Africa and the Bantu Coach Parrish OMS Chapter 11, Section 1 Background About 4000 years ago, many families in West Africa began to leave their homelands in search of better farmland. Because of the geography (forests, deserts, mountains), some had a difficult time moving. Migration – movement from one region to settle in another Bantu – describes both the large group of Africans and the related languages they speak. Africa’s Physical Geography Surrounding the forests in Africa are bands of savanna – areas of grasslands with scattered trees and bushes. Sahara – desert stretching across most of North Africa. This is the world’s largest desert. Africa: Natural Vegetation Sahara Desert The Bantu Migration Even though there were many barriers in Africa that could have prevented people from migrating, it did not happen. The Bantu people continued to migrate for more than 1,000 years. This is one of the largest migrations in history. Bantu Migration History of Sub-Saharan Africa The area south of the Sahara desert is known as Sub-Saharan Africa. Historians know far less about this region of Africa than they do Northern Africa. Today, historians and scientists are spending a lot of time trying to piece together the history of Sub-Sahara Africa. History of Sub-Saharan Africa, cont. One reason that the history of SubSaharan Africa is so difficult to study is because the clay that the people used for building has disintegrated. Also, the iron tools have not lasted due to rusting. Victoria Falls – Zambezi River The Bantu In early times, most Bantu-speaking peoples were fishermen, farmers, and herders. Clan – group of families who traced their roots to the same ancestor. Families were traced through the mother rather than the father. As the Bantu began to spread out in search of better farmland, they had to adapt to their new environments. Spread of Bantu Culture As the Bantu migrated into new areas, their culture spread with them. Sometimes they blended with the people already living there and sometimes they forced them from their homes. The Bantu’s knowledge of ironworking often made them superior to other cultures.