THE AFRICAN CONTINENT IS DIVERSE

The African continent has diverse people, but despite this, there are some aspects that they share due to partly expansion of the Bantu speaking people migration south and East throughout the African region. The migration of the Bantus was in two waves, the first in 2000BCE and the last ending about 1000CE. The sub-Saharan area had a cultural preference of kin-based societies as their kingdoms and empires were lost due to foreign contact and trade. Africans had a ‘stateless society’, headed by council and chiefs. Over time this kin-ship based villages collapsed due to population growth combined with unavailability of land for expansion and settlement leading to competition and eventually conflict. There was development of commercial centers due to trade later on at the edges of the Sahara Desert.

Introduction of camels made trade through the Sahara easy, as it enabled transportation of more goods through the desert due to the adaptation of the animal to the desert climate. There was an emergence of Islamic trading routes even among the Bantus who settled in the east coast of Africa due to the maritime trade. Maritime trade was an attraction of settlement for a number of people along the coast of East Africa. Islam and the culture that came with it transformed the elite merchants’ class in west Africa and Swahili coast, but at the same time, native Muslim rulers continued to be tolerant of their traditional beliefs. Christianity made its way to sub-Saharan Africa through Egypt, which until the 7th century CE Muslim conquest, had been the most Christian nation. Evidence of this are present in Axum. It is believed that Menelik one brought the Arc of Covenant to Ethiopia. Christianity in Ethiopia gave rise to Rastafarianism in which Haile Selassie is regarded as the divine figure. The features of the religion included dreadlocks, religious use of marijuana, and reggae music.

 

 

 

The Eurasian Steppe is mostly the present-day Southern Russia and parts of adjacent countries. It was home of migratory herding communities that came in that region attaching themselves to the migratory herd hence becoming pastoralists. Some communities that migrated out of this region brought the knowledge of horse keeping, lightweight wheel for wagons, carts, chariots, and a family of languages including English. Turkic and Mongol tribes, living in the Eurasian Steppe lived in numerous extend families that were organized into clans. Saljuq was a special Turkic people that were attracted by trade to the boarders of Abbasid empire where they converted to Islam. They later created Saljuq Empire.

Mongols created the largest contagious land-based empire in the world stretching from Korea to Central Europe. This empire traces its roots to Temujin, a noble from the family of Mongol tribal leaders. The success of the empire can be linked with highly trained Mongol army and Calvary. Mongol empire at its height was made up of four Khanates stretching from East to Central Europe. The largest of the Khanates was China. The most westly of the four Mongol Khanates was Khanate of the Golden Horde. It was founded by Batu Khan who overran Russia between 1237 and 1241 CE. He continued west to acquire the present-day Poland. The second son of Genghis Khan founded the khanate of Chagatai, which was centered around the great silk roads cities of Central Asia and extended west as far as the Aral Sea. The decline of the Mongol empire is linked to Timur-I Lang. Following his death, his empire swiftly broke up into four regions among his heirs which disintegrated further on. Later on, his great-great grandson conquered India in 1526 and founded the Mughal Empire, which continued to rule much of India until it was dissolved by the British in 857CE.

 

The main feature of the High Middle ages was the emergence of relatively stable regional states. A large part of central Europe came under Holy Roman Empire. During this time, emperors sometimes found themselves in conflict with the power of the papacy, as in those times, popes were powerful and influential figures. There existed a contest between the popes and the emperor on who gets to choose the Bishops, as they were also an equally important people. From the 8th Century, papal states became important. It flourished through the years until it was taken away by Italian nationalities creating a united Italy in the 19th Century CE. Iberian Peninsula has been ruled by Muslims since the Umayyad conquest in 711 CE and was later ruled for about a century by the independent Caliphate of Cordoba. Christian Kingdoms at this time were able to retake part of Iberia through Reconquista campaigns. The clergy promoted an analysis of society called the Three Estates or Estates of the Realm. The idea behind it was that humanity is naturally divided into three sections; the monarch, the king, and Queen. The high middle ages had knightly warriors drawn from descendants of a fusion of remnants of old Roman equestrian class and Germanic warriors. Development of guild in big manufacturing towns was yet another important feature of this period. It had two main models, capitalism and communism. It is during this period that first universities emerged in Europe which developed to modern universities. There was also a great surge in popular piety and devotion among the general population, as much needed help was sort through divine intervention of various saints. Virgin Mary was very popular among the saints at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas was one of the greatest centers of civilization. It was located in the valley of Mexico. After the settling of Mexica, they founded their city in present day Mexico. transformed their city into a great metropolis with civic buildings, open market places, causeways between islands, fresh waters, and sewers for waste. They formed an alliance with Tlacopan and Texcoco and a conquest began of all civilized Mexico. In the era of Aztec Empire, the Mexicans had a rigid social hierarchy with the military aristocracy enjoying wealth and privileges, while the king and priest being members of the nobility. The rich religious life of the Aztec priest was built up from age-old religious beliefs and practices of the region as a whole, with some emphasis on innovation. Mexica rose from servile obscurity to masters of the Aztec Empire. The reason for its rise is attributed to educating their children in deliberately austere conditions, training them on endurance of hardship like hunger and cold, to develop self-restrain and humility. These qualities were expected of everyone including the emperor.

North America also had some advanced societies before the European contact. Pueblo and Navaho peoples for example had large settled societies in the Arid America Southwest. They had sophisticated dams for irrigation which enabled them have large scale farms in the desert. The indigenous Owasco people in Northwest America gave rise to Iroquois nations that formed the league of five nations. Oceania geographic regions includes Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring islands. First notable migration of people to Australia and New Guinea was at least 60,000 years ago. By about 3000BCE there was agricultural villages in New Guinea with cultivation of root crops and herding. The Aboriginal Austrians were nomadic, hunters and gatherers, and they preserved their way of life until they had contact with the Europeans. By the end of the mid-centuries inhabitable islands of pacific oceans had been occupied by human beings using only large, double-hulled dugout.

 

 

In the centuries before 1500 CE there was increasing interactions through cross cultural networks between Europe and Asia which had been brought about by significant developments in these regions. The contact between Europe and America at about 1500 CE had significant impact in transforming the world. Cross-cultural exchange was further enhanced by long distance travel which led to exchange of ideas, music, art, and technology. There was introduction of new crops into Spain and Sub-Saharan Africa by Muslims. Sugarcane was introduced to Europe leading to sugarcane plantations run by Europeans through the Mediterranean basin. Interaction of people led to spread of bubonic plague that killed two thirds of the world population and weakened countries’ economy. China’s recovery begun with the overthrowing of Mongols. Recovery in Europe was accompanied by state building. Renaissance was the most important development in Europe during this period as it led to the rediscovery of intellectual and authentic culture of Greco-Roman antiquity. China opened up to the outside world in the 15th Century as Emperor Yongle allowed foreigners to trade at great south ports and sponsor a series of reconnaissance and diplomatic maritime expeditions in Indian Ocean basin. Prince Henry of Portugal was the main initiator of the age of discovery in Portugal. The Spanish were ambitious to create a great commercial empire of their own and they did so by the help of Christopher Columbus through financing his voyage.

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