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Sub-Sahara Africa


Bantu iron metallurgy, Bantu migrations, chiefdoms, Gao, gold ... Gold bearing quartz vein at Essakan in modern Burkina Faso in west Africa. Mining and Iron ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sub-Sahara Africa

Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Lsn 9

  • Bantu iron metallurgy, Bantu migrations,
    chiefdoms, Gao, gold trade, Great Zimbabwe, Islam
    in Africa, kin-based society, Kilwa, Kingdom of
    Ghana, Kingdom of Kongo, Kingdom of Mali, Kingdom
    of Songhay, Mansa Musa, Swahili Coast, Timbuktu,
    trans-Sahara trade route

Part 1 Sub-Sahara Africa Theme The impact of
  • Lsn 9

  • Among the most influential people of ancient
    Sub-Sahara Africa were those who spoke the Bantu
  • Bantu people showed an early readiness to migrate
  • Canoes enabled the Bantu to move easily
  • Agricultural surpluses enabled the Bantu to
    increase their population more rapidly than the
    hunting, gathering, and fishing people

  • After about 1000 B.C., Bantu began to produce
    iron tools which enabled them to clear land and
    expand their zone of agriculture
  • Iron weapons allowed them to defeat competitors

Iron spearheads and hoes gave the Bantu an
Political Organization
  • By 1000 A.D, most of the migrations were complete
  • Instead of continued migrations, Africans
    developed increasingly complex forms of
    government that enabled them to organize their
    existing societies more efficiently
  • Initially the Bantu established stateless
    societies in which they governed themselves
    mostly through family and kinship groups

Political Organization
  • Stateless societies worked well in small-scale
    communities but as they grew into large
    populations, resources became strained and
    conflicts became more frequent
  • Bantu communities began to organize themselves
    militarily and this development encouraged more
    formal structures of government
  • Chiefdoms overrode kinship networks and imposed
    their own authority
  • In general, between 1000 and 1500, clusters of
    smaller entities gradually formed into larger

Kingdom of the Kongo Toward Centralization
  • One of the most active areas of political
    development was the basin of the Congo (or Zaire)
  • One of the most prosperous of the Congolese
    states was the Kingdom of the Kongo

Kingdom of the Kongo Toward Centralization
  • Perhaps the most tightly centralized of the early
    Bantu kingdoms
  • King and his officials who oversaw military,
    judicial, and financial affairs
  • Six provinces administered by governors
  • Each province had several districts administered
    by subordinate officials
  • Each district had villages ruled by chiefs

African Empires Kingdoms Built on Trade
West Africa (Ghana, Mali, Songhay)
East Africa (Swahili Coast, Kilwa)
Southern Africa (Great Zimbabwe)
Characteristics of a Civilization
  • Intensive agricultural techniques
  • Specialization of labor
  • Cities
  • A social hierarchy
  • Organized religion and education
  • Development of complex forms of economic exchange
  • Development of new technologies
  • Advanced development of the arts. (This can
    include writing.)

Agriculture Bananas
  • The principal result of the Bantu migrations was
    to spread agriculture to almost all parts of
  • Yams, sorghum, and millet were dietary staples
  • In the early centuries A.D., bananas brought from
    Asia by Malay seafarers, became well established
    in Africa
  • The introduction of bananas introduced a fresh
    migratory surge
  • Iron metallurgy and bananas were the keys to
    population growth

Cities Timbuktu
  • Located on the southern edge of the Sahara
    served as an important post on the trans-Sahara
    caravan route
  • Founded 1100 A.D. as a seasonal camp by nomads
  • Incorporated within the Mali Empire by Mansa Musa
    who built the Great Mosque of Djingareyber and a
    royal residence, the Madugu

Cities Timbuktu
  • Center for the expansion of Islam
  • Intellectual and spiritual capital
  • Home of Sankore, a Koranic university
  • In the 14th century Timbuktu became an important
    focal point of the gold-salt trade
  • With the influx of North African merchants came
    the settlement of Muslim scholars

Cities Gao
  • Mansa Musa expanded Malis influence into Gao
    which, like Timbuktu, was a terminus for
    trans-Saharan caravans
  • As Mali declined, Gao reasserted itself and
    eventually became the Songhay Empire

Cities Kilwa
  • On the east coast (Swahili Coast), Kilwa was one
    of the busiest city-states
  • Traded gold, slaves, and ivory obtained from the
    interior for cotton, silk, perfume and pearls
    from India and porcelain from China

Cities Great Zimbabwe
  • zimbabwe means dwelling of a chief
  • About the early 13th Century, a huge stone
    complex known as Great Zimbabwe began to arise in
    what is now Tanzania
  • Walls 32 feet high and 16 feet thick
  • Stone towers, palaces, and public buildings
  • At its height during the late 15th Century, up to
    18,000 people lived in the vicinity of Great

Cities Great Zimbabwe
  • Kings residing at Great Zimbabwe controlled and
    taxed trade between the interior and coastal
  • Organized flow of gold, ivory, slaves, and local
    products from sources of supply to the coast

Social Hierarchy
Sunni Ali King of Songhay (1464-1493) Painting by
Leo Dillon
Social Hierarchy
  • Kingdoms, empires, city states
  • Ruling elites
  • Military nobles
  • Administrative officials
  • Religious authorities
  • Wealthy merchants
  • Artisans
  • Business entrepreneurs
  • Common people
  • Peasants
  • Slaves
  • Small states and kin-based societies
  • Aristocratic or ruling elite
  • Religious authorities
  • Beyond that principal considerations were
    kinship, sex and gender expectations, and age

Social Hierarchy Kinship Groups
  • Extended families and clans served as the main
    foundation of social and economic organization
  • Villagers functioned in society first as members
    of a family or clan
  • Notion of private property ownership did not
    exist in sub-Sahara Africa
  • Communities claimed rights to land and used it in
  • Villages consisted of several extended family
  • Male heads of families jointly governed the

Social Hierarchy Sex and Gender Relations
  • Sex largely determined work roles
  • Men usually did the heavy labor
  • Both sexes participated in planting and
  • Women tended to domestic chores and child rearing
  • Men largely monopolized public authority but
    women in sub-Sahara Africa generally had more
    opportunities than their counterparts elsewhere
  • Women enjoyed high honor as the sources of life
  • Women acted as merchants
  • Some women engaged in combat and formed
    all-female military units
  • Even the arrival of Islam did not drastically
    curtail opportunities for women

Social Hierarchy Age Grades
  • Members of age grades performed tasks appropriate
    for their development and bonded with one another
    socially and politically
  • Age grades offered some integration to a society
    otherwise organized based on family and kinship

Social Hierarchy Slavery
  • Most slaves were captives of war
  • Others were debtors, suspected witches, and
  • Slaveholding allowed owners to advance their
    personal wealth in the absence of private land
  • After the 9th Century, expanded trade stimulated
    interest in slave traffic
  • Slave raiding increased to meet the demand
  • The Islamic slave trade between 750 and 1500
    created a foundation for the future Atlantic
    slave trade

Economic Exchange
Empire of Mali in the fourteenth century (dashed
lines trace the main trans-Saharan routes of the
Economic Exchange Camels
  • Camels came to north Africa from Arabia, by way
    of Egypt and the Sudan, around the 7th Century
  • A caravan took 70 to 90 days to cross the Sahara,
    so the camels ability to travel long distances
    without water made it very useful
  • After about 300 A.D., camels had replaced horses
    and donkeys as the preferred means of
    transportation across the Sahara

Economic Exchange Gold
  • The Kingdom of Ghana became the most important
    commercial site in west Africa because it was the
    center for trade in gold
  • Ghana itself did not produce gold but the kings
    obtained gold from lands to the south and became
    wealthy by controlling and taxing the trade
  • Muslim merchants were especially eager to procure
    gold for customers in the Mediterranean basin and
    the Islamic world
  • Ghana also provided ivory and slaves
  • In exchange they received horses, cloth, small
    manufactured wares, and salt

Economic Exchange Gold
  • Mali benefited from trans-Sahara trade even more
    than did Ghana
  • From 13th until the late 15th Century Mali
    controlled and taxed almost all the trade passing
    through west Africa
  • The most prominent period was under the reign of
    Mansa Musa from 1312 to 1337

Mansa Musa
  • Expanded the kingdom of Mali by capturing the
    neighboring kingdom of Songhay and making its
    major city Timbuktu an important trade center
  • Made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324-1325 and
    dispensed so much gold in Cairo that the value of
    gold declined up to 25 on local markets

Facsimile of a map drawn in Spain and dated to
1375, showing Mansa Musa, the king of Mali,
holding a gold nugget.
Religion and Education
Great Mosque at Kilwa
Native Religion
  • Many African recognized a creator god as the
    single divine force responsible for setting the
    world in motion and providing it with order
  • Beneath him were many lesser gods associated with
    the sun, wind, rain, trees, rivers, and other
    natural features
  • Unlike the supreme creator god, these lesser gods
    actively participated in the workings of the
  • Diviners were religious specialists who had the
    power to mediate between humanity and
    supernatural beings

Religion Christianity
  • Around the middle of the 4th Century,
    Christianity established a foothold in the
    Kingdom of Axum, in the highlands of modern
  • Missionaries later established monasteries
  • From the 12th through the 16th Century,
    Christianity was especially strong in Ethiopia
  • As Islam spread, Ethiopian Christians became
    isolated from other Christian lands and therefore
    retained much of the original theology and
  • Not until the 16th Century did visiting
    Portuguese mariners expose Ethiopian Christians
    to Christians from other lands

Church of St. George at Lalibela, Ethiopia
Influence of Trade on Religion
  • Contact with Muslim merchants encouraged
    sub-Sahara west Africans and coastal east
    Africans to adopt Islam
  • It served as a cultural foundation for business
  • Yet African ruling elites and merchants did not
    convert for purely mercenary reasons they took
    their new faith seriously

(No Transcript)
Muslim Influence in West Africa
  • Muslim traders came on land routes which allowed
    Islam to spread wherever they traveled
  • Rulers like Mansa Musa supported Islamic scholars
    which spread the religion through religious
    schools and education

Mosque at Djenne
Muslim Influence of the Swahili Coast
  • Islam arrived on the African coast in many waves,
    at different times, rather than in one great
  • Because Muslim traders came via ship,
    penetrations were very localized compared to in
    west Africa
  • The Great Mosque at Kilwa built in the 12th
    Century is the oldest remaining mosque on the
    east African coast

Great Mosque at Kilwa
West African gold merchants using weights and
  • Textile and pottery production
  • Metalsmithing
  • Leatherworking
  • Mining
  • Architecture
  • Trading
  • Religious scholars

New Technologies
Gold bearing quartz vein at Essakan in modern
Burkina Faso in west Africa
Mining and Iron
  • The Kingdoms of Mali, Ghana, and Songhay all used
    superior iron metallurgy to gain advantages over
    their neighbors in terms of weapons and tools
  • Bambuk and Takkeda were mined for gold and copper

Mud Construction
  • Mansa Musa commissioned Abu-Ishaq
    Ibrahim-es-Saheli to construct his royal palace
    and the Djingareyber Mosque at Timbuktu
  • Es-Saheli introduced the use of burnt brick and
    mud as a building material to the region
  • Each year before the torrential summer rains,
    residents replastered the mosques walls and roof
    with mud

Art and Writing
Manuscript from Timbuktu
Books Timbuktu
  • As a center of learning and religious
    scholarship, Timbuktu became a vast hub for books
  • Books were written, stored, copied, imported, and
    distributed there
  • Currently some 18,000 manuscripts, many from
    ancient libraries, are housed in the Ahmed Baba
    Centre, named after the famous 15th century
    Timbuktu scholar, Ahmed Baba

Art Lost-wax Process
  • Create a wax sculpture of the desired object
  • Encase it in soft clay to create a clay mold
  • Bake the clay, causing the wax to melt
  • Pour hot molten metal into the mold
  • When the metal cools, break the clay mold to
    reveal the object

Gold weights from Ghana made using the lost-wax
Next Lesson
  • First paragraphs due