Kush produced many resources like gold, ivory, copper, frankincense and ebony.
Important center of trade---Kush traded with all civilization along the Nile River.
Cultural Diffusion is a direct result from this.
Kushite in Egypt, 23 BCE
These are the pyramid of Ancient Nubia. They were used as tombs. Although they are similar to those of Ancient Egypt, they have some differences. Compare these pyramids with those of Ancient Egypt.
Pyramids of Kush at Meroë
Meroe Pyramids, Nubia (Sudan)
The Land of Nubia
For many centuries, the people and culture of Ancient Nubia were a mystery to the world. Even the Ancient Greeks wrote about an advanced culture that was mostly unknown to other civilizations of the time.
One reason little was known about the culture was that they did not write down their history until late in ancient times. Another reason is that they were isolated geographically. Outside people would need to cross harsh desert or many waterfalls, called cataracts, to reach Nubia.
Nubian writing was similar to Egyptian writing but developed into a completely separate language later in time.
Kingdom of Kush [295 BCE – 320 CE]
Nubia [modern-day Sudan]
On your Left Side:
Write an acrostic poem for the Kushites identifying the key characteristics they should be remembered for.
Ancient Nubia was a great kingdom that produced many resources like gold, ivory, copper, frankincense and ebony.
Nubia was also known as Kush and The Land of the Bow. Nubian archers (warriors who used a bow and arrow) were feared by all who saw them in battle.
Nubia had a long line of powerful kings. They were often at war with Egypt, to the North. From about 2,000 to 1,000 BC, Egypt controlled Nubia but when Egypt weakened, Nubia came north and conquered Egypt (800-700 BC.)
A frankincense tree. The resin was used to make good smelling incense.
Aksum or Axum Kingdom
Aksum- African kingdom located in what is now Ethiopia and Eritrea
African & Arab traders began to settle along the Red Sea and over time Aksum controlled the Red Sea area
Ideas and goods were shared along these trade routes
People became Christians
Early Ethiopian Christian Church started here
Axum, Son of Saba
Conquered Kush in first millennium C.E.
Axum founded as a colony of the kingdom of Saba (Sheba) in first millennium B.C.E.
Saba a trading state, goods from South Asia to the Mediterranean
Axum continued the trade after Saba declined
Location on trade routes responsible for prosperity
Competed for control of ivory trade
Followed Egyptian Christianity (Coptic)
Would be renamed Ethiopia
Called the “hermit kingdom” by Europeans
Kingdom of Axum
Approximately 300 A.D. – 900 A.D.
Important center of trade
Kingdom of Axum
Axum and Ethiopia are the same place
They were a Naval Trading power
Traded with Kingdoms on the Nile river and East Coast of Africa
Cultural Diffusion is a result of this
Christianity was the dominate religion
Kingdom of Axum [300-700]
Stele, Ezana’s Royal Tomb, Aksum (4c)
Controlled NE African
in No. & E. Africa
Christian Church, Lalibela [Ethiopia]
Christian Church, Lalibela [Ethiopia]
Coptic Christian Priest
On your Left Side with your partner:
Compare and contrast the Kingdoms of the Kushites and Axum in a T-Chart.
West African Iron Age
Learning about the past
Artifacts reveal how people lived in the past.
Evidence of sub-Saharan cultures producing iron around 500 B.C.
Nok—West Africa’s earliest known culture—made iron tools and weapons
West African Iron Age
From 600-200 B.C., cities began to develop near rivers and oases
Djenne-Djeno, Africa’s oldest known city, was discovered in 1977.
It was a bustling trade center that was linked to other West African towns through camel trade routes.
Each trading caravan that entered or left Ghana had to pay a tax
After 700 AD, the religion of Islam began to spread over northern Africa. Followers of this religion are called Muslims.
Muslim warriors came into Ghana and fought with the non-Islamic people there. This weakened the great civilization of Ghana.
Local warriors then decided to break away from the power of Ghana and form their own local kingdoms.
This ended many of the trade networks. This eventually weakened the civilization of Ancient Ghana.
Islamic Mosque in Ghana
Primary Source: Respond to on your Left Side
The king adorns himself…wearing necklaces and bracelets…The court of appeal Is held in a domed pavilion around which stand ten horses with gold embroidered trappings. Behind the king stand ten pages holding shields and swords decorated with god, and on his right are the sons of the subordinate kings of his country, all wearing splendid garments and with their hair mixed with gold. – Al-Bakri
What does this quote tell us about life in Ghana?
Empire of Ghana Falls
Conflicts from the north began to hurt Ghana
Group of Berbers called Almoravids attacked
1076 they seized the capital of Ghana
This broke the empire of Ghana into several small states
Ghana’s decline was caused by attacking invaders, overgrazing, and the loss of trade.
A Muslim group called the Almoravids cut off many trade routes, without which Ghana could not support its empire.
When the Almoravids moved, they brought herds of animals with them.
These animals ate all the grass, leaving the land worthless for farming.
The people Ghana conquered rose up in rebellion and took over the entire empire.
On your Left Side with your partner:
Create a T-Chart that examines the causes and effects relationship with the characteristics and events of the Ghana Kingdom.
Mali Empire [13c-15c]
The empire of Mali reached its height under the ruler Mansa Musa, but the empire fell to invaders in the 1400s.
Mali was located along the upper Niger River. The fertile soil helped Mali grow and control river trade.
Sundiata, Mali’s first strong leader, built up a strong army and won back his country’s independence.
He conquered Ghana and took over the salt and gold trades.
He had new farmlands cleared for crops of beans, onions, and rice. He also introduced cotton as a new crop.
To protect his authority, he took power away from others and adopted the title mansa.
A powerful king named Sundiata ruled this area from around 1230-1255 AD. He led the people in conquering and expanding his kingdom to be as great as Ghana had been.
Perhaps the greatest king of Mali was Mansa Musa (1312-1337). He developed the gold and salt trade of Mali and his kingdom became very powerful and rich.
Mansu Musa: Lord of the Negroes of Guinea. (Photo courtesy of History of Africa)
Mansa Musa was a Muslim, meaning he followed the religion of Islam. He built many beautiful mosques or Islamic temples in western Africa.
Mansas had both political and religious roles in society.
The religious role of the mansa grew out of traditional Malian beliefs.
According to the beliefs, people’s ancestors had made an agreement with the spirits of the land that would ensure the lands provided plenty of food.
The Empire of Mali is Born
The Empire of Mali
1200 A.D. – 1450 A.D.
Strongest and most powerful during the rule of Mansa Musa.
Mansa Musa – Greatest leader of Mali
Ruled for 30 years 1307 – 1337 when he died
14th - 17th Century
Ancient Islamic empire
Mansa Musa = ruler / cultural hero
Famous hajj to Mecca
Tombouctou (Timbuktu) = Mali capital
At its peak it was the size of Western Europe and controlled 1/2 the world's gold supply
Most of what we know about ancient Mali came from the storytellers
They were advisors to the kings
This is a 19th century griot of Mali with his instrument
Mansa Musa [r. 1312-1337]
He was Mali’s most famous leader, and he ruled from 1312 to 1337.
Mali reached the height of its wealth, power, and fame in the 1300s.
He added important trade cities to its empire, including Timbuktu.
Islam was important to Musa, so he made a pilgrimage to Mecca.
He influenced the spread of Islam through a large part of West Africa and had mosques built throughout his empire.
He stressed the importance of education and learning to read the Arabic language.
He sent scholars to study in Morocco. They came back and set up schools in Mali.
Influence of Islam
Muslim traders carried religion across West Africa
Mansa Musa adopted a new faith and Mandingos or farmers under Ghana’s rule also converted
As a faithful Muslim he made a pilgrimage or hajj to Mecca
He built many mosques in Mali
On your Left Side:
How are the mosques of the Mali Empire different from the Middle Eastern mosques we saw in the last unit?
Perhaps the greatest king of Mali was Mansa Musa (1307-1337). He developed the gold and salt trade of Mali and his kingdom became very powerful and rich.
In 1324 Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage to Mecca, with 60,000 followers and 80 camels carrying more than 4,000 pounds of gold to be distributed among the poor.
In 1324 Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage ( a journey to a holy place) to Mecca, which is a holy city in Arabia, with 60,000 servants and followers and 80 camels carrying more than 4,000 pounds of gold to be distributed among the poor.
Of the 12,000 servants 500 carried a staff of pure gold.
This showed his power and wealth to the other people he visited.
When Mansa Musa died there were no kings as powerful as he was to follow. The great kingdom of Mali weakened. Eventually a group of people known as Berbers came into the area and other people came up from the south to claim territory that was once part of the kingdom. Although Mali fell, another advanced African kingdom took its place, the kingdom of Songhay.
This map was created in 1375. The same trade routes were used by the merchants of the Songhay kingdom. What kinds of pictures do you see on the map and why do you think the mapmaker put them there?
Kingdom of Songhay (Songhai)
1450A.D. – 1600A.D.
The Golden Age of Africa
The people of Songhay were farmers and fisherman who lived along the Niger River of West Africa.
The picture above is one artist’s idea of what the great Songhay leader, Sunni Ali might have looked like. Sunni Ali saw that the kingdom of Mali was weakening and he led his soldiers to conquer the area. He began the kingdom of Songhay. He also set up a complex government to rule all the lands he had conquered.
By 1464 – Sunni Ali, gained power in Gao
Because of the fall of Mali traders could not travel safely
Sunni Ali was looking to restore order
Sunni Ali based his military on a cavalry that conquered Timbuktu, and the other major cities of the Mali.
Sunni Ali [r.1464-1492]
Sunni Ali died in 1492 CE. His son took over the rule of Songhay but he did not accept Islam as a religion. Islam was accepted as a religion by many people in northern Africa. One of Sunni Ali’s generals, named Muhammad Ture, overthrew the new king and made himself king of Songhay. Ture was a follower of Islam (Muslim) and so he made Islam the religion of his kingdom.
This is a photo of a mosque, or place of worship for Muslims, in western Africa. Many mosques were built of local materials.
On your Left Side:
What do you consider to be the greatest achievement of Sunni Ali?
Askia Muhammad (1493-1528)
Askia Muhammad continued Sunni Ali's imperial expansion
In order to maintain his large empire Muhammad further centralized the government.
At it’s height, Songhay was larger than all of the European states combined.
Ideal was the large complex household with Big Man surrounded by 10-40 people
Control happened laterally, not hierarchically (secret societies, age-grade societies, ritual experts as mediators)
On your Left Side:
Draw the following pyramid on the next slide and add the information to the diagram.
Structure of African Society
Inheritance and Descent
Status of Women
Roles of Women
An African woman's roles are as life bearer, nurturer, and source of generations.
For an African woman in a traditional rural community, the chief measure of success in life is her ability to bear many children.
The very existence of the family and clan depends on women's ability to bear children, who will provide security for their parents in old age and who will continue to nourish the spirits of the ancestors through sacrificial offerings.
As a result, much African art is directed toward encouraging the fertility of women.
Many shrines are devoted to spirits that provide the blessings of fertility, and these frequently contain sculpture and other objects devoted to the concept of fertility.
Little Girl’s Dolls-Preparing for Role of Adult Woman
Like children everywhere, African children play with toys that help them visualize their roles as adults and teach them the skills of parenting, hunting, and farming.
At the end of a day of trading and shopping a parent may stop at the blacksmith's stall in the market to buy a small carved doll with which his daughter can play.
She may dress the doll in new clothes she has made, feed it, and tuck it to bed under a tiny blanket in the corner of her room at night.
The carved figure is called biiga ("child"), but it represents a mature women with developed breasts, an elaborate hairstyle, and the scarification patterns that mark passages in life.
The doll represents the child, as she hopes one day to be.
In the same way American girls play with dolls such as "Barbie" that represent an ideal or a stereotype to which the child hopes to conform.
Initiation into Adulthood
Both young men and young women pass through initiation.
For Mende women, this life passage prepares them for life as adult women in Mende society, teaching them the skills of child rearing, cooking, trading, sex education, and much more.
It is especially important as a means of communicating knowledge of healing medicines and the spirit world from one generation of women to the next.
At the end of the initiation period the young women are ritually bathed, their bodies are oiled with cosmetics, they are dressed in their best clothing and are presented to the community, ready to receive the gifts of potential suitors.
Their reintegration into community life is accompanied by the appearance of masks such as this one, worn by the middle aged women who supervise the initiation, and which represent the ideals of feminine beauty among the Mende.
The Mende are very conscious of personal appearance and value a glossy black skin, beautiful hairstyles, and a well-fed and prosperous physical condition.
Marriage is a key moment that follows immediately after initiation among many peoples because both events serve to break the bonds of the individual with childhood and the unmarried state and to reintegrate the individual into the adult community.
Among the Woyo people a young woman is given a set of carved pot lids by her mother when she marries and moves to her husband's home.
Each of the lids is carved with images that illustrate proverbs about relations between husband and wife.
If a husband abuses his wife in some way or if the wife is unhappy, she serves the husband's supper in a bowl that is covered with a lid decorated with the appropriate proverb.
She can make her complaints public by using such a lid when her husband brings his friends home for dinner.
The carved figure on this lid represents a cooking hearth with a pot on three stones.
Divorce requires only the scattering of the stones, and it takes three to support the pot.
It has been argued that such a system commodifies the bride and thus dehumanizes her, but others also make the argument that the system defines her value to the marriage in a concrete way and that it contributes to the stability of the marriage, because were the marriage to end in divorce the "bride-wealth" must be returned to the groom's family, and if it has already been invested in "bride-wealth" for the bride's own brothers this can be difficult indeed.
The "bride-wealth" creates a bond between the families which forces them to invest in the success of the marriage.
When there is trouble between husband and wife the relatives on both sides intervene to find a solution.
The male-female couple from the Dogon people of Mali represents the ideal of pairing that is necessary for procreation.
The linking of the male arm around the woman's neck emphasizes the bond that is created by marriage.
Becoming a Parent
For an adult in Africa success in a traditional community is measured by his or her ability to find a partner, raise a family, and provide for the children that guarantee that the family will survive through the generations.
Every adult is beset by concerns about the health of her children, his ability to secure and hold a means to earn a living, about his own health and that of his partner, and about the many uncertainties that we must confront throughout our lives.
For a Baule man or woman to fail to marry, bear numerous children, and provide for his family is considered a serious problem.
She may visit a diviner who may prescribe the carving of a figure that represents the spouse s/he had in the spirit world before birth.
The spirit spouse takes possession of the figure, and care and attention as well as prayers and offerings are lavished on it to please it, so that it will permit its real-world spouse to fulfill his gender role.
This figure pair represents the female larger than the male, and so it may have belonged to a Baule man.
On your Left Side:
What is the following primary source saying about women in traditional African society?
“No marry’d Women, after they are brought to Bed, lie with their Husbands till three Years are expired, if the Child lives so long, at which Time they wean their Children, and go to Bed to their Husbands. They say that if a Woman lies with her Husband during the Time she has a Child sucking at her Breast, it spoils the Child’s Milk, and makes it liable to a great many Distempers. Nevertheless, I believe, not one Woman in twenty stays till they wean their Children before they lie with a Man; and indeed I have very often seen Women much censur’d, and judged to be false to their Husbands Bed, upon Account only of their suckling Child being ill.” --F. Moore (European trader) on the River Gambia in the 1730s, Travels into the Inland Parts of Africa (London, 1738), pp. 132-3.
Becoming an Elder
The respect that is accorded both men and women who have attained positions of authority and honor is made visible among the Dan people (Liberia) by the large wooden ladles known as wunkirmian.
The spoon bears an idealized portrait of the owner as a young woman, at the moment she began her role as mother and wife.
The spoons are carved for women who are recognized by other women of a town as the most hospitable persons in a community.
The spoons serve as symbol of that status and are used as a kind of dance wand when the honored women dances through the town accompanied by her own entourage of women.
Patterns of Government
Most villagers were subsistence farmers – They produced only enough food for their own needs with little or no surplus
Fallow – allowing the land to regenerate important minerals needed to grow crops
Land was community property
The Age Grade System
Painting and Sculpture
Rock paintings, wood carving, pottery, metalwork
Music and Dance
Often served religious purposes
Wide variety of instruments
Integration of voice and instrument
Music produced for social rituals and educational purposes
Sometimes reflected Moorish styles
Written works did not exist in the early traditional period
Professional storytellers, bards
Importance of women in passing down oral traditions
West Africans have preserved their history through storytelling and the written accounts of visitors.
Some of the griot poems are epics that are collected in the Dausi and the Sundiata.
Writing was not common in West Africa. People passed along information through oral histories, a spoken record of past events.
West African storytellers were called griots. They helped keep the history of their ancestors alive for each new generation.
In addition to stories, they recited proverbs. These were short sayings of wisdom or truth. They were used to teach lessons to the people.
Visitors’ Written Accounts
The people of West Africa left no written histories of their own.
Much of what we know about early West Africa comes from the writings of travelers and scholars from Muslim lands such as Spain and Arabia.
Ibn Battutah was the most famous Muslim visitor to write about West Africa.
His accounts describe the political and cultural lives of West Africans in great detail.
Through art, music, and dance, West Africans have expressed their creativity and kept alive their cultural traditions.
Of all the visual forms, the sculpture of West Africa is probably the best known.
The sculpture is mostly of people.
It was made for religious rituals.
Artists were deeply respected.
Artists carved elaborate masks, which were used mostly for rituals as they danced around fires.
They wove cloth such as kente, a handwoven, brightly colored fabric.
Music and dancing were important.
These activities helped people honor their history and were central to many celebrations.
On your Left Side:
In a T-Chart, compare and contrast the role of the arts in traditional African society to that of American society.
Supreme being had created everything
Supreme being was a distant figure
Many are monotheistic
Oral traditions and myths
Ancestors could help or harm them
Every object on earth was filled with a living spirit (Animism)
The term animism is derived from the Latin word anima meaning breath or soul.
The belief of animism is probably one of man's oldest beliefs, with its origin most likely dating to the Paleolithic age.
From its earliest beginnings it was a belief that a soul or spirit existed in every object, even if it was inanimate.
In a future state this soul or spirit would exist as part of an immaterial soul.
The spirit, therefore, was thought to be universal.
Loyalties and Religion
Loyalty to families and age sets helped the people of a village work together.
Everyone had specific duties.
Men hunted and farmed.
Women farmed and cared for the children.
Elders taught traditions to the children.
Children started working as soon as they were able.
Many West Africans believed that spirits of their ancestors stayed nearby.
Families shared problems and news with the spirits.
Another common belief was animism, the belief that bodies of water, animals, trees, and other natural objects have spirits.
Diviners and Healers
Rooted in Tradition
Their purpose was to explain the cause of misfortune
Experts in herbal medicine
Today, doctors study the roots and herbs used in traditional African healing
The Coming of Islam
African Religious Beliefs before Islam
Single creator god
Sometimes accompanied by a pantheon of lesser gods
Most believed in an afterlife in which ancestral souls floated in the atmosphere through eternity
Closely connected to importance of ancestors and lineage
Rituals very important
Challenge by Islam but not always replaced; synthesized
The Coming of Islam (cont.’d)
Arab forces seized the Nile delta of Egypt in 641
New capital at Cairo
Arabs welcome due to high taxes and periodic persecution of Coptic Christians by Byzantines
Arabs seize Carthage in 690, called Al Maghrib
Berbers resisted for many years
The Kingdom of Ethiopia: A Christian Island in a Muslim Sea
Axum began to decline
Shift in trade routes and overexploited agriculture
Muslim trading states on the African coast of the Red Sea transforming Axum into an isolated agricultural society
Source of ivory, resins, and slaves
Attacked by Muslim state of Adal in early 14th century