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75 terms

Africa: Geography and Culture

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The Kalahari
A desert in the south of Africa
Savanna
A grassy plain with scattered trees and bushes
Plateau
A tableland
The Nile
Longest River in the world
Coastline of Africa
Few bays, gulfs, or peninsulas
Rift
A large, long valley on a continent; formed at a divergent boundary; small volcanoes are typical as magma rises and cools
Basin
a natural depression in the surface of the land often with a lake at the bottom of it
Extent of the Great Rift Valley
from Arabia to Mozambique
Continental Drift
the gradual movement and formation of continents (as described by plate tectonics)
Pangaea
the ancient super continent that split through continental drift
The climate at the Equator
warm and wet
Rainfall in Africa
distributed unevenly
Reason for poor soil in rainforest
leaches of the soil's nutrients due to high rainfall
Savannas
where most Africans farm and raise livestock
Sahara
largest desert in the world
Sahel
a zone of semidesert that separates the Sahara from the savanna to the south - short, sparse, grass and very vulnerable
Steppe
the semi-arid lands to the south of the southern savannas
Desertification
the gradual transformation of habitable land into desert
Soil Erosion
the result of allowing too many animals to graze or too many crops to be harvested
Highlands of East Africa
best crop-growing region of Africa
Mt. Kilimanjaro
located on great rift valley, africa's tallest mountain, 19,341 ft high
The Sudd
Worlds largest swamp: in southern Sudan
High Veld
Grassy plains in the uplands of South Africa
Blue Nile
Originates in mountains of Ethiopia
White Nile
Originates in Uganda
Zaire or Congo River
a huge river system that drains the rainforest of central Africa
Niger River
a huge river in West Africa that creates an enormous delta where it enters the Atlantic
Zambezi River
flows into the Indian Ocean and includes Victoria Falls
Wadi
River bed, usually dry
Lake Tanganyika
Longest fresh water lake in the world
Lake Victoria
second largest lake in the world
cocoa beans, cashews, yams
major African crops
bananas, peanuts, coffee, cotton, sugar, tea
major African cash crops
salt, gold, copper, tin, iron
earliest minerals mined in Africa
South Africa
major source of gold and diamonds
Cobalt
important mineral mined in Africa - used for cutting tools and jet engines
Subsistence farmers
grow food for their own consumption
timber, rubber, palm oil
products of the rainforest
tsetse fly
insect which causes sleeping sickness in people and animals - often fatal
river blindness
caused by black fly; results in blindness; causes people to move away from fertile river areas
food production
has not kept pace with population growth in Africa
millet
a staple grain crop in Africa
where people live in Africa
in highland areas, along rivers and lakes, along coast
Aksum and Timbuktu
ancient African cities
Urbanization
movement of people from rural areas to cities
ethnic group
a groups of people who share a common ancestry, language, religion, and culture
800
the number of ethnic groups in Africa
Afrikaners
White South Africans; descendants of Dutch, German, and French settlers
Creation of African Countries
Arbitrary boundaries drawn by European colonial powers cutting across territories of different ethnic groups
Number of African languages
1000
Niger-Congo
largest family of languages in Africa
Bantu
a family of languages spoken in the southern half of Africa
Khoisan languages
have the "click" sound - spoken by Bushmen
Major European languages
English, French, Portuguese, Afrikaans
Reverence for ancestors
Important part of the religious experience of most Africans
Islam in Africa
Practiced mostly in the North
Coptic Christianity
the ancient Church of Ethiopia
Important elements of African worship
music and dance
African sculpture
created for use in ceremonies
Lost-wax techinque
type of sculpture perfected by ancient kingdom of Benin in West Africa
Polyrhythmic
several overlapping rhythms are played at once on drums
Kora
a harp-guitar played by oral historians in West Africa
Griots
keep alive cultural traditions and stories by remembering a huge amount of information
Praise poem
used to sing praises of an important person - like a panegyric
Shifting Cultivation
rotation of crops to increase productivity
The danger of "cash crops"
endangers food production for the local people
Gender roles in African communities
Women do the farming and food preparation; men clear the land
African animal herding
particularly for dairy products, not for meat
The African family
basic unit of production, distribution, an consumption
Extended family
three or more generations of relatives living together or near one another
Kinship
the way in which one is related to other family members
Marriage
Union, not just of individuals, but of families
Bride-wealth
payment that a groom makes to the father of the bride
Polygyny
having more than one wife
Patriarchy
a form of social organization where the man is the head of the household