African Civilizations

If you were a new settler in
Africa where would you want
to live?
(Provide specific reasons according
to geography)
How did physical
geography influence
early African
-----------------------------Section 1
What landform
makes up North
(see video)
The large area of the
Sahara desert in
northern Africa forced
people to move south,
into the savannas of
west Africa.
The Sahara Desert
What type of
vegetation region
covers more than
40% of Africa?
(Animated Map)
Savannas are flat
grasslands that have
few trees. Savannas
cover most of central,
east, and southern
Describe this type of
What vegetation
zones make up west
Desert, grasslands,
and forests.
Which rivers and
lakes are dominant
in western Africa?
Senegal, Niger, and
Benue rivers.
Describe some
Africans had to
adapt to.
Dry Sahara Desert
Lake Volta and Lake
Flat Savannas
Mountains in east
Tropical rain forests in
central Africa
What are some
causes of
(See desertification video)
-----------------------------Bantu People
Who were Bantu
people; where were
they from?
(Read History of West Africa People, p.1)
Climate change and
human activity, such as
overgrazing, burning
wood or dry grasses
for fuel, and stripping
the land of vegetation.
West African people
who spoke more than
450 similar languages
based on the parent
language of Bantu.
From the map on
p.339, describe
Bantu migrations.
(Animated Map, Bantu Migrations)
Bantu people migrated
south and east around
the rain forests and
(Read History of African People, p.3)
Explain kinship,
clans, and the way of
life for many
(Read Work and Culture, discuss).
Kinship groups
(families) formed
governments. People
of similar clans often
followed the same
rules of culture. Many
Africans farmed as a
way of life.
1. My website – Classzone Online Book
– Animated History – Chapters 11-15 –
Chapter 12 – Modern Griots
2. My website – Web Resources –
Chapter 12, Africa – Mr. Dowling’s
Africa (Griots)
3. My website – World History
Documents – Chapter 12 Africa –
African Folk Tales
Explain what griots
were and why they
were important.
(See the animated map and Mr. Dowling’s site.)
Explain animism and
provide an example.
(from textbook)
Griots were story
tellers who memorized
African history.
Without griots, history
would have been lost.
Animism is a religious
belief that natural
objects have souls or
spirits. Native
Americans’ religion
was also based on
Read the article of
African Folk Tales.
Choose a few of the
animals that are
interesting to you
and take notes that
you can share with
the class.
My website – World
History Documents –
Chpt 12, Africa –
African Folk Tales
Section 2 - Ghana
1. Ghana – 800s–1000s
List the three West
African trading
empires from 800s –
2. Mali – 1200s–1400s
3. Songhai – 1400s–1500s
(Animated Map, Trading Empires)
Explain where gold
and salt were located.
What did this cause?
(Listen to and read Starting with a Story, Trading
Gold for Salt.)
The forests of west Africa
had gold and north Africa
had salt. The TransSaharan trade routes were
formed to exchange salt,
gold, food, and slaves.
How was trade
different after camels
came into use?
How did Ghana’s
king help the empire
become wealthy and
(Trading Gold for Salt article)
Camels can cover great
distances without food
or water, known as
“ships of the desert.”
He kept gold a secret,
limiting its trade, and
taxed other goods.
Who were the
(Traveling with the Berbers Video)
What caused the fall
of Ghana?
(Fall of Ghana Article)
Muslims from northern
Africa. They
introduced Arabic and
Islam to west African
Almoravids, Muslims
from northern Africa,
declared war on Ghana
and captured the
capital city of Koumbi
Sometimes, in non-fiction writing, we find text that is difficult
to read or understand.
1. Listen to the article using Microsoft
Word on your Surface.
2. Identify sections that are difficult to
3. Identify factors that may have caused
the fall of Ghana.
What did Sundiata,
leader of the Malinke
people, do to improve
(See Mr. Dowling)
Describe Mansa Musa
and his hajj.
(See Mr. Dowling)
Sundiata expanded Mali,
re-established gold/salt
trade, and expanded
trade routes. Sundiata
also developed
Timbuktu, supported
farming, and combined
Islam with his traditional
Mansa Musa allowed his
subjects to practice their
own religion. He made a
pilgrimage to Mecca
which brought attention
to Africa.
How did Mansa
Musa’s death affect
the empire of Mali?
Descendants argued
about who should rule,
which caused internal
fighting. The Songhai
in the east and Berbers
in the north gained
How were Sundiata
and Mansa Musa’s
religious beliefs
Sundiata combined
traditional beliefs with
Islam, Mansa Musa was
a pure Muslim.
(Sub Saharan Survey Video)
Why did Sunni Ali kill
people in Timbuktu?
(Islam comes to Timbuktu video, Explore
Timbuktu on maps)
How did Askia
Muhammad expand
the Songhai Empire?
(Songhai video)
What happened to
Askia Muhammad?
(see p. 346 inset)
He was asked by Muslim
leaders to help remove
Berbers from the city.
Askia took control of the
salt mines, organized a
strong government, and
spread Islam through
His son banished him to
an island on the Niger
river, until a year before
he died.
Section 3
Explain how Aksum
became a powerful
trading kingdom.
Its location on the Horn
of Africa allowed access
to the Red Sea,
Mediterranean Sea,
Indian Ocean and Nile
What was Aksum’s
main trading port?
What were Aksum’s
Great stone pillars, the
written language Ge’ez,
and farmers adapted
their land with terraces.
(Aksum video)
Why was Kilwa an
historically important
(Swahili Activity)
Explain what
zimbabwes are and
in which empire were
they located?
(Find zimbabwes)
African and Arab
traders mixed, creating
the language of
Swahili, and many
Africans converted to
Zimbabwes are
settlements circled by
large stone walls.
Shona Empire
What was the Great
Enclosure of the
Great Zimbabwe
used for?
The Great Enclosure
was large and
significant; used as a
home for kings and
Describe the trade
route of gold through
Great Zimbabwe.
Gold originated in west
Africa, traveled
through Great
Zimbabwe, and ended
in India and China.
(Zimbabwe Activity)
Briefly explain the
history of Kongo:
Where was it
North and South of the
Congo River Basin.
Who was the leader?
Afonso I
What was the
national religion?
Roman Catholic
Who did it trade
What was the
outcome of that
Slave trade drained West
Africa’s population.
Prepare for your test…
Provide specific examples of cultural
diffusion between the Bantu-speaking
people and other societies.
How did Geography affect early
African civilizations?
How did human factors such as
leadership, trade, and empires shape
African civilizations?