Chapter Eight: African Civilizations and the Spread of Islam 2 African Regions Pre-Islamic Africa • Extremely diverse societies developed • Political unity was difficult because of terrain • Bantu is primary language spoken • Oral traditions; very few written records • Most communities are preliterate (lacking writing system) • Animistic and polytheistic religions common • Majority of Africa, even after introduction of Islam, will remain in isolation • Many who are exposed to Islam do not convert but remain practitioners of their indigenous religion “Stateless” Societies • Many small communities are politically organized in this way • Authoritarian and centralized empires will exist, however. • Lack concentration of power and authority • Authority and power normally exercised by a ruler and court is held by a council or families or community • Weakness of stateless societies • No organization to collect taxes no effective militaries • No consensus Difficult to resist external pressures • No undertaking of large building projects • Hard to create stability for long-distance trade • Internal problems could be resolved by allowing dissidents to leave and establish new villages African Economy • Economies vary by region • N. Africa integrated into the world economy via Islamic trade routes and Mediterranean • Most participate in agriculture and ironworking • Africans exchanged abundant raw materials for manufactured goods. Influence of Islam in Africa • 7th century: Muslim armies moved west from Egypt across N. Africa • Spreads Islamic influence; rapid conversions • Traders and travelers brought Islam along pre-existing caravan routes. • Berbers (people of the Sahara) begin to convert to Islam • 11th-12th centuries: Almoravids and Almohads (reforming Muslim Berbers) from western Sahara grow in power • • • • Launch jihad (war to spread and protect faith) Almohads defeat Almoravids Almohad Caliphate: 1121-1269 These groups are essential to penetration of Islam throughout Africa. Almoravids 1040-1147 Grasslands Kingdoms • Sahel Grasslands: transition zone between Sahara Desert and savannahs to the south • Point of exchange between North and Sub-Saharan Africa; important region of trade • Grasslands Kingdoms = Sudanic States = Ghana, Mali, Songhai Sudanic States • Islam reinforced ideas of kingship and power: “royal cult” • Joining Islam gives rulers prestige and associates them with other great Muslim leaders • Majority of population never converted but retain their polytheism/animism • Trade gold for salt from Berbers in North Africa • Mali, Ghana and Songhai • Combine Islamic religion/culture with local practices • Each incorporates the previous kingdom; bigger than last Ghana 4th – 11th c. • 1st great West African empire • Rose to power by taxing salt and gold • 10th c: rulers convert to Islam while common people remain loyal to polytheism • Reaches 11th c. height • Almoravid armies invaded Ghana in 1076 • Had few natural resources except salt and gold. • They were also very good at making things from iron. • Ghanaian warriors used iron tipped spears to subdue their neighbors, who fought with weapons made of stone, bone, and wood. http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/center/m m/eng/mm_rs_01.htm Ghana became a rich and powerful nation, especially when the camel began to be used as a source of transport. Ghana relied on trade and trade was made faster and bigger with the use of the camel. http://es.encarta.msn.com/media_461532998_761558787_1_1/Caravana_de_camellos.html news.nationalgeographic.com/. ../salt/photo6.html Ghana’s Economy & Decline • The taxation system imposed by the king (or 'Ghana') • Both importers and exporters pay a percentage fee, not in currency, but in the product itself. • Tax was also extended to the goldmines. • Tribute was also received from various tributary states and chiefdoms to the empire's peripheral. • The empire began struggling after reaching its apex in the early 11th century. • By 1059, the population density around the empire's leading cities was seriously overtaxing the region. • The Sahara desert was expanding southward, threatening food supplies. • While imported food was sufficient to support the population when income from trade was high, when trade faltered, this system also broke down. Islamic Mosque in Ghana blankbluesky.com/ travel/ghana/ After 700 AD, the religion of Islam began to spread over northern Africa. Muslim warriors came into Ghana and fought with the nonIslamic people there. This weakened the great civilization of Ghana. Local warriors then decided to break away from the power of Ghana and form their own local kingdoms. This ended many of the trade networks. This eventually weakened the civilization of Ancient Ghana. Mali • Broke away from Ghana in 13th c. • Economy: agriculture and gold trade • Traders spread beyond W Africa • Very wealthy empire • Islamized state in 13th c. when rulers convert • Founder: Sundiata (dies 1260) • Credited with Malinke expansion and creation of unified state with each tribe having a representative at court • Mansa Musa is successor • Jenne and Timbuktu • Major cities of commercial exchange • Scholars, craft specialists, and foreign merchants • Timbuktu was famous for its library and university • The Mali Empire flourished because of trade above all else. Mali Empire • It contained three immense gold mines within its borders unlike the Ghana Empire, which was only a transit point for gold. • The empire taxed every ounce of gold or salt that entered its borders. • By the beginning of the 14th century, Mali was the source of almost half the Old World's gold exported from mines in Bambuk, Boure and Galam. Ancient Timbuktu Mansa Musa • 1324: Hajj to Mecca • Aligns himself with elite Islamic rulers • Brings back scholars, architects • Inadvertently devastates economies he enters • Indicates wealthy, sophisticated empires existed in Africa • Estimated wealth: $400 billion In 1324, Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage or hajj to Mecca with 60,000 servants and followers and 80 camels carrying more than 4,000 pounds of gold to be distributed among the poor. Of the 12,000 servants, 500 carried a staff of pure gold. This showed his power and wealth to the other people he visited. Salt, Copper, Gold When Mansa Musa died, there were no kings as powerful as he was to follow. The great kingdom of Mali weakened. Eventually a group of people known as Berbers came into the area and other people came up from the south to claim territory that was once part of the kingdom. Although Mali fell, another advanced African kingdom took its place, the Kingdom of Songhai. Mansa Musa was a Muslim. He built many beautiful mosques or Islamic temples in western Africa. Songhai • Independent from Mali in 1370s • Prospered as a trading state and military power. • Founded by Sunni Ali (1464-1492) • Great military leader; extended rule over the entire Niger River valley. • Songhai remained dominant until defeated by Moroccans in 1591 for not being “Muslim enough” Songhay Economy • The Songhai economy was based on a traditional caste system. • The clan a person belonged to ultimately decided their occupation. • The most common castes were metalworkers, fishermen, and carpenters. • Lower caste participants consisted of mostly nonfarm working slaves, who at times were provided special privileges and held high positions in society. • At the top were nobleman and direct descendants of the original Songhai people, followed by freemen and traders. • At the bottom were war captives and slaves obligated to labor, especially in farming. The great Songhai leader, Sunni Ali saw that the kingdom of Mali was weakening and he led his soldiers to conquer the area. He began the kingdom of Songhai. He also set up a complex government to rule all the lands he had conquered. http://www.abcorpaffairs.com/gallery / • Sunni Ali died in 1492 CE. • His son took over the rule of Songhai but he did not accept Islam as a religion. Many mosques were built of local materials. • Islam was accepted as a religion by many people in northern Africa. • One of Sunni Ali’s generals, named Muhammad Ture, overthrew the new king and made himself king of Songhai. • Ture was a follower of Islam (Muslim) and so he made Islam the religion of his kingdom. http://www.thewoz.ca/ghana/_la rabanga1.jpg • Songhai remained a rich and strong kingdom under Muhammad Ture’s rule. • It had a complex government centered in the city of Gao, and great centers of learning. • But later rulers were not as powerful. • In the late 1500s, Morocco invaded Songhai to take its rich trade routes. • Moroccans had a new weapon, the gun, and the army of Songhai did not. This led to the fall of Songhai. (Photo courtesy of African Origin of Civilization by Cheikh Anta Diop) Songhai Society • Upper classes in society converted to Islam while lower classes often continued to follow traditional religions. • Sermons emphasized obedience to the king. • Timbuktu was the educational capital. • Sonni Ali established a system of government under the royal court, later to be expanded by Askia Muhammad, which appointed governors and mayors to preside over local tributary states, situated around the Niger valley. • Local chiefs were still granted authority over their respective domains as long as they did not undermine Songhai policy. Djenne Influence of Islam in Grasslands Kingdoms • Islam provided universal faith and fixed law. • Rulers reinforced authority through Muslim ideology. • Many Sudanic societies were matrilineal and did not seclude women. • Hesitancy over conversion to Islam since it restricts women more than these societies did • Slavery and slave trade was prevalent from Muslim influence Bantu • The Bantu expansion or the Bantu Migration was a millennialong series of migrations of speakers of the original Bantu language group. • The primary evidence for this great expansion, one of the largest inhuman history, has been primarily linguistic • That is that the languages spoken in sub-Equatorial Africa are remarkably similar to each other, to the degree that it is unlikely that they began diverging from each other more than three thousand years ago 31 Bantu • In Africa, south of the equator, the most significant development of the classical era was involved the accelerating movement of the Bantu-speaking peoples into the subcontinent • The spread of Bantu peoples was a slow movement that brought Africa south of the equator a measure of cultural and linguistic commonality • Kinship structures • Ancestral and nature spirits • Belief in witches • Diviners, skilled in penetrating the world and supernatural 32 Early migrations of Bantu (3000-1000 B.C.E.) • Move south and west into the forest lands • Absorb much of the population of hunter/gather/fisher people • By 1000 B.C.E. occupy most of Africa south of the equator Bantu • Farming largely replaced foraging • Agriculture generated a more productive economy • Farmers brought with them both parasitic and infectious diseases to which foragers had little immunity 34 The Bantu peoples • Originated in the region around modern Nigeria • Agricultural Society • Cultivated yams and palm oil • Herded goats • Population pressure drove migrations • Spread to south and east • Languages differentiated into about 500 distinct related tongues Bantu rate of migration increases after 1000 B.C.E. • appearance of iron • Iron tools allow them to clear more land for agriculture • Give them an advantage • Iron weapons give them stronger position Swahili coast • 1800 miles long • Diffusion from Indian, Arab, Chinese, and others • Islam perhaps most enduring Swahili Coast of East Africa • Coasts enable East Africa to be connected to India Ocean trade • Islamized trading ports along coast by 13th c. • Kilwa, Mogadishu, Mombasa: large city-state centers of Islam • Ibn Battuta: Islamic scholar/writer who visits these cities • Exported raw materials in return for Indian, Islamic and Chinese luxuries • Swahili language (Bantu + Arabic) emerged in urbanized trading ports • Rulers and merchants were often Muslim. • Most of the population retained African beliefs and few converted to Islam • Culture = Swahili as language and fused African and Islamic practices. Swahili Coast • While the Swahili Coast had kingdoms, it was not controlled by just one kingdom. • City-States • The region was a center hub of trade and commerce in east Africa. • The introduction of various traditions such as Islam helped to shape the character of the Swahili Coast. Swahili City-States • By the 11th and 12th Century, trade had brought tremendous wealth to coastal east Africa. • Mogadishu, Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Kilwa, Mozambique, and Sofala were some of the trade centers that eventually developed into powerful city-states governed by a king who supervised trade and organized public life in the region. • Wood structures to coral and stone based structures Swahili Coast • By the tenth century, Swahili society attracted increasing attention from Islamic merchants. • Middle Man of Trade • From the interior regions of east Africa, the Swahili obtained gold, slaves, ivory, and exotic local products. • In exchange, the Swahili city-states received pottery, glass, and textiles that the Muslim merchants brought from Persia, India, and China. Central Africa • Across central Africa, agrarian societies thrived and kingdoms developed • Yoruba • Non Bantu-speaking • Highly urbanized agriculturalists • Benin • Forms in 14th century under ruler/oba Ewuare the Great • Ruled from the Niger River to the coast near Lagos • Luba • Divine kingship • Hereditary bureaucracy Central Africa without Islam • Both develop free of Islamic contact • Kongo • Agricultural society, flourishes by 15th • Gender division of labor and family-based villages • Largest site: Mbanza Kongo = 60,000-100,000 people • Zimbabwe • Great Zimbabwe, largest site • Dominated gold sources and trade with coastal ports Great Zimbabwe Lost Kingdom • Great Zimbabwe, or "house of stone", is the name given to hundreds of great stone ruins spread out over a 500 km² (200 sq mile) area within the modern day country of Zimbabwe, which itself is named after the ruins. • The exact origin of the word Zimbabwe is not known. Great Zimbabwe • Built consistently throughout the period from the 11th century to the 15th century, the ruins at Great Zimbabwe are some of the oldest and largest structures located in Southern Africa. • The ruins span 1,800 acres (7 km²) and cover a radius of 100 to 200 miles (160 to 320 km). Great Zimbabwe • It is believed Great Zimbabwe located south of the Zambezi River was where much of Africa’s gold was mined. • At its peak in about 1400, the city which occupied 193 acres may have had 18,000 inhabitants. • Between 1250 and 1450, local African craftsmen built stone structures for Great Zimbabwe’s rulers, priests, and wealthy citizens. largest structure served as Great Zimbabwe• The a king’s court. • Mixed farming and cattleherding was Great Zimbabwe’s economic base. • Long distance trade mostly in gold • Ecological crisis caused from overgrazing and the destruction of forests may have led to their decline. Great Zimbabwe • While there is little known about Great Zimbabwe, its size and influence on the region is just recently being rediscovered. • European disbelief in a Bantu-speaking empire is still under debate in some academic circles. • The European belief that Africans were not capable of such an advanced kingdom fueled the speculation of the kingdom as a lost kingdom of some White nation perhaps the Queen of Sheba. Christianity in Africa • Christian states are present in North Africa, Egypt, and Ethiopia before the arrival of Islam. • Egyptian Christians, the Copts, had a rich and independent tradition (Coptic Christianity). • The Nubians resisted Muslim incursions from 9th until 13th century. • Ethiopia continues to retain Christianity. • Christianity will come later to the rest of the continent with the presence of Europeans. Global Connections • Spread of Islam brought large areas of Africa into the global community through increasing contact from 700-1500 CE between Africa and Mediterranean and Asian civilizations. • Sudanic states and East Africa • However, most of Africa evolved in regions free of Islamic contact (Central + Southern Africa). • Organized their lives in stateless societies. • While no universal empires and religions develop in Africa, Christianity and Islam impact the region through political, economic, and cultural development.