Early Agricultural Society in Africa
Egypt was the most prominent of early African societies, but wasn't the only one Other one was Nubia Due to good geographical conditions, Egypt became powerhouse since it had a productive agricultural economy Nubia was prosperous as well, but not as prosperous
Early Sudan agriculture
After 9000 BCE people of eastenr Sudan domesticated cattle and became nomadic herders
What did Sudanic people begin to cultivate after 6500 BCE?
Gourds, watermelons, and cotton
Sudanic Religion
- When the king died, they killed the servants as well so the king would have company in the afterlife - Developed religious beliefs based on agriculture - Believed in one God in association with rain
Climate change
- After 5000 BCE, the northern half of Africa became really hot so people had to move elsewhere
Greek historian Herodotu
- Called Egypt the "gift of the Nile"
Political Systems
To maintain order, Egypt and Nubia and states and recognised official authorities
4000 BCE
Agricultural villages dotted the Nile's shore
When did small kingdoms appear
after 4000 BCE
Cities of Egypt
- Thebes, political centre Heliopolis, headquarters of a sun cult and principal cultural centre - Tanis on the Nile delta, bustling port and gateway to Mediterranean
When was Memphis founded?
- Conqueror Menes founded Memphis in 3100 BCE (capital of Egypt)
Cities of Nubia
- Kerma, Napata, and Meroe - Kerma, capital of earliest kingdom of Kush - Napata, new political center - Meroe, became the capital after the Assyrians expelled the Kushites and took control of Egypt
Social Class
- Pharaoh seen as supreme central ruler - In Egypt much more than in mesopotamia, individuals of common birth could attain high positions in society through government service - No noble class
Patriarchal Society
- Both men and women were able to accumulate property, including slaves, and pass wealth to their children - Men alone were the governors of households and the larger society as a whole
Bronze Metallurgy
Were much slower to adopt metal tools/weapons than Mesopotamia New kingdom carried bronze weapons
Iron Metallurgy
- Rose independently from experimentation with iron ores, since there is a lot of iron in sub-Saharan Africa - Quickly spread - Meroe became a site of large scale iron production
- Boats, Mesopotamian styled wheeled vehicles, and donkey caravans - It was harder for Nubians to do trade by sailing ships as there were cataracts that were hard to go through - So they realised more on overland transport
Trade Networks
- By time of the Old Kingdom, Egypt and Nubia were trading regularly
Aswan and Elephantine
- Cities Aswan and Elephantine reflect Egypt's trade in names Aswan, swene meaning trade - Elephantine, the large quantities of ivory being passed down to trade
- Among the most prized Egyptian exports were fine linen textiles made from flax and high-quality decorative and ornamental objects - Egypt also traded with Mesopotamians - All wood came from abroad as there were little trees in Egypt
Maritime Trade
- After the establishment of the New kingdom - Egyptians traded through Red Sea and Gulf of Aden with east African land they called Punt
Hieroglyphic Writing
- 3200 BCE writing appears Greek word meaning holy inscriptions - Writing was on papyrus For daily life used a simpler form of writing called hieratic script
2600BCE to 600 CE
This common script went away when Egyptians adapted Greek alphabet to their own language and developed demotic (popular)and Coptic (Egyptian) scripts
Meroitic Writing
- Egyptian cultural influence declined noticeably in Nubia after about the 5th century BCE - After the transfer of Kushite capital from Napata to Meroe, Nubian scribes even made an alphabetic script for the Meroitic language - Scholars have not been able to understand Meroitic writing
Early Agricultural Societies of Sub-Saharan Africa
Just as Sudanic agriculture spread to the Nile valley and provided the economic foundation for Egyptian and Nubian societies, it also spread to other regions of Africa and supported the development of other societies
Bantu People
- Earliest Bantu speakers were in region embracing eastern part of modern Nigeria and southern part of modern Cameroon - Bantu means people - Early Bantu speakers settled on banks of rivers - Cultivated yams and oil palms
Bantu Migrations
- Bantu people showed early readiness to migrate to new territories - Over the centuries, there became more than five hundred distinct but related tongues - By 1000 CE, Bantu speaking peoples occupied most of Africa south of the equator
2 Features of Bantu Society Important for Early Migrations
- Made effective use of canoes in traveling the network of rivers - Agricultural surplus allowed Bantu population to increase more rapidly than the populations of the people they encountered when migrating
Iron and Migration
- After 1000 BCE, Bantu people started to produce iron tools and weapons - This quickened Bantu migrations
3000-1000 BCE
- southern Kushite herders pushed into parts of east Africa - Sudanese cultivators and herders moved into the upper reaches of the Nile River
1000-500 BCE
- Cultivators extended cultivation of yams and grains deep into east and south Africa, herders introduced sheep and cattle to the region
Spread of Agriculture
- Bantu and other peoples speaking Niger-Congo languages spread this cultivation throughout west and central Africa while also introducing other animals - By late centuries BCE, agriculture had reached almost all of sub-Saharan Africa - Most Bantu people and others lived into communities of a few hundred individuals led by chiefs and had age grades
Religious Beliefs
Both Sudanic and Niger-Congo peoples held monotheistic beliefs by 5000 BCE
Sadanic Religion
Sudanic people believed in a single, impersonal divine force that was the source of both good and evil
Niger-Congo Religion
Niger-Congo people recognized a single god called Nyamba who created the world and the principles, then stepped back to let the world proceed on its own