Unit 1: Origins of the African Diaspora   

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African American Studies

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43 Terms

1

African American Studies

An interdisciplinary field that analyzes the history, culture, and politics of people of African descent in the U.S. and throughout the African diaspora.

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2

Africa's Shifting Perceptions

The changing views of Africa, from primitive to recognizing its contributions to humanity.

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3

Interdisciplinary Analysis in African American Studies

Dispelling notions of Africa as undocumented or unknowable, highlighting its complex societies and global connections.

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4

Human Origins in Africa

The belief that human origins can be traced back to Africa, with Homo sapiens emerging 200,000 years ago.

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5

Black Campus Movement

Black students' demand for greater opportunities to study Black history and experiences, leading to the establishment of Black Studies departments.

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6

Africa's Geographic Diversity

Africa's diverse climate zones, including the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean.

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7

Major Rivers of Africa

The Niger River, Congo River, Zambezi River, Orange River, and Nile River, connecting regions throughout the continent.

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8

Trade and Migration in Africa

The movement of people, goods, and ideas facilitated by major water routes and diverse climate zones.

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9

Bantu Expansion

The migration of Bantu-speaking peoples throughout Africa, spreading their linguistic influences.

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10

Ancient African Societies

The emergence of complex, large-scale societies in Africa, including Egypt, Nubia, Aksum, and the Nok society.

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11

Sudanic Empires

Ghana, Mali, and Songhai:The rise and expansion of the Sudanic empires, known for their gold mines and strategic trade routes.

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12

Mansa Musa and the Mali Empire

The influential rule of Mansa Musa, who established Mali as a center for trade, learning, and cultural exchange.

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13

Songhai Empire

The largest of the Sudanic empires, which declined due to the shift in trade routes and European influence.

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14

Timbuktu

A cosmopolitan center of trade and Islamic learning in the Mali Empire, with a hub for Mediterranean merchants and numerous schools.

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15

African American Studies and Political Claims

The role of research on Africa's ancient societies in supporting Africans' political claims for self-rule and independence.

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16

Mansa Musa

The ruler of the Mali Empire who was known for his wealth and influence, as depicted in the Catalan Atlas.

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17

Catalan Atlas

A map created by a cartographer from Spain that details the wealth and influence of Mansa Musa and the Mali Empire.

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18

Mali Empire

An empire in West Africa that served as a center for trade and had a significant influence of Islam on its society.

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19

Ghana Empire

An ancient empire located in present-day Mauritania and Mali, known for its wealth and trade in gold.

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20

Soninke people

A group of people who lived in the Ghana Empire and were known for their ability to wage constant warfare with iron weapons.

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21

Trade across the Sahara

The interaction and exchange of goods between West African societies and sub-Saharan Islamic people facilitated by the Sahara Desert.

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22

Griots

Prestigious historians, storytellers, and musicians in West African societies who preserved and shared the community's history, traditions, and cultural practices.

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23

Great Zimbabwe

The capital city of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe in Southern Africa, known for its large stone architecture and its role in long-distance trade.

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24

Swahili Coast

The coastal region of East Africa, stretching from Somalia to Mozambique, known for its city-states and trade with Arab, Persian, Indian, and Chinese communities.

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25

Kingdom of Kongo

A powerful West Central African kingdom that voluntarily converted to Roman Catholicism and had a significant role in the transatlantic slave trade.

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26

Kongo

Wealth derived from salt/iron and trade with interior African states.

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27

Extended Kinship

Many early West and Central African societies were composed of family groups held together by extended kinship ties, forming the basis for political alliances.

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28

Lineage

West African clan in which members claim descent from a single ancestor, often with a mythical personage, one per village.

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29

Matrilineal

Social rank and property passed through the female line, with the village chief succeeded by the sister's son.

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30

Women's Roles

Women played various roles in West and Central African societies, including spiritual leaders, political advisors, market traders, educators, and agriculturalists.

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31

Sexual Freedom

Sexual freedom in West Africa was greater than in Europe and Asia, allowing for close friendships between men.

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32

Sande

Secret society that initiated girls into adulthood, providing sex education and emphasizing female virtue.

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33

Family Structure

Families in West Africa could be nuclear or polygynous, with strict incest taboos and separate houses for husband and wife.

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34

Queen Njinga

Queen of the kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba, engaged in guerilla warfare against the Portuguese to maintain sovereignty and control of her kingdom.

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35

Queen Idia

First iyoba (queen mother) in the Kingdom of Benin, served as a political advisor to her son, the king.

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36

Hierarchical Societies

Most West Africans lived in hierarchical societies under monarchs, with nobles, warriors, bureaucrats, and peasants.

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37

Slavery

Slavery was common in hierarchical West African societies, with slaves being war captives without rights.

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38

Assimilation

Slaves in West Africa had low social status but could gain employment and privileges, and slaves of peasant farmers shared a standard of living with their masters.

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39

Global Africans

Trade between West African kingdoms and Portugal for gold, goods, and enslaved people grew steadily in the 15th century, increasing the presence of Europeans in West Africa and Africans in Lisbon and Seville.

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40

African Elites

African elites, including ambassadors and the children of rulers, traveled to Mediterranean port cities for diplomatic, educational, and religious reasons, serving in various roles.

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41

Chafariz d'El Ray

Depicts Joao de Sa Panasco, an African Portuguese knight, with two African noblemen, highlighting the equality between African and European societies before the slave trade.

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42

Portuguese Colonization

The Portuguese colonized the Atlantic islands of Cabo Verde and São Tomé in the mid-fifteenth century, establishing plantations using enslaved African labor.

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43

Slave Labor-Based Economies

By 1500, about 50,000 enslaved Africans had been removed from the continent to work on Portuguese-colonized Atlantic islands and in Europe, serving as a model for slave labor-based economies in the Americas.

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