Glossary and Terms
Adobe - A mud brick material made from clay and straw used to make walls and homes in Ancient Africa.
Aksum Empire - An empire located in the Horn of Africa that ruled from 100 CE to 940 CE. It was also called Axum.
Arabs - A people group from the Middle East who invaded and conquered North Africa in the 700s CE.
Berber - The native peoples of North Africa.
Boers - Dutch and French settlers in South Africa.
Caravan - A group of traders typically traveling across the desert using camels.
Carthage - A powerful city-state in North Africa on coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It rivaled Rome between 650 and 146 BCE.
Caste - A group or division of peoples that defines social order and rank.
Chariot - A two-wheeled vehicle that is drawn by horse(s). It was usually used in warfare in northern Africa.
Continent - A large continuous expanse of land. Africa is one of the Earth's continents.
Fufu - The staple food of West Africa. It is made from yams.
Ghana Empire - Empire that ruled West Africa from 300 to 1100 CE.
Great Zimbabwe - Large city that ruled in Central Africa starting around 1200 CE.
Griot - A storyteller, musician, and historian in West Africa.
Hieroglyphics - A system of writing used by the Egyptians that used symbols and pictures.
Islam - A religion that believes in Allah and the teaching of the prophet Muhammad. It spread to North Africa in the 700s.
Ivory - A hard, white material formed from the tusks of animals such as elephants. It was used to make jewelry and other ornaments.
Kora - A stringed instrument similar to a harp that was played by the griots.
Kush - An ancient kingdom that ruled the land of the Sudan south of Egypt. It ruled from 1070 BCE to the 300s CE. It is also called Nubia.
Maghreb - The region of North Africa from Libya to Mauritania.
Mali Empire - Empire that ruled West Africa from 1235 CE to 1600 CE. Was founded by King Sundiata.
Mansa Musa - Emperor of the Mali Empire who made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. He was one of the richest people in history.
Moors - The people of North Africa under Islam rule after 709 CE.
Muslim - A person who follows the religion of Islam.
Nomads - People that travel from place to place to find food and pasture for their livestock.
Nyama - A magical force in traditional African religion often thought to be used by artisans such as blacksmiths.
Pharaoh - The ruler or king of the Egyptians.
Pyramid - A monumental structure with four sides that meet at a point at the top. The Egyptians and the Kushites built pyramids generally as tombs for their pharaohs.
Rainforest - A dense forest found in areas of heavy rainfall. Some of central and western Africa is rainforest.
Sahel - Region between the Sahara Desert and the savanna grasslands.
Sahara Desert - Large desert in North Africa between the Mediterranean Sea and Central/West Africa.
Songhai Empire - Empire that ruled in West Africa from 1464 to 1591.
Swahili - An ethnic group in East Africa. Also, the language spoken by many East African nations including Kenya and Uganda.
Voortrekker - A member of the Boers who migrated from British territory in South Africa to the Boer Republics.
To learn more about Ancient Africa:
History >> Ancient Africa