African Cultures Past Project

Ancient Civilizations of Africa.

Great Zimbabwe

Social/Culture Information
  • The people believed in spirits.
  • People who died without funeral rites were known as Shaves in the afterlife.
  • People that had been murdered or mistreated were known as Ngozis.
Economic Information
  • Industry consisted of cattle raising, farming, weaving, pottery, iron working, ivory carving, and gold mining.
  • Both men and women worked.
Geographic Information
  • Located inland from the south eastern coast of Africa.
  • Rich in minerals like granite, iron, copper, and gold.
  • Large amounts of rain are common.
Political Information
  • Is ruled by a king.
  • Elected local chiefs to look over smaller areas of land.

Coastal City States

Social/Culture Information
  • Islamic Religion
  • Houses built with flat roofs and porches.
  • Shell fish was important to their diet.
Economic Information
  • Kilwa produced cotton fabric, aragonite beads, honey, and coconuts.
  • Kilwa had the largest port of all Swahili states.
Geographic Information
  • Located along the Indian Ocean.
  • Coasts were very swampy.
  • Only small parts of land were suitable for farming.
Political Information
  • Government had elected officials who oversaw trade, tax shipments, regulated ports, docks, and exchange centers.

Kingdom of Kongo

Social/Culture Information
  • Zambi was the supreme god for the Kongo Kingdom.
  • Native language was Kikongo.
Economic Information
  • Survive on agricultural production, fishing, and hunting.
  • Slaves, ivory, and copper were traded to Europeans on the coast.
  • Government collected taxes and fines from people.
Geographic Information
  • The Congo river is one of he worlds longest rivers.
  • Congo's capital, is surrounded by rain forests.
  • Congo's river's Basin consisted of forests, marshes, swamps, lakes, and many smaller rivers.
Political Information
  • Had a King and Governors.
  • King is elected by a group of Governors which are elected by the people.
  • Court consisted of numerous male relatives of the King.


Social/Culture Information
  • Were a mixture of farmers, traders, fishermen, and warriors, who rebelled Malli's leaders.
  • Encouraged people to become Muslim.
  • Islam is the official religion.
Economic Information
  • Attracted many traders, especially Muslim traders.
  • Had access to salt and gold mines.
Geographic Information
  • Located along the Niger River.
  • Near the Sahara Desert.
Political Information
  • Ruled by Muslim rulers.