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Chapter 26—West and Central Africa

• shifting agriculture: the practice of farming a site until the soil is exhausted, then moving on to a new site
• deforestation: The process of stripping the land of its trees
• desertification: The transformation of arable land into desert either naturally or through human intervention
• refugee: a person who flees his/her country to escape danger/unfair treatment
• landlocked: almost/entirely surrounded by land; cut off from the sea
• inland delta: an area of lakes, creeks, and swamps away from the ocean
• coup: the sudden overthrow of a ruler/gov., often involving violent force/the threat of force
• animism: the religious belief that such things as the sky, rivers, and trees contain gods or spirits
• World Bank: an agency of the United Nations that provides loans to countries for dev. projects
• International Monetary Fund: an agency of the United Nations that provides loans to countries for dev. projects
• structural adjustment program: a program to reform the structure of an economy
• watershed: a dividing ridge between 2 basins
• mercenary: a professional soldier hired by a foreign country
• barter: the exchange of goods w/out money

1. How were trade and learning important in the history of the Sahel (hint: old empires & kingdoms)?
• Trade Links and Empires
o N. + S. separated by dry region, but never entirely lost touch w/each other
o Merchants from north brought salt to trade for ivory, enslaved people, and gold
o B.cus of c. location—Sahel’s trade routes became a bridge between Mediterranean coast + rest of Africa
o Chief of people of the Sahel found wealth from taxing traders passing through their region
o B.C.E. 400—kingdom of Ghana emerged
• A Center of Learning
o Mali—under his rule Tombouctou became an important trading city—also dev. into cultural center, rich in
the knowledge + arts of Islam
o After Mali’s decline, Songhai Empire dominated—Tombouctrou reached height of intellectual influence—
judges, doctors, + clerics
2. Using the map on p.543, which regions of Africa were linked to Tombouctou by trade?
• Sahara as far as East coast, Mediterranean Sea, L. Chad, Niger R. Benue R. Senegal R.; other empires such as
Ghana, Mali, Songhai, and Hausa states; cities like Kano, Gao, Walata, Taodeni
3. What environmental challenges face the Sahel today?
• Farming
o Dry climate—grow crops during the short rainy season
o poor soil—shifting agriculture
• Herding
o Animals can destroy plants + trees when they graze too closely on the same range—overgrazing,
destroys plants that hold the sandy soil in place
o Demand of firewood for cooking + charcoal by a growing, urban pop. have damaged environment further
• Overgrazing
o Deforestation
o Desertification
o Droughts increase desertification at a frightening pace—people flee to refugee camps
o Most countries landlocked—no trade routes to receive foreign aid
4. What are three main goals of nations in the Sahel?
• Withstanding the harsh environment, developing natural resources, and making the most of their current human
resources + cultures
5. Which African nation has the greatest extent of highway?
• Chad
6. How has the geographic theme of location encouraged development in the coastal countries of West Africa?
• Wetter climate than Sahel—adequate rainfall = successful farming + growth of valuable trees
• Access to the sea—natural harbors offer great economic potential
• Global Trade Patterns
o Attracted European traders from 1400s—gold, ivory, palm oil, + enslaved people—new foreign trade
made Sahara less important
7. In which of these African nations does a newborn infant have the best chance of survival? Why?
• Cape Verde—lowest Infant Mortality Rate (48), highest Life Expectancy (70.5), lowest Pop./hospital bed (631)
• Not many are dying/becoming sick
8. Which country in the chart has the best overall healthcare? Why?
• Cape Verde
9. How have power struggles affected West African nations since independence?
• Shifts in Power
o When gov.s are weak, army often steps in and takes power—sometimes different groups within the army
fight for power
o Benin—6 coups took place form 1963 to 1972
o Despite signs 1 man rule was changing in early 1990s, democracy slowed
• Liberia
o Freed African-Americans set up an American-style constitution, overthrown by a military coup in 1980
o Mid 1990s—200,000 Liberians were killed, 100s of 1000s fled the country, and 1 mil. left homeless
o Armed gangs patrolled streets + civilians had no security
o As violence worsened, agencies like the United Nations withdrew b.cus soldiers were taking food +
medical supplies intended for civilians
o Peace came in 1996 with democratic elections—many Liberians returned to reconstruct their economy
• Sierra Leone’s Uncertain Future
o Years of political violence seemed to be coming to an end in 1996 w/free elections
o May 1997—rebels overthrew gov. + troops from neighboring countries invaded + restored democratic
leaders to power
o State of anarchy—banking failed, per capita GNP is $146—Today rebels control most precious resource:
diamonds
• People Power
o People are taking matters into their own hands to help economies
10. What role to females play in the economies of West African nations?
• Grow crops in a war against hunger
• Becoming owners of small businesses and markets where food is bought + sold
11. Describe cultural diversity in Nigeria.
• Patterns of Settlement
o Most powerful groups owned most valuable land
o Yoruba settled in s.w.
o Ibo settled in s.e.
o Hausa traders + Fulani herders controlled most fertile areas of n.
o Small, weak groups left to middle belt of country—least fertile lands
o 180+ lang. are spoken in middle belt, despite English being official lang. of Nigeria
• Pop. Movement
o Nigeria divided by Muslim + Christian pop.
o B.cus of vast differences in gov. practices, Muslim moving n. + Christians moving s.
12. How has military leadership affected economic and political conditions in Nigeria?
• Economic
o 1986—Nigeria began to follow structural adjustment program to be able to borrow money from the
World Bank + IMF
o Privatized + didn’t let wages + prices to rise
o General Sani Abacha ended structural adjustment program
• Political
o Students + workers often protested, calling for democratic elections
o 1993—military seemed about to give up, but elections kept going
o Suddenly military declared elections void—General Sani Abacha overthrew all opposition
o New constitution was est. + free elections finally held in 1999
13. In what ways do the physical characteristics of Central Africa affect movement in the region?
• The Big River
o Largest river is Congo (Zaire) River—flows inland for many miles—great living highway that provides
food, water, + transportation
o Cataracts in the northeast part block boats from travel—goods are carried overland by railroad
• Through Forest and Savanna
o Basin that feeds Congo—center has a dense rain forestpeople in the past stayed away from this dark +
forbidding maze of trees
o Savannas provide easy travel—people were able to conquer others, trade, or communicate w/out
obstacles
o Today, valuable wood can easily be harvest + exported along rivers/where a railroad has been carved
through a forest
• Kinshasa and Urbanization
o Migration has turned Kinshasa into a major world city
• Interdependence
o Kinshasa + Brazzaville share Congo R. that forms border
o CFA promotes trade, travel, + general interdependence among countries
14. What kinds of renewable and nonrenewable resources are in Central Africa?
• Renewable Resources
o Water—hydropowerOnce a river is dammed, fishing + farming downstream are never same + disease
increase
o Rainforests—also treated as nonrenewable resourcesupply lumber, give habitats to animals + plants,
absorb CO2,
• Nonrenewable Resources
o Minerals—D.R. of Congo has vast copper reserves, cobalt, diamonds
15. Describe political conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
• A Country Divided
o Country torn apart for 4 years as Belgian troops, U.N. forces, rebel armies, + mercenaries battled for
power
o Now called Zaire under dictator Mobutu Sese Seko
• Continuing Conflict
o Motubu allowed other political parties and a premier to rule in his place—after he was installed in office he
refused to give up power
o People resorted to barter goods to get basic necessities
o 1997—forces led by Lauren Kabila overthrew Mobutu’s govchanged name to Democratic Republic of
the Congo
o Civil war broke out, several opposition groups led uprisings against the gov.
o Cease-fire monitored by UN forces—future is uncertain