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Chapter 6 Section 4

Terms in this set (9)

-Griots:West African Storytellers
-were highly respected in their communities due to the fact that the people of West Africa were interested in the deeds of their ancestors
-griots kept history alive for every new generation
-griots stories were entertaining and informative
-they told of past events and deeds of people's ancestors
-an example includes how some stories explained the rise and fall of the West African empires
-other stories described in detail actions of powerful kings as well as warriors
-some griots had made their stories lively by acting out events from the past like scenes in a play
-griots recited proverbs
proverbs: is short sayings of wisdom or truth
-used proverbs to teach lessons to the people
-an example includes, how one West African proverb warns "Talking doesn't fill the basket in the farm"
-proverb reminds people that they need to work to accomplish things
-they cannot just talk about what they want to do
-another proverb advises," A hippopotamus can be made invisible in dark water."
-warns people to remain alert
-it can be hard to see animals in a deep pool, people do not always want to see the problems they will face
-in order to recite their own stories as well as proverbs, the griots memorized hundreds of names as well as events
-through memorization process, griots passed on West African history from generation to generation
-griots confused names and events in their heads
-when this occurred specific facts about historical events became distorted
-griots stories tell a great deal about life in the West African empires
-people of West Africa left no written histories of their own
-visitors to West Africa from other parts of the world did write about the region
-most is what we know about early West Africa comes from the writings of travelers and scholars from Muslim lands including Spain and Arabia
-one of first people to write about West Africa was Arab Scholar Al-Masudi
-he had visited the region in 900's
-in his writings Al-Masudi described geography, customs, history, and scientific achievements of West Africa
-100 years later, another writer, Abu Ubayd al-Bakri, wrote about West Africa
-he had lived in Cordoba, Spain
-there he had met many people who had been to West Africa
-based on stories people told him, Al-Bakri wrote about life in West African Kingdoms
-Ibu Battutah was more famous than these writers
-he was a tireless traveler who described majority of the Muslim world
-from 1353-1354 Ibu Battutah traveled through West Africa
-his account of journey describes political and cultural lives of West Africans in detail
-last of the major Muslim visitors to West Africa was Leo Africanus, a young man
-also known as Leo the African
-he was born in what is now Spain
-he travelled through Northern and Western African missions for the government
-when he was on his way home, pirates captured Leo and brought him to Rome as a prisoner
-even though he was freed, he stayed in Rome for many years
-there he wrote a description of what he had seen in Africa
-due to the fact that Leo lived and wrote in Europe, for along time his work was the only source about life in Africa that was available to Europeans