S: My Journey to Africa
FC: Diary | My Adventure to Africa | Abrham Bogale ~ Mei Mei McDowell ~ Marinos Rrapaj ~Jose Quintana
1: March 15, 2010 Dear Diary, Tomorrow I get to fly to Ghana! I’m so excited, but also a bit nervous too. I wonder what excitement lies ahead!
3: March 18, 2010 Dear Diary, It has been two days and I already feel like I have learned as much as I would in two years. Much of this knowledge arose from a museum that I visited almost immediately after I arrived. I learned that Ghana was a major holder of gold. Because of this, they had a powerful army. Ghana traded gold in its weight for salt. This is because salt was in very short supply, making it more valuable. All of this money and power attracted many attackers. Many of Ghana'’s enemies that attacked them wanted their gold. These invasions scared off traders and weakened their economy. Thus, Ghana collapsed. During this collapse, a small kingdom within Ghana arose. It was known as Mali. While I planned on only staying in Ghana for a few days, I can'’t help but feeling as though I need to stay here. Either way, I still have some time left in Ghana so I shouldn't waste any time.
5: March 19, 2010 Dear Diary I’ve decided what I’m going to do next. I’m going to take a journey to the kingdom of Mali. I hope I have as much fun and learn as much as I did in Ghana.
7: March 23, 2010 Dear Diary, Now I know I made the right decision. Mali is so amazing. For one, Mali gained control of the trade routes after Ghana collapsed. Soon after, it became one of the leading powers in Africa. The king, Mansa Musa, proclaimed that Mali was the most powerful kingdom in history. His is famous for his pilgrimage to Mecca. On his journey, he distributed so much gold to the countries he visited, it decreased the value of gold. If only I could have lived during this period (although that might have to do with the idea of gold being less valuable). But at the same time, I couldn't use it considering how invaluable it is. Mansa was also known for building the great universities in the cities of Timbuktu and Djenne. How did he do it all?
9: March 24, 2010 Dear Diary, Upon further research, I learned about another kingdom: Songhai. Songhai was once a part of Mali. This was until Songhai broke off and won its independence. Suni Ali Ber was one of the kings that made Songhai the most well known kingdom it was. He was the first king to equip his army with horses. The army consisted of 200,000 people. They were stationed in provinces which provided safe trade. He divided his country into two sections. One section consisted of those who worshiped original Songhai gods. The other section consisted of mostly Muslim. Suni conquered much of Mali’s former territory. But it wasn't long (mid-1500s to be more specific) before the states Songhai conquered began reasserting their independence.
11: This diary contains all that I’ve learned while I’ve been in Africa. Well, not everything. Just the research that I’ve been doing as well as small snippets of me talking to myself in written form. I almost don't want to leave this continent. There's so much I haven't seen and so much I want to learn. But it looks like I’ll have to store that curiosity away for now. I’m going home. But I’ll return again... someday.
13: April 23, 2011 Dear Diary, I can’t believe it’s been this long since I’ve touched this diary. Be that as it may, I have exciting news. I’m travelling again! This time I’m going to visit East Africa for two weeks. I’m going to be visiting the East Coast of Africa and learn about the Swahilian Culture, the Kongo Kingdom, and Great Zimbabwe. This time, I’m not going to be doing any extra traveling like I did last year. That’s only because when I did that before, the bank almost came and took all of my things. So, I’m leaving in 2 days and I haven't started packing. Better get started.
15: April 28, 2011 Dear Diary, I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun. Well I can, but that was last year in West Africa. So, I will be staying here in the East Coast for another day. The culture here is so colorful, their traditional dresses and their language is so interesting. I found out that the people here all came from a migration, called the Bantu Migration. These people (which I have no idea what they are) migrated from Central Africa. I learned that they were great traders. They traded with Indian, Asian and Arab traders. This is how they mostly gained some money. Also this trade with foreigners allowed for cultural blend. The Arab cultural blend allowed for many new ideas to be introduced to the Swahilian culture. For example, the thought of land being owned by individual owners and not a community, plus the clothing changed to Islam fashion. This has got to be one of the most interesting cultures ever, all of the mixture of new ideas, just makes me so excited!
19: April 30, 2011 Dear Diary, My journey through Africa is coming to an end. This is my second to last stop before I head home. I've arrived in Great Zimbabwe, not to be confused with modern-day Zimbabwe. Modern-day Zimbabwe was one of the greatest Bantu Kingdoms and arose in the late 1400’s. It was centered on a settlement called Great Zimbabwe. It was a major trading center. One of the tour guides mentions that its name comes from the word “zimbabwe”, a Shona term for the house of a chief. Luckily, because I am a historian, I was given the opportunity to view what’s left of Great Zimbabwe’s ruins, including the remains of religious structures and royal residences. Their most famous structure is the Great Enclosure. It’s enormous! It is a huge wall that they think surrounded and protected a school. They architectural design is awe-inspiring! I can’t believe all of this greatness started to go downhill so soon. Europeans began to migrate south along the African coast. They were looking for new trade opportunities. With this, the slave trades had begun.
21: May 3, 2011 Dear Diary, After learning about Great Zimbabwe, I just had to learn about the last Kingdom that was located in East Africa: The Kongo Kingdom. This Kingdom was located in Central Africa, thus having very little to no contact with Muslim Berber, Arab and Asian trades. Their first contact was, however, with Europeans; Portuguese to be exact. At that time, the king of Kongo was Afonso. He allowed trade with the Portuguese, mostly spice trade. This allowed for long distance sailing and search for India. The trade with the Portuguese did them very good in their economy, as they had no one else to trade with. King Afonso was determined to develop his kingdom into a powerful one. On his voyage, a Portuguese sailor going to Kongo lost four of his men due to Afonso. That is why he captured four Kongolese men. Later, both sides released the captives, and they all went home. Slave trading was also a common factor between the two kingdoms. A couple of times, the Portugese sent mercenaries to assassin Afonso. This was a turning point between the two and their relationship was never the same again. This ruined their trade diplomacy's, and as a result, the Kongo Kingdom was very weakened.
23: Works Cited
25: Home is where there's someone to love, and someone to love us.