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Notes: Chapter 13 Tropical Africa & Asia 1200-1500 The Tropical Environment

Tropical Zone Between Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn What is the center of the tropical zone? Equator How are the rainy & dry seasons influenced? The monsoons. Coastal West Africa, West-central Africa & South India have abundant rainfall. Arid zone across N. Africa (Sahara), NW India, SW Africa Cooler weather in the high altitude mountain ranges and plateaus

Human Ecosystems
Differences in each ecological zone Central Africa, upper altitudes of Himalayas and some seacoasts abundant wild food & fish Humans thrived without development of agriculture or herding economies Arid areas herding supplemented with grain & vegetables obtained thru trade Vast majority in tropics were farmers

Intensive agriculture developed in South & Southeast Asia because of water supplies Dense populations Used shifting cultivation abandon fields, use slash & burn to clear new fields. Tropics uneven rainfall construction of dams, canals, reservoirs In India, Cambodia, Sri Lanka govt. mobilized resources to construct & maintain large irrigation systems vulnerable to natural disasters & political disruptions. Those built by small villages, if destroyed were rebuilt, unlike the larger government systems.

Mineral Resources
Iron the most abundant metal worked in the tropics. Used for agriculture, weapons & needles Copper in Africa used to make wire and decorative objects. Gold also produced in Africa both copper & gold became important in long-distance trade Metalworking & food production mobilized ordinary people to produce surpluses thus supported by powerful states & profitable commercial systems.

Mali Islamic Empire

Islam in sub-Sahara Africa gradually by peaceful conversion facilitated by commercial contact. 1240 Sundiata-Muslim leader of Malinke est. Kingdom of Mali. Economy- agriculture supplemented by control of trans-Sahara trading routes & gold mines in Niger headwaters. Ruler Mansa Kankan Musa (1312-1327) showed his wealth during pilgrimage to Mecca. Returned built mosques & Quaranic schools to promote religious & cultural influence of Islam. Mali declined & collapsed mid-15th C b/c of rebellions from within & attacks from without. Intellectual life & trade moved to other African states.

Delhi Sultanate in India

1206-1236 no longer defended by Gupta Empire - NW Indian small individual states conquered violently by Turkish conquerors looting, kidnapping women and massacres. Desire to spread Islam & military technology (iron stirrups) allowed them to succeed.

Sultan Iltutmish est. Delhi Sultanate, eventually ruled India peacefully. Hindus subjects never forgave violence. Iltutmish passed sultanate to daughter, Raziya talented ruler but driven from power (imprisoned) b/c woman Following male Sultans territorial expansion Sultanate destroyed when Timur sacked Delhi in 1398

In general, Delhi sultans ruled by terror internal rivalries & external threats undermined the stability of the sultanate. At its height Delhi Sultanate provided a centralized political authority to India.

Indian Ocean Trade

Monsoon Mariners Indian Ocean trade increased bet. 1200-1500 b/c of prosperity European, Asian, and African states & in 14th C collapse of Mongol Empire interrupted overland trade routes. Red & Arabian seas trade on dhows. India & Southeast Asia Chinese junks technologically advanced largest 12 sails, crew of 1000 (400 usually soldiers) Indian Ocean trade decentralized & cooperative. Indian Ocean Trade Africa: Swahili Coast & Zimbabwe By 1500 30 to 40 separate city-states along E. African coast Swahili people spoke African language enriched with Arabic & Persian. Kilwa most important commercial center


Swahili cities famous exporters of gold mined around Kingdom of Zimbabwe Great Zimbabwe capital of Zimbabwe economy - agricultural, cattle herding & Long distance trade based on gold, copper & salt. Stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe most famous historical site in sub-Saharan Africa City declined in 15th C due to ecological crisis deforestation & overgrazing.

Indian Ocean Trade

Arabia: Aden & the Red Sea Aden - Central trading point in Persian Gulf, E.Africa and Egypt b/c of drinking water & also produced wheat for export Common interest in trade allowed most to live in peace Some disputes: Christian Ethiopia fought with Muslims of the Red Sea coast over control of trade. Sunni Muslims of Yemen and Somalis Shiite. Indian Ocean Trade India: Gujarat & the Malabar Coast State of Gujarat in western India rich agriculture and long coastline.

Important for manufacturing-leather & textiles, carpets & silk. Overseas trade dominated by Muslims, but Hindus also benefited.

Calicut & other Malabar coast unified in a loose confederation whose rulers were tolerant.

Indian Ocean Trade Southeast Asia: Rise of Malacca

Strait of Malacca principal passage from the Indian Ocean to South Cina Sea 14th C Chinese pirates preyed on trade Ming dynasty crushed the pirates

Because of trade Malacca became important port & meeting place for traders from around the Eurasian world.

Social & Cultural Change Architecture:

African & Indian mosques good examples of synthesis of ME & local architectural

styles Ethiopia, native tradition of rock carving led to the construction of 11 churches carved from solid rock

Spread of Islam brought literacy to African people learned Arabic & used Arabic script to write own languages City of Timbuktu 150 Quranic schools huge demand for books In India literacy was already established-but Islam brought the development of a new Persian-influenced language (Urdu) an papermaking technology.

Islam brought study of Islamic law & administration, Greek science, mathematics & medicine Spread peacefully forced conversion rare Muslim domination of trade converted merchants Islamic destruction of Buddhism in India spread Islam in India The mosques were centers of learning and promoted literacy Social & cultural change developed differently in each society but the blending can be seen by examining the design of mosques that combine older traditions and new influences

Social & Gender Distinctions

Gap between elites and the common people widened in tropical societies Slavery increased in both Africa & India estimated 2.5M African slaves exported across Sahara & Red Sea Most slaves trained in a skill hereditary military service, mining, women household slaves Not much information on women. Hindu: Restrictions eased on Hindu women, possibly due to the now optional act of sati. Arranged marriage was he rule for Indian women Womens status linked to the status of her husband Womens skills cooking brewing, farm work and spinning. Islam: Some free women found their status raised by joining a Muslim household. Islam did not require accepting all the social customs of the Arab world ie. Covering their bodies and veil their faces. Also the separation of the sexes was not enforced as in Arab countries.

Political Comparisons MALI Empire: Rose among African native who converted to Islam voluntarily. Well-developed agricultural base Mali controlled trans-Saharan trade routes, trading areas of upper Niger river &
gold fields to the southwest.

DELHI SULTANATE Sultanate rose through invasion, conquest and violence Intolerant of native religions Provided political unity to northern India.

Economic & Cultural Comparisons

Commerce Ships in Arabian Sea to the west of India were dhows carried about 400 tons. Ships in the east junks larger, carrying over 1000 tons. Growth of the states Asian States Delhi, Gujarat, Malacca, & Malabar African states Kilwa, Mail, Aden, & Great Zimbabwe Life in urban trading centers included more cultural diversity than was experienced close to centers of imperial power Contemporary Observer: (ibn Battuta) Citizens in Mali experienced greater social justice value placed on public safety, respect shown to property of foreigners. Indians living under Delhi Sultanate more restrictive. Spread of Islam: Spread peacefully and through warfare Impact of Islam on architecture, math, science, literacy and social habits