GUIDED READING AND RESEARCH
I. AFRICA IN THE 15TH AND 16TH CENTURIES
1. The two modern day nations that constitute the Senegambia region today are the republics of Senegal and Gambia. The land of the region is a terrain, commonly low, rolling plains that become foothills in southeast. It’s in Western Africa where it borders the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania. The Gambia is almost an enclave of Senegal. The climate is tropical so it is hot and humid. The topography is dominated by the Senegal and the Gambia River. Major rivers are the Senegal River, Saloum River, Casamance River, and the Gambia River. The climate was subtropical with an average of 75 degrees Fahrenheight. There is rainy and dry season. The rainy season lasts from May to November and has strong southeast winds. Dry season lasts from December to April and is dominated by hot, dry winds. Natural resources are fish, phosphates and iron ore. 2. Three powerful empires that once controlled Senegambia and West Africa and their emperors:
1. Male Empire- Djata lineage (13th century)
2. Ghana Empire (Wagadou)- King Reidja Akba (15th century)
3. Songhai Empire- Sonni Ali and Askia Mohammod (15th century) 3. The past two centuries of Diola religious history have been outlined by the increasing interaction of Diola religion with Islam and Christianity. Believers of the Diola religion believe in a creator god and in a number of less important spirits whose powers originate with the Supreme Being but who are more reachable to the religious community. A study of Diola ritual might suggest that the Supreme Being, diversely known as Ata-Emit or Emitai, was an isolated high god whose name was rarely used in prayer, who had no shrines and who was not a decent energy in community life. Emitai is seen as the creator of the world and all its inhabitants and as the creator of human knowledge of farming, ironworking, and healing. He made a set of duties and exclusions to which he held people accountable. At the time of death, Emitai decides whether a person has lived morally enough to become an ancestor or whether, if the individual disturbed ignored Emitai's banning, he will become a ghost, traveler or, a village resident in a land to the south. All fates are temporary; the dead are eventually reincarnated. Emitai’s name is derived from emit, meaning both "sky" and "year”, therefore indicating a strong relationship with the heavens and the order of an agricultural year. Furthermore, Emitai ehlah means "it is raining” indicates Emitai's crucial role in the disbursement of rain. In times of crisis or when people feel they have done all they can, Emitai is prayed to directly. This is especially true during droughts when the ritual, Nyakul Emit, is performed. Rituals are performed at all the village shrines, and prayers are offered directly to the Supreme Being. Eschatology is a part of theology and philosophy concerned with the final events in the history of the world, or the final destiny of civilization, also referred to as the end of the world. While in religion the phrase symbolically refers to the end of ordinary reality and reunion with the Divine, in many traditional religions it is taught as an actual future event predicted in sacred texts. Most African religions dealt with many gods. When Islam spread into Senegambia, polytheism was eliminated. Allah replaced the large amount of gods and, Mosques became the central building where people prayed. 4. In African society emperors were at the top of social hierarchy, next were the priests. Then the men, the men hunted and found food for the family. Only men could receive education. The bottom were women. They cooked, gathered crops and gave birth. The Senegambians were very peaceful people and did not care if others used their land. 5. West Africa was the primary source that slaves came to the Western Hemisphere mainly because it was the closest country to the Western...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document