Ancestral Africa and the African Diaspora. James Robinson, MA

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1 Ancestral Africa and the African Diaspora James Robinson, MA

2 Modern Africa Africa is a vast place, over three times the size of the USA, with climates ranging from desert to temperate to equatorial.

3 Master of the Ground Farming was a highly-honored profession in Africa. The first family to settle an area was called the master of the ground and was accorded special deference by the rest of the tribe. The family of the master of the ground also had a say in the naming of leaders. This arrangement worked well for small tribes.

4 What does this mean? Many local language dialects led to separation. Little or no written language history is mostly oral, passed down by griots. Master of the ground tradition lent itself to small clans and tribes. No primogeniture, leading to frequent changes in leadership. Occasionally, a strong or charismatic leader would conquer or assimilate his neighbors, leading to a kingdom. A very few kingdoms would develop into empires, again usually because of a particularly charismatic leader. When that leader (or his heirs) die, the empire tends to crumble. Virtually no African state remains stable enough to become a fullfledged nation-state. Encroaching desert, greedy or warlike neighbors, problems with language dialects, and the general distrust of central authority means that there are no strong, central nations to match those in Europe.

5 Major African Kingdoms Other civilizations not on the map include the Noks and Great Zimbabwe. This map does not show the hundreds of smaller chiefdoms that never attained an empire status.

6 Classical Egypt Arguably the first civilization, Egypt flourished for centuries as the dominant power of North Africa.

7 Cush/Nubia Egypt s southern neighbor was a black kingdom almost as old as Egypt, with stone monuments and lively trade routes.

8 Axum Spice kingdom immortalized by the emissary to King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba. Also, probable source of the legend of King Solomon s Mines.

9 Noks c. 600 BC The Noks were the first civilization in West Africa, characterized by distinctive sculptures and pottery. They were possibly the first civilization to discover copper and tin smelting (and thus bronze) by 570 BC, centuries ahead of the Greeks. Their cities were around Lake Nigeria.

10 African Trade Routes Around 700 AD, Islam sweeps across North Africa. The resources of West Africa began to flow east towards Mecca in exchange for trade goods.

11 Pre-European Slave Trade routes Slavery was a way of life for African kingdoms for hundreds of years before the Atlantic Slave Trade began.

12 Ghana c. 600 AD 1100 AD The state of Ghana was the first major empire of West Africa. Its bureaucracies held it together longer than most African kingdoms, and its placement on the trade routes insured prosperity. Islam became the state religion c A series of droughts and wars ended the kingdom.

13 Mali c AD 1469 AD Mali rose out of the ashes of Ghana in about the same area. Mali s greatest ruler was Mansa Musa (left above), who Forbes Magazine determined to be the richest man ever to live. His pilgrimage to Mecca made Mali a regional power, and his capital of Timbuktu (right above) was a center of trade and learning.

14 Wolof c c.1500 Wolof now lies mostly in modern Senegal. It was a vassal state of Mali until it gained independence in Wolof was probably the first African civilization contacted by the Portuguese, and they introduced the Portuguese to the slave trade. Local heroine Anna Kingsley was a Wolof princess that was captured and sold into slavery.

15 Kongo Kingdom c AD 1800 AD The Kongo Kingdom is unique in that it is the first African kingdom to adopt Christianity as its official religion. The Kongolese word for slave is the same as child.

16 Slavery Regions of Africa These are the major slave-producing areas of Africa during the Atlantic Slave Trade.

17 Procuring Slaves for the trade The first slaves traded were political prisoners or prisoners of war. When these ran out, kingdoms would send raiding parties into surrounding areas. White traders, like the Portuguese, built large castles, like the one above in Ghana. Black traders would meet white traders at slave markets, like the one in Rugenda above. In almost every case, white traders did not actually make slave raids into the interior. It was safer to stay in their castles and have slaves brought to them.

18 Slave ships Slave ships were overcrowded, unsanitary, and inhumane. The goal is to maximize profit, not slave comforts.

19 The Atlantic Slave Trade where did they go? Almost 50% of slaves exported into the New World went to Brazil. Another 43% went to sugar colonies and mines in the Caribbean and South America. Only about 7% were sent to North America.

20 African Slave Exporting Areas This map shows the many kingdoms and areas involved with the Atlantic Slave Trade. The important thing to remember is that, once a slave boarded a slave ship, he lost all cultural identity beyond African.

21 The end result? Imperialism The Atlantic slave trade ended in 1888, with Brazil freeing its slaves. Between 4 12 million Africans had been uprooted and transported to the New World. The slavers preferred the young, strong, and comely people for slaves, leaving behind the old, very young, and infirm. The result? In the 1880s, when Europeans were seeking land and resources for colonies, Africa was both very rich in resources and almost depopulated.

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