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Flashcards in Africa: 1200-1450 Deck (15)
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How did Islam arrive in Sub-Saharan Africa beginning in the 900s?

Along the Indian Ocean, Islam was spread by traders arriving from the Middle East by ship or by caravan route through the Sahara.

In the west, Berber traders in Morocco were early converts to Islam. As their trading empire extended southward, Islam went with it. One of the early states to convert was Ghana, which was along Africa's western coast.


What trading center in Mali was one of the most powerful commercial outposts in the 1300s?

Timbuktu was the chief commercial center of Mali, where merchants from the Arab states of the north gathered to trade gold, slaves, ivory, and most importantly salt, gathered from throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mansa Musa, Mali's most successful ruler, earned a reputation as one of the world's wealthiest monarchs, in part because of the vast amounts of wealth gathered at Timbuktu.


One of Africa's most famous epic poems, the _____-_____ recounts the exploits of the founder of Mali's empire.


Composed in the late 1200s, the Son-Jara tells the tale of the many exploits of Sundiata, who established the Mali state.


Which Central African city became wealthy beginning in the 1250s, thanks to large supplies of gold?

Great Zimbabwe, a city of 20,000 people based along the Zambezi River, owed much of its success to the gold trade. Zimbabwe's gold was shipped east, where it entered the Indian ocean trade system. 


What are stateless societies?

Stateless societies are societies organized around family ties or other means rather than by an actual official government. These societies wouldn't tax the local people to support the leaders because no leaders existed. These societies were more egalitarian. 


What made the Ethiopian Kingdom unique? 

Ethiopia was a Christian Kingdom located in an area that was predominantly Islamic. They struggled to maintain their Christanity in the face of Islamic pressures to convert, especially from their neighbor and rival Somalia. 


What are the Juula? 

The Juula were merchants from Mali -- "Malinke merchants". They worked in groups to carry out trading missions throughout the west African region


What is Timbuktu?

Timbuktu was a port city of Mali that had a population of ~50,000 people by the 1300s. This city was one of the major centers of learning in the Malinke Kingdom that had its own library and university. Muslim religious scholars studied in the area; and books were very valuable. 


What does the word Malinke mean?

"Malinke" means to be of the Mali Kingdom. If you were a Malinke citizen, you were a part of Malinke society. 


What Kingdom became powerful as the Mali Kingdom was losing its power?

The successor to the Mali Kingdom was the Songhay Empire. This empire was at first controlled by Mali, but by the early 1300s re-gained its independence and by the 1460s established itself as the dominant force in Sub-Sahaharn Africa under the leadership of Sunni Ali. They would eventually control the major cities of the Mali Kingdom, such as Timbuktu


What was the major religion practiced by Mali and Songhay?

Islam was the major religion practiced by these two kingdoms. Islam existed at the same time as many pagan traditions existed in these kingdoms. It was the presence of these two religious traditions that led to the blending of Islam with paganism. When muslim religious scholars from outside of the area would come to visit they were shocked to see the freedom enjoyed by women.


How did Muslims in sub-saharan Africa view slavery?

They viewed it as a way to prepare pagans to become Muslims. In practice, converting to Islam as a slave didn't automatically guarantee freedom. Slaves were in great demand because it was thought they could be trusted since they were under the control of their masters. 


What was Zenj?

"Zenj" was a term used by Arabic merchants from the Middle East to describe the eastern African coastline that borders the Indian Ocean.


What were the religious beliefs of the people from the land of Zenj?

They predominantly held Islamic beliefs. They encountered Muslim traders from the Indian Ocean who brought them silks from the Middle East and porcelain from China. Ruling families that dominated the city states along the eastern coast of Africa were also Muslims. 


City-states such as Mombasa and Zanzibar rose during 1300s and 1400s in response to the presence of what trading system?

Mombasa, Zanzibar, and other cities along the East African coast arose due to the Indian Ocean trade complex, which circulated goods from as far away as China in the 1400s.

Chinese ships are even known to have visited the cities directly, and African goods have been found in Chinese archeological digs.