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6: Sub-Saharan Africa

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    • 6.1: The Physical Landscape of Sub-Saharan Africa
      Africa is the cradle of human civilization. Our early ancestors, homo erectus, meaning “upright man,” first walked in East Africa between one and two million years ago. Early humans in Africa were the first to create tools, develop language, and control fire. The physical landscape of Africa and its long history of habitation have contributed to a variety of cultures and human experiences.
    • 6.2: Pre-Colonial Sub-Saharan Africa
      Africa has a long history of human habitation giving rise to numerous cultural and linguistic groups. Early humans were primarily gatherers, and there is evidence of people gathering nuts, grasses, and tubers around 16,000 BCE in the highlands of Northern Ethiopia. Around 10,000 years ago, the domestication of the first crops and livestock developed in Africa and the practice of settled agriculture began.
    • 6.3: Sub-Saharan African Colonization
      As the Industrial Revolution was spreading across Europe, colonial empires were seeking to expand their colonial holdings in order to gain mineral resources and expand agricultural production. As Europeans began exploring the interior of Africa, and recognized its resource potential, competition among European empires grew fierce. France, Italy, Britain, Portugal, and Belgium all raced through the interior of Africa trying to expand and strengthen their territories.
    • 6.4: The Modern Sub-Saharan African Landscape
      Today, Sub-Saharan Africa is comprised of 48 independent countries and is home to 800 million people. While colonialism transformed African politics and economics, the way of life for many Africans has changed relatively little. Only around one-third of people in Sub-Saharan Africans live in cities, and as of 2007, 72 percent of these city-dwellers lived in slums. Sub-Saharan Africa is still largely rural. Urbanization is increasing.
    • 6.5: Economics and Globalization in Sub-Saharan Africa
      Although formal colonization of Africa ended by 1980, in many areas, it was replaced with neocolonialism, the practice of exerting economic rather than direct political control over territory. During the colonial era, European groups formally controlled Africa’s resources and created export-oriented economies. Today, most of Sub-Saharan Africa’s exports remain raw materials. This makes the economies of countries in the region vulnerable to price fluctuations and global markets.

    6: Sub-Saharan Africa is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Caitlin Finlayson.

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