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Ch 15: African History

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons for a broad overview of African history, including political, social and economic history. The quizzes that follow each lesson can help you assess your own understanding of these materials.

African History - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

While Africa may be a single continent, its history is, in fact, a broad mosaic of people, places and events. This series of video lessons, led by an experienced instructor, covers the basics of African history from multiple angles. Explore the roles of environment, geography and kinship relationships in the development of African kingdoms, city-states and nation states. Discover notable similarities and differences among cultures and regions, like migration patterns, farming and belief systems. See how economic development was made possible through trade, pastoralism and agriculture. In these lessons, you'll learn things like:

  • How African farming and animal husbandry were optimized for varied natural environments
  • Why East Coast and West Coast Africa fostered different types of states
  • The roles of external factors like religion, trade and geography on African states

Video Objective
Africa's Environments: Zones and Agricultural Adaptation Describe the various environmental zones across the continent and how farmers adapted to them.
Kinship Relations and Political Systems in Africa Discuss the ties between kin relationships and African political systems.
Religious Systems of Africa: Similarities and Differences Compare and contrast the various religious belief systems in Africa.
The Spread of Pastoralism and Agriculture in Africa Discuss how pastoral and agricultural practices spread across Africa.
Ancient West Africa: Bantu Migrations and the Stateless Society Describe how and why Bantu-speaking groups moved around in ancient West Africa.
Ethiopia's Solomonid Dynasty and Church Support Discuss the role of the Church in fortifying the Solomonid Dynasty.
Trans-Saharan Trade and West African Sudanic States Explain the affects of trans-Saharan trade in West African Sudanic states.
African Cultures: Ghana, Mali and Songhai Describe the cultures of Ghana, Mali and Songhai.
Establishment of Small City-States on Africa's East Coast Explain why the East Coast fostered the establishment of small city-states, unlike the West Coast.
Central and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Economy Explain how African kingdoms of Central and Southern Africa were oriented toward the Indian Ocean economy.

10 Lessons in Chapter 15: African History
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Africa's Environments: Zones & Agricultural Adaptation

1. Africa's Environments: Zones & Agricultural Adaptation

In this lesson, we explore several of the largest ecosystems of Africa and the agriculture that is practiced in each. Let's take a look at a landscape which is as diverse as the continent itself. After you've watched the video, see what you've learned by testing yourself with our quiz questions.

Kinship Relations & Political Systems in Africa

2. Kinship Relations & Political Systems in Africa

In this lesson, we will explore kinship groups, specifically their role in communities in Africa, in addition to their role in Africa's pre-colonial political systems.

Religious Systems of Africa: Similarities & Differences

3. Religious Systems of Africa: Similarities & Differences

In this lesson, we explore the multifaceted religious systems present in Africa, from the indigenous religions, which still influence many on the continent, to Islam and Christianity, which many adhere to today.

The Spread of Pastoralism and Agriculture in Africa

4. The Spread of Pastoralism and Agriculture in Africa

In this lesson we discover the key differences between pastoralism and agriculture and explore the diffusion of these two practices in the history of Africa.

Ancient West Africa: Bantu Migrations & the Stateless Society

5. Ancient West Africa: Bantu Migrations & the Stateless Society

In this lesson, we will discuss some of the characteristics of ancient West Africa. We will focus especially on the Bantu migrations, the stateless society, and the city of Jenne-jeno.

Ethiopia's Solomonic Dynasty & Church Support

6. Ethiopia's Solomonic Dynasty & Church Support

In this lesson we explore the beginning of the Solomonic Dynasty in Ethiopia and some of the key characteristics which led it its friendly relations with Christian European nations.

Trans-Saharan Trade & West African Sudanic States

7. Trans-Saharan Trade & West African Sudanic States

In this lesson we explore the beginning, height, and decline of the trans-Saharan trade and the various states in West Africa which thrived off the trade.

African Cultures: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

8. 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.

Establishment of Small City-States on Africa's East Coast

9. Establishment of Small City-States on Africa's East Coast

In this lesson, we explore the development of small city-states along Africa's East coast, the trade that sustained them, and their eventual downfall at the hands of European colonizers.

Central & Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean Economy

10. Central & Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean Economy

In this lesson, we explore the migration of the Bantu-speaking peoples into central and southern Africa and the Indian Ocean economy by which city-states along Africa's east coast thrived.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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