The Making of Modern Africa-2nd week

Dear Students,

Reading assignment for Week # 2 is Chapter 4 to 6. For the second week , you need to finish quiz 2.

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HIS 350: The Making of Modern Africa

Quiz # 2

Question # 1 Compare a Middle-Passage slave ship to a modern day cruise ship.

Question # 2

Question # 3 What was the legacy of colonialism in Africa?

Islam in North Africa

This lecture covers the history of Islam in northern Africa from the time of the first Muslim invasion in 639 to the Ottoman Empire in 1600.

Islam arrived in Africa as a unified external invasion, unlike the piecemeal military and economic incursions of the Greeks and the Romans.
In other words, all of the people who invaded Egypt around the year 640 shared at least one motivation- -the spread of the true religion.
Islam introduced a new concept of universalism.
Note that the first adherents of Islam were desert dwellers on the edge of two large empires.
It was entirely logical that their first expansion would be into another desert area (the Sahara) located away from the major powers.

Medina, located near the Red Sea coast of the Arabian peninsula, was the first Muslim city. It was a trading center on a caravan route that prospered when war between the Persian and Byzantine Empires interrupted sea trade between Mediterranean and India. Travel along this route was controlled by the Quraysh, an extended family which had both nomadic and sedentary members.
Mohammed was born in the Hashim clan of the Quraysh about 571. The Hashim were sedentary residents of Mecca, another town on the overland caravan route. Mohammed married well and prospered as a merchant until by the early 7th century, he was a leading citizen of Mecca.
In 611, while resting in a cave, Mohammed heard a voice that he believed came from an all-powerful diety. The voice offered instructions on how to purify religion. In the town of Mecca, there was a religious site called Kabaa, marked by a strange black rock, but throughout the region, there were many other religions including Judaism, Byzantine Christianity, and Persian Zoroastrianism.

Mohammed began to speak about his instructions in Mecca, and was expelled in 622 by a coalition of forces led by priests of the Kabaa. Mohammed left Mecca and followed the caravan route to Medina. At the time, Medina was a fairly wild place compared to . Its economy was booming thanks to the thriving caravan trade, and its population included various ethnic groups who resided in their own neighborhoods. There does not seem to have been a town government in 622, because while the leaders of each ethnic group could settle disputes among its own members, there was no peaceful way to settle disputes between members of different ethnic groups.
After Mohammed arrived, he showed himself to be a fair judge of disputes and during the next eight years, he became an influential citizen of Medina. As the residents accepted Mohammed’s rules about justice and his teachings about the nature of the all-powerful diety, the population of the town became the first Muslims. In 630, they followed Mohammed’s call to conquer Mecca.
The teachings of Islam: Mohammed did not leave behind a written version of his teachings. Mohammed spoke to a lot of people, however, and fortunately, many of his listeners recorded his words. Over time, their contributions were assembled into a book of scripture called the Quran. The main reforms introduced by Islam included the idea of submission to a single universal diety (monotheism) and a possibility of a direct relationship between each human and the diety (personal religion).

In practice, Islam created a greatly simplified religion. For instance, there were no saints, no sacrements, no official clergy and no religious buildings. Instead, people who learned the most about Islam taught other people, and religious rituals could take place almost anywhere. A practicing Muslim was required to do only five things:
profess faith in Allah as the only god (universalism)
pray to Mecca five times a day
practice charity (payment of the Zakat or 1/50th)
pilgrimmage to Mecca (Hajj)
fasting during the month of Ramadan to commemorate the conquest of Mecca in 630
If a Muslim followed the rules, s/he could expect to reach paradise, which was described using metaphors like flowing rivers, gardens, fountains, fruit, and no work. If not, then hell was divided into boiling water and the abyss of fire, populated by angels whose job was to torture sinners who were condemned there.

Only two years after his followers conquered Mecca, Mohammed died in 632. He left no instructions about who would take his place, and in the following dispute over the succession of leadership, Abu Bakr (father-in-law of Mohammed’s second wife) defeated Mohammed’s son-in-law Omar (married to Fatima).
Abu Bakr supported his authority by unleasing jihad against the Byzantine and Persian empires to the north, and was aided when peasants in the provinces revolted and joined the Muslim invasion.
After Abu Bakr died in 634, Omar took over the jihad and it continued, conquering Damascas in 636, Jerusalem in 638, the Byzantine fortress of Babylon (Cairo) in 639, Alexandria in 640, and the entire Persian empire by 651. However, challengers to Omar’s rule continued to resist and he was assasinated in 644. Members of the powerful Umayyid family (the family of Umar) of Mecca took over in 660 and founded a dynasty that lasted until 750.

After 660, followers of Islam continued to spread the religion westward along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, which exposed them to the Byzantine navy. They reached Tunisia by 670 and constructed their main base inland at Kairawan (south of Tunis), where it was safe from both water-born Christian Byzantines and inland Berbers of mountain and desert.
By 711, Ummayyid armies campaigned in the Magrib, but couldn’t totally subdue it. Coastal Berbers who resented centralized Christianity converted readily to Islam, but interior Berbers resisted Islam as strongly as they resisted Christianity. Coastal Berbers joined the Muslim invasion and launched the attack into Spain, followed later by Ummayyid Arab forces after the success of the invasion was certain.
By 720, Muslim forces controlled everything south of the Pyrennees mountains (modern border between France and Spain). In 732, an expedition across the mountains was turned back from Poitiers after it suffered defeat at the hands of a Frankish army led by Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne.

The early 8th century was the time when Muslim strength and unity were at their greatest.
As a result of their efforts, Muslims cut off Africa from Mediterranean Europe and cut off (Coptic) Christians in Nubia and Ethiopia from Christians in Europe. T
he North African coastal territories provided points of departure for Muslim expansion southward across the Sahara Desert.
However, the Muslim world was stretched out over an enormous distance, making it difficult to maintain a centralized government.

The strains of constant expansion finally resulted in a revolt against the Umayyids in 750. The new ruling dynasty, the Abbassids, were more interested in eastern expansion, so the spread of Islam in Africa slowed. The new dynasty moved the capital from Damascas (located near the Mediterranean coast) to Baghdad (located on the Tigris River which drains into the Persian Gulf and thence to the Indian Ocean).
Under Abbassid rule, Egypt continued to be a rich producer of food and people. However, as Abbassid rulers turned their attention towards the east, two things happened: 1) Islam began to spread by sea to the lower Red Sea Coast and 2) schisms developed in western Islam that led to political unrest.
An Ummayyid dynasty continued to rule in Spain, creating a schism in Islam. Although Abbassid governors and military garrisons controlled cities along the Maghrib coast, they had little direct control in the interior and the Berber clans of Morocco were only nominally under Abbassid control. Within two centuries, local Muslim brotherhoods formed and they promoted a revival of Islam in the 10th century.
Muslim traders operating along the Red Sea Coast couldn’t reach the Upper Red Sea because the prevailing winds (out of the north) prevented regular sail navigation, but they established trading cities from Jiddah (the port city nearest to Mecca, near the southern end of the Red Sea) as far south as Mozambique.

FATIMID EGYPT (969-1171)
In a repeat of the pattern that followed the institutionalization of Ummayyid rule, reform movements developed to challenge Abbassid rule. After reformers expelled the Abbassid governor in Yemen in 901, other reformers established a rival caliphate among the Berbers in Tunisia in 908. Their movement spread eastward, overthrew the Abbassid governor in Egypt in 969 and created the Fatimid Muslim state which lasted until the 12th century.
The first Fatimid caliph, Al-Mu’izz, established his capital in Egypt in 973. He chose a site next to the Abbassid capital of Fustat, which was located next to the former Byzantine fortress of Babylon and just downriver from the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis near Giza, site of the Great Pyramid. The caliph called his new capital al- Khaira, or Cairo.
Later Fatimid caliphs established the University of al-Azhar in Cairo, and by the 11th century, the Cairo- based Fatimids were more powerful than the Abbassids in Baghdad. The Fatimids briefly occupied Baghdad in 1056 and captured Jerusalem in 1098, only to lose it the following year to soldiers of the First Crusade. To protect their western flank, the Fatimids encouraged nomads from the Arabian peninsula (ethnic bedouin groups led by the Bani Hillal and Beni Sullaim) to cross the Red Sea and invade northwest Africa. The bedouins began to arrive in the mid-11th century and fought devastating campaigns against sedentary Berber rebels.

While the Fatimids were establishing their dynasty in Cairo, the nature of the leadership of the Abbassids changed. Gradually, Seljuk military families descended from converted Turks became dominant in Baghdad in 950s. The same thing took place a bit later in Fatimid Egypt–military leaders became dominant over religious leaders–and by the end of the 12th century, Egypt was ruled by the Mamluks. In both cases, military commanders and ordinary people all publicly recognized the authority of the caliph of Islam, but army commanders had the power to influence the choice of the new caliph each time one died. Consequently, in the long run only candidates who were favorable to military interests could be chosen as caliph.
Who were the Mamluks? Mamluks were the descendants of Black Sea slaves, imported as children by Fatimid caliphs and converted to Islam beginning in the 11th century. The caliphs had them trained to become loyal commanders and officials to serve in the army and government bureaucracy. In exchange for their service to the caliph, Mamluks (the word means “owned”) received tax exemptions, land grants and the right to control “departments” of the government (such as tax collection in a province).
By the end of the 11th century, their control over the army gave the Mamluks the right to confirm the succession of caliphs. Mamluk authority in Egypt declined into rivalries between Mamluk nobles who only united in order to suppress peasant resistance. Centralized authority was not restored until 1171, when the Mamluk vizier Sarah al-Din (known in the west as “Saladin”), ended the Fatimid dynasty and founded a Mamluk dynasty by declaring himself ruler of Egypt.

Since their legitimacy of caliphs–be they Ummayyid, Abbassid or Fatimid–derived from their knowledge of the Quran, their powers included legislative and judicial functions, but no executive power. In particular, there was no mandate to lead an army, so the Fatimid caliphs, just like the Abbassid caliphs in Baghdad, relied on professional military officers called sultans.
Mamluks took control in Egypt after the Mamluk Aybak executed the last Fatimid caliph, Turanshah, in 1250 (Note: By a similar process, Seljuk military leaders seized power in Baghdad in 1055). There followed a succession of assassinations as each Mamluk leader deposed his predecessor until Baybar murdered the Mamluk sultan Qutuz (victor over the Mongols in 1260) and established a dynasty of sultans that lasted until the Ottoman conquest in 1516-17.
The life of Egyptian peasants under the Mamluks changed little. Taxation was higher, thanks to all the warfare. They worked for absentee Mamluk landlords who, as officers in the army, received land in return for their military service. Mamluk landowners appointed local officials to handle the day-to-day administration. Mamluks were orthodox Muslims, but they oppressed religious minorities. As a consequence, it was a bad time to be a Coptic Christian in Egypt.

Fatimid Egypt fought the Abbassids in Baghdad from 1000-1300. Both financed armies and produced claimants to the caliphate of all Islam (umma).
To the west of Egypt, the bedouins were allies of the Fatimids in theory, but in fact were beyond the control of all but their local chiefs.
Christian crusaders threatened Egypt during the Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Crusades with attempts to capture Cairo and exchange it for Jerusalem.
Although the Mongol invasion of the 13th century crossed Asia, killed the last Abbassid caliph in 1258 and overran Palestine, it did not reach into Africa thanks to a Mamluk victory at Ain Jalut (Palestine) on September 3, 1260 by a force led by the Egyptian commander Qutuz, the successor to Aybak

The Ottoman dynasty was founded in 1300s by Turkish military commanders. One of their leaders, Othman, was a Turkish mercenary in the Abbassid Seljuk army. He converted to Islam and conquered portions of the Byzantine Empire (1290-1326). As a military conqueror, he received land holdings in his own name and that formed the basis of the empire enlarged by his descendants. One of them, Mohammed II, conquered Constantinople in 1453 and made it his capital.
Unlike previous rulers of the Muslim world, the Ottoman leaders did not take the title Caliph. Instead, they were content to appoint puppet caliphs and rule as sultans. Like the Fatimids and Seljuks, they imported Christian slaves from the Balkans to serve as officers.
From 1481-1512 the sons of Mohammed II, Bayazid II and Jem, fought for control over Ottoman lands. Bayazid won and Jem fled, only to wind up as hostage of a succession of European powers and then to die while a French captive at Naples in 1495. Bayazid’s son Selim I “the Grim” (ruled 1512-1520), the grandson of Mohammed II, forced his father to abdicate and then defeated his brothers Corcud and Ahmed to become the “Sultan of all Islam.” Selim also conquered Persian land by winning the Battle of Chaldrian on August 23, 1514, land in Kurdistan and eastern Turkey in 1515, and finally, all of Mamluk Egypt by defeating Sultan Qansaw al-Ghawri at the Battle of Marj- Dabik (north of Aleppo) on August 24, 1516. Selim’s forces occupied Cairo on January 22, 1517, and from then until the French invasion of 1798, Egypt was an Ottoman province.

Ottoman rule in Egypt was similar to Roman rule, in that foreigners held power and peasants were taxed to support military administration and conquest in other parts of the empire. It appears that the Egyptian peasants (the fellahin) reacted to their increased exploitation by reducing their efforts and that production declined during the Ottoman years. Although there are no reliable statistics on agricultural output during this period, it is certain that there were no improvement in farming methods, few public works were constructed, and the frequency of predatory raids by desert nomads increased.
During the lengthy reign of Selim I’s son, Suleyman (known to Europeans as “the Magnificent,” ruled 1520-1566), the Ottoman Empire completed the conquest of the Arabian coast in 1538 and the North African coast to Tunisia by 1556. Suleyman established a system of local military governors in coastal towns known variously as beys and deys. Suleyman’s forces also invaded Europe several times in the mid-16th century and won victories at Belgrade in 1521, Rhodes in 1522 (defeating the Knights of St. John) and the Battle of Mohacs in Hungary on August 29-30, 1526. The Muslim advance up the Danube River valley ended at the siege of Vienna in September 1529, but continued in the form of a naval war with Venice (1539-1540) and an alliance with France’s Francis I (1536) against the Hapsburgs. Eventually, the Ottoman Empire began to decline after 1585 thanks to the unification of Russia under Ivan the Terrible (beginning in 1547) and the growth in the power of European navies which led to the Ottoman defeat at the Battle of Lepanto (1571)

The conflict in the center of the Muslim world had repercussions at the extremities of the Muslim world, which included not only Africa, but also southeast Asia.
1) factions in the center were reproduced in the extremities, and
2) waves of refugees moved to the outer regions.
At the center of all the disputes was the question, “Who was most faithful to the teachings of Mohammed?” In North Africa, the struggles created rivalries between the inhabitants of Muslim towns who followed different Muslim clerics. Along the East African coast, a second wave of Muslim immigrants from the Hijaz (Iran and Pakistan) settled coastal towns south of Kilwa (in modern Tanzania) as far as Sofala (in modern Mozambique). Since that region produced gold, the new towns ultimately became rivals to the older towns located further north between Kilwa and the mouth of the Red Sea.

African Colonial History

Colonialism and colonies
Colonialism and Colonies, is one country’s domination of another country or people—usually achieved through aggressive, often military, actions—and the territory acquired in this manner

Colonial Motives
Economic Interpretation- raw materials, minerals and agricultural products
Missionary Influence and abolitionism (Divide Religiously)
Pseudo-Scientific Racism
European Rivalries

Cultural Imperialism and Racism

Motives for Colonization
In general, strong countries dominated weaker ones to promote their own national self-interest, out of economic, religious, cultural, or other reasons. It has been said that the three primary motives for establishing colonies were gold, God, and glory, but the main incentives were usually economic.

Economic Motives
The colonizing country could control important markets for its exports (such as cotton products) and deny these markets to its competitors. Colonies were also important as sources of raw materials (such as raw cotton) and as opportunities for investment. A country often also increased its wealth by conquering another civilization and taking its riches or by exploiting the mineral wealth of another land

Strategic and political motives
Sometimes colonies were important for strategic reasons —for example, the Cape of Good Hope, on the southern tip of Africa, guarded European sailors’ southern route to Asia. Also, some countries occupied colonies in order to protect previous investments. In Egypt, a nationalist uprising in 1882 threatened British investments in the Canal of Suez. They occupied Egypt to control the situation.

Religious and cultural motives
European countries also wanted to spread their religious beliefs and cultures that they believed are superior to natives ones.

Berlin Conference
The Berlin Conference of 1884–85 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period, and coincided with Germany’s sudden emergence as an imperial power. Called for by Portugal and organized by Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of Germany.It caused the elimination of most existing forms of African autonomy and self governance.

The ‘General Act’ fixed the following points:
The Free State of the Congo was confirmed as private property of the Congo Society, property of Léopold II (King of Belgium)
The 14 signatory powers would have free trade throughout the Congo basin.
The Niger and Congo Rivers were made free for ship traffic.
A Principle of Effectivity was introduced to stop powers setting up colonies in name only.
The possession of any portion of the African coast gave right to occupy the inland but must be notified to the other countries.
Africa was divided between the main powers of Europe.

Consequences of Colonialism
The implications of colonial rule on the colonies are considerable, and there was a large impact on local economics, culture and political systems. The manner in which decolonization took place also led to problems. Many geographers see a colonial past as probably the most important initial condition for underdevelopment.

Deprivation of resources and exploitation of native labour force.
African imports were banned by the metropolitan powers of Europe, but they flood the colonial market with cheap European goods to destroy the local industries.
Slavery is probably the worst legacy of colonialism. It is estimated that between 1601 and 1870, 15,200,000 left Africa
Racism. The natives of the country were made to feel inferior.

Countries of Southern Africa
Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland

During this time, many European countries expanded their empires by aggressively establishing colonies in Africa so that they could exploit and export Africa’s resources.
Raw materials like rubber, timber, diamonds, and gold were found in Africa.
Europeans also wanted to protect trade routes.

Europeans in Africa
During the 1800s, Europeans moved further into the continent in search of raw materials and places to build successful colonies.
Great Britain, France, & Germany fought over control of land that is now Egypt and Sudan.
Belgians took control of the Congo.
The natives often fought against the European powers; however, they often lost because the European weapons were superior.
The Zulu nation fought the British in South Africa and the Ashanti struggled to hold onto what is now Ghana.

Geographic Reasons
Europeans first became interested in Africa for trade route purposes.
They were looking for ways to avoid the taxes of the Arab and Ottoman empires in Southwest Asia.
Sailing around Africa was the obvious choice, but it was a long voyage and could not be completed without “pit stops” along the way.
Europeans created ports in southern and eastern Africa so traders could restock supplies before crossing the Indian Ocean.

Economic Reasons
Economic motivation played a large part in the colonization of Africa.
The 1800s was a time of great industrialization in Europe (Industrial Revolution).
Factories required raw materials that could be manufactured into marketable products.
When Europeans returned to Africa for more resources they brought back the manufactured goods and sold them to Africans.
Africa became a new market for Europe to sell goods.

The Scramble for Africa
Triangular Trade to 1800
Legitimate Trade and Spheres of Influence
Spheres of Influence (the China Model)
The Role of the Trading Companies
German East African Company
French West African Trading Company
British East and British South African Companies

Political Reasons
Politics in Europe also led to the colonization of Africa.
Nationalism, a strong sense of pride in one’s nation, resulted in competition between European nations.
No major nation wanted to be without colonies, which led to this “Scramble for Africa”.
The competition was particularly fierce between Great Britain, France, and Germany, the strongest European nations in the 1800s.

Religious Reasons
Christian missionary work gained strength during the 1800s as European countries were becoming more involved in Africa.
Many missionaries were supportive of the colonization of Africa because they believed that European control would provide a political environment that would help missionary activity.
The idea of “Christianizing” Africa also made many Europeans look favorably on the colonization of the continent.

Origins of Colonialism: 1890-1914
West Africa: French vs. British and Assimilation vs. Indirect Rule
From Company Rule to Indirect Rule
Smaller Powers
East Africa: Settlers and Imperialism
German Authoritarianism,
White Highlands
British East Africa Company

Origins of Colonialism
Central and Southern Africa
Jan van Riebeck and the Cape- 1652
Britain- Cape Colony: 1815
Cecil John Rhodes: British South Africa Company
The Rhodesias and Nyasaland- Company Rule to 1923
From Federation to UDI

Types of Territories
Without European Settlers- Nkrumah and the Mosquito
Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone
Without European Settlers- Protectorates

Uganda, Zanzibar, Nyasaland
With European Settlers (No Home rule)
Kenya, Tanzania, Northern Rhodesia
With European Settlers (Home rule)
Rhodesia, South Africa, South West Africa (after 1920)

Portuguese colonialism
Earliest explorers in Africa
Policy of trade, not settlement
Gold as part of mercantilism
Diseases harmful to Europeans
Developed slavery system in late 1400s
Laborers as commodities to be used up
Linking status and humanity with color

Portuguese and Dutch explorers rounded the Cape of Good Hope to find a trade route to the East.
The Dutch East India Company landed the first European settlers in 1652.
They were known as Boers or Afrikaaners and spoke a Dutch dialect known as Afrikaans.
The British settled in 1795 and took possession in 1815.
The Dutch made the Great Trek inland and established the republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

Berlin Conference
By the 1880s, Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal all wanted part of Africa.
To prevent a European war over Africa, leaders from fourteen European governments and from the United States met in Berlin, Germany, in 1884.
No Africans attended the meeting.
At the meeting, the European leaders discussed Africa’s land and how it should be divided.

Berlin Conference

Political Boundaries after Berlin Conference

Artificial Boundaries
European powers organized Africa’s population in ways to make the most efficient workforce, ignoring the natives’ cultural groups or existing political leadership at the time of colonization.
Sometimes they grouped together people who had never been united under the same government before.
Sometimes they divided existing groups of people.
The creation of these borders had a negative impact on Africa’s political and social structures by either dividing groups that wanted to be together or combining ethnic groups that were enemies.

Artificial Boundaries
Europeans placed colonies into administrative districts and forced the Africans to go along with their demands.
In order to establish their indirect rule, Europeans used local chiefs as their enforcers in the colonies.
Europeans also tried to assimilate Africans (have African people give up their own African customs and adopt European customs).
Protests and revolts were common and starvation and disease became widespread.

Lasting Effects
Europeans took the best land by force.
African farmers were forced to grow cash crops like cocoa and coffee, causing there to be a shortage of food in many areas of Africa.
Africans were forced to work under terrible conditions on plantations, railways, and logging.
In order to gain power, Europeans encouraged Africans to fight against each other.
New political boundaries caused ethnic groups to clash.
This has led to ethnic and political unrest in Africa today.
There have been over 50 ethnic conflicts in Africa since WWII as a result of the colonial lines drawn by Europeans.

African Unrest
By the mid-twentieth century, Africans began to openly oppose European control of their countries.
It was obvious that colonialism was not fair, as it only benefitted the Europeans.
Africans were tired of being treated like second-class citizens on their own land.
They soon begin to demand freedom for themselves…

THE BOER WAR (1899 – 1902)
Diamonds and gold were discovered in these inland areas in 1867, bringing an influx of “outlanders”
Cecil Rhodes, PM of Cape Colony, tried to spark a rebellion of outlanders to take over for the British.
When this failed, The Boer War broke out between the British and the Dutch.
This was the first guerrilla war where the enemy wore no uniform.
The Boers were defeated in 1910.
South Africa was now a British colony.
In 1910 the Union of South Africa was formed.
Louis Botha, a Boer, became the first PM and established the African National Congress in 1912 to represent the Africans.
The grand African nations once led by Chaka Zulu had long since been defeated and their culture forgotten

Jan Smuts took the nation into World War II on the side of the Allies.
South Africa was a Charter Member of the United Nations but refused to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Apartheid (racial separation) dominated domestic politics as the Nationalists gained power. Restrictions were placed on all Coloreds (meaning any non-white person).
Black voters were removed from voter rolls in 1936.
The Group Areas Acts forced Africans to move from cities to rural townships where they lived in poverty under repressive laws.
Africans had lost their homeland and were forced to live in Homelands

South Africa declared itself a republic in 1961.
The white supremacist National Party ruled for three decades.
Apartheid became an official policy for all.
Shanty-towns grew on the outskirts of major cities to first house workers for the mines and other industries then as the only refuge for the poor who could not survive on poor land.
This is the state of affairs which is the background to Cry, the Beloved Country

Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa
Lecture # 7

Islam Today: Demographics
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide
Approximately 1/5th of the world’s population
Growth without missionary efforts
Where Do Muslims Live?
Only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world
20% are found in Sub-Saharan Africa
30% in the South Asian region of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh
The world’s largest single Muslim community is in Indonesia
The Top 9: 1) Indonesia, 2) Pakistan, 3) Bangladesh, 4) India, 5) Turkey, 6) Iran, 7) Egypt, 8) Nigeria, and 9) China

Two Main Braches of Islam
There are two main branches of Islam today
Sunni recognize the male heirs of the first 4 elected (according to Muhammad’s instruction) caliphs (or spiritual heads) after Muhammad’s death

Shiite recognize the decedents of only the 4th caliphs—Ali (M’s son-in-law & cousin), the only true descendent of Muhammad

In all other ways Sunni and Shiite are very similar

African Civilizations
and the Spread of Islam

What is the geography of Africa?
How might this geography impact Africans?

African Regions

Pre-Islamic Africa
Extremely diverse societies developed
Political unity was difficult because of terrain
Bantu: primary language spoken
Oral traditions; very few written records
Most communities are preliterate (lacking writing system)
Animistic and polytheistic religions
Power of natural forces; ritual and worship
Dancing, drumming, divination, and sacrifice
Witchcraft; cosmology
Ancestors are called upon
Economies vary by region
N. Africa: Islamic trade routes and Mediterranean trade
Sub-Saharan: agriculture; ironworking; tribes and herders
Africans exchanged abundant raw materials (esp. salt) for manufactured goods

Geography of Africa
Africa’s geography was very diverse
& Africans were lived differently based on where
they lived


Geography of Africa
The Sahara is the world’s largest desert
& acted as a barrier to separate North Africa from sub-Saharan Africa

Early Societies of Africa
By 750, North Africans were part of the Islamic Empire, converted to Islam, & shared Arabic culture
Early societies of North Africa were influenced by Mediterranean cultures such as the Phoenicians & Romans

Early Societies of Africa
African societies south of the Sahara were isolated & missed out on the cultural diffusion of the Classical Era

Influence of Islam in Africa
640-700: Muslims moved west from Arabia across N. Africa to spread Islam
Rapid conversions by Berbers (Saharan nomads)
Spreads along pre-existing caravan routes
Maghreb: NW Africa (W of Egypt); Islamized
11th-12th centuries: Almoravids and Almohads (ultra-conservative Muslim Berbers) grow in power
Reformers: launch jihad (war to spread and protect faith) against “lax” Muslims
Almohads defeat Almoravids
Almohad Caliphate: 1121-1269
These groups are essential to the spread of Islam throughout Africa.
Why is Islam attractive?
Egalitarian; reinforced kings’ authority; equal footing politically/religiously/economically with Arabs

How did early people in Sub-Saharan Africa live?

Characteristics of Sub-Saharan Africa
While the societies of sub-Saharan Africa were diverse, they shared some similarities:
Most societies lived in farming villages in family-based clans
Few societies had
written languages;
Histories were
shared orally by
storytellers (griots)
Made iron tools

Characteristics of Africa
Sub-Saharan people
were polytheistic:
Practiced animism,
a religion in which
spirits exist
in nature &
play a role
in daily life

“Stateless” Societies
Many small African communities are politically organized in this way
There are authoritarian and centralized empires, 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
Not a “fulltime job”
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
Internal problems could be resolved by allowing dissidents to leave and establish new villages

The Bantu Migration
Over the course of 4,000 years, Bantu peoples of central Africa migrated south in search of farmland
These Bantu migrations helped spread new farming & ironworking techniques

What factors shaped the culture of East Africa?

East Africa
The societies of East African participated
in the Indian Ocean trade network & were shaped by cultural diffusion:
The kingdom of
Aksum trade with
Persia, India,
Arabia, & Rome;
Aksum became a
Christian kingdom

Axum Church

Swahili Coast of East Africa
Islamized trading ports along coast by 13th c.
Most merchants converted; financial motivation
Ibn Battuta: Islamic scholar/writer who visits these cities; refers to them as Muslim cities
Swahili language (Bantu + Arabic) emerged in urbanized trading ports
Syncretism: merging of different cultures
Swahili civilization = set of commercial city-states stretching along the East African coast
Kilwa, Mogadishu, Mombasa: large city-state and trading centers along coast
Each city-state was politically independent with its own king
Sharp class distinctions in each city-state: big gap between the merchant elite class and the commoners

East Africa
Arab merchants introduced Islam to East African trade cities
The mix of African & Arab cultures led to a new Swahili language
Towns had mosques & were ruled by a Muslim sultan
But many people kept their traditional religious beliefs

Located on East African Coast
Independent City-State – not part of kingdom
Monopolized (controlled) gold trade with interior

Model drawing of Palace of Kilwa – Palace was destroyed by the Portuguese in early 16th century

Swahili Culture:
Islamic & African culture blended
Swahili language
Beautiful mosques
Hail Mary in Swahili

What factors shaped the culture of West Africa?

West African Kingdoms
Grasslands Kingdoms = West African Kingdoms= Sudanic States = Ghana, Mali, Songhai
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 once gold is found

West Africa
West Africa was were shaped by the trans-Saharan trade network:
West Africans had large deposits of gold, but lacked salt
The gold-salt trade connected North & West Africa

West Africa
The gold-salt trade increased cultural diffusion with Muslim merchants:
Islam was introduced in West Africa & slowed gained converts
Many Africans blended Islam with animism or never converted

West African Kingdoms
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; retain their polytheism/animism
Rulers were more concerned about political benefits of Islam than conversion
Trade gold and salt
Mali, Ghana and Songhai
Combine Islamic religion/culture with local practices
Each incorporates the previous kingdom; bigger than last
Each will exert power over subordinate communities through taxes, tribute, and military support

West Africa
The gold-salt trade led to wealth & empires
in West Africa
By 800, Ghana became an empire by taxing merchants, building a large army, & conquering surrounding people
Ghana kings served as religious leaders, judges, & generals

Ghana Empire
400? – 1076
1st great West African empire
Trade salt and gold
10th c: rulers convert to Islam while common people remain loyal to polytheism
11th c.: political height
Almoravid armies invaded Ghana in 1076

West Africa
The kings who ruled Mali after Sundiata converted to Islam
The most important king was Mansa Musa:
He built a 100,000 man army to keep control over Mali
He divided Mali into provinces ruled by appointed governors

Mali Empire
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
Mosques built; public prayers
Founder: Sundiata (dies 1260)
“Lion Prince”
Divides society into clans with different jobs
Peace created through loyalty; crimes severely punished
Credited with Malinke expansion and creation of unified state with each tribe having a representative at court
Heavily defended empire

Mali Empire
Jenne and Timbuktu
Major cities of commercial exchange
Scholars, artisans, merchants
Mosques, libraries, universities
Mostly agricultural; polygamy allowed because of Islamic beliefs and for the ability to have children work
Irrigation along Niger River

Mansa Musa

Mansa Musa was a devout Muslim & went on a hajj to Mecca in 1324
Mansa Musa passed out gold nuggets to the people he met along the way

Mansa Musa: Malinke Ruler
Second ruler of Mali
1324: Hajj to Mecca
Aligns himself with Islamic rulers
Brings back scholars, architects, artists
Ishak al-Sahili: architect who builds great Mosque of Jenne
Inadvertently devastates economies he enters as he passes out gold and spends it
Symbol of existence of wealthy, sophisticated empires in Africa
Estimated wealth: $400 billion


West Africa
When he returned
from Mecca, Mansa Musa built mosques throughout Mali, including Timbuktu
This trade city attracted scholars, doctors, religious leaders
It had a university & became an important center for learning

West Africa
When he returned
from Mecca, Mansa Musa built mosques throughout Mali, including Timbuktu
This trade city attracted scholars, doctors, religious leaders
It had a university & became an important center for learning

West Africa
After Mansa Musa,
Mali declined & was replaced by Songhai
Kings gained control of trade cities along the gold-salt routes
Songhai grew into
the largest of the West African empires
Its fall in 1591 ended a 1,000 year era of empires in West Africa

Songhai Empire
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.
Rulers practice Islam; people maintain polytheism
Muslims are merchants (wealthy); become elite
Songhai remained dominant until defeated by Moroccans in 1591 for practicing a lax form of Islam

Influence of Islam
in West African Kingdoms
Islam provided universal faith, sense of community, and a strong political/legal system.
Royal Cult: rulers reinforced authority through Muslim ideology; spiritual and political leader
Many who are exposed to Islam do not convert but remain practitioners of their indigenous religion
Many Sudanic societies were matrilineal.
Hesitancy over conversion to Islam since it restricted women more than these societies did
Islam supports interregional trade
Slavery and slave trade grew in prominence (7 million traded)
Slave trade has existed since Classical period; Islam helps globalize it
Majority of Africa, even after introduction of Islam, will remain in isolation and not connected to larger networks

C- Islamic Influence
Islam is not an African religion; it was introduced from the major source region, Arabia. Islam, however, is part of the Africa’s heritage and its social, cultural, and religious fabric.
Islam has existed in Sub-Saharan Africa since at least A.D. 700-1300. Today, the religion has a major influence on the cultural, economic, and political systems of regions, especially in the Sahel and Savanna belts of West Africa and along the coast of East Africa

(Diffusion of Islam in Africa, Rowntree and Al., 2000)

The first was by contact between Arabian traders and the people along the coast of East Africa and its surrounding islands (Zanzibar, Pemba, and the Comoros). This first wave of Islamic influence began around 700 A.D. These contacts and the subsequent spread of Islam were confined to the coast;
The second wave of Islamic diffusion began around A.D. 900 and continued until the nineteenth century, For the most part, of the diffusion process was enhanced by trade via Trans-Saharan routes and Jihads, Holy Wars.
The third way in which Islam diffused to Sub-Saharan Africa was by trade between Egypt and Arabia and within the horn of Africa (the easternmost African extension of land between the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden): Islamization and Arabisation.

Islam introduced a new religion and an Arabic language, helped in the formation of states, influenced the development of Swahili as a trade language, established the basis for an Arabic educational system, and influenced food choice and dress patterns.
The relationship between Islam and indigenous cultures was more of a conversation than a domination: “Wolofisation” of the religion in Senegal (Amadou Bamba); “Pularization”of Islam in Fulani community of the Futa Toro Kingdon (Umar Futiyu).
Reaction against Christianity as the colonial religion led to Islamic conversions:
The use of the African drum in religious practices, the acknowledge of polygamy, Islam has been less critical of female circumcision.

Global Connections
Spread of Islam brought large areas of Africa into the global community through increasing contact from 700-1500 CE.
Specifically, 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.
Reality is there are more written records in regions affected by Islam; knowledge is not even


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