Africa 8000 BCE * 600 CE - Hinzman`s AP World History & Honors

Unit 1 Section 1
AFRICA 8000 BCE – 600 CE
Agricultural Revolution
Collective name of a large group of sub-Saharan African languages
and of the peoples speaking these languages
The change from food gathering to food production that occurred
between ca. 8000 and 2000 BCE also known as the Neolithic
People who support themselves by hunting wild animals and
gathering wild edible plants and insects
System of writing in which pictorial symbols represented sounds,
syllables, or concepts.
Used for official and monumental inscriptions in ancient Egypt
Literacy was limited to small group of scribes and administrators
because of the time to learn and master the system
People in agricultural communities in arid regions which depended
heavily upon herds of domesticated animals
A reed that grows along the banks of the Nile River in Egypt. From it
was produced a course, paper-like writing medium used by the
Egyptians and many other peoples in the ancient Mediterranean &
Middle East
The period of the Stone Age associated with the ancient Agricultural
Revolutions. It follows the Paleolithic period
The central figure in the ancient Egyptian state. Believed to be an
earthly manifestation of the gods, he used his absolute power to
maintain the safety and prosperity of Egypt.
Trans-Saharan trade
Trading network linking North Africa with sub-Saharan Africa across
the Sahara
Until approx. 8000BCE all
humans lived in a similar
 Small
nomadic communities
determined by marriage and
kinship that relied on hunting
and gathering to sustain
 All members of the group
needed to participate with
men hunting and women
gathered fruits and plants
Approximately 10,000 years ago
Also referred to as the Neolithic Revolution
Over many generations groups of people settle and
developed techniques for plant and animal domestication
The change meant less people were needed for food
This led to specialization of labor and freed members of the
community to make important technological and political
Examples would be the development of metallurgy in bronze and iron for
use in tools and weapons
This also changed gender roles as women were expected to bear
& raise children and society progressed into a patriarchal system
Men were in positions of public prominence and power and women had
by and large limited rights and power (there are exceptions but this was
for the majority)
By 3000 BCE major civilizations emerged in
Mesopotamia and along the Nile
 Later civilizations emerged in the Indus River
Valley, China, Mesoamerica and South America
 River valleys provided means of transportation as
well as rich soil in the flood basins
 Though farming in early civilizations brought about
more food and greater stability – early civilizations
suffered from disease brought on by living among
animals and without adequate sewage facilities
Civilizations that did not emerge in river valleys
were more arid and not well suited for agriculture
Pastoralism developed in these areas
 Small
societies that were dependent on herds of animals that
moved their livestock among grazing lands and watering places
 Sometimes pastoralist & agricultural communities came into
contact and conflict over land use
Religion in Neolithic communities
were continued pagan beliefs of
forager communities.
 Changes developed from the
forager’s worship of geographic
features and significant animals
whereas agriculturalists worshiped
Mother Earth and gods of the
elements such as fire, wind and
EGYPT 3100-1070 BCE
Major civilizations first developed in Egypt
Developed a complex social order and economy
Attained scientific and artistic heights
Flexed military muscle
Egypt’s geography and centralized political system made
it all possible
Early farming villages appeared in Egypt around 5500
BCE and began domesticating plants and animals
Between 5000 and 3000BCE as the Egyptian climate
became drier the population migrated to the fertile land
long the Nile River
Flowed south to north and provided:
Agricultural support and irrigation
Basis of religion
The flooding of the Nile was more predictable than that
of the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia – however –
flood levels did have an effect on political stability
Large floods jeopardized residential areas and thus lives
Small floods reduced the amount of fertile land and food
levels which often led to regime change
Migration and increased food production caused the
population along the Nile to increase
Around 3100 BCE the smaller communities along the
Nile were unified into a single state led by a pharaoh.
Dynasties were established within families and
reflected which region along the Nile was most powerful.
Egyptian history can also be broken into 3 kingdoms
separated by periods of disunity and decline
Old Kingdom was centered in Memphis
Middle & New Kingdoms were based on the south, in
Politically Egypt was centered on the pharaoh who was
viewed as an earthly god.
Source of all laws and responsible for maintaining order and
Also controlled long-distance trade which prevented the
emergence of a merchant class
Though seen as all powerful, the pharaoh was supported by
a massive bureaucracy
Kept records (development of hieroglyphics and use of papyrus)
Collected taxes
Many pharaoh’s incorporated a merit-based system for
awarding promotions or land grants
Power was apparent by the monumental architecture such
as the pyramids at Giza
Pharaoh - enjoyed
wealth and power of
being at the top
Top officials closely
associated with or in
the favor of the
Low level priests
Low-level officials
Slaves – though not
in great numbers had
a promise of freedom
which other societies
Local leaders and
other professionals
Male –dominated society but women enjoyed many
legal and economic rights that were denied by other
ancient civilizations
Examples: women could own and inherit property, they were
able to divorce and retain their dowry if the marriage failed
There were also a few queens and queen mothers who held
positions of political power
Growth of knowledge:
Advanced mathematics for the construction of major
monuments with simple tools
Chemistry developed as an outgrowth of Egyptian belief in
the afterlife to perfect mummification
Astronomy led to an advanced calendar to help in crop
harvesting, as well as efficient transportation along the Nile
During the Old Kingdom Egypt was largely self-sufficient and
During the Middle Kingdom Egypt’s economic interests led it
to invade Nubia to gain control of gold fields
Physical isolation prevented mass migration or invasion and the
limited contact with outsiders was in the context of trade
Nubia is located south of Egypt and connected sub-Saharan Africa
with North Africa and thus Nubian leaders acted as middle men in
the Trans Sub-Saharan trade network, which Egypt sought to
destroy with invasion
During the New Kingdom expansionism continued
Egyptian control of Nubia and further south the kingdom of Kush
would last over 500 years and result in cultural dominance by
Egypt in these regions
Children from elite Nubian families were taken to Egypt as
hostages to ensure cooperation among new subjects
In the last millennium BCE powerful leaders emerged in
Nubia and later further south in Meroe.
Control shifted to the Nubian kings and surprisingly
Egyptian culture, burial customs, and architecture were
Nubian rule ended with the invasion of the Assyrians in
660 BCE
Assyrian rule was broken in the 4th Century BCE when
power shifted still farther south to Meroe which replaced
Egyptian customs with sub-Saharan ones
Prior to the Trans-Saharan trade and the rise of the
Indian Ocean trade network, sub-Saharan Africa was
Because of scarcity of water, low population density, and
the massive size of the Sahara Desert - sub-Saharan
Africa was a complex mix of cultures having their own
languages and political and social characteristics
Common group characteristics:
All were monarchies
Clear social structures that grouped people according to
age, kinship, gender and occupation
- What mood would you
describe the sculpture
-- What might be the
status of the person
represented in this
-- What possible purpose
might this sculpture
Limited trade until the domestication of the
Camel which expanded it significantly
 Salt from the Southern region of the desert was
traded for palm oil and forest products from the
forest zone near the equator
 When the Roman Empire dominated North
Africa, products from that region were
incorporated into the Mediterranean until
Rome’s decline in the 3rd Century CE
The Bantu people provided unity in sub-Saharan Africa
in the 1st millennium CE when they slowly migrated from
the equatorial region to southern Africa.
As they migrated, they spread the Bantu family of
languages (over 300 languages of Southern Africa
belong to the Bantu family – can be traced to the NigerCongo region)
The Bantu also spread the use of iron.
Iron tools improved farming techniques and efficiency
Greater food supply sparked economic development and population
Bantu migration increased the vitality of sub-Saharan
Africa and played a key role in the Indian Ocean’s large
and prosperous trade network
Compare and contrast life in foraging societies
with life in agricultural societies after the
Agricultural Revolutions.
 (Be
sure to pay attention to why??)

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