African Civilization

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Chapter 1
Physical Context of African History:
Geography and Environment

1.Although some may think of Africa as being of a single climate and terrain description, in reality a wide variety of land types can be found throughout Africa. How does this wide variety of climates and physical terrains affect human life and settlement patterns on the African continent? Different terrains and climates allowed for different lifestyles for Africans in different regions. Those close to the sea were susceptible to invasion, but had the advantage of maritime trade. Those living more in land were isolated but protected by the diseases visitors would contract that did not affect the locals. Due to the fact that Africa is so massive, it has many different climates and terrain types. Some are more favorable to living conditions for humans and some not so much such as the Sahara Desert.

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Topic: Physical Features of the Continent

2.Despite its large size, much of Africa has a very low population density. What are the reasons that most of Africa’s population is crowded in a few small regions? This is due to the fact that there are a few areas in which the soil is not poor. Areas such as volcanic highlands; in which are cooler and have richer soils, allowing for important crops to grow.

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Topic: Challenges of the African Environment

3.What factors limit the agricultural viability of land in Africa? Why is this seen more in some parts of the continent than in others? Assess how these factors would most likely affect human populations in Africa. There are parts of Africa in which the soil is very poor due to years of inactivity. This makes it harder for farmers to tend and grow crops. Other parts get barely any rain or too much rain. Human population would be more prominent in areas where there is good soil, allowing for the flourishing of society.

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4.How has the presence of disease in Africa served as both a positive and a negative factor throughout its history? Diseases in Africa served as a positive in that it protected Africans from invasions. Outsiders who tried to invade where not accustom to tropical parts of the Country which carried many diseases. The locals were born in raised in these areas which made them fair better as their immune systems were adapted to these diseases.

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5. There are several primary differences between malaria and yellow fever in terms of their effects on humans. Considering the differences between the two, which disease would have had a greater effect on preventing foreign intervention and advancement in Africa? When supporting your answer, consider the effect these diseases had on indigenous populations as well. Yellow Fever would have the greater effect on preventing foreign invasion. This is true because unlike malaria Africans usually contract yellow fever as kids and become immune to it, unlike outsiders who are not. Malaria is both equally fatal to outsiders as it is to locals, especially cerebral malaria.

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6.Assess the role of trypanosomiasis in the formation of the African economy. Provide specific examples to support your assessment.

Trypanosomiasis affected the formation of the African economy by the way it affected animals. Due to the fact that this disease killed many animals, areas in which the disease was prevalent would hurt the local economy. It prevented people in these areas to keep cattle which were important for their livelihoods. Additionally, the fact that this disease was cruel to Horses, the military would be affected as well, due to the sheer importance of horses for military uses.

7.Consider explanations given for the rising number of cases of trypanosomiasis in the recent past. What effects do you feel this increase and the cause behind it would have on life in Africa amongst native populations as well as foreign settlers? As long as there are areas...
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