Africa &
the Spread of
Islam
Chapter 8
AP World History
Africa & Islam Timeline
Africa & Islam Map Exercise
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Empires of
the Western
Sudan
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Map of
Africa
600-1450
Bantu Migrations
(Approx. 500BCE -1000CE)
Bantu Migrations
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(Approx. 500BCE -1000CE)
P- Stateless Societies
 Village= organized around families led by a
respected family member
 Later- Bantu concepts of kingship and statebuilding were used in the Kingdom of Kongo
R- Animistic= Spirits inhabiting natural world
C- Brought common language (mixes with Arabic –
becomes Swahili) [no writing]
 Slavery
Bantu Migrations
(Approx. 500BCE -1000CE)
I- Interactions - Herders– moved W to E and S.
Africa.
 Population Increase as migration slowly happened
 Taught techniques of cattle raising along the way
 Spread the knowledge of ironworking
 Farmers who spread iron agriculture which
increased crop cultivation
 Cultural diffusers – used of cereal grains and
terracing crops.
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Trans-Saharan Trade
Berbers were the native desert dwellers of North
Africa
300 C.E. camels replaced horses and donkeys as
transport animals (3:1 ratio in distance)
 Speeds travel across the Sahara
 Trade in gold, salt, and ivory flourished
 Islam arrives in 7th century
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Trans-Saharan trade led to
the rise of the kingdoms in
the Sudan
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Rise of Sudanic States
 Common characteristics
 Led by patriarch or council of elders
 Based upon ethnic core
 Rulers were considered sacred
Islam reinforced kingship
Sub-Saharan Empires (West Africa)
Ghana 750 -1076CE
“Land of Gold” in Sahel – savannah grasslands south and west
of the Sahara.
Used territorial expansion to control Trans-Saharan trade routes
Arabs traded copper, horses, textiles and figs for gold, honey,
slaves, and ivory from Ghana.
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Trade led urbanization
Kings converted to Islam by the 10th century
Did not force Islam upon others
Nomadic raids from the Sahara weakened
Ghana in the early 13th century
Cultural mix of Muslims and non-Muslims.
Sub-Saharan Empires
Mali – 1230CE -1450CE
Sundiata “the Lion Prince” monarch is credited with beginning
Malinke expansion and creating the Mali Empire
•Malinke people created an empire in the
early 13th century
Griots – professional oral historians,
keepers of traditions, advisors to kings.
Mansa Musa – devout Muslim – 1324 made pilgrimage (hajj) to
Mecca with much gold (draws more traders to Africa)
Juula - The African traders associated with the Mali Empire
• Agriculture, with the gold trade, was the base of the economy
• More Muslim converts
•
Mali
Timbuktu – political, economic, and cultural center
of all West Africa during this time period.
 On trans-Saharan trade route exchanging gold from
the south for salt from the desert. Also traded
ivory and slaves. Islamic social structure with
many mosques and a center of Islamic learning.
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Sub-Saharan Empires
Songhay (Songhai) 1468-1591
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Leader Sonni Ali conquered all the
old Ghana and Mali Empires
Largest West African Empire
Insisted on total obedience in Islam
Timbuktu became a major cultural
center including a university:
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Pope Leo X was impressed with Timbuktu in 1513,
he said, “Here is a great store of doctors, judges,
priests, and other learned men, that are bountifully
maintained at the king’s court.”
** Note Dates above are outside AP timeframe
for 600-1450CE, but guidelines require it to be
in this unit with Ghana, Mali, & Songhay.
Sub-Saharan Empires
Songhay (Songhai) 1468-1591
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Sunni Ali Ber
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Conqueror & Founder
Askia Muhammad the Great
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He set up administration
through out the various lands
Economy- Trade gold for
equal quantities of salt
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Nobles
Free Men & Traders
Low class farmers
Lower European Slaves
Christianity in Africa
Axum (Ethiopia) was a naval and trading power 400BCE1000CE. King Ezana converted to Christianity 250 CE, then
converted his people. Adopted the Egyptian or Coptics
version that Christ is only divine nature
 Only Christian majority in Africa 600-1450 CE.

Great Zimbabwe
Dominates central Africa
from 9th-16th centuries
 Built massive stone
enclosures (zimbabwe)
 Supplied gold to the
Swahili coast
 Declined due to internal
divisions by the 16th
century

The Swahili City States
Founded by Bantu settlers in approx 900CE
 Bantu and Arabic languages mixed into
the distinct Swahili language (remains
today)
 Islamic merchants settled in coastal
villages
 Swahili culture emerges by 13th century
 Major role in Indian Ocean trade
network
 Islamic merchants traded gold, slaves, &
Ivory for pottery, glass, & textiles from
China, Persia, & India
 Remember Admiral Zheng He brought
his Ming Dynasty ships there
The Swahili Coast
Major Comparisons
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Analyze gender systems & changes
Interactions between Jews, Christians, &
Muslims
Compare European & sub-Saharan African
contacts with Islamic World
Compare/contrast the different cultures within
Africa
Change over Time
Nomadic to Settled
 Arrival of Islam
 Increase in trading
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Continuities over Time
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Patriarchy arrived with Islam
Nomadic conflict with settled, advanced, urban
cultures
Major cities centers of trade and culture
Christianity
Bantu Migrations
Oral literature- histories
& stories passed from one
generation to the next