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Kingdoms and Trading States of East Africa
Transcript of Kingdoms and Trading States of East Africa
Chapter 11 Section 3
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 of the region.
Their influences played a large role in Ethiopia's development
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.
These cities included:
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 rules 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
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.
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
came to power in Ethiopia in the early 1200s. He directed the building of 11 "underground" churches.
These churches were completely carved out of solid rock in the ground and then sculpted into masterpieces. It shows the architectural and artistic skill of his craftsmen.
One of eleven, this church is called Beta Ghiogis or The House of George.
Building palaces and large walls was common here!
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 Egyptians local customs, as well as their music and dance.
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 descent from 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:
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.
This caused cultural diffusion!
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.
This is a picture of an old palace in Kilwa
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.
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 was born into a family of the Muslim faith. 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, and 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. 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.
His book....newly translated, of course...
: An African kingdom/trading port
It's located southeast of Nubia, from the mountains to the Red Sea.
Axum had contof the Red Sea and having that control led to wonderful things, such as allowing them to control trade, which made them rich!
In the 300s, Christianity came to Axum. King Ezana, the king of Axum, 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.
Many of African rulers totally embraced this new religion. Islam created strong cultural ties across most of the continent. While all these kingdoms were converting, Axum remained Christian. Unfortunately, this caused them to become isolated from their own trade network.
Axum Goes Down The Toilet....
Axum eventually declined...and I'm sure you can guess the reasons. 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.
What influence did the religion and trade have on the development East Africa?
This is an example of the animal skins they traded...