Chapter 22 “Noth and west Africa"
Gabriel Pineda and Vicente Vásquez
Egypt's Religious Culture
Egypt is across the Red Sea from Arabia Saudi. Islam is the mayor religion in Egypt and it's their official language.
Muslims believe that the Quran contain the words of God and that they were revealed to Muhammad during the month of Ramadan. Muslims pray five times a day, often in a mosque, a building used for worship.
An Islamic Renewal
Praying and fasting are two ways that Egyptian Muslims have brought their religion into their daily lives. While most Muslims believe that the laws of Egypt should be based on Islamic law, there is some disagreement among Egyptians.
Diversity of Life in Egypt
Egypt people share the common bond of their religious practice, their lives differ greatly depending on whether they live in a city or a rural village. About half of all Egyptians live in cities. Cairo city is Africa's largest city. Many people move to the cities from rural areas. People hope to find jobs and better education. As a result Cairo is very crowded.
In the rural areas of Egypt, most people live in villages along the Nile or the Suez Canal. Most villagers make their living by farming. Others work in the fields of rich landowners.
Algeria's Ethnic Groups
The Sahara covers all of Algeria south of the Atlas Mountains and water in short supply in this area. For this reason, fewer than three percent of Algeria's people live here. But because of their resourcefulness, Berber and Arab nomads have survived in the Sahara for hundreds of years.
Berbers and Arabs Today
Berbers and Arabs have mixed over the centuaries. Both groups are Muslim, and most Berbers speak Berber and Arabic. Because France ruled Algeria for part of its history, many Berbers and Arabs also speak French. The Berbers and the Arabs of Algeria have had many conflicts in the past. However, there have also been long periods during which they learned from each other peacefully. Algeria's future will continue to mix Berber and Arab, old and new.
By 1914, Great Britain had taken over the government of Nigeria. The borders of the British colony of Nigeria included part of Hausaland, part of Yorubaland, and Iboland. When Nigeria became independent in 1960, ethnic groups that had always lived separately became part of one nation. To help unify the country, in 1991 the government moved the nation's capital from Lagos, in the south, to Abuja in the central portion of the country.
Three Different Cultures
The Hausa and the Fulani make up about 33 percent of Nigeria's people and most are Muslims. For hundred of years, the Hausa-Fulani have made an important part of their living by trading goods from as far away as Spain, Italy, and Egypt. The Hausa-Fulani built cities at the crossroads of trade routes. Each of these cities had its own ruler, was enclosed by walls, and had a central market. Kano, the oldest city in West Africa, is a Hausa city and has been a center of trade for over 1,000 years.
Moving Toward Independence
In 1947, Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast. The Gold coast was named for its gold, which is one of the country's most important natural resources. While the Gold Coast had many resources, mostbofnits people were poor. Nkrumah believed that the people should benefit from the wealth of their own country, so he began traveling all over the country to convince the people to demand independence from Great Britain.
Traditional Government in Ghana
The Akan are the largest ethnic group in Ghana. When the Akan give power to a new leader, they also give a warning: If the leader does not rule fairly, the people can give power to a new ruler. In this way, the Akan are democratic since the people have control over who rules them.
In 1957,Nkrumah gave a moving speech to his people. Great Britain, he said, had finally agreed to grant them sovereignty, or political independence. Nkrumah became the leader of the new country and later, the president. Ghana was the first Afican colony south of the Sahara to become independent.