Theme 1: Interaction Between Humans and Environment
As part of the Trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean trade networks, technology, ways of farming, and diseases spread. For example, Bantu people spread from central to southern Africa along with iron and agriculture. One of the revolutionary technology that spread was Arabian camels that could survive 10 days without water, making it possible to travel across the Sahara. Large groups of merchants traveled together forming early caravans. Also, irrigation systems allowed produce to be grown in trade centers. Foods such as bananas and cocoyams traveled from SE Asia, providing Africans with nutritious food. With increasing demand for food, thousands of Africans were enslaved. Diseased slaves were transported through the Sahara, which helped spread major diseases such as small pox and the flu.
Theme 2: Development of Interaction of Cultures
Where there is interaction of people, there is interaction of cultures. The Swahili city-states were huge cultural centers in eastern Africa, where lots of interaction occurred. Their language itself was a mix of Arabic, Indian, and Bantu language. Also, Islam spread throughout Africa. Muslim merchants established communities in West Africa. The rulers appreciated them for their trading connections and literacy. By the 11th century mosques were built in Ghana, and in 14th~16th century many of the Mali and Songhai rulers were devout Muslims who sought to spread Islam.
Theme 4: Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems The flourishing of Indian Ocean and Trans-Saharan trade networks created many new cities, including Timbuktu and city-states of Swahili. As Islam spread and African states became more centralized, trade flourished since Africa was rich with resources such as gold. Africans as intermediaries of Indian, Persian, Arab, and Chinese merchants helped wealth and goods flow into Africa. In Ghana, their main income was from high taxation of goods and control...
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