Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Topic 2: Aztec Empire Required Reading: Kevin Reilly, The Human Journey, Chapter 6 Website: The Az | Office Paper
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Topic 2: Aztec Empire

Required Reading:

Kevin Reilly, The Human Journey, Chapter 6

Website: The Aztec Empire – http://www.aztec-history.com/aztec-empire.html

Website: Ancient Aztec Government – http://www.aztec-history.com/ancient-aztec-government.html

Website: Aztec Culture – http://www.aztec-history.com/aztec-culture.html

Website: Aztec Social Classes – http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/you-contribute/aztec-social-classes

Website: The Fall of the Aztec Empire – http://www.aztec-history.com/fall-of-the-aztec-empire.html

Primary Sources:

Website: The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo, excerpts – http://faculty.tnstate.edu/tcorse/h1220revised/memoirs_of_the_bdiaz.html

Website: Hernan Cortés: from Second Letter to Charles V, 1520 – http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/Halsall/mod/1520cortes.asp

Website: Moctezuma’s Greeting to Hernan Cortes (from Cortés’ letter to the King of Spain) –http://web.archive.org/web/20000301012519/http://www.humanities.ccny.cuny.edu/history/reader/cortez.htm

Website: Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico – https://www.csus.edu/indiv/o/obriene/art111/readings/AztecAccountOfTheConquestOfMexico.htm 

Discussion Prompts:

After reading Chapter 6 and the material at the websites, and viewing the videos, please make a 250-word initial post that answers the following questions about the primary sources:

Many of the accounts of the Aztecs that we have were not written by them. They were written by the Spanish who conquered the Aztec empire (including Moctezuma’s greeting to Cortés). What do the Spanish (Cortés and Díaz) find noteworthy about the Aztecs and their empire? How might their background and social position have influenced what they saw and described? Did they see everything they described, or were things described to them by others? Did they think the culture that they were writing about was lesser than their own or equal to it? How does the Aztec explanation of the Spanish conquest of Mexico reinforce yet differ from the Spaniards’ versions? What do you think explains those differences?

187

The World of Inner Africa
Geography, Race, and Language
The World’s Three Transformations
in Africa
Humans, Farmers, and States
The Nile Connection
The Saharan Separation
The Bantu Migrations
Words, Seeds, and Iron
A Common Culture?
Empires, States, and Stateless Societies
Politics, Population, and Climate
Lots of Land
West Africa
Stateless Societies
Kingdoms for Horses
East and South Africa
Cattle and Colonization
Great Zimbabwe
Inner Africa and the World
The World of the Americas
States and Empires of Middle America
Before the Aztecs
Classical Mayan
A Theoretical Interlude: Priests
and Soldiers
Toltecs and Aztecs
States and Empires of South America

Before the Incas
Classical Chavin
Moche Warrior Priests and
Divine Emperors
Incas and Their Ancestors
States and Peoples of North America
Peoples and Places
Rich Pacific Fisheries
Pueblos of the Southwest
Eastern Woodland Farmers
Americas and the World
The World of the Pacific
Islands and Settlers
Islands
First Wave
Australia
Austronesian and Polynesian
Migrations
Austronesian Migrations
Polynesian Migrations
Language and Culture
Ecology and Colonization
The Advantages of Parallel Worlds
The Lessons of Parallel Worlds
Lessons of Similarities
Similarities or Connections
Lessons of Differences
The Strength of Parallel Worlds

6

Parallel Worlds of Inner Africa,
the Americas, and Oceania

Before 1450

Reilly, K. (2018). The human journey : A concise introduction to world history, prehistory to 1450. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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Figure 6.1 Time line.

Reilly, K. (2018). The human journey : A concise introduction to world history, prehistory to 1450. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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Parallel Worlds of Inner Africa, the Americas, and Oceania 189

WHILE THE Afro-Eurasian world came together as a single system between the classical age 2,000
years ago and the rise of the West 500 years
ago, other parts of the world carried out their
own traditions, established their own networks
of interaction, and experienced their own arcs
of change. We turn in this chapter to these
“parallel worlds” in inner Africa, the Ameri-
cas, and the Pacific Ocean because their stories
are as compelling as they are separate. Indeed,
their very separateness gives us a greatly ex-
panded field of evidence and example to help
us understand the human condition and his-
torical change. To focus only on the dominant
trend is very much like telling only the history
of the victors. In either case, we end with a
lesser sense of who we are and an even lesser
sense of who we could be.

The World of Inner Africa

“Outer” Africa—the Nile, the Red Sea and
Indian Ocean ports, North Africa along the
Mediterranean, and the kingdoms of West
Africa—was an intrinsic part of the Afro-
Eurasian world of the first millennium CE.
The Nile valley was a creator of that world.
The Red Sea and Mediterranean were early
participants. By 1000 CE, a single zone of
communication extended across the western
Sahara as well, to the border of tropical rain
forests just north of the equator.

Inner Africa was the interior African world
that was not swept up into the Afro-Eurasian
network before 1450. It constituted a large
part of the African continent below the Sahara
Desert. It includes all of Africa south of the
equator, all of the equatorial rain forests, and
the dry lands and savanna that pushed into the
Sahara in central Africa.

Geography, Race, and Language

Inner Africa had not been integrated into the
Afro-Eurasian network because it was remote
from the rest of Eurasia. In addition to the
almost 1,000-mile width of the Sahara Desert,
the rivers of Africa made contact difficult.
The rivers of West Africa like the Niger and
Congo flowed from uplands across cataracts
and waterfalls to the Atlantic Ocean, making
it difficult for outsiders to enter. In addition,
the maritime path from the northern Atlantic
was blocked by prevailing currents that inhib-
ited easy access. From Asia, East Africa was
easier to reach across the Red Sea and Indian
Ocean. Contacts between the Arab world and
the Swahili cities of the East African coast were
extensive as far south as modern Mozambique.

Inner Africa was the larger part of a huge
continent. The perpendicular grid of popular
Mercator world maps, which magnify po-
lar areas and reduce areas near the equator,
makes it look as if Africa is about the size of
Greenland. In fact, Africa is 15 times larger:
12 million square miles, compared to Green-
land’s total area of 840,000 square miles. By
comparison, all of Eurasia amounts to 21 mil-
lion square miles. Africa is larger than China,
India, the continental United States, and the
entire continent of Australia combined.

Africa is also far more diverse than most
people imagine. Geographically, Africa contains
some of the wettest and driest places on earth,
snowcapped mountains, dense rain forests, and
open fields as well as deserts. Biologically, Af-
ricans are more diverse than the people of any
other continent. This physical diversity (mea-
sured by DNA) stems from the long period of
human development in Africa before mankind
populated the rest of the planet. When Europe-
ans began classifying humans into “races,” they
failed to recognize this diversity. In the interest

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190 Chapter 6

of seeing the African as dark skinned or black,
they failed to recognize that they were creating a
particular stereotype—based mainly on people
who came from West Africa. Consequently,
they missed the differences in appearance of
not only the Berbers and Arabs of North Africa
but also the taller people of the Nile valley,
the shorter people of the Congo rain forest,
and the lighter-complexioned people of the
southern African desert. Europeans also failed
to recognize the social and cultural diversity of
Africans. They failed to recognize that even in-
ner Africa contained empires, various kinds of
states, village-based societies (without states),
cities, and pastoral and agricultural societies as
well as hunter-gatherers.

Today, biologists and anthropologists are
not inclined to use the word race in classifying
peoples, in part because of the tortured history
of the term but also because of its lack of preci-
sion in a world shaped more by culture than
biology and by intermixing more than isolation.
Rather, we might see the mixtures of African
peoples coming from regions of relative separa-
tion, speaking different languages, and prac-
ticing different cultures. By that measure, we
might distinguish five major groups of African
language and culture systems. These would be
the Afro-Asian peoples of the north (including
ancient Egyptians, Berbers, and, more recently,
Arabs), the Nilotic-Sudanic peoples (mainly
herders, often tall and thin in stature) from the
Nile valley, the Niger-Congo peoples of West
Africa (including speakers of the Bantu lan-
guages), the Pygmy peoples of Central Africa,
and the Khoisan people in the Kalahari Desert.

The World’s Three
Transformations in Africa

Humans, Farmers, and States. In the begin-
ning, of course, we were all Africans. The

first transformation began when some of our
ancestors started moving out of Africa about
a million years ago. The next transformation
occurred with the development of agriculture,
but since Africans were among the first to
plant and domesticate crops, the only diver-
gence between Africa and the rest of Afro-
Eurasia was in the particular crops that were
domesticated. The third global transformation
centered on the revolution in social organiza-
tion that led to cities and states. The North Af-
rican Egyptian state was one of the leaders in
that revolution. Here, too, African Egyptians
developed their own civilization, one that they
shared with neighbors to the south.

The Nile Connection. During the Egyptian
period, contact between northern and central
Africa continued as state societies were created
up the Nile in Kush, Meroe, and Nubia (in what
is today Sudan). About 750 BCE, a Kushite king
conquered Egypt and established a dynasty that
ruled the two kingdoms for 100 years. From
about 590 BCE to 350 CE, the successor state
of Meroe remained independent of Egypt and
its various occupiers (Persian, Greek, and Ro-
man), and cultivated a way of life that included
a centralized state, pyramids, irrigation, hiero-
glyphic writing, and iron smelting. They were
finally conquered not by the Romans but by the
Christian Axumite kingdom of Ethiopia. After
Meroe, Nubian kings ruled the upper Nile.
They converted to the Coptic Christianity of
Egypt, reestablishing close contact with Egypt
between 350 and 700 CE. The patriarch in Al-
exandria appointed bishops and trained clergy,
and Nubians studied the Coptic rite, developed
an alphabetical script based on Coptic Greek
and old Meroitic, and traveled back and forth
frequently. Nubian inscriptions indicate knowl-
edge of Greek as late as the twelfth century.

The flow between northern and central
Africa that had continued for millennia was

Reilly, K. (2018). The human journey : A concise introduction to world history, prehistory to 1450. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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Parallel Worlds of Inner Africa, the Americas, and Oceania 191

interrupted by two factors, one ephemeral and
the other climatic. The ephemeral interrup-
tion was the Arab conquest of Egypt around
700. Sudan broke into the Arabic and Muslim
north and a largely Christian south. But the
Nile remained the main link between northern
and central Africa because a more fundamen-
tal barrier had arisen between the Mediter-
ranean and central Africa since the time of the
first pharaohs: the Sahara Desert.

The Saharan Separation. The Sahara Des-
ert is a formidable barrier today. A modern jet
takes several hours to fly the more than 1,000
miles from north to south, and all you can
see is sand. On the ground, the shifting hills
of sand and rock outcroppings are both more
treacherous and more interesting. Nothing,
however, is more striking to the modern ar-
chaeologist than the appearance, hundreds of
miles from the nearest water hole, of vivid and
colorful rock paintings of flowers, birds, herds
of antelope, cattle grazing, and humans farm-
ing and hunting. These paintings are evidence
that the Sahara was at one time a garden of life,
a lush environment crowded with animals and
people. On the ground, geologists can see evi-
dence that almost 10,000 years ago Lake Chad,
on the southwestern border of the Sahara, was
25 times its current size.

We now realize that the Sahara has gone
through alternating wet and dry stages over
hundreds of thousands of years. The most
recent wet period was at the end of the last gla-
cial period and lasted from about 11,000 years
ago until 5,000 years ago. The current desert
dates from about 3000 BCE, the beginning of
the Egyptian Old Kingdom. Egyptian culture
may be descended from these Neolithic rock
painters of the Sahara in some ways: there
is evidence, for instance, of mummification
and cattle burial in the Sahara. But the larger
point about the history of Africa is that a huge

barrier appeared between the Mediterranean
and the rest of Africa, just at the moment that
the world was embarking on the great Bronze
Age transformation. Thus, while only Africans
participated in the first transformation into
humans and many Africans, north and south,
participated in the second transformation into
plant and animal domestication, an enormous
barrier separated the participants in the third
transformation from the rest of Africa.

The history of Sudan shows that the sepa-
ration was by no means complete. But the
Nile River was the only route that ran from
the north to the African interior. When the
Arabs conquered Egypt, that connection was
interrupted. Initially, the Arabs directed their
attention and trade north to Syria and Iraq
rather than west across the Red Sea, but even-
tually Arab, Indian, and even Chinese ships
added the Swahili ports of East Africa to their
itineraries. Still, these contacts were limited
to the coast. Africans controlled the internal
trade. Similarly, in West Africa, trans-Saharan
trade routes integrated the cities of the King-
dom of Mali into the Dar al-Islam, but much
of the hugeness of Africa was invisible to the
travelers, sheiks, and salt sellers, exhausted
after weeks on a camel in driving sand, having
finally reached their destination near the Niger
at Jenne or Timbuktu.

The Bantu Migrations

There is a simple principle for figuring where
something came from. The original site of
something always has the greatest variety.
Thus, Africa has the greatest variety of hu-
mans; Morocco has a greater variety of Ar-
abs than Jenne or Timbuktu. In the same
way, Niger-Congo languages and specifically
the subgroup of Bantu languages are spoken
over much of Africa, but they are densely

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192 Chapter 6

concentrated in the high grasslands of Camer-
oon. You can travel today in Cameroon a few
miles from one village to the next and hear
people speaking a different Bantu language.
There are, in fact, more than 200 languages
spoken in the Cameroon grasslands, an area
smaller than the state of New Jersey. This fact
shows us that the Bantu languages spoken
throughout Africa south of the Sahara origi-
nated there.

Words, Seeds, and Iron. About 3,000
years ago, Bantu-speaking people from this

area began a series of migrations that spread
their descendants into East Africa and south
through much of the rest of the continent
by about 1000 CE. With their language, they
brought their culture and tools. They brought
agriculture—their knack for raising yams and
palm oil trees, guinea hens, and goats. From
people in central Africa, they picked up the
ability to smelt iron in a furnace with bel-
lows. From the Nilotic-Sudanic people, they
borrowed the ability to raise sheep, pigs, and
cattle that had been bred to survive the tsetse

Map 6.1 From 2000 BCE to 1000 CE, Bantu-speaking peoples moved out of the
grasslands of Cameroon west and south to eventually become the dominant
linguistic and ethnic group in central and southern Africa. Their expansion was
aided by their agriculture (in relation to forest foragers), skill with canoes, and,
after 1000 BCE, their ability to make iron tools and weapons.

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Parallel Worlds of Inner Africa, the Americas, and Oceania 193

fly of the tropics. Their diet also expanded
as they picked up the cultivation of African
grains like millet and sorghum. On the east
coast of Africa, they added bananas and chick-
ens brought from Indonesia. Some of their
descendants became the Swahili merchants
of East African cities. Others moved into the
rain forests and grasslands of southern Africa.
In the mountains and tropical rain forests of
central Africa, they met the Batwa (or Twa)
people (sometimes called pygmies because
of their small stature), who were hunter-
gatherers. They exchanged their agricultural
products and tools (first polished stone and
then iron) for the forest products of the Batwa,
especially honey, ivory, and wild animal skins.
Farther south, in what is today the Kalahari
Desert, they encountered the Khoisan people,
who were herders and hunter-gatherers; these
lighter-complexioned people spoke a “click
language,” so called because of its use of dif-
ferent dental sounds.

As Bantu speakers encountered hunting-
gathering peoples in places like the Congo rain
forest and the Kalahari, different things hap-
pened. In some cases, the agricultural Bantu
took over the best lands, pushing the hunting-
gathering people into more remote areas. The
original crops of the grasslands did not grow
in the rain forest, but bananas turned out to
be extravagantly successful in the rain forest
(as was the brewing of banana beer). In some
cases, the two groups mixed together, although
usually at the cost of the traditions and cul-
ture of the hunter-gatherers, who ultimately
adopted the Bantu language and culture. Still,
in some cases, the forest dwellers were able to
use their commercial importance to achieve a
certain degree of leverage in trading with the
Bantu while keeping to their traditional ways.

A Common Culture? The spread of Bantu
peoples provided a broadly common cultural

background for much of inner Africa. In ad-
dition to the Bantu language family, this com-
mon culture included a set of domesticated
crops and animals, iron metallurgy, and a ten-
dency to figure inheritance from the mother
but give maternally connected men important
roles in councils of elders and kingship. Bantu
religious beliefs generally accepted a supreme
being, but most religious practices were de-
voted to ancestors and nature spirits. Masks
were used in religious rituals, and drumming
and dance were central in festive and solemn
rituals.

It would be a mistake, however, to see
Bantu culture as changeless. As new genera-
tions and branches of Bantu-speaking peoples
migrated east and south, they adopted and
added new cultural characteristics, such as a
variety of round conical and rectangular hous-
ing, descent through the male as well as the
female line, and a wide range of political and
social institutions.

Empires, States, and Stateless Societies

Inner Africa contained states as well as vil-
lage or lineage-based societies, but clearly states
were larger and more pronounced in the areas of
outer Africa that were part of the Afro-Eurasian
network. Why, then, were cities, states, and
empires concentrated in some areas, like the
Nile, and not in others areas, like central and
southern Africa?

Politics, Population, and Climate. The
long-term drying of the climate may contain
part of the answer. Recent studies of ice cores
from the top of Africa’s largest mountain,
Kilimanjaro, confirm that the cycle of drying
that began about 5,300 years ago and created
the Sahara extended throughout the continent
(and probably into the Middle East and west-
ern Asia).1

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194 Chapter 6

Reductions in rainfall may have had op-
posite effects in northern and central Africa,
increasing population centers in the north and
reducing density in the south. In the north,
the drying of the Sahara pushed agricultural-
ists and herders into the Nile valley (as well as
north and south), forcing more people to con-
tend with scarce resources. Population con-
centration likely resulted in state formation.
Those who already enjoyed status increased
their dominance in chiefdoms, kingdoms,
and state societies. Kings and leading social
classes formed states and systems of law to en-
sure their political dominance and economic
expropriation.

Lots of Land. The impact of climatic dry-
ing in central tropical Africa was to reduce
the rain forests and increase the grasslands.
This was the background of the expansion

of Bantu agriculturalists. Climate desicca-
tion opened sparsely populated forests areas
into new arable grasslands, attracting just the
sorts of people who were looking to expand
their agricultural way of life. Bantu farmers
and herders “had so much more country
into which they could expand,” the historian
Christopher Ehret points out. As West Afri-
can peoples spread out

across the immense reaches of East and
southeast Africa, their settlement densi-
ties would have been very low indeed,
much lower than in the western Great
Lakes region from which their expansions
stemmed. . . . Not until later centuries,
by which time their population densities
would have considerably increased, did
larger chiefdoms and eventually, [after
1000] kingdoms evolve in such places.2

Figure 6.2 This bronze plaque
shows a king of Benin flanked
by warriors and attendants. Art
Resource, NY. The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA.

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Parallel Worlds of Inner Africa, the Americas, and Oceania 195

West Africa

Virtually every political structure that emerged
in inner Africa could be found in the areas of
West Africa that grew in the wake of the great
drying up of the Sahara after 3000 BCE. From
about 300 CE to 1000 CE, West Africa enjoyed
substantial rainfall, and the population grew
considerably. The densest area was probably
the high grasslands of Cameroon, which pro-
vided an especially healthy climate since it was
above the altitude at which mosquitoes carry-
ing malaria could flourish.

Stateless Societies. Nevertheless, even in
these highly populated areas, West Africans
(Bantu speakers and others) favored small com-
munities without states or hierarchies. Typi-
cally, a group of 5 to 15 villages formed a kafu,
a sort of confederation with a big man or chief.
This preference for autonomy and the great
availability of unoccupied lands contributed
to make the Bantu and other West Africans
such great migrants and colonists. A tradition
whereby the eldest son inherited the family land
also encouraged other sons to clear their own
land from the nearby woodlands or forest. In
addition, the West African custom of polygyny
created families in which the men with the most
land had the most wives and the most sons, all
of whom had to fend for themselves.

Sometimes, a particularly ambitious chief
would combine a cluster of kafus and create a
state, declaring himself king. The great West
African state of the thirteenth to fifteenth cen-
turies, Mali, was founded this way, according
to the great epic of Sundiata Keita. “From be-
ing village chiefs, the Keitas have become tribal
chiefs and then kings,” the poet of Sundiata
recalled.3 The epic also underlines the link be-
tween agricultural colonization and kingship:
“Cut the trees, turn the forests into fields, for
then only will you become a true king.”

Kingdoms for Horses. We have noticed in
previous chapters the close connection between
state formation and horses. What role did
horses play in West African state formation?
We know through Saharan paintings that small
horses were in North Africa before the camel
was domesticated about the fourth century CE.
They likely came south as well as north before
the first millennium. The Epic of Sundiata
tells us that Sundiata forged a kingdom in the
1230s with an army of free archers and cavalry
forces. But the cavalries of the thirteenth cen-
tury rode ponies without saddles or stirrups. By
the 1330s, the time of Mansa Musa, Mali em-
ployed the heavy cavalry of Mamluk Egypt and
the Islamic world. Horses were difficult to breed
near the equator, and their life expectancies
were shortened by tropical diseases, but these
new large imported horses changed the balance
between stateless peoples and states.

Equipped with saddles and stirrups, they
were a formative force against standing bow-
men. Introduced by the Muslim kingdom of
Kanem about 1250, the combination of large
horses and Islam created one kingdom after
another in sub-Saharan West Africa. But the
large horses had to be imported. An armed
heavy cavalry was expensive, requiring heavy
expropriation of settled farming populations.
Since farmers could easily migrate to new lands,
cavalries turned to raiding and capturing them,
making them slaves and forcing them to farm
for the king or his cavalry aristocracy.

The kingdoms of West Africa between
1250 and 1450 (Kanem, Bornu, Mali, and
Songhai) were based on the simultaneous
growth of cavalry and slaves. Slaves paid for
horses, and cavalries could capture the slaves.
By 1450, a large warhorse cost between 9 and
14 slaves. It is estimated that 4,000 to 7,000
slaves per year were taken up the trans-Sahara
routes (including that from Darfur in East

Reilly, K. (2018). The human journey : A concise introduction to world history, prehistory to 1450. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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196 Chapter 6

Africa) to be exchanged for horses. Even if
many died during the crossing, the value of
each survivor increased five to eight times
from below the Sahara to the Mediterranean
coast.4

Stateless communities still thrived where
horses could not go: in the tropical rain forests
and beyond—along the coasts of West Africa.
Lineage societies functioned with the aid of
various strategies to maintain their autonomy:
clan loyalties, councils of elders, initiation
“secret societies,” “age sets” of male contem-
poraries, systems of mediation by outsiders,
ritualized war games to resolve conflicts, and
communal “palaver” discussions to mediate
internal disputes. Cities and ministates added
more complex social institutions in places like
Benin. Some were commercial centers, others
the center of rituals or artistic expression. The
city of Ife, on the forest border, produced glass
beads, terracotta, and brass statues. Similar
brass sculptures were later produced by court
metalworkers in the kingdom of Benin.

East and South Africa

Most political institutions in West Africa could
also be found in East and South Africa. There
were empires, kingdoms, city-states, and state-
less societies. But geography and the timing of
major population movements like the Bantu
migration accounted for certain differences.

Cattle and Colonization. Perhaps the most
important difference was the greater role of
herders in East Africa. Bantu agriculturalists
added animals to their mixed economy in
central and East Africa. Cattle were intro-
duced into East Africa by the more indigenous
Nilotic-Sudanic speakers. Cattle herders like
the Fulani people were common in West Af-
rica too, but they generally remained north of
the more tropical areas of agriculturalists. By

contrast, the land of East Africa is slashed by
dramatic north–south rifts of mountains and
deep valleys, enabling herders to introduce
cattle much farther south on high plains over-
looking the valleys of agriculturalists.

As a consequence, East African economies
were more frequently pastoral and mixed and
rarely (as was the case in West Africa) purely
agricultural. In tropical regions of East Africa,
the mix of herding and farming peoples in
lands formerly occupied by hunter-gatherers
created sharply different, often antagonistic
economies side by side. Sometimes this caste-
like separation had dramatic consequences,
as in Rwanda and Burundi, where Tutsi herd-
ers, Hutu agriculturalists, and Twa hunter-
gatherers were incorporated into single states.

In southern Africa, cattle raising took
precedence over farming. Herders can form
states, but their need for extensive pastureland
generally means lower population densities
and fewer villages or cities. In southern Africa,
cattle raising tended to form chiefdoms rather
than states or stateless societies. The house-
hold was the principal unit. Households gath-
ered their round dwellings around an enclosed
central cattle pen, a design less likely to lead to
towns and cities than the West African shape
of rectangular houses on grids of streets. These
chiefdoms did sometimes coalesce into states,
however, often with central cities studded with
royal palaces.

Great Zimbabwe. The largest of these states
in southern Africa between 1000 and 1450
was Great Zimbabwe, …

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