Ch 3 Vocabulary List

Ch. 3 Geography of Africa Vocabulary
Name _________________
1.) basin – the land area that is drained by a river and its tributaries
2.) cataract – large waterfall
3.) city-state – large town that has its own government and controls the surrounding countryside
4.) desert climate – a climate that is hot and dry; it receives 10 inches or less of rain in a year and
supports basically no vegetation
5.) desertification – the change of semi-desert land into desert land
6) drought – prolonged periods of little or no rainfall
7.) escarpments – steep cliffs
8.) Great Rift Valley – a giant valley located along a fault line (break in the Earth’s crust) in the eastern
part of Africa; it runs from the Red Sea to the Zambezi River and is actually a series of mountains and
valleys rich with fertile soil and lots of metals and minerals
9.) gold-salt trade – kingdoms in West Africa were rich in gold, but did not have salt which they
needed; traded Arab merchants across the Sahara for the salt they needed
10.) hieroglyphics – ancient form of Egyptian writing that used pictures and symbols to represent words
and sounds
11.) hydroelectric power – energy produced by moving water
12.) leaching – dissolving and washing away of the soil’s nutrients by constant heavy rain
13.) Mediterranean climate – subtropical area that has hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters; exists
along the Northern African coast and the southwestern part of South Africa
14.) mosque – where Muslim people worship
15.) mummification – a method of preserving the body in ancient Egypt; it involved wrapping the body
in cloth dipped in chemicals
16.) Nile River Valley – the longest river in the world located in Northeast Africa; it is the site of one of
the earliest civilizations, the Egyptian civilization; river provides a fertile farming area in the middle of a
17.) pharaoh – ruler of ancient Egypt
18.) plateau – large area of high flat, or gently rolling land
19.) Sahara Desert – the largest desert in the world extends across Northern Africa from the Atlantic
Ocean to the Red Sea
20.) savannah – flat grasslands area with occasional bushes or trees; common in tropical Africa
21.) semiarid climate – located in the tropics and subtropical regions of Africa – generally hot summers
and mild to cold winters; have around 18 inches of rainfall with grasses and shrubs for vegetation
22.) silt – fine sand, clay and other material carried by running water and deposited as sediment
23.) Sub-Saharan Africa – the parts of Africa that are located south of the Sahara Desert
24.) tropics – area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn
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