HIS 120 chapter summaries

HIS 120 chapter summaries - CHAPTER ONE SUMMARY Africa is...

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CHAPTER ONE SUMMARY Africa is an incredibly diverse region, incorporating different geographies, ethnicities, religions, political systems and cultures. The earliest hominids emerged in the savannah, or Sudan, region of Africa. Scholars disagree as to whether modern man (Homo sapiens) developed in Africa and then migrated to the rest of the world, or developed concurrently around the world from an African predecessor. However modern man emerged, historians agree that Africa continued to be a vital part of human culture. Egyptian society, in particular, played an especially important part in Greek development and all other Western cultures. West Africa, the ancestral home of many African Americans , contains two environmentally distinct areas – savannah and forest – each housing distinct cultures. Ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai exemplify the savannah cultures of West Africa. They typically engaged in more trade, and were larger, more powerful, and more urbanized than the forest region groups of the Senegambia, the Akan states, the Yoruba culture, and the Kingdom of Benin. The forest groups, however, played a very important role in the slave trade with the Europeans. People in West Africa generally lived in villages based on lineages or extended families in the early sixteenth century. Most made a living through farming, and generally possessed few material goods. Political power within villages could be passed down either matrilineally or patrilineally, although West African society remained patriarchal and male dominated. Women held some positions of power , and often had more sexual freedom than their European counterparts. West Africans captured enemies as slaves, often allowing them later to assimilate into their culture . Islam and a polytheistic, animistic indigenous religion integrated into West African culture. The region maintained vibrant art and literature, exemplified by fetishes and oral poets known as griots. Generalizations are difficult, however, as elements of culture varied not only by society, but also between the savannah regions and the forest.
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CHAPTER TWO: MIDDLE PASSAGE CHAPTER SUMMARY Portugal and Spain took an early lead in exploration among European countries in the fifteenth century. Europeans desperately needed labor in their “New World” colonies, but only focused on Africans after the Native American population succumbed to disease. Europeans discovered a thriving slave trade in Africa, and began to expand and develop it to meet their needs. Africans traded slaves to the Europeans for a variety of reasons, including rivalries among other tribes. The trade remained relatively small, however, until Columbus’s discovery and the subsequent development of plantation agriculture demanded labor.
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This note was uploaded on 06/28/2011 for the course HIS 120 taught by Professor Prof during the Spring '11 term at Parkland.

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HIS 120 chapter summaries - CHAPTER ONE SUMMARY Africa is...

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