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AFRICA: CHAPTER 1

KEY WORDS

Paleolithic Age: was the age of human’s first development, which has been deemed to have originated in Africa. In the Lower Paleolithic era there was an increase in the sophistication of production. In the Middle Paleolithic era the full emergence of modern humans occurred. In the Upper age the emergence of art occurred.

Africoids: are people of African origin.

“The Great Aquatic Civilization”: When the rivers began to swell the Africoids were able to eat fish abundantly and began to settle around the water. This is how they became known as the Aquatic Civilization. They were great because they had more time to focus their time on improving technology, and the independent invention of pottery.

Iron Age: the Iron Age was the age when metals began to be used. Copper was used in the Nile Valley by at least 4000B.C. Gold, Silver, tin, and bronze appeared at a later date by 3500 and 3000BC.

Meroitic Script: When the kings of Kush established a new capital at Meroe in Egypt they abandoned the Egyptian scripture and developed their own. It was the first indigenous writing south of the Sahara, and remains undeciphered to this day.

Meroe: Meroe became the capital of Kush when the kings ruled Egypt. However, the kings of Aksum became Christian in AD 350 and burned Meroe as a means of destroying Kush.

Jenne-Jeno: is the earliest known city ever built. There was a massive stone wall built around it to protect it from enemies. The earliest known occupation of the city was 250BC. It is estimated that 20, 000 people lived there. They exported such foods as rice and dried fish for stone and salt. The city was abandoned in 1400 for unknown reasons.

The Bantu: were a subgroup of Niger-Congo that included all languages known as Bantu, which emerged and spread between 3000 and 1000BC. The Bantu were able to cultivate the yam and oil palm along the forest edges and river. This enabled them to move from Mount Cameroon in two directions: eastward along the equatorial forest and southward through the forest itself. A second expansion began in 500BC and followed the already traveled directions. The Bantu spread the knowledge of the Iron Age.

The Kingdom of Kush: The Kings of Kush ruled over Egypt for a long period of time and established a new capital city in Meroe. It was there that they abandoned the Egyptian pictorial script and developed their own. They became known as the Meroitic civilization. Unfortunately their civilization greatly declined and the Kingdom of Aksum grew more powerful. The kings of Aksum came and burned Meroe causing the final collapse.

Stalae: was a monument built by the Aksum reaching 30m high using a single block of stone.

The Kingdom of Aksum: was in northern Ethiopia. Arab immigrants who became assimilated by 1000B.C had settled Ethiopia. Aksum was able to control the rich trade route from the lowlands of the Sudan to the Red Sea coast. This brought Ethiopia in to the trade network with the eastern Roman Empire, whose international language was Greek. The kings of Aksum struck coins with their names and wrote on them with the Greek language. They ate from silver and gold plates, and also had the best ivory market in northeast Africa. Aksum was a beautiful city with rectangular palaces several stories high and stalae. The kings became Christian in AD 350. With iron weapons the kings of Aksum marched into the Kingdom of Kush and burned Meroe causing the final collapse. Aksum remained the dominant trading influence in northeast Africa until the ninth century.

Ophir: was a biblical region. Some believe that the Great Zimbabwe was really Ophir.

Niger-Congo Family: was rooted in the region between Senegal and Cameroon since at least 3000 BC It was of great importance because of the subgroup that emerged speaking Bantu.

The Great Zimbabwe: is situated near a tributary of the Sabi River on the edge of Mashionaland. It was dominated by the Acropolis (Hill Ruin), a granite hill covered with large boulders linked together with stone walls to form enclosures and narrow passages. About 106m below stood the elliptical Great Enclosure. There are mazes all around the Zimbabwe. The Great Zimbabwe was in decline when news of its existence reached the Portuguese. It is not known what happened to it or who built it.

Sundanic Civilization: was made up of kingdoms of discrete local clusters. Organization within was that of a theocracy in which a priest-king and a host of advisers ruled. Tribute to the king was essential, and to this end, external trade was a monopoly.

Ghana: Among the earliest of the Sundanic civilizations was the kingdom of Ghana. Originally built to satisfy north Africa’s hunger for salt, Ghana later traded for copper, cotton, tools, and swords from Arab workers, horses from Barbary and Egypt, and kola nuts and slaves from the south. The rulers of Ghana grabbed huge sums through taxation and a monopoly on trade. They were known for their extravagance as they squandered their wealth. Berber invasions weakened their kingdom and forced assimilation to the Muslim religion. Ghana eventually fell to the Tekrur from the north.

Empire of Mali: After the Tekrur took over Ghana, Ghana split into several states and many of them freed themselves from oppression. The Mandinka were well-known traders and cultivators. In the thirteenth century, they established the Empire of Mali, which lasted for about 200 years. Extending from the Atlantic Ocean to modern day Nigeria. The Mali Empire boasted schools of theology and law that gained recognition throughout the Muslim world. However, the Mali Empire was unfortunately captured by the Songhai Empire.

Songhai Empire: In 1375, the Songhai rulers of the city state of Gao rebelled, and after 1464 conquered Mali and endured for a century as it stretched its control across the middle Niger.

Dhows: were ancient sailing vessels of 80 tones brought elephant tusks to decorate a maharajah’s palace, rhinoceros horns for aphrodisiacs, and tortoise shells for inlaid work done by cabinetmakers.

Fort Jesus: was built by the Portuguese as a symbol of their power in coastal east Africa for over a century. It is located on the island of Mombassa. In 1631, The Sultan of Mombassa stabs the Portuguese captain and takes Fort Jesus. The Portuguese didn’t try to gain it back, but the Sultan lost his nerve and deserted the fort. The Portuguese then reoccupied the fort. In 1698, Fort Jesus falls to Omani Arabs after a thirty-three month siege in which the Portuguese died off from starvation and the plague. Fort Jesus was to be taken and retaken by different Arab forces over the following 200 years. In 1875, the British bombard Fort Jesus to quell mutiny by al-Akida. From 1895-1958 Fort Jesus used as a government prison.

Zanzibar: The ruler of Oman chose the island of Zanzibar as his base for east African operations in 1840. Within fifteen years Zanzibar and its neighboring island or Pemba produced 74% of the worlds supply of cloves. Zanzibar drew the interest of several European countries as commercial treaties were signed with the United States (1833), Britain (1839), France (1844), and after Said’s death, the north German area (1859). Zanzibar became the commercial pivot for the east African coast for food, ivory, slaves, and many other things. Zanzibar only declined when Elephants became more rare and slavery was abolished.

1) Archeologists found tools, ruins of cultivated land, and Jenne-Jeno as proof that that Africa was in inhabited near the African Rift Valley during the Paleolithic age.

2) When the rivers and lakes swelled fish was easily seen and caught. Because of this the farmers no longer had to farm. The “Aquatic” people began to set up a permanent place of residence near the water. Since, farming was no longer necessary they had more time to work on technology, and developed pottery making. When the water began to dry out they were forced to live in the Nile Valley. Here the rich and fertile soils produced abundant amounts of food and the hunter-gatherers remained near the Nile and became a population of 22, 000.

3) During the Iron Age, the productions of many different types of metals occurred. There were more things to trade.

4) Meroe for a very long period of time was a very civilized and established capital. Economically, trade was abundant. Politically there were kings whom the people worshiped and helped work for. Socially, people inhabited Meroe and lived lives almost as we do today. They worked and went to school. Religiously they believed in their king and when the Aksum took over they became Christians.

5) The Kingdom of Aksum was important because they were very wealthy and became part of the trading network with the Roman Empire. They learned to speak Greek as well as converted to Christianity in AD 350. They remained powerful until the ninth century.

6) The Niger-Congo Family, the Africoids, Nilo-Saharan, and the Khoisan were the four major families of African languages. The Africoid and the Niger-Congo families were the most important because they had the highest populations.

7) The Bantu speakers were a subgroup of the Niger-Congo. Two major expansions occurred with the Bantu.


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