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Chapter 10

Geography 2030A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Tamarind, Okra, Ensete Ventricosum

Course Code
GEOG 2030A/B

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Chapter 10
African Past
Homo sapiens is thought to have first appeared in Africa some 150,000 – 200,000 years ago
Common African origin for humankind
Oldest hominid fossils yet known in Chad and Kenya
Hominids – australopithecines
Evidence uncovered in South Africa, the rift valleys in eastern Africa and the Afar Depression in Ethiopia
Intellectual and cultural development of humans is of more importance than anatomical change in determining what
made it possible for humans to utilize increasingly diverse environments
Homo habilis (tool maker)
Appeared 2.4 million years ago
Had a larger brain than the australopithecines
Used simple stone tools
Lived in encampments
Homo erectus
Superseded homo habilis (1.8 million years ago)
More erect posture
Larger brain
Derived a variety of more sophisticated tools
Lived in savanna environments, particularly near large bodies of water
Archaic forms of Homo sapiens outside of Africa in Spain (Homo heidelbergensis and Homo antecessor) and
Indonesia (Homo floresiensis) 300,000 and 500,000 years old

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The pace of cultural development of Homo sapiens has steadily accelerated
Development of more varied and sophisticated stone tools
The first human colonization of tropical rain forests
The Agricultural and Iron Revolutions
First agricultural revolution
Mesopotamia 10,000 B.C.
Pastoralism was established in the central Sahara during the moist climatic phase between 8,000 and 4,000 B.C.
Initially based on sheep and goat herding and later on cattle rearing
Climate became progressively drier
Communities who have depended on fishing turned increasingly to crop cultivation and pastoralism to secure their food
Became widespread in 3,000 and 1,000 B.C.
Farmers in the forest zone specialized in the cultivation of root crops and bananas
We do not know whether agriculture developed independently in Africa, or was introduced from Asia across the Sahara
and along the valley of the Nile
Agricultural innovation occurred independently in several “cultural hearths” located south of the Sahara
Ethiopian Plateau, in the West African savanna and West African forest regions, and along the forest-savanna
boundary in west central Africa
Centres of innovation
Crops were domesticated
Methods of cultivation suited to the local environment were developed
Plants domesticated in Africa
Cereals: teff, millet, bulrush millet, sorghum, African rice
Roots and tubers: yams

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Pulses: Bambara groundnuts, cowpeas
Oil crops: oil palm, castor oil, shea butter
Starch and sugar plants: enset
Vegetables: okra, garden eggs (African eggplant)
Fruits: watermelons, tamarind
Stimulants: coffee, kola
Fiber plants : cotton
Chifumbaze culture complex
Originated in the vicinity of Lake Victoria around 500-200 B.C.
Herding and the cultivation of crops
Iron making, distinctive pottery designs, herding, and farming to the south and east
Agriculture reached eastern South Africa in 500 A.D.
Making of iron began about 500 B.C.
Africa in Nubia in present-day Sudan
ALSO at Nok in Central Nigeria and in the vicinity of Lake Victoria
Permitted the construction of improved weaponry and tools
Enabled iron-making peoples to expand territorially at the expense of those using only stone tools and weapons
Africa South of the Sahara did not experience a Bronze Age between the Stone and Iron Ages, except in Nubia
Bantu Migrations?
Bantu peoples speak 450 distinct but closely related languages
Farmers who used iron tools and weapons
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