Sub-Saharan Africa (10,000 B.C.E.

Sub-Saharan Africa
(10,000 B.C.E. - Present)
Brandon Chen, Jay Froment-Rudder, Joseph Gelb,
Vadim Melerzanov, Thomas Wong, Joshua Zhu
Sub- Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
(10,000 to 600 B.C.E)
Early Bantu Migrations
● Around 1,000 BCE, people started to move out of their homeland in West
Central Africa.
● Most of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa are descendents of the Bantus.
● The Bantus passed down history orally through speakers called griots.
● Over time, the descendants settled down and developed their own distinct
languages and cultures.
● The people often practiced agriculture and developed stone tools.
● In many early civilizations the people followed a patrilineal society (family
traced back to father’s side) but some were matrilineal (family traced back
to mother’s side)
● The African people skipped the bronze age completely as they evolved from
the stone age right to the iron age in 400 BCE.
Evolution of humans
Homo Habilis- Stone users
Homo erectus- first peoples to use fire and stand up-right
Cro Magnon
Homo sapiens- Modern day humans
Agricultural Revolution/Neolithic Revolution: 10,000BCE-8,000BCE
Sub-Saharan Africa
(600 B.C.E. to 600 C.E.)
Aksum (100-940)
formed in modern day Ethiopia around the year 100
traded luxury goods such as glass crystal, brass, and copper to the Roman Empire for silver, gold,
olive oil, and wine
As a result, by 270 Aksum became prosperous and used gold as currency, which only a few other
nations did as well
King Azana I
ruled from 320-350
in 327, he made Christianity official religion of Aksum
to preserve religion, Azana banned the building of mosques for Muslim
Aksum began to decline when Islam spread to neighboring states.
This cut off trade for Aksum, eventually leading to the fall of empire.
Sub-Saharan Africa
(600 C.E. - 1450)
Political Systems 600-1450
African Kingdoms
Traditional Kingdoms: mostly found in Southern Sub-Saharan Africa (based on traditional religious
Islamic Kingdoms: Ghana, Mali, Swahili city-states
Christian Kingdoms: Aksum
Ghana Empire (800-1200)
Formed by several clans of the Soninke people that were ruled by a divine ruler called Dinga
Known as the “Gold Coast” because there was a lot of gold found in mines which was traded
As a result of trading gold, Ghana was a rich and powerful empire.
trade spread Islam to Ghana
the king used book-keeping and literary skills of Muslim scholars to help govern empire
Although Islam spread to Ghana, Islam wasn’t the official religion.
Many people including the king continued to believe in traditional beliefs, which led to the
invasion by Almoravid Berbers from North Africa.
Ghana declined due to economic decline, drought, and being taken over by Almoravid Berbers.
Sumanguru, the leader of the Sosso Empire in West Africa, invaded and took over Ghana.
Sundiata Keita later took over Ghana as part of the Mali Empire.
Mali Empire (1230-1600)
In 1235, Mali was created after Sundiata Keita defeated the king, Sumanguru.
He took over Timbuktu from the Tuareg, a group of Berbers, and turned into an important city of
trade and knowledge.
Sundiata made Islam the official religion and many mosques were built in Timbuktu.
Like Ghana, Mali grew rich from gold.
Muslim scribes had a huge role in controlling the government and administration of Mali.
Mali traded gold and agricultural products to North Africa for salt.
Mansa Musa (1312-1337)
Mansa Musa was one of the richest kings of the world at the time. He was promoted Islam and
was a devoted Muslim.
He centralized Mali and expanded trade.
He went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and brought a lot of gold to the Middle East, decreasing the
price of gold in the region by a lot.
Mali fell due incompetent rulers and attacked by Tuareg Berbers.
Eventually, the empire collapsed and by 1500, the Songhai Empire took over Mali.
Songhai Empire (15th - 16th C.E.)
Emerged after rebellion against Mali paired with rebellion of Fulani people led to the fall of the
Mali Empire
Largest and last of the three pre-colonial empires of West Africa
ruled by Sonni family from 13th century to 15th century
Sonni Ali- reorganised army, conquered cities of Timbuktu and Jenne, army became largest
military defense force in western Sudan which increased Songhai’s political and economic
Muslim’s in Timbuktu thought Sonni Ali was tyrannical, Sonni’s were overthrown by the Muslim
Askiya dynasty
New Monarch ruled with absolute power, nobles owned large estates, work done by servile labor
Ivory and rubber trade increased, slave trade became very important for economy
Askia Mohammed used slaves as soldiers and advisors because he felt they could be trusted to
not go against their masters, slaves were also used to do most crafts thus increasing their
importance in the empire.
Conquered by Moroccans in 1591.
Ghana, Mali, Songhai
Interregional trade 6001450
● Prior to time period, not much trade between North and
South Africa due to harsh Sahara conditions. The camel
allowed for passage through.
● Islam enters Africa along trade routes. However, the
Berbers of the North had slightly different Islamic views
than the Abbasids. This resulted in an east-west trade
● Due to this conflict, there was increased effort to push
South through the Sahara.
Map of Early Trade
● Berbers in North
● Kola nuts and palm oil
near equator (stayed
north of the sahel)
● Gold in south
Effects of Trans-Saharan Trade
Ghana Develops
● served as a middleman
● Gold in south traded pound for
pound with salt from north
● Ghana helped make sure that there
was fair trade, and that no one was
cheated (hard to communicate, different
● grew rich through this process
More Trade
● Eastern africa heard of Ghana’s
wealth, and traders came with silk,
spices, and luxury goods to trade.
● Mali arose in the same location.
● Generally same trade as Ghana.
● Mansa Musa went on pilgrimage to
Mecca, giving away gold as he travelled
● This caused a huge drop in the
value of gold
● Mansa Musa created mosques on the way, furthering the spread of Islam
Sub-Saharan Africa
(1450 - 1750)
Columbian Exchange(15th-18th
“the transfer of peoples, animals, plants and diseases between the New and the Old Worlds”
direct result of the discovery of the Americas by Columbus in 1492
From Africa: rice, bananas, coconuts, breadfruit, and most importantly sugar cane were
brought to the Americas
○ Similar to the other continents, Africa was exposed to important crops such as maize
(corn), potatoes, squash, etc.
Disease from the Old World were fatal to those in the New World
○ This led to slaves being one of the most important products traded in this time period
Columbian Exchange
Atlantic Slave Trade(16th-19th
Atlantic slave trade was prominent and grew large in this time era
○ This was a trade network spanning primarily Europe, Africa, and the Americas
Colonies in the new world needed a source of labor to tend to their massive plantations
○ Initial system of encomienda he local natives had low resistance to diseases
Atlantic slave trade focused on men who were capable of doing labor
○ Caused shift in gender balance which gave women more responsibilities and
promoted polygamy
Expanding African states attacked neighboring Africans; prisoners of war were usually sold to
Europeans as slaves
African elites grew wealthy as they received textiles, weapons, and hardware in return
Imported products stimulated local production of clothing and tools
African slaves were transported in the Middle Passage: trans- Atlantic journey to America
The conditions on the ships were hot, filthy, and crowded (caused 50% mortality rates)
Slavers were cruel but attempted to keep slaves alive for maximum profit
Contact with Islam
Trade with the Islamic World
● Africa began to trade with the expanding Islamic world
● Islamic traders who came from North Africa brought their religion with them
○ Islam gained many converts in Sub-Saharan Africa
○ European cultural influence and Christianity was limited in this area
● Islamic beliefs, practices, culture, and law were all influential to Sub-Saharan African trading
● Islam help facilitate the rise of empires including the Mali and Songhai
● Islamic women had rights, but had to wear veils in the public
● Slave trade with the Arab world existed (Arab Slave Trade), but occurred on a much smaller scale
than in the Atlantic Slave Trade
○ However, this source of trade lasted much longer
○ Slavery in the Arab World lasted from 650-1900 and 10-18 million people were enslaved
○ Slaves were treated differently in the Arab world (men were castrated and women were
Changes and Continuities
Relationship with Europe
● Early Europeans were more interested in trade with Africa than colonization
● Even with the Atlantic slave trade, Europeans did not have increased power in Africa
● European trading posts along the Gold and Slave Coasts had absurd rents and fees and were closely monitored by
local African rulers
● All of Africa only contained 2 European beachheads
○ Portuguese Angola and Dutch Cape Colony
● Increased contact with Europeans did not change culture
● African governments forced Europeans to observe African trading customs
● Even with the influx of European goods being exchanged for slaves, artists continued to produce traditional
African sculptures, wood carvings, metalwork, paintings, basketry, etc.
● Women also retained their social position
○ Women in Islamic societies were given less rights and made to wear veils
○ The few matriarchal societies still had women who held high positions of power
Sub-Saharan Africa
(1750 - 1900 )
Scramble for Africa
In 1879, Henry Stanley persuaded King Leopold II of Belgium to invest in opening up trade with
the Congo in the southern end of the Congo River.
Bismarck called the Berlin Conference in 1884/5 to speak to the leaders of European nations
about what was happening in Africa with the colonization of the Congo by Belgium and the
British forces entering Egypt. His goal with the conference was to settle agreements between the
nations about who will receive what portion of Africa.
The leaders divided up Africa amongst themselves without any discretion for the native tribes in
the areas. Often times, enemy tribes would be put together in a nation under the same flag while
friendly tribes were separated. This led to conflicts between tribes.
Europeans used to only have settlements, colonies, and trade around the coasts, but thanks to
new technologies such as steam ships and medicines, they were able to move further inland.
Africa was also a source for raw materials to the industrializing nations such as the rubber that
was taken from the Congo by the Belgians who had the natives harvest rubber and they treated
them brutally.
In addition, Africa was a source of new marketplaces for Europeans to sell their cheaply made
products in.
Some nations remained economically imperialized even after receiving political independence
ex. Egypt and South Africa
Examples of Raw Materials
● 1807- Slave trade abolition (US, Britain)
● British navy enforces slave trade laws on West Coast.
● after 1825:
o Gold in Ghana (British)
o Ivory and Slaves in Zanzibar, Tanzania (British)- Zanzibar was a major
location where many slaves were bought and sold upto 1873.
o palm oil for soap, candles in West Africa
o Two million slaves were exported illegally from East Africa and slaves
were transported around Africa.
● Rubber in Congo (Belgians)
● gold, diamonds, copper, coal, iron ore in South Africa
● after 1900:
o cocoa(Ghana), palm oil(Nigeria), coffee(East Africa)
Boers (Afrikaners)
The Boers were Dutch farmers who settled in South Africa in 1652 and established themselves as
farmers and traders.
They traded locally with different Bantu speaking groups.
The British also established settlements there (Cape Town) in the early 1800’s.
The Boers moved north in the 1830’s to escape the British. This was called the Great Trek and
the people moved into the areas occupied by Zulus and other African groups. Battles occurred
between the Boers and the Zulus.
The was a rush of European arrivals to South Africa in the 1860’s and 1880’s with the discovery
of gold and diamonds in large quantities.
Boers took up arms in order to prevent the outsiders from taking control of the diamond and
gold trade in the area and with the world.
The British and Boers clashed on policies of land and slaves.
The Boer War began between the two powers in 1899.
Boers were often put into camps by the British as prisoners of war, and they were often
mistreated. Their villages were often burned and farms were destroyed.
In 1910, the British won the war and the Boers republics were put in a sub governing union in
South Africa that was under British control. South Africa was considered an independent nation
even though it was actually controlled by the British for a long time to come. (It was a British
Dominion nation like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.)
Zulu Kingdom (1816-1897)
● In 1816, a Zulu chief named Shaka created a large centralized state
in Greater Mozambique.
● The Zulus had traded in slavery.
● Shaka was considered a good leader as he led the kingdom to
prosperity, but his successors were unable to keep the kingdom
together due to outside pressure from the more elite British army.
● The British began to pressure the Zulu Kingdom.
● In 1897, the king refused to accept British rule which caused the
British to invade the Zulu nation.
● It became known as the British Colony of Natal in 1897.
● In 1910, it became part of the Union of South Africa.
British South Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
(1900 - Present)
National identities (1900-2000)
Ethiopia was an independent nation for a long time until they were invaded by the Italians in
1936. Ethiopia was occupied until 1941 when they were able to drive away the Italian forces with
sticks and regained independence in 1941. Ethiopia though is considered to never have been
colonized along with Liberia.
Nationalism began occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa as nations gained independence from
European powers beginning in 1951 with Ghana gaining independence from Britain.
After decolonization, the nations retained the borders that were set by the Europeans.
Some nations entered turmoil as the feuding tribes in the nations have waited for the Europeans
to leave so they can begin fighting again.
This violence occurred in Rwanda between the Tutsis and the Hutus and it escalated into a mass
genocide as the Tutsis killed about a million Hutus. There was also violence in Nigeria between
Christians and Muslims. Congo quickly deteriorated into chaos after gaining independence.
Numerous other conflicts in Africa occurred often due to religious violence or tribal violence.
Some countries began to make unions between each other and alliances which are all part of the
African Union (Morocco is not in the AU but it is in other unions and Egpyt and CAF are
currently suspended from the AU). The agreements were often for political or economic gains.
We have focused on a few countries in Africa as they gain independence
from their European controllers. This table shows these countries and the basic
information about them.
Method of Achieving
Resulting Government
Former European
Protests and strikes
led by Nkrumah. and
the support of the
1957-1966 Parliamentary
1966-Military, Socialism
Constant shift between civilian
and military control
Democratic Republic of
Lumumba: first PM
Chaos erupts and a military
(Mobutu) regime soon takes over
with constant fighting
Violence,Mau Mau
Strikes and protests led
by Kenyatta
1963-1978: Kenyatta President
1978-2002: Daniel arap Moi,
one party leader
Ahmed Ben Bella,
leader of
The FLN fought the
French for
independence as
France didn’t want to
give up Algeria as a
Ahmed president till 1965, wanted
Continuous turmoil between
military and Islamist forces
Apartheid and Its Opposition
In 1948, after the Nationalist Party takes power in South Africa, they pass a law to separate the
races. The black people were placed under the whites.
The Nationalist Party was composed of mainly Afrikaners who were South African people from
Dutch descent. (The Dutch were the original white colonizers of SA)
The apartheid system limited contact between the whites and blacks. The black people had to
carry around a special I.D. card and they weren’t allowed in white neighborhoods. These
neighborhoods had the best lands. Also, the hospitals, schools, and other public places were
segregated against black people.
Stephen Biko and Nelson Mandela were two well educated blacks who fought for the black
people to end the apartheid and give the people freedom.
Stephen Biko was arrested for protesting and was beaten to death by police in 1976.
The ANC was banned for a period of time before South Africa declared a state of emergency due
to all the protesting and strikes against the apartheid.
Desmond Tutu was a bishop who had persuaded the foreign investors to stop the flow of money
into South Africa until black were treated equal
In 1990, after F.W. de Clerk became the president (white) he legalized the ANC, ended apartheid,
and freed Nelson Mandela from prison.
Nelson Mandela became president in April 1994 and in 1996 a constitution was written
Economies Begin to grow in
The governments of numerous African nations began to turn away from militaristic regime and most often
their economies developed. Five African nations are in the top ten countries with the fastest growing
economy and eleven in the top 20. These countries have nationalized their resources. This means that they
control their own economy and the businesses without major foreign control of their resources.
Rank in World(^)
Main Export(s)
Rank in World(^)
Main Export
Sierra Leone
Oil, Gold, Cocoa
DR of Congo*
Gold, Copper, Diamonds
* A country that is doing well economically but still have political issues and government isn’t stable
^ The rank of the country in the GDP in Africa by size, ex. largest economy in Africa is Nigeria’s and South Africa has the second largest economy
Gold, Iron, Diamonds
Oil, Minerals
21 (1)
2000- Present
HIV and AIDS epidemic spreads through Africa.
In 2007, Somalia was added to US Bombing list. Somalia also had been the home of pirates who
attacked ships in 2008-9.
Zimbabwe undergoes hyperinflation during economic crisis, Zim Dollar is now banned.
The Congo is still emerged in Civil War.
Sudan fell into Civil War and South Sudan gains independence from Sudan but war continues.
Also there is an ethnic cleansing in South Sudan killing hundreds.
Joseph Kony forms the LRA army in Uganda mostly consisting of abducted children.
The Central African Republic falls into chaos with thousands being killed and displaced.
Sept, 21, 2013 there is a shooting in Kenya mall.
South Africa held the Fifa World Cup in 2010 being the first African nation to do so. In 2013,
Nelson Mandela, a much respected leader in South Africa dies.
Nigeria has previously fallen into a state of chaos and Boko Haram kidnaped over 200 girls in
Nigeria in 2014. As of May though, Nigeria became the largest economic power in Africa.
African literacy rates rank from #1 Zimbabwe with 90% literacy rate to Burkino Faso’s 20%.
Many parts of Africa continue to modernize and have new cities growing, some cities are even
turning into metropolitans rivaling those in Europe and America such as Lagos, Nigeria;
Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, South Africa; Mogadishu, Somalia; Dar es Salaam,
Tanzania; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; and Dakar, Senegal.
Changes and Continuities
Change: The nations began to gain independence from the European powers
and then begin to nationalize their economic resources to strengthen the
economy. The economies continue to grow as some of the nations with
fastest growing economy are in Africa.
Change: The governments changed from an administrative government
taking orders from European parliament to military regimes full of turmoil
or a dictatorship. It was often hard to create a stable government that the
people can agree on because of the disputing peoples in the country.
Continuity: The African people put continuous pressure on the European
power who had control of the nation whether nationally or economically.
The apartheid were rules made by the white superiors who the black
majority kept pressuring for the laws to be voided.

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