Ch. 13 pdf: Africa

by Cole Ison


Africa is the second largest continent on the world. An immense desert, the Sahara, stretches across most of North Africa. Along the northwestern edge of the Sahara lie the Atlas Mountains. In eastern Africa, mountains extend alongside great rifts. These rifts are long, deep valleys formed by the movement of the earth's crust.

The Ghana Empire

People of early Africa lived in small groups and farmed the land along the Niger River. After AD 300, the Soninke began to band together for protection against nomadic herders who wanted to move into the area. This banning together was the beginning of Ghana.

Later Empires

Like Ghana, Mali lay along the upper Niger River. This areas fertile soil helped Mali grow. Mali's location on the Niger River also allowed its people to control trade along the river. As a result, the empire grew rich and powerful. According to legend, Mali's rise to power began under a ruler named Sundiata.

Historical and Artistic Traditions

People of Africa did not use a writing system to pass down information. They told oral history this means it is a spoken record of past events.