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West Africa Ccot

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West Africa

In the period of 500 B.C.E. to 1450 C.E., West Africa changed to regional kingdoms from tribes. Trade grew along the trans-Saharan trade routes from nothing and the slave trade and age grades stayed the same.

By around 500 B.C.E. Bantu speaking people spread through west and sub-Saharan Africa, with these people spread agriculture. With the discovery of iron metallurgy, the people of West Africa were creating iron weapons and tools. The tools allowed for an increase in agricultural output. Domesticated animals also became popular for the people of this region. This gave them a huge advantage over their hunter gatherer neighbors. This also occurred in places such as Mesopotamia and East Asia. In this time groups just kept to themselves, it wasn't until the use of the camel to cross the Sahara did the West African economy really flourished. Camels were used by traders to cross the Sahara to trade with the Africans around 300 C.E. This began the trans-Saharan trade routes. Trade with Western Africa no longer became a far-fetched idea. African kingdoms began exporting gold, ivory, and slaves to Arab traders. The kingdoms of Africa became very rich and grew at an alarming rate in both size and population.

The political organization of West Africa changed dramatically. In the beginning, with the Bantu migrations, people were organized into kinship groups. The more dependence on agriculture led groups to settle down in an area instead of travel in search of food. When groups did settle down it was normally with family, and they would only fend for themselves. Slowly this changed into tribes of several families. The tribe was either led by a chief or group of elders who divided the food and land equally among the people. After about 1000 C.E., tribal society faced difficulty due to high populations; there was also an increase of conflict between neighboring villages. Military forces were being organized, and government usually fell under a single chief. As villages grew more powerful and conquered more people kingdoms began to rise. Larger kingdoms rose due to conflict, this made it easier to resist the military and political pressures that a small kingdom couldn't. This was the reason that kingdoms such as the Kingdom of Kongo rose. Larger kingdoms became very rich due to increasing trade, and expanded to rule larger amounts of land.

Over this time of change, two things remained nearly continuous during the period of 500 B.C.E. to 1400 C.E. One thing that remained constant was slavery. Since the beginning of West Africa slaves were common. In some regions it was even seen as a status symbol. The more slaves the better was the common ideology. The exportation of slaves remained constant because slaves captured in conflict were told off for profit. By around 300 C.E. when other places began trading with Africa, is when the slave trade increased heavily. West Africa had



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