"Reversing Sail” by Michael A. Gomez (Reading Notes - Ch. 3 )
"Reversing Sail” by Michael A. Gomez (Reading Notes - Ch. 3 ) HIST 005
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Erika Ladd on Wednesday September 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 005 at Howard University taught by Neil Vaz in Spring 2015. Since its upload, it has received 2 views. For similar materials see Intro to Black Diaspora 1 in History at Howard University.
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Date Created: 09/14/16
• Islam’s move into Egypt and North Africa was accompanied by the gradual Arabization of the population. As part of a larger Muslim world that was becoming stronger, Egypt and North Africa once more became destinations for other Africans, while simultaneously serving as sources of emigration to such places as Portugal and Spain. Golden Lands • Muslim armies spearheaded Islam’s expansion into North Africa and Egypt and Muslim traders and clerics led the region’s spread into regions south of the Sahara. They introduced camel caravans • West Africa became associated with gold early in the history of Islam. Ghana became known as “the land of the gold.” Ghana, was located between the Sahara and the savannah and these lands were in direct contact with the Muslim world. Gold was exchanged for salt and was transported to North Africa, then to Egypt, and as far as India. A pattern developed early in West Africa, whereby external powers acquired long distance, multi regional trade experience. Those with such expertise eventually took control of the trade and dictated its terms, despite West Africa’s appreciable influence. • Ghana was taken over by the Mali empire in the thirteenth century. Mali was also associated with gold in the Muslim world, but unlike Ghana, Mali became a part of that world through the early conversion of its rulers. By the fifteenth century, Islam had become the religion of the country and the merchant community. Songhai was also known as a major gold source, and the disruption of the gold trade under Sunni ‘Ali (1464-1492) was a principle factor in Askia Muhammed Ture’s 1492 seizure of power. • Viewed as a wealthy land, the western Sudan was increasingly incorporated into the Islamic world. This resulted in the rise of an elite in the western Sudan, connected through religion, marriage, and commercial interests and prestige in North Africa and Egypt. Songhai, with a majority non-Muslim population, was a Muslim land because those who ruled over them were Muslim. • The independent city-states of Hausaland were slower to embrace Islam, but by the end of the fifteenth century many cities were under Muslim control and were integrated into long-distance trade. Kane and Bornu’s exports were primarily captives. They were supposedly non-Muslim, but there were some Muslims as well. Pilgrams and Scholars: • Many subsaharan Africans entered the Islamic world as fellow believers, usually by traveling to the Middle East and North Africa to make the pilgrimage, to study, or to teach. A tradition of royal pilgrimage dates back to the eleventh century in West Africa and includes the rulers of Kanem, Mali, and Songhay. Mali’s Mansa Musa, in 1324, brough such large quantities of gold to Egypt that its value temporarily depreciated. He and his thousands encamped around the pyramids before entering Cairo. For three days, the glory of imperial Mali and the wonder of ancient Egypt, two of the most powerful icons of the African Diaspora, became one. The Enslaved: • In contrast to those making the pilgrimage, other subsaharan Africans entered the Islamic world as slaves. Muslims used slaves from all over. Slavic and Caucasian populations were the largest source of slaves well into the eighteenth century, especially in the Ottoman empire. Race was not a factor until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when European expansion forced a closer association between blackness and slavery. Many Africans were exported through these trades across the Atlantic. • Islam held that freedom was the national condition of human beings, and only certain circumstances allowed for slavery. Only those non-Muslims who were without a protective pact with Muslims, who rejected the offer to convert to Islam and were then captured in a war, could be enslaved. However, after the first century of Islam, most were captured through raids and kidnapping and then sold to merchants. Slaveholders had to treat their slaves with kindness and respect. The enslaved were property, to be bought and sold, yet their undeniable humanity created tension that Islamic law attempted to resolve. Slaveholders were to facilitate the conversion of their slaves. The slaves had to purchase their freedom. • Many of the slaves were women and children who were used as domestics and concubines. Some were kept in large harems, where sexual exploitation was erratic and unpredictable. Central to the organization of such large harems was the eunuch, who maintained order. The procedure of becoming an eunuch was performed by Christians since it was looked down on by Muslims. Africans were also used as laborers in large agricultural ventures and mining operations. They worked on salt mines and cultivated sugar. The conditions were harsh and the labor was tough. • One of the more visible uses of enslaved African labor was in the military, one of the few institutions allowing for any degree of upward mobility for persons of African descent throughout the history of the entire Diaspora. Slave armies were in a number of places in the Islamic world by the ninth century. Those in the armies were usually acquired through purchase rather than war, and they included Turks, Slavs, Berbers, and other Africans. Most military slaves weren’t African and were often organized into separate units based on ethnic origin and background. Iberia: • Iberia is the site of a remarkable Muslim civilization from 711 to 1492.
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