HI229- September 10, 2013 9/17/2013 8:31:00 AM
History 229 : Intro
Dr. John Laband
Office Thursdays 10 to 11
Midterm : Map Quiz, Identification (Glossary), and 3 short essay questions
(Do 1, based on a chapter of the book).
Book Report: Accessing
Africa In The World
A) The Study of Africa: How does one study Africa?
- Africa is strange, different; North American norms do
- Africa - One wife in a civil marriage and customary
- The world’s most diverse continent in the world, 54
nation states, 1 and a half thousand languages spoken,
big and diverse in many ways.
- History, is the most ancient in the world First originated and first evolved, colonized the earth,
and highly complex civilization
Important themes: [African development over time] How
Africa has been represented.
Also understanding that it can be seen in all kinds of
B) What is Africa?
Who invented Africa?
Outside viewers are inventing a romantic outlook.
Congo philosopher: V.Y Mdimbe 1998, “The invention of
Africa” – *It is everything Europe is not*
- Few Africans thought of themselves of Africans, as did
Europeans as Europeans. You are whatever society, tribe,
or status you came from. - Africa is named after a Roman Province, valuable for
its wheat and olives
- Now Libya
The Portuguese sailed around the east coast of Africa in
the 15 thand 16 thcentury. Arabs were there before them
Africa was “Egypt to Morocco” – Southern side of the
Africa was in the 16 century apart of the Mediterranean
world, it was only when you sailed around Africa that you
saw black people.
European involvement in Africa then turned into the
Slave trade, which began on the coast of Africa.
Africa = Black Slavery (99% of the slaves you would
meet are black Africans that are furious)
Africans that came to North America or Britain, then
became a part of the emancipated educated Africans in Race to them became important, nationalizing to them
“Negro” – Latin
Africa has a distinct race, which gave African Americans a
sense of nationalizing
Pan-Africanists – Western educated, believed in
redemption of African, conversion of “Christianity”
- “We are Africa”
From the 19 thcentury, colonial conquest happens in
Their sense of identity has been reinforced
Perspectives of the Islamic World Parts of Africa are fully integrated anciently with Muslims
Europeans were not the first outsiders who discovered
Africa, Arabs were the first, people who
Across the Sahara dessert up the Nile,
- Gold in West Africa
- Salt trade
They are bringing Islam with them
Sahel, the region of Savannah, merging away into the
desert, being increasingly Islam. Ghana and Mali,
conversed to Islam (European Middle Ages)
Hausa, great city state
Djenne in Mali, great Mosque
The University at Timbuktu founded in the 14 century
West African Rulers will make his way to Mecca
Becoming a Muslim land Heavy Trade in slaves
“People of the Coast” – Wonderful lagoons, rivers, cities
being established on small islands
Kenya to South Africa (East Coast)
Arab cities on the coast were highly sophisticated, goods
from China and Indian, traded with many people, Ivory
and Gold. All destroyed when the Portuguese took over
the coast, they took on the trade as their own. HI229- September 12, 2013 9/17/2013 8:31:00 AM
Maghreb/Maghrib – Land of the West
When the Arabs conquered North Africa, it was all Christian territory.
Colonized by Rome. When the European’s came to colonize Africa, then they
whipped the entire Christianized North.
Egypt and Ethiopia have much of the Christian population. Copts are
what Christians were called. Ethiopian rulers believe that they came from
King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. A period in 1970s, the Ethiopian
churches took a huge hit during the revolution. Monophysites, Christ is of a
single nature, Christ is God. In the West, Christ is God and man, dual
nature. The Copts might be the right kind of Christians but the wrong type.
Portuguese did their best to convert the Copts in Ethiopia to Orthodox
Christians. Prestir John. Africa has a large Muslim presence going back
1000 years and ancient Christianity as well.
Muslim World In Africa
No trace of Racism in the Koran
Nubian and Ethiopian decent, who descended from slave mothers (ancient
Muslims and Christians had something in common, their contact with
Africans was through the slave trade
Sub Sahara Africa that is where the salves came from, that is how a Muslim
saw an African. Example: Sudan (Means: Land of the Blacks) North makes
the South appear as slaves. (North: Muslims, South: “Black Africans”)
“Black Africa means slaves”
A matter of paganism, not being Muslim. In terms of Sharii law, you may
not enslave a Muslim, but you may enslave an unbeliever
Cultural distain for Black Africans, not rulers or traders/teachers, Rulers of
these areas are trading. They are very ordinary and not highly civilized.
Slaves could be extremely important state once they have converted to
Muslim. Becoming a Soldier could be one of the most honorable things.
This is what Europeans encountered, large kingdoms, sophistication of
African kingdoms Who should be included as African?
Racial terms? Black?
Many historians who call themselves Africans deal with Sub Sahara Africa.
A divide in half – (Non Black and Black)
Africa is distinctively black
White settlers came in the early 19 century to create the Cape Colony, now
known as Johannesburg which is very industrialized, a separate subject from
Madagascar is a part of Africa, but usually ignored, in that country they talk
in Malagasy. (Boneo is a Austronesian language where Malagasy is derived
Black Diaspora? What about them? Them who became slaves? Are they
apart of Africa? Or are they something else?
A real problem in easily describing who Africans are
How does Africa fit into the world? How does its history fit into
How far in the course of African History has been derives from Africans
themselves. Slavery? Colonialism?
Recipient? Victims to what outsiders have said?
When was it first taught in Universities? - Was taught as a Colonial History.
Wasn’t taught till the Second half of the 20 century
Early Academics, were trying to explode some of the myths about Africa,
showing that there has been development, and that they are not just
Africa seems marginal to world affairs. Africa by the late 19 thcentury
was all-colonial. Africa is not by any chance a major investment to the rest
of the world. China has been majorly involved in Africa.
Moved in for economic reasons and exploitation
They’re investments does not have political strings attached Africa is still a supplier of raw materials.
Continent is still very poor (malnutrition, corruption, and conflicts)
The continent is broken, it is not marginal to major world affairs, that
doesn’t work. “Afro-pestilent”
Romantic Image of Africa
Goes back centuries, the Romans thought it was the romantic land of
Primitive Africa, unchanging, exotic tribes, headdresses, cannibalism and
The wild” and dangerous animals, desserts, rainforests, highlands
“Travel brochure Africa”
African Renaissance – rebirth of Africa
Idolized and romanticized as well
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
How to balance all of these different views? How do you do it without being
an advertising agency?
Dynamics of African relationships within Africa
Popular perceptions of Africa = “Other”
Can’t put an emphasis on isolating Africa
They are connected to the world
One of the problems is that till recently, who’s been writing the history of
Africa? The Europeans – Western History, in the western tradition, where we
have very clear senses of what covers evidences, what are good sources,
interpretations, and explaining history in certain terms.
How would an African write their history? It would be very different.
The 1960s was a time of independence for most of Africa, which is why
many historians/professors focused on political history. – Conquered,
colonized, and achieved independence Environment and Population of Africa
Africa is a hostile and harsh environment, most ancient continents, water
supplies are hugely problematic, deserts, jungles, insects and wild animals
that make it hard to live there
It is a constant battle against drought, bush fires, and disease. Makes it
hard for survival.
Africa was enormously under populated
The population of Africa has grown enormously in the last 200 years, but it
is still a harsh continent. Which makes it hard to live there. HI229- September 17, 2013 9/17/2013 8:31:00 AM
** Read notions of Africa for basis of discussion on Tuesday- What is Africa?
Physical profile of Africa
Not as extreme topography
There are mountain ranges
Down great rift valley down east of Ethiopia as far as the great lakes
Drakensberg- mountain range in Africa
There is snow in Africa in the Aptos mountains
There are a few high mountain peaks (Kilimanjaro)- this is fast losing its
snow cap due to global warming
Core of the continent is now Ethiopia (Ethiopian plateau) and is
dominated by flatlands and agriculture
This plateau has limited access to the resources of Africa
You’re trying to reach and export the produces of Africa and the steeply
rising profile has made this a problem
You have rivers- which in North America are great for trade but in Africa-
many parts down the east parts of Africa there are estuary and lagoons-
therefore only small ships can come through here
Great long beaches but no easy access from the beaches to the interior of
Africa because of sandbanks- this makes major trade not easy
The Niger River is very shallow and full of sandbanks and lagoons- very
difficult for access of larger ships
Another problem is that rivers drains from the mountains of the interior
downwards which means those rivers are going down enormous
If youre trying to go up the congo river there are enormous cataracts
Cataract- waterfall (series of falling)
The great equatorial forests along coast of Congo
The congo rainforest with rivers and train going through the African
North of the forests there are woodland and savannah grassland
Glaciation will cause the mountains to flat top
down southwest is the Kalahari desert which is another similar desert further south you will reach the karoo which is very dry which is good for
sheep and lamb
coastal regions it rains in winter and summers are very dry where rest of
the continent is the opposite
most of Africa is either desert or savannah
these are tough ecological zones- not like Europe and north America-
much of it is very difficult for human habitation
the river in flood, Kenya- very dangerous with soil erosion (brown water)
and crocodiles etc.
soil erosion is a major problem when going for deforestation the floods
are greater and in many areas the natural forests have been cut down
and floods are much greater- becomes a very big issue
besides the climate in Africa- one should consider the endemic diseases
some of the worst diseases are carried by the insect population
most of Africa unless the highlands
winter is not cold in Africa- no great fluctuation in temperature
insect life is never zapped and carries on every year no matter what
what caused endemic diseases to spread so much more in the last 100
The railroads- human activity- steamers- roads- automobiles- trucks-
Once trade is opened up so largely in the continent, these diseases catch
rides all over the place basically
Thanks to the mobility in the last 150 years which is an aspect of
globalization, has also allowed these diseases to leave Africa as well