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Kingdoms and Trading States of East Africa

Chapter 11, Section 3

Dan Priest

on 10 May 2016

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Transcript of Kingdoms and Trading States of East Africa

Kingdoms and Trading States of East Africa
Axum: center of goods and ideas
East African City-States
Ethiopia: A Christian Outpost
Axum's decline in political and economic power did not effect their religious and cultural influence on the region
Their influences played a large role in Ethiopia's development

The term
was used by the Axumite kings when they referred to the Axum kingdom as a whole.
As Axum declined, a string of commercial cities gradually come to life along the East African coast. Including:
Arab and Persian merchants set up Muslim communities here.
An Isolated Ethiopia
Medieval Ethiopia was surrounded by rugged mountains. The descendants of the Axumites were able to maintain independence because these mountains protected them. This helped them establish a culture that was different from the neighboring people.
A lot of port cities, as well as some offshore islands (Lamu and Zanzibar) were located in the perfect spot for trade with Asia. The result of this was more mixing of cultures.
During the 500-600s the sailors had figured out that that annual monsoon seasons could carry their ships between India and Africa. Some East Africa rulers took advantage of this opportunity by welcoming other ships to their land.

The traders that came from Arabia, Persia, and China acquired ivory, leopard skins, iron, copper, gold, and enslaved people to trade.
What are the stone houses of

Great Zimbabwe
They are massive stone ruins, built to show the kings' power.

The looming walls, large palace, and cone-shaped towers used to be part of the capital of an inland island.
Traders from India, China and Southeast Asia brought cotton cloth, silk, spices, porcelain, glassware, and swords to the East African coast.
King lalibela
Trade Brings wealth

By A.D. 400, Axum controlled trading between Africa, India, and the Mediterranean world at the port of
on the Red Sea.

People from Central Africa brought ivory, animal hides, and gold to trade.

India and the Mediterranean brought iron, spices, precious stones, and cotton cloth.
Inland capital of trade

King Lalibela

came to power in Ethiopia in the early 1200s. He directed the building of 11 "underground" churches.
One of eleven, this church is called Beta Ghiogis, or The House of St. George.
Cultural Diffusion
Building palaces and large walls was common in Zimbabwe.

The capital reached its height at about 1300, by then it was crawling with people and their resources of gold were at a high.
Despite the isolation, The Holy Land was still a big thing for Ethiopians. They kept ties with it through Christian communities from Egypt. The Ethiopian people adapted some of the Egyptian local customs, as well as their music and dance.
Zimbabwe's government
We don't know much about their government, but after some studying on artifacts/architecture, people believe they had a god-king who ruled over everyone.

Aside from the king, they possibly could have had separate rulers for each part of land.
Judaism in Ethiopia
Ethiopian kings claimed to be descendants of the Israelite king Solomon and the queen of Sheba.
The Ethiopian Jews, called the Falasha, lived in the mountains until a long famine in the 1900s.
And the Inevitable decline
Around 1500 was when the empire began to decline. Scholars believe that the growing population was too much for them to handle.

Other reasons for decline include:
Civil wars
Constant traders coming there
Portuguese traders were invading, and trying to find the supply of gold
All different types of people came to Axum. Greek, Egyptian, Arab, and Jewish people mingled with traders from Africa, India, and other regions.
Trade was not only beneficial to merchants. It helped local rulers build city-states that were strong and independent.

The relationships between the city-states were pretty peaceful, even though they were competing for power.

Trade shapes swahili
The successful trade system led to the birth of a vibrant culture and a new language called

By the 1000s many of the city-states grew in wealth and size. Traders from the Middle East and Asia began settling in the trading states like Kilwa and Zanzibar.
More People, More Culture
As more and more people settled in the city-states, a lot of cultural diffusion occurred. The East African culture adapted cultural elements from the new settlers, and vice versa.
An example of how the cultures mixed is seen in their architecture.
This is a picture of a building in modern day Tanzania. It shows the mix in East African and Arabic architecture.
ibn battuta
Ibn Battuta was born into a family of the Muslim faith in Morocco. He was
, or a Muslim judge.

After he finished his education when he was 21, he decided to make the hajj. His journey started out kind of rough, but it ended up being one of the greatest journeys of medieval times.

He traveled for about 30 years and ended up visiting a lot of Southwest Asia, West Africa, southern Russia, India, and China.

In the 300s, Christianity came to Axum. King Ezana converted and decided to make it their official religion.

At first, Christianity strengthened the ties between Axum, North Africa, and the Mediterranean world. However, about three hundred years later, Islam started to spread across North Africa.
Axum Alone
Many of African rulers totally embraced this new religion. Islam created strong cultural ties across most of the continent.

While all of these kingdoms were converting, Axum remained Christian. Unfortunately, this caused them to become isolated from their own trade network.
Axum about it
Like all kingdoms, Axum eventually declined.

There were civil wars and economic decline. These combined make Axum weaker, and eventually they didn't have enough power to keep their heads above water.
This was recorded in the book
The Glory of Kings.
It was reinforced by the fact that some Ethiopians practiced Judaism instead of Christianity.
Trade Centers Flourish
Kilwa was the most successful of all the city-states. Someone who visited there described it as "one of the most beautiful and well-constructed towns in the world."
The ruins were built by Bantu-speaking people who settled in that region in between 900 and 1500.

When they came, they brought with them iron, mining methods, and improved farming skills. Early settlers of the Bantu-speaking people would raise cattle, and built large stone enclosures to protect their livestock.
Who built it?
The trading caused a lot of cultures to mix. This mixing of cultures formed a new language called Geez.
Oh Geez

Focus Question
What influence did religion and trade have on the development of East Africa?
Chapter 11 Section 3
: An African kingdom/trading port
Located southeast of Nubia, from the mountains to the Red Sea

Axum had control of the Red Sea and having that control led to wonderful things, such as allowing them to control trade, which made them rich.

"The churches at Lalibela are clustered in two major groups, one representing the earthly Jerusalem, and the other representing the heavenly Jerusalem. Located directly between them is a trench representing the River Jordan."
Traveling Through
While traveling, he got very wealthy and became well known. He met kings and holy men, including the Byzantine emperor and the sultan of Delhi. He obviously met ordinary people, too.

After his journey he wrote a book called
. In his book he describes the unique trading tradition of Mogadishu and the "infidels" of China.
is Swahili for "lion"
is Swahli for "foolish"
is Swahili for "my friend"
is Swahili for "savage"
is Swahili for "skulk" or "lurk"
is Swahili for "mirage"
is Swahili for "beloved one" or "gift"
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