of Africa
largest continent on Earth
Mountain Ranges
Mtns in the far northwest
Drakensberg Mtns in the far southwest corner
(Saharan) Africa
Desert is the world’s largest desert
Area has few fresh water sources
Arabian and Nubian Deserts lie east of the Nile
Nile River is the world’s longest river
south of the Saharan Desert
West Africa (Arm pit and west)
Dominated by the Niger River, lands suitable
for farming and grazing
Traditionally they produce dates, kola nuts,
and grains
Gold, salt, fresh water sources, plenty of
wood, and food sources, especially fish
African Early Life
mother, father, children and close
relatives in the household
Stressed loyalty to the family and to people
in the community their age
hunted, farmed, and raised livestock
Women farmed, collected firewood,
ground grain, and cared for children
Carved statues and offered food
Worshiped spirits of water, animals, trees and
other natural objects
iron for tools and weapons
the advanced, they began to trade with
other areas of the world
Traded gold, ivory, slaves, salt, cloth, to North
Africa and the Islamic world
What are the two groups to which a
person in early West Africa may have
owed loyalty?
How did the use of iron change
farming practices?
How did geography have an impact
on the lives of early Africans?
empire in West Africa (in Senegal
and Mali) that lasted from around 800AD
until 1200sAD
Soninke people dominated the Ghana
Empire trading salt and gold with each
barter – exchanged goods without
contacting each other directly
became more powerful as trade
Traded with Northern Africa for wheat,
Southern Africa for sheep, wheat, and
started to use iron weapons
Controlled West Africa’s trade routes
Taxed traders who passed through
rulers would not allow anyone to
own gold nuggets, but hoarded it for
They used their wealth to expand their
empire and reached their height under
Tunka Manin
Africa group called the Almoravids
shortly invaded and weakened the empire
They overgrazed the pastures of Ghana and
the soil was blown away
Conquered areas rebelled and took over, but
Ghana then fell apart
What were the two major resources
traded in Ghana?
How did the silent barter system
What group invaded Mali, and why
do you think they did?
How did overgrazing help cause the
fall of Ghana
on the Senegal River and upper Niger
After Ghana fell, Sundiata rose up an army and
overthrew a harsh local ruler
Then conquered Ghana
Cleared new farmlands for growing beans,
onions, and rice and started growing cotton for
the first time
made himself the sole political and
religious ruler, or mansa
Mansa Musa, a later Muslim Mali ruler, spread
Islam throughout West Africa taking over
On his hajj pilgrimage, he became famous
Would start schools in Mali and build
mosques all over West Africa
Mansa Musa’s son was weak and the empire
was lost to invaders including the Tuareg
nomads from the Sahara
in the western part of Ghana/Mali grew
Was conquered by Mansa Musa
Grew rich from trade with the Berbers of N.
Africa because they were both Muslim
Sunni Ali
Organized the empire and after the fall of
Mali, incorporated most of it
Allowed freedom of religion participating in
both local and Muslim religions
the Great
Took Songhai from Sunni Ali’s son to ensure
Muslim trade
The cities of Timbuktu and Djenne grew due
to their schools, libraries, universities and
Morocco invaded Songhai in 1591 bringing
cannons and early guns
They destroyed Timbuktu and the capital
Gao; and the empire.
African kingdom of Zimbabwe grew
to be great because of the gold mines there
But because of a decline in the gold trade it
What major river was important to
the people of Mali? Why?
What effects did the rule of Mansa
Musa have on Mali and West Africa?
How did Askia the Great’s support of
education affect Timbuktu?
What made Great Zimbabwe great
and led to its decline?