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Ch 20: Africa & the Americas in the Middle & Late Middle Ages

About This Chapter

Let us help you review information about the peoples, empires and religion in Africa, starting in the Middle Ages. Our video lessons also explore the civilizations of the Americas during this time.

Africa & the Americas in the Middle & Late Middle Ages - Chapter Summary

In this chapter's lessons, you'll get a look at the great African cultures of Ghana, Mali and Songhai, analyze trade in Africa during the Middle Ages and explore the spread of Islam and what it meant. Our expert instructors will also examine Africa's written and oral traditions.

Other lessons cover the Inca, Maya and Aztec civilizations in the Americas. After watching all these videos, you should have a more solid grasp of topics including:

  • The importance of the Niger River to African civilization
  • The rise of Swahili culture
  • West African states and cities
  • The spread of the Arabic language and Islamic scholarship in West Africa
  • How geography impacted the Maya, Inca and Aztec peoples
  • The defeat of the Aztecs
  • The fall of the Incan Empire

These lively lessons average about five minutes in length, and you can watch them anytime, on a computer, smartphone or tablet. A multiple-choice quiz at the end of every video lets you gauge your learning. If you want to review a particular topic, the timeline in the video makes it quick work to go right to the spot you need.

15 Lessons in Chapter 20: Africa & the Americas in the Middle & Late Middle Ages
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Niger River: Ecosystems & Trade Routes in Africa (12th-16th Centuries)

1. The Niger River: Ecosystems & Trade Routes in Africa (12th-16th Centuries)

This lesson explores the history of the Niger River Valley. The lesson highlights the trans-Saharan caravan trade and the cities of Djenne and Timbuktu.

African Cultures: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

2. African Cultures: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

In this lesson, we learn about the three premier empires of the pre-colonial period in West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai, who all profited tremendously from the trans-Saharan gold trade.

The Ghana Empire in Africa (830-1235 CE)

3. The Ghana Empire in Africa (830-1235 CE)

This lesson explores the Ghana Empire of West Africa. In doing so, it highlights the gold and salt trade of the region, which made the empire wealthy. It also discusses the importance of iron smelting and taxation.

The Mali Empire in Africa (13th-16th Centuries)

4. The Mali Empire in Africa (13th-16th Centuries)

This lesson gives a brief overview of the Mali Empire. It focuses on the rule of Sundiata Keita and the salt and gold trade of the empire. It also highlights the wealth and pilgrimage of the famous Mansu Musa.

Swahili Culture & Commerce in East Africa During the Middle Ages

5. Swahili Culture & Commerce in East Africa During the Middle Ages

Swahili Civilization flourished from around 11th-century CE to the 16th-century CE on the eastern coast of Africa. Commerce helped this culture to thrive, as well as the spread of Islam and the development of the Swahili language. We will focus on these factors in this lesson.

States & Cities in West Africa (1000-1300 CE)

6. States & Cities in West Africa (1000-1300 CE)

This lesson will focus on the kingdom states that ruled West Africa during 1000 to 1300 CE. It will focus on the trading empires of Ghana and Mali, as well as the city of Timbuktu.

Islam's Spread in West Africa

7. Islam's Spread in West Africa

This lesson explains the gradual spread of Islam into West Africa. In doing so, it discusses the influence of the Berbers and the trans-Saharan caravan trade of the Saharan region.

Arabic Language & Islamic Scholarship Growth in West Africa

8. Arabic Language & Islamic Scholarship Growth in West Africa

This lesson will focus on the spread of the Islamic faith and Arabic language into Africa. We'll explore Mansa Musa, his pilgrimage, and the University of Timbuktu.

Written & Oral Traditions in Africa (500-1800 CE)

9. Written & Oral Traditions in Africa (500-1800 CE)

This lesson explores the written and oral traditions of pre-modern Africa. It highlights folktales, proverbs, griots and the travelogue known as Rihlah.

Effect of Geography on the Maya, Aztec & Inca Civilizations

10. Effect of Geography on the Maya, Aztec & Inca Civilizations

In this lesson, you will explore the jungles of the Yucatan, the high valleys of Mexico, and the peaks of Peru as we examine how geography shaped the civilizations of the Maya, Aztecs, and Inca. Then, you can test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Life in the Maya Civilization

11. Life in the Maya Civilization

In this lesson, you will experience a day in the life of a person in the Maya civilization of Central America, and then test your understanding about this complex culture.

Life in the Aztec Empire

12. Life in the Aztec Empire

Experience a day in Aztec Empire and explore the capital city Tenochtitlán in the Valley of Mexico. Then, test your understanding about this powerful military state with a short quiz.

The Rise of the Aztecs

13. The Rise of the Aztecs

In this lesson, you will explore the rise of the great Mesoamerican civilization, the Aztec Empire. Then, you will be able to test your understanding about Aztec history with a brief quiz.

The Defeat of the Aztecs

14. The Defeat of the Aztecs

In this lesson, you will explore the defeat of the powerful Aztec Empire, and then test your understanding about the Aztecs, the Spanish conquest of Mexico, and empires in Central America.

The Incan Empire: History & Fall

15. The Incan Empire: History & Fall

If we look at 15th-century Mesoamerica, we see that the fastest growing empire of the time was the Incan Empire. The Inca created an elaborate society, which, before it fell to the Spanish, was the largest nation on Earth, and it remains the largest native state to have existed in the western hemisphere.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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