brad brace

3/3/2006

africa note4

Filed under: kenya — admin @ 7:14 am

Created 02/03/2006 2:54 am

Because humans evolved in Africa, their parasites and diseases
are uniquely prevalent there too. Disease spreads rapidly among
people congregating in large numbers and has been a major
constraint on the establishment of urban centers in Africa. —
throughout the grater part of its evolutionary history, the human
population of Africa has lived in relatively small groups.
demonstrating that people are perfectly capable o living
peacefully in small communities for millennia without establishing
cities and states.

— Subsistence farming in Africa often demands more labor than can
fed with the food that farmers produce, but where conditions have
been amenable, innovative agricultural practices have overcome
this problem and established a highly successful community. Until
comparatively recently recent times, elephants have been a major
constraint on agricultural developments in Africa. — ukara is
an island lying off the south-eastern shore of lake victoria
Bambara-Nuts — Crops, cattle and iron formed the matrix around
which African society and economy developed. A gerontocratic
social order prevailed. Salt probably stimulated the first
instances of long-distance trade between groups, camels
facilitated the exploitation of Sahara deposits. — The ancient
settlement of Igbo-Ukwu in Nigeria was an outpost of West Africa’s
long-distance trade routes. The inroads of the trans-Saharan gold
trade stimulated the inception of centralized states in the Sahel;
environmental constraints predicated their demise. — Chinua
Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart 1958 — The idea that generations
of Africans enjoyed congenial lives in well-integrated, smoothly
functioning societies prior to the era of European exploitation is
widespread but wrong. Few communities had sufficient labour to
satisfy their needs. Life was arduous and unpredictable. Slavery
was commonplace. — A history of slavery in Africa claims that
between 30 and 60 per cent of the entire population were slaves
during historical times. If this is correct, the number of people
enslaved in Africa far exceed the number taken from the continent
by the slave trade. In fact, given the volume of the demand of
slaves within the continent, the shipping of slaves across the
Atlantic should be seen as an extension fo the internal market. —
Bananas and plantains, introduced to Africa from southeast Asia
more than 2,000 years ago, produce high yields with minimal
labour. They revolutionized food production throughout the
equatorial regions and rapidly became a staple food–most
especially in Uganda, where cattle simultaneously became valued as
symbols of prestige and wealth. — Cattle converted grass into
times of wealth that could be owned, exchanged and inherited. In
the extensive grasslands of southern Africa a new order of values
emerged, characterized by a degree of social stratification that
is epitomized at Great Zimbabwe. The gold trade initiated by Arabs
calling on the East African coast introduced a disruptive dynamic
to the region. — Chinese fleets visited East Africa in the early
fifteenth century and took a giraffe back to Beijing in 1415;
Portuguese caravels began exploring the coast of West Africa
during the same period. The Portuguese sought gold, but found
Africans willing to supply slaves as well. Nearly 1,000 African
men, women an children were shipped to Portugal between 1441 an
1446. — The Portuguese outflanked the trans-Sahara gold trade
when they reached the Gold Coast (modern Ghana) in 1472. The first
European buildings in Africa were erected in El Mina (the mine)
with materials imported from Europe; gold and slave-trading
contacts were firmly established in east Africa while the Portuguese
carried European influence around the southern tip of the
continent: the Cape of Good Hope. — Though Europeans first
Visited Ethiopia in 1407, Ethiopians had been visiting Europe since
1306 at the latest. These early visitors told of a great Christian
king, Prester John, who ruled Ethiopia. Portuguese voyages around
the continent were intended to make contact with Prester John and
gain his support for the Christian crusade against Islam. — The
Portuguese harnessed Africa to Europe. The continent and its
people were assessed in terms o their significance to Europe, but
the stress of ecological imperatives on human society in Africa
remains strikingly evident fro documentary evidence, which joins
archaeology as the principal sources on African history. —
European descriptions of rich and densely populated kingdoms
notwithstanding, the exigencies of human ecology kept Africa
thinly populated. Rural settlements were dispersed, urban centres
small, population growth rates low–but the foreign demand for
slaves became relentless. — Over nine million slaves were shipped
across the Atlantic between 1431 and 1870. Another million or more
did not survive the voyage, wile untold numbers died on the
journey from their point of capture to the coast. Europe’s taste
for sugar was the principal incentive of the trade. — island
Goree off-present-dat Dakar stories of white men from the ships
eating their black captives were legion in the slave homelands.
huge copper kettles stood boiling on the foredecks, they had been
told; African meat was salted, and fed to the crew; red wine was
African blood; cheese was made from African brans; the victims’
bones were burned and became the ashlike, lethal grey powder that,
when placed in iron tubes, transformed itself back into the flames
from which it had come and spewed pain an destruction against any
who tried, unprepared, to resist their demands… — African
entrepreneurs grew prosperous on the slave trade; slaves were
exchanged for European goods by barter–a fickle method of trade
to which the cowrie shell brought a standard measure of value when
it was introduced from the Maldives n the 1510s. — African
chiefs and wealthy elites took people whom customary practice ha
enslaved within the indigenous economy, where the practice
bestowed at least a measure of benefit on all parties, and sold
them abroad for goods that brought little benefit ao anyone other
than the traders themselves–the inflow of foreign goods
seriously disrupted the development of indigenous economies. Like
asset-strippers on Wall Street, African slave-traders plundered
the accumulating human resources over which they had gained
control wit no thought for the wider implications and long-term
consequences of their actions. They sold their brothers, their
cousins, their neighbors, the only conceivable justification
being that slaves were a commonplace feature of African
society–chattels, valued less highly than the goods offered by
European traders. — The significance o the slave trade for Africa
lay less in the number of people lost than in the changed social
patterns an reproductive capabilities of those who remained behind.
The importation of firearms had a profound effect on these
developments/ — The slave trade commercialized African
economies; after abolition indigenous slavery kept the economies
turning–throughout the continent the incidence of slavery
increased. — french island of Saint-Domingue

Climate exercised a major influence on the slave trade, with both
good and bad conditions serving to maintain the trade. The effect
continued in the aftermath, when African economies relied upon a
work force of about 6 million slave in total, and annual
recruitment was ten times the number shipped form the continent
each year while the Atlantic trade was at its height. — When the
Dutch established a permanent settlement at the Cape in the 1650s
the introduction of European land-use strategies clashed with
those of the indigenous population. Conflict was inevitable. —
The British took control of the Cape form the Dutch in 1806, and
in 1820 shipped 4,000 settlers to the eastern frontier as a buffer
against advancing Xhosa populations. The Xhosa wanted land, the
settlers desperately needed labour–a conflict of interest that
was exacerbated by treachery. — Massive population movements
which convulsed southern Africa in the early 1800s have been
attributed to the formation and expansion of the Zulu state in
Natal. The predations of slave-traders shipping captives from
Delagoa Bay to Portuguese plantations in Brazil are a more likely
cause. — Edit | Delete | Back to Notepad

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