Africa: Past and Present By: Madelyn Tompkins and Clinton Patrick

Land Use

Sub-Saharan Africans use their land mostly for subsistence farming. There are differences between commercial and subsistence farming. In commercial farming, they sell the crops for an income. In subsistence farming, they grow the crops for their family or community so they can eat. Since they use most of the land for subsistence farming, they are making little to no money at all.

These African people are subsistence farming.

Natural resources

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to most of the world’s most valuable minerals. Most of these minerals are diamonds and gold. Africa produces a little under half of the world’s gold that gets mined, and sixty-five percent of the world’s diamonds.

This is an African mining gold, in Africa.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet they have plenty of natural resources. You would think they would be rich, but they spend most of their money on war. They have gold along with tin, tantalum, and Tungsten. The three T’s are used to create many electronics such as cell phones. The mines are controlled by armed rebel groups who tax, steal, and smuggle the resources to other countries. The government doesn’t but in because they are bribed to stay out.

These people are mining for gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

GDP Per capita

In Africa, the 5 nations with the highest GDP per capita are South Africa ($11,100), Botswana ( $9,200), Mauritius ( $12,800), Namibia ($7,300), and Seychelles ($7,800). There are 16 countries in Africa with a GDP currently under $1,000. Countries who have higher GDP in Africa than others are most likely to have more natural resources.

This is the money Africans use.

life expectancy

Out of the 31 countries with the lowest life expectancy, 28 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. A huge reason why these countries have a low life expectancy is because of HIV/AIDS. Roughly 23.8 million people who are HIV positive live in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is 69% of the 34 million people infected worldwide. Also, 91% of the world's HIV-positive children live in Africa.

This is an older man in Africa, the life expectancy is very little; so therefore, he is considered old.

powerful trading empires

The Three West African Kingdoms are the Kingdom of Ghana, Kingdom of Mali, and the Kingdom of Songhai. The Kingdom of Ghana was in power from 800 to 1254 CE, the Kingdom of Mali was in power from 1200 to 1400 CE, and the Kingdom of Songhai was in power from 1350 to 1600 CE. These 3 Kingdoms all participated in the Trans-Saharan trade network. There were two commodities that were traded. These are gold, which was brought by the West Africans, and salt, whom was brought by the North Africans.

These are two Africans shaking hands, after they trade.

slaves on the trans-Saharan network

North African Muslims tribes traded for African Slaves because the Islamic law says that Muslims can’t be enslaved. Muslims and African slave traders mainly used the slaves for military use. Muslim and African enslavement was different from European enslavement of Africans because Muslim and Africans treated the slaves better. Slaves could own property, serve as generals in the army, and could easily earn freedom.

These are slaves in Africa.

king mansa musa and timbuktu

King Mansa Musa was the king of Mali. He was one of the most powerful and one of the most famous African Kings. He was estimated to have as much as 400 billion dollars. On his Hajj, King Mansa Musa brought with him 60,000 people and camels carrying 300 pounds of gold, 500 slaves (each with a 4 pound gold staff), his senior wife with her 500 attendants. He also brought back Muslim scholars and architects to build cities, mosques, and schools in Timbuktu. One of his most famous city, Timbuktu, was a center of learning religion, mathematics, music, law, and literature.

This is King Mansa Musa.

Ibn battuta: Explorer

Ibn Battuta started his travels in Tangier, Morocco. He was just 21 years old when he set out on this expedition. He covered 75,000 miles of Asia and Africa. His expedition took 30 years to complete. When Ibn’s was done with his travels he ended in Fez, where he started to dictate his memoir.

This is Ibn Battuta.

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