmers
Trade
salt
Kola nuts
King
Kumbi-Saleh, capital
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VI. Empires of the Western Sudan
B. Mali
Sumaguru (1200–1235), of the Sosso,
conquers Ghana
Sundiata
Malinke Keita clan
overthrew Sumaguru
Control of gold mining and trade
Wangara, Bambuk
Mansa Musa (1307–1337
pilgrimage to Mecca, 1324–1325
Arabic culture
Ibn Battuta
praises Mali
Decline after 1400
succession
raids, Tuaregs, Sanhaja
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VI. Empires of the Western Sudan
B. Mali
Sumaguru (1200–1235), of the Sosso,
conquers Ghana
Sundiata
Malinke Keita clan
overthrew Sumaguru
Control of gold mining and trade
Wangara, Bambuk
Mansa Musa (1307–1337
pilgrimage to Mecca, 1324–1325
Arabic culture
Ibn Battuta
praises Mali
Decline after 1400
succession
raids, Tuaregs, Sanhaja
The Catalan Atlas of 1375
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VI. Empires of the Western Sudan
C. Songhai
Sunni Ali (1464–1492)
Takes Timbuktu, Walata, Jenne-Jeno
Askia Muhammad (1493–1528)
slave officer in Sunni Ali’s army
King Ahmad al-Mansur of Morocco
invaded Songhai, 1591
victory over Songhai
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VI. Empires of the Western Sudan
D. Kanem-Bornu and the Hausa States
Kanem
Muslim, Sayfuwa Dynasty
Controlled Saharan trade:
ivory, ostrich feathers for horses
Built large cavalry, raided neighbors
Mai (king) Dunama Dibalemi (1210–1248)
Bornu
Hausa city-states: Kano, Katsina, Zazzau,
Gobir
Villages built wooden stockades
for protection
Queen Amina of Zazzau
military leader
conquers Kano, Katsina
earthen walls
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VII. West African Forest Kingdoms
A. Ife
Yoruba city-state in southwestern Nigeria
Oduduwa
emissary of sky god
founder of dynasty
B. Benin
Edo kingdom
Oba (king)
advised by ozama (council)
Oba Ewuare
usurper
new capital
C. Oyo
Alafin (king)
Basoru (minister)
Oyo mesi (council of ministers)
D. Art
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VIII. Swahili City-States in East Africa
A. East African Swahili Coast
Bantus from 100 B.C.E. to 300 C.E.
Swahili (Bantu)
The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea
Early Greek Description
Dhows
Arab boats
lateen sails
2000-mile journey — one month
City-States
100s
Mogadishu, Sofala, Malindi, Pemba, Pate,
Mombasa, Mafia, Kilwa
Kilwa
gold trade
matrilineal: queen’s brother inherits
Husuni Kubwa palace and trade emporium
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VIII. Swahili City-States in East Africa
A. East African Swahili Coast
Bantus from 100 B.C.E. to 300 C.E.
Swahili (Bantu)
The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea
Early Greek Description
Dhows
Arab boats
lateen sails
2000-mile journey — one month
City-States
100s
Mogadishu, Sofala, Malindi, Pemba, Pate,
Mombasa, Mafia, Kilwa
Kilwa
gold trade
matrilineal: queen’s brother inherits
Husuni Kubwa palace and trade emporium
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
VIII. Swahili City-States in East Africa
B. Political features
C. Trade with Europe, Asia
Exports: gold, ivory, slaves
Imports: cloth, beads, porcelain, incense, glass,
cloth Chinese Admiral Zheng visited
in 1400s
Porcelain, silk, lacquerware for ivory,
wood, animals
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
Chapter 8: The African Beginnings: African Civilizations to 1500
IX. Kingdoms of Central and Southern Africa
A. Early developments
Bantus from 3rd century B.C.E
Stone building
150 political centers
Mapungabwe
B. Great Zimbabwe, 1290–1450
“houses of stone”
60 acres
Limpopo River
Great Enclosure
12-foot walls
Collapse
causes?
Torwa, Mutapa
C. Kongo
Wene, petty prince
Manikongo (“lord of the Kongo”)
By 1400
centralized state
Brummett, et al, Civilization, Past & Present, Part One; Classical Origins
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