Course/Grade Level: 10 th Grade World History

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Course/Grade Level: 10th Grade World History

Unit III: Golden Ages

Lesson 4: Africa

Suggested Time: 1 day – 45-50 minutes
I. What do we want the student to know?

A. Instructional Objective:

  1. Summarize the major political, cultural, and economic developments of classical civilizations of sub-Saharan. (WH6A)

  1. Overview:

This lesson will help students understand the political, economic, and social developments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  1. Key Vocabulary



Matrilineal: tracing lineage through the mother rather than the father

Patrilineal: tracing lineage through the father

  1. Resources and Materials

  • World History Glencoe textbook, pg. 220-243, Golden Ages of Africa PPT, Sub-Saharan Africa 4-Square, NPR story “On the Edge, Timbuktu”, Map, Teacher Resources On the Edge Teacher Resource

II. How will we know if they know?

  1. Critical Questions

  • How did empires develop and extend their control over other peoples?

  • How did cultural contributions of major non-European civilizations affect political, economic, and cultural development?

  • How did interregional communication and trade lead to increased cultural exchanges among diverse peoples?

  1. Exit Slip: Answer 2 questions 1) Compare trade in Africa with trade in the Byzantine Empire. 2) How did Islam spread from the Middle East to Africa?

  1. What will we do to get them to learn?

A. Focus

    1. Map – create thematic map of Sub-Saharan African empires and religions (Using page 232 or PPT)

B. Instructional Activities

  1. Hand out 4-square for students to record political, religious, & social developments

  2. Show and discuss slides of Golden Ages in Africa PPT.

    1. Political developments – trading kingdoms (N) and stateless societies (S)

    2. Religious developments – ID on map Christian and Muslim kingdoms; emphasize spread of Islam.

    3. Social Developments

      1. matrilineal & patrilineal societies

      2. Slavery as an African institution long before it was spread by European traders; emphasize later role of Europeans

    4. Primary Documents 1-2 – read, summarize, and infer (note significance of document)

    5. Economic Developments – gold-salt and slave trade

    6. Primary Documents 3-4: read, summarize, and infer (note significance of document)

    7. Show pictures of modern-day Sub-Saharan African salt trade

  1. Closure: Have students complete two Exit questions at bottom of 4-Square

        • Compare trade in Africa with trade in the Byzantine Empire.

        • How did Islam spread from the Middle East to Africa?

  1. How will I differentiate the lesson to meet the needs of each learner?

  1. ELL and Special Ed students: None necessary

  2. G/T students: None necessary.


Political Notes

Religion Notes

Social Notes

Primary Document 1:
Primary Document 2:

Economic Notes

Primary Document 3:
Primary Document 4:

Visual Representation of Economic

Or Social Developments

  1. Compare trade in Africa with trade in the Byzantine Empire.

  1. How did Islam spread from the Middle East to Africa?

On the Edge, Timbuktu from NPR website
Project to Document Vanishing Cultures Begins
Mali is the starting point. Camel caravans carrying salt operate in the desert there as they have for a thousand years. Situated at the southern edge of the Sahara in Mali is the legendary city of Timbuktu. A millennium ago, caravans with gold, slaves and spices left Timbuktu to cross the desert to reach the Mediterranean. They would return with goods from Europe, and with salt from Sahara mines -- and with scholars and books.

The salt mined in the Sahara and carried on the backs of camels for trade in Timbuktu helped turn the city into a medieval intellectual center. The traders need accountants, and they turned to Islamic scribes, who were known as trustworthy.

But as ships displaced caravans and mechanized mining elsewhere made salt plentiful, Timbuktu became destitute. Malian historians are now trying to preserve the city's ancient libraries, which are filled with hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, covering subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, Islamic sciences and treaties. This is just one example of a vanishing cultural legacy that Davis and Rainier have come to document.

"What will be lost ultimately?" Davis reflects. "Will the world stop? No. Will people in Philadelphia be poorer for it? Perhaps not. But when you take the salt caravan as one example, and all the intuitions of the spiritual world of (Timbuktu), all the notions of adaptation to the diverse habitats of the world, all the hopes and prayers of all the possibilities of all the people that have ever evolved on the face of this brilliant Earth, add those all together, and clearly we would be weaker if that was all reduced to a single modality of thought."

Open pit mines, Toudaeni, mine slabs of salt, only other things there is little huts built of salt blocks
Mali: Buktu's Well

• 1100 A.D., Timbuktu. A Tuareg tribeswoman named Buktu settles by a well for seasonal camp (Timbuktu literally meaning Buktu's well).

• Nomads and caravans traveling the Saharan trade route stop to use the well.

• Timbuktu becomes a place for merchants to sell goods to travelers who stop at the well on their way through.

• Caravans carry salt, gold and other goods to Timbuktu where merchants transport it down the Niger River to Mopti and other parts of Africa.

• During the early 13th century, the city founded by Tuaregs becomes increasingly popular for the gold and salt trades and is captured by the Malian Empire.

• During the 14th century, Timbuktu becomes a major trading center, connecting North and West Africa.

• Arab merchants traveling from Northern to Western Africa introduced Islam to the area. Modern-day Mali is more than 90 percent Muslim.

The expedition starts in Mali's medieval city of Timbuktu and travels up into the great Sahara.

Sand clouds the skies of the Mali desert town Araouane. A Mali camel herder.

Herders pack salt onto a camel to sell at a port town on the Niger River.

For hundreds of years, salt mined from the Sahara made Timbuktu a center of trade.

A woman sells lemons in a Timbuktu market. The ancient city was once a rich and prosperous center of trade, with caravans of salt, spices, gold -- and slaves -- passing through. But as the shipping industry and mechanized mining developed around the world, Timbuktu's glory faded.

Born in Mali, Issa Mohamed is now a businessman with a family in California. He recently returned to his home on a spiritual quest, and turned the visit into a lifelong personal mission. Through the Timbuktu Heritage Institute, Mohamed is trying to raise funds to preserve the city's thousands of ancient manuscripts.

The desert village of Araouane lies 70 miles north of Timbuktu. Just a scattering of mud-brick buildings and a mosque, the ancient town has little changed over the past 1,000 years old. The woman pictured above has lived her entire life in Araouane. She says the sand and the wind are a constant: Every morning she shovels the sand away from her door, just as her mother and mother's mother did.

A project led by Wade Davis and photographer Chris Rainier seeks to document cultures that have endured for centuries, such as those in the desert towns of Mali. Pictured here, Araouane.

Araouane is on an ancient and unmarked trade route through the desert to salt mines in the southern Sahara. The wind often clouds the sky with dust and sand.

A camel caravan heads for the salt mines of Taoudenni.

Caravans of up to 100 camels still travel 500 miles north of Timbuktu to Taoudenni, where they pick up slabs of salt chopped from underneath the desert floor. Here, an entrance into a salt mine. Miners use pick-axes to chop 90-pound slabs from the pits, some of which stretch for two kilometers.

It's a 15-day walk from Timbuktu for a caravan to reach the salt mines. The slabs are loaded onto camels that carry them to port towns along the Niger River, where they're sold. For every four slabs a miner digs, three go to pay for the caravans. Miners say they'd like to quit, as do the caravan workers. The work is too hard and pays too little, but their hope is that their children can go to school and grow up to work in banks.

The Taoudenni salt trade continues, in part, because West Africans say it's the best salt in the world. But the trade may be changing as some try to use trucks instead of camels to transport the salt. The problem is trucks frequently breakdown in the desert and require expensive maintenance.

The salt trade is hard work -- and dangerous. The Radio Expeditions team traveled with several armed guards to discourage bandits as they traveled through the Sahara.

Radio Expeditions' NPR executive producer, Carolyn Jensen on location in Mali.
Photo: Alex Chadwick All other photos by Carol Jensen
Ibn Battuta was born in Morocco in 1304. When he was 21 years old, he went on a pilgrimage to Makkah. He spent the next 24 years wandering throughout Africa and Asia. In writing an account of his travels, he provided modern readers with an accurate description of conditions in the fourteenth century.
We arrived after 25 days at Taghaza. It is a village with no good in it. Among its curiosities is the fact that the construction of its houses is of rock salt with camel skin roofing and there are no trees in it, the soil is just sand. In it is a salt mine. It is dug out of the ground and is found there in huge slabs, one on top of another as if it had been carved and put under the ground. A camel can carry two slabs of salt. Nobody lives in the village except slaves who dig for the salt and live on dates and on the meat of camels that is brought from the land of the blacks. The blacks arrive from their country and carry away the salt from there. The blacks exchange the salt as money as one would exchange gold and silver. They cut it up and trade with it in pieces. In spite of the insignificance of the village of Taghaza, much trading goes on in it. We stayed in it 10 days in miserable conditions, because its water is bitter and it is of all places the most full of flies. In it water is drawn for the entry into the desert which comes after it. This desert is a traveling distance of 10 days and there is no water in it, except rarely. But we found much water in it in pools left behind by the rains. One day we found a pool of sweet water between two hillocks of rocks. We quenched our thirsts from it and washed our clothes. In that desert truffles are abundant. There are also so many lice in it that people put strings around their necks in which there is mercury which kills the lice. In those days we used to go ahead in front of the caravan. When we found a place suitable for pasture we would let the animals pasture.”

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