Physical Geography
 Fun Facts:
 Africa is VERY diverse.
 There are 700 different cultures
 2,000 different languages
 North Africa is very different from the southern
part of Africa (known as Sub-Saharan Africa).
 High plateaus drop off to narrow coasts
 Elevation of much of land is high—lots of cliffs
Even large Rivers have rapids and waterfalls
near coast, which affects development and
High escarpments drop
off to narrow coasts
resulting in high
elevation in many parts
of Africa.
are found in
East Africa.
The highest
is Mt.
Great Rift Valley
Deep trench that cuts through East
Africa and is 4,000 miles long is the
Great Rift Valley.
Great Rift Valley is a geological fault
system of SW Asia and E Africa. It
extends 4,000 miles from N. Syria to
central Mozambique.
Rain Forest
Most of Africa’s
rainforests are found in
West Africa. Sadly they
are slowly disappearing:
5,400 square miles or
26% have disappeared.
In West Africa we
find Monsoon
rainforests which are
tropical moist or
seasonal rainforests
In Central Africa we
find Equatorial
Rainforests which
are often considered
the "real rainforest,"
are characterized by
more than 80 inches
(2,000 mm) of rain
annually spread
evenly throughout
the year.
 Buffer between deserts and fertile lands
 It is becoming a desert itself because of farming and
 Desertification: degradation of land in arid and semiarid areas-from overuse, grazing and over cutting.
 RACISM: led European explorers to think of all blacks
as homogenous (the same).
 However Africa is VERY diverse! It makes up:
 1/7th of the world’s area
 1/10th of the world’s population
 1/3rd of the world’s languages
 Madagascar not even African at all! It was settled by
Malaysian traders.
 Swahili is another example of the diversity of Africa—
it is a mixture of Arabic, Portuguese, and Bantu.
Islam and Africa
>The huge Islamic
influence in Africa. is an
example of Cultural
>There are many
religions in Africa
including: Christianity,
Islam, and Animism.
>Animism is the belief
that inanimate objects
and natural disasters
have spirits.
1. Malaria is spread by mosquitoes and kills 1 million
children per year.
2. Spread by the tsetse fly, sleeping sickness, also kills
3. Other diseases such as river blindness, diphtheria, and
AIDS are a problem due to the lack of health care and
sanitation facilities.
 Work 10-15 hours a day—raising kids, grinding millet
for food, fetching water, etc.
 Men can often have many wives, called polygamy.
 “Bride Wealth” = older husband pays for younger wifeexpensive.
 Bantu people moved into southern Africa 2500 years
ago—movement of people into new lands is called
 Great Zimbabwe—1000 AD—large stone ruins were
discovered by European explorers.
 Showed that a powerful kingdom was there
 Slave Trade: 1500’s-1800’s
 LIBERIA (US) and SIERRA LEONE (GB)—countries
that were established for freed slaves
European Imperialism
 Colonialism: when one nation seeks to dominate another
 Guns allowed Europeans to conquer Africa in a 20 year period (
 Reason for Colonilization of Africa: $$, power, religion, wealth.
 Berlin Conference divided up Africa—no Africans were invited—
French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italians, and Belgians.
 Pan-Africanism—promote African unity—united Africa to end
colonialism—some were peaceful, some violent.
 Nonalignment-noninvolvement with either Communist bloc
nations or Western bloc nations.
The Berlin Conference
Blue: France
Pink: GB
Yellow: Belgium
Orange: Spain
Green: Italy
Brown: Germany
Light Green:
Grey: Independent
The Four G’s
Of Imperialism
Effects of European Rule in Africa
 Negative
 Downgraded traditional African culture and weakened
family ties
 Led to forced labor and abuses of human rights
 Created artificial colonial boundaries that cut across
historical, ethnic and cultural boundaries
 Positive
 Improved medical care, sanitation, and nutrition
 Expanded transportation and communications
 Increased agricultural production with new seeds and
 Created new education and career opportunities

Bantu People -