FC: Journey Across the Ancient African Civilizations | By: Stephany Flores and Ely Hernandez
1: Ghana | Civilization: 700 - 1000
2: When I arrived to the Ghana civilization, I was astounded. Everything was beautiful. The first thing I saw was people walking around with beautifully designed clothes. It seemed like if they were made of mud and then I found out that they actually were made out of mud. A lady told me that they used mud to make designs on cloth, they let the sun bake the cloth and then the designs stayed on the cloth!! The families seemed very together and happy. The laughed and they sang all the time. They were all very respectful. Each member of the family would have a responsibility. I wished I would have been born one of them, their happiness was contagious. Ghana did not have education in literature. Most of the people were farmers, miners, or artists.
3: The kingdom was divided into districts. Each district had their own leader. They had a constitutional democracy. All of these district leaders had to listen to the king though. The king traded vast amounts of Gold with other places. What shocked me the most was that the king of Ghana traded Gold for salt! Apparently, to them salt was just as valuable as gold. Also, I found out that they taxed traders. When I asked what the reason for this was they told me that it was so they were able to pay for the army and soldiers. I liked it so much, when I was strolling around, I found people wearing costumes and singing while telling stories. I found out that these people were called Griots. This was the way people passed history down and gave advice. Their stories were very creative and I wished I would have been able to stay there longer, but unfortunately I had other places to go to.
4: Mali | Civilization: 1200 - 1470
5: When I first got to Mali, the first person they took me to was the Mansa. The Mansa was the king I soon found out. The people apparently believed that the Mansa had contact with the gods, the reason why I say this is because I saw paintings where the Mansa was seen with god looking beings. The people there started to tell me stories; most of them were farmers and fishers. Most of the people were Islamic. There were though many ethnic groups. Just like in the Ghana Empire I found out that the people in Mali believed that everything had a soul. What I liked about the people in Mali was that there was no different society class; it was all based on your act.
6: Mali was very rich. It had vast trading routes. I was not surprised when I found out that they taxed traders as well. They also traded slaves, and gold just like Ghana. Mali traded with European and Asian places. Mansa musa wrote books that were very famous; I myself got a copy of one of them. I heard that Mansa Musa was going to leave to visit Mecca. He personally told me that he was going to give gold presents to the kings of the cities where he would go. I know this wont end up well, I told him but he did not want to listen to me.
7: Songhai | Civilization: 1460 - 1600
8: The next place I visited was Songhai. Most of the people here were muslim. There were different social statuses in Songhai. There were slaves and different clan. The people also had a caste system. Most of the people here were also farmers and fishers. There were some people that were very religious. I offered them a pork rib and alcohol and they told me that it was bad for them. Like honestly, how can some pork ribs be bad for you? Well, what ever, I was confused. Their houses were made of stone. Most people spent little of their time in their homes. In order to receive the husband’s wealth, women had to fully respect and obeyed him. Some people wore western clothes, but not most of them. The children were taught in two different ways, formal and informal. When children were taught how to fish, it was considered formal.
9: Because king Sunni Ali ber was a politician, Songhai had an army and a navy. Songhai also taxed people. There were different clans in the society; each clan had a different job. People that were in low status were not allowed to work in farms. The lowest society class was slaves though.
10: East Africa | Civilization: 600 - 1400
11: The people in East Africa were diverse. i found out that the Arabs and the Bantu people all lived in this region. These people were know called the Swahili culture. their religion was Islam. The Bantu speakers adopted Arabic words and combined it into their language. this language was now know as Swahili. The Bantu people did not have a written language s they used the Arabic language to write the Swahili language. The people were wearing animal skin or grass, seemed very strange to me.
12: East Africa was very successful with trade and had a very wide rang of trade. They would trade ivory, and animals with Asia. Slaves were also traded. Arab traders would marry the local women from East Africa in order to be able to trade more goods and have trading centers. East Africa even had Chinese porcelain from China. They're economy was very wealthy Their government was structured due to the fact that they would have different regions and their trade was very good. There were many rulers because of the different regions.
13: Great Zimbabwe | Civilization: 1400 - 1500
14: Great Zimbabwe as I was able to find out was a major trading center. I saw a lot of people trading ivory and Gold. I did see some Asian and Arabic artifacts. I was confused by the findings of these artifacts. I decided to ask one of the traders and he told me that those artifacts had been obtained from Asian and African trade. I off course felt shame by not having been able to determine that since around this area people traded with Asian places.
15: When in was looking for a place to go, I found that houses were all made of stone. They did have royal houses though, this was where the chiefs lived, and of course, that was where I was aiming to go to. There was also a school and this was surrounded by a great wall. I really thought this was one of the biggest kingdoms I had seen so far.
16: Kongo Kingdom | Civilization: 800 - 1500
17: The Kongo Kingdom was one of my favorite places to visit. I really liked their government structure, the King had a government of people, the king fixed the big thing and the small government fixed the small things. The government included judges, guards, it was really well organized. The Kongo Kingdom was divided into provinces. The way that people entered into the social classes was by matrimony. The people survived every day by fishing and hunting. Here they also taxed people. They also collected fines. I got fined, I did not even know why, but I paid anyway.
18: The people believed Nzambi, that was their major god, besides that they believed in spirits. When people believed that a spirit had been offended they consulted a diviner. I was actually there when this occurred. The story was that there had been a fight between villagers about agriculture. Then crops stopped growing so they thought that the water spirit had been offended. So they called this diviner. And I have no idea what happened after then since it was time for me to go back home. I sure hope that
19: Works Cited: PICTURES-http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/images/1624_story_of_africa/120412_06_203_emir_zazz_musicians.jpg http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&biw=1366&bih=589&tbm=isch&tbnid=yDpNW5R9aZF5jM:&imgrefurl=http://www.kidspast.com/world-history/0099-kingdom-ghana.php&docid=YqZ__29z3biukM&imgurl=http://www.kidspast.com/images/ghana-ruins.jpg&w=362&h=242&ei=Wj3MTqLHEsHs0gHWrsD7Dw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=1048&vpy=210&dur=110&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=224&ty=110&sig=106329783637624671206&page=1&tbnh=108&tbnw=142&start=0&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:15,s:0 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Mansa_Musa.jpg/350px-Mansa_Musa.jpg http://www.globeimages.net/data/media/61/Mali.jpg http://www.playahata.com/images/otherpics/merchants1.jpg http://www.zonu.com/images/500X0/2010-01-05-11636/El-Imperio-Songhay-1493-1528.gif
20: PICTURES- http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/images/east_africa.jpg http://www.thenagain.info/webchron/africa/GreatZimbabwe1.JPG http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hg/hg_d_zimb_d2map.jpg http://krant.telegraaf.nl/krant/enverder/venster/reizen/fotos/reis.970719kongo18.jpg http://www.africafederation.net/Kingdom_Kongo_1711.jpg INFORMATION- "Countries and Their Cultures." Ghana. 2011, n.d. Web. 22 Nov 2011.
21: "Mali: Mali Empire." . 2011 Lycos Inc., n.d. Web. 22 Nov 2011.
22: INFORMATION (continued)- "Songhay." Countries and Their Cultures. 2011 Advameg, Inc., n.d. Web. 22 Nov 2011.
23: Zijlma, Anouk. "Great Zimbabwe Ruins." Infoplease.com. 2011 About.com, n.d. Web. 22 Nov 2011.