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Ch 6: History of Africa Before Colonization

About This Chapter

The History of Africa Before Colonization chapter of this Major Events in World History Study Guide course is the most efficient way to study ancient and Medieval African civilizations. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus includes lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure you understand the essential concepts associated with precolonial African history.

Who's It For?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering African history material will benefit from the lessons in this chapter. There is no faster or easier way to learn about the history of Africa before colonization. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who want to learn a broad topic in a short amount of time
  • Students who are looking for easy ways to identify the most important information on the topic
  • Students who have fallen behind in memorizing events and people associated with the history of African before colonization
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning world history (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who have limited time to study for an upcoming exam

How It Works:

  • Watch each video in the chapter to review all key topics.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with a short quiz.
  • Complete your review with the History of Africa Before Colonization chapter exam.

Why It Works:

  • Study Efficiently: The lessons in this chapter cover only information you need to know.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Take the History of Africa Before Colonization chapter exam to make sure you're prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any world history question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students Will Review:

This chapter summarizes the material students need to know about the history of Africa before colonization for a standard world history course. Topics covered include:

  • The Ghana, Mali and Songhai empires
  • Civilization in ancient West Africa
  • The trans-Saharan trade
  • West African Sudanic states
  • Agriculture and pastoralism in Africa
  • African city-states on the east coast
  • Migration into Central and South Africa
  • The Indian Ocean economy

28 Lessons in Chapter 6: History of Africa Before Colonization
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
African Cultures: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

1. 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.

Axum Empire: Religion, Culture & Government

2. Axum Empire: Religion, Culture & Government

Ancient Ethiopia in east Africa, with its capital at Axum, represented an early Christian empire situated at lucrative trade routes across Eurasia. In this lesson, learn about the religion, culture, and government of Axum.

Ancient West Africa: Bantu Migrations & the Stateless Society

3. 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.

Trans-Saharan Trade & West African Sudanic States

4. 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.

The Spread of Pastoralism and Agriculture in Africa

5. 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.

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

6. 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

7. 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.

Ancient Cities of Africa

8. Ancient Cities of Africa

Ancient Africa was home to many great cities. These include the Egyptian cities of Memphis and Thebes as well as Carthage, home of the great warrior Hannibal, and Alexandria, known for its legendary library.

Ancient Civilizations in Africa

9. Ancient Civilizations in Africa

A variety of civilizations and peoples flourished in ancient Africa. In this lesson, read about Egypt, Nubia, Aksum, Bantu-speakers, and the powerful city of Carthage.

Ancient Gold Mines in Africa

10. Ancient Gold Mines in Africa

Have you ever wanted to know more about the vast mineral wealth of the continent of Africa? Well, this lesson is for you. In this lesson, you will find information on the many gold mines found on the continent of Africa and their history.

Ancient West African Kingdoms

11. Ancient West African Kingdoms

In this lesson, we'll explore the three major kingdoms of Ancient West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. We'll learn about their politics, military, economy, and culture.

Ancient Kings & Queens of Africa

12. Ancient Kings & Queens of Africa

Ancient African kingdoms such as Egypt and Ethiopia produced powerful and legendary rulers, both male and female, including Nefertiti and her husband Akhenaten, and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and her son Menelik I. Read this lesson to learn about these ancient African rulers.

Ancient Mali: History & Civilization

13. Ancient Mali: History & Civilization

The kingdom of Mali was one of the great economic, military, and cultural powers of the medieval world. In this lesson, we'll talk about the history and impact of this powerful state.

Ancient Mali: Government & Economy

14. Ancient Mali: Government & Economy

The Mali Empire was a pretty impressive military state, but what really made it famous was its government and economy. In this lesson, we'll explore these aspects of the empire and see how ancient Mali functioned.

Ancient Sub-Saharan African Civilization & Culture

15. Ancient Sub-Saharan African Civilization & Culture

As the great civilizations of Egypt and Greece rose in the Middle East and Europe, many vibrant societies also arose in Africa south of the Sahara desert. These peoples created great states that rivaled their northern brethren. In this lesson, we examine these societies and their impact on history.

Ancient Tribes of Africa

16. Ancient Tribes of Africa

Ancient African tribes are steeped in culture, with many unique characteristics in each region of Africa. This lesson explores the diverse and beautiful societies that formed ancient Africa.

Ancient West African Civilization, Culture & Religion

17. Ancient West African Civilization, Culture & Religion

While Egypt, Carthage and Greece rose to splendor throughout the Mediterranean world, a number of cultures were beginning to develop in West Africa. This lesson examines the history, culture and religion of this fascinating region.

Ghana's Ancient History & Civilization

18. Ghana's Ancient History & Civilization

Wagadou Empire - known most commonly as the Ghana Empire - flourished monetarily, politically and culturally. The first of three great West African empires, Ancient Ghana developed thriving urban centers and became a major trading power unlike any other civilization in the region during that time period.

Gold and Salt Trade in Ancient Africa

19. Gold and Salt Trade in Ancient Africa

If you're thinking about goods that you'd cross the Sahara for, gold probably comes to mind. Salt? Not so much. In this lesson, we'll see why both gold and salt were crucial trade goods in Africa.

History of Islam in Africa

20. History of Islam in Africa

Islam quickly spread from the Arabian Peninsula into Africa, and as this lesson shows, was able to move quickly throughout much of the continent. Read on to learn more about Islam and its spread throughout ancient Africa.

Obelisk of Axum: History

21. Obelisk of Axum: History

The Obelisk of Axum is one of the great works of art to come from early Africa. In this lesson, we're going to talk about this monument, as well as its historical significance.

Slavery in Ancient Africa

22. Slavery in Ancient Africa

Slavery existed in Africa before the infamous Arabic and European slave trade changed the slavery paradigm forever after. The trade of captive human beings from enemy tribes was a common practice in early African society as a whole, but not nearly as brutal as what it later came to be.

Women in Ancient Africa

23. Women in Ancient Africa

In this lesson, we will trace the practices and accomplishments of women in ancient Africa as you discover how their spiritual, political, and economic roles shaped society and culture long ago.

Medieval Africa: History & Culture

24. Medieval Africa: History & Culture

Medieval Africa was an evolving world. From 500 to 1500 CE, Africa opened trading routes, was exposed to new religions, increased literacy, and experienced one of the continent's richest periods.

Songhai Empire: Definition, Location & History

25. Songhai Empire: Definition, Location & History

This lesson explores the history of one of the wealthiest African empires of the Middle Ages - the Songhai Empire. We will examine how it rose to power in the West African savanna and the reasons for its decline in the late 16th century.

The Songhai Empire: Religion & Social Structure

26. The Songhai Empire: Religion & Social Structure

Any teacher (or student) of secondary and post-secondary students searching for lesson plans on world history or ancient African history, here's a lesson for you! The information in this lesson will cover the Songhai Empire and its religion and social structure.

The Fall of the Songhai Empire

27. The Fall of the Songhai Empire

This lesson examines the reasons why the Songhai Empire collapsed after arising as one of the most powerful and wealthy empires in the West Africa savanna during the 16th century.

Songhai Empire: Trade & Government

28. Songhai Empire: Trade & Government

During the European Middle Ages a mighty empire arose in West Africa. In this lesson, you will learn about the origins of the Songhai Empire, the way the Songhai governed their empire, and their trade.

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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