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Religious centres e.g. Akhanaton in ancient Egypt and Timbuktu in the kingdom of Mali, which developed because of the religious activities that were conducted there. EARLY URBANIZATION IN AFRICA Name the earliest towns in Africa. The earliest towns in Africa were in Egypt along the NileValley, where food, water and communication were adequate. Among such towns were: Memphis, Heliopolis, Naqada, Thebes, Alexandria, Cairo. These early urban centres served as administrative, religious and commercial centres, where traders, manufacturers, craftsmen and professionals like teachers, judges and doctors were based. Urbanization in Egypt started in the year 3000BC, when the upper and the lower Egyptian kingdoms were united. CAIRO The city of Cairo developed about 2000 years ago from an old Greek settlement near Memphis, which was the capital of the pharaohs. In 642AD, the town was converted into a military settlement by Amir Ibn Al-As: the leader of Arab invaders. Al-As and his followers named the city Fustat. Around 942AD, the Fatimids: a Muslim group from Tunisia conquered Egypt. In 969AD, the Fatimids renamed Fustat and called it El Qahira, which means The Victorious. The name El Qahira was later corrupted into Cairo. Cairo subsequently became the centre of Egypt and was therefore attacked by several world powers, particularly the Syrians, the Turks and the French. Cairo had various classes of people. These included: The Amirs, which comprised wealthy landlords who enjoyed various privileges e.g. exemption from paying taxes.
67 Professionals such as traders, craftsmen, merchants, teachers, judges and government officials. The Felahins i.e. peasants, who had to pay taxes and were not allowed to move without their landlords‟ permission.The slaves, who owned least or no property. They were the lowest class. Explain the reasons for Cairo’s growth and development.(Explain the factors that led to emergence and growth of Cairo. Or: Explain how trade promoted Cairo‟s growth and development.)The following are among the factors that facilitated growth of Cairo into a major urban centre: Strategic location. Generally, the location of the Nile Delta was attractive to the Arabs, who sought to dominate the NileValley. From Cairo, they were able to launch expeditions upstream and receive reinforcements from Arabia. As one of the major cities in trans-Saharan trade, Cairo served as an outlet for products from the Sudanic to the Mediterranean and Arabian regions. Cairo participated in trade within the Nile Delta, which included trade-links with Upper Egypt and on both the Red sea and Mediterranean Sea as well as with Syria and Arabia. It was an important station on Pilgrims‟ journey to Mecca and Medina.It served as a harbour on the way that linked Upper Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.