What are we learning? We are learning about the importance of the kingdoms of Kush and Aksum. We want to understand the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Kush and Aksum. Let’s review what we learned yesterday about Kush… The Kingdom of Kush began around 2000 B.C. The Kushites were farmers, metalworkers, and traders. The Egyptians grew amazing crops that they traded with Kush to get things like gold, ebony wood, ivory, incense, and lion and leopard skins that came into Kush from western Africa and other parts of the continent. Around 1500 B.C. the Egyptians invaded Kush… the Kushites fought a tough battle, but the Egyptians won. Over the next five centuries, from 1500 B.C. to 1000 B.C., the Kushite people lived under Egyptian rule. They even seemed to become Egyptian, wearing Egyptian-style clothing and worshiping the Egyptian Gods. Around 730 B.C., Egypt grew weak and Kush seized the opportunity to take back what had once been theirs and attack… they won and ruled for a few decades. This rule didn’t last long though, because in 591 B.C. the Egyptians struck back and captured Kush’s capital of Kerma. The Kush people moved their capital to Meroe (MuHR oh ee). It was here the Kushites began producing iron. Meroe became a center of trade that extended for over 2,000 miles! Are you are wondering… what happened to Kush? In the early fourth century (301 A.D. to 400 A.D.), Kush was attacked by another great ancient civilization… Aksum was located in what is now Ethiopia and Eritrea. The war between Aksum was the worst war of all because it destroyed the Kush kingdom. Aksum’s great warrior-king Ezana led this war. After the victory, Ezana thanked the “Lord of Heaven” and bragged of destroying the Kushite’s statues. Ezana had converted to Christianity, and Aksum would become a Christian civilization. AKSUM! After Aksum conquered Kush… what happened? The trade routes through Kush were ignored and traders began to travel to Aksum by sea instead of trekking to Kush by land. Aksum’s busy port of Adulis on the Red Sea, traders exchanged cloth made by Egyptians for cloth made by people living in North Africa and the Sahara. They also traded cloaks, flint glass, brass, copper, and iron. Aksum became the strongest power in East Africa. Aksum prospered for many centuries. Its king built many monasteries and churches, and the Bible translated into their language. Aksum conquered neighboring lands, including part of the Arabian Peninsula. After such tremendous success, how did Aksum fall, you ask!?!? During the 700s A.D., Muslims began moving off the Arabian Peninsula and into Africa. The Muslims gained control of much of the land along the shores of the Read Sea and took over the trade routes. Eventually, the Muslims took over the seaport of Adulis and the Aksumite Christians were forced to retreat to the mountains. The Aksumites lived on for many years in the mountains in isolation surrounded by the Muslim world.