• Clan: – Group of families in a tribe who share common
  • Family: – Is made of a husband, wife and children
  • Patrilineal: – Social organization in which clan inheritance was based on father and all children belonged to father.
  • Matrilineal: – In this society, husband moved to wife’s family and children of new family belonged to the mother’s (wife) clan.
  • Age: – set organization – A form of societal organization in which organization was based age groups with certain responsibilities.
  • Laibon: – The leader of maasai.
  • Customs: – Set of rules law, traditions.



Handcraft industries: Man used hands and skills to produce tools and weapons of these industries.
Industries-Is the place where raw materials are processed into finished goods e.g. cotton-cloth

Specialized handcraft industries in Africa.
Salt making industries; iron working; copper mining; gold mining; pottery making; spinning and weaving industries; bark –cloth industries; canoe making industries

1. Salt making industries:  These are industries, which engaged in production of soil in pre-colonial Africa.
Methods of obtaining salt

  • Obtaining salt from different reeds:  Reeds were collected, dried and burned, the ashes would be filtered while the ashes remain liquid would be evaporated and residue would be used as salt.
    Places: - Near Lake Victoria, Kyoga, and Albert, among Buganda and Bahaya tribes and among Mang’anja people near shores of Lake Nyasa.
  • Obtaining salt by boiling and evaporating method. Sea or ocean water put into pans and left to evaporate, the salt crystals would be collected and used as salt.
    Places: around coastal areas.
  • Obtaining salt by mining under neath rocks. Places: At Taghaza, Bilma around Lake Chad in western Sudan. Near lake Bangwela and river Luapala in central Africa.
  • Obtaining salt using water by fire.  Spring water containing salt was boiled and finally salt was obtained. Places with salt; in uvinza salt spring along river malagarasi in central Africa.

Trade In The Pre-Colonial Africa:

 Trade is the process of buying and selling of goods and services between people. There was need to trade in order to get all things needed by the communities. Trade tends to develop in any society where there is surplus production.


Local Trade. 

 Refers to the kind of trade, which is conducted within the same geographical area. In local trade, goods are exchanged between people living in the same geographical area, such as a town or village. Local trade was not for profit making but just to obtain essential goods. i.e. pastoral communities like the Maasai needed vegetables and grains from cultivators like the Nyakyusa and the Chaga.
Impacts of local trade.
1. Local trade united people within the same area.
2. Communities obtained goods such as tools, weapons, foodstuffs and medical herbs.
3. Transport routes were improved.
4. Some important market centers emerged along the market routes.
5. Local trade encouraged communities to expand production.


Regional Trade.

Regional trade refers to trade conducted from one region to another (Trade conducted between two different geographical regions). Regional trade involved a wider variety of goods compared to local trade. It was not for profit making. For example, regional trade was Trans Sahara trade, Long distance trade of East Africa and Central Africa. Regional trade in the pre-colonial Africa took place in 19th century.

THE KAMBA. The Kamba were leading the long distance trade through northern route in the 19th century. They Kamba caravan brought ivory, guns, hides and beeswax from the interior. From the Coast they obtained cloth, salt, copper, cowrie’s shells and jewellery.

THE YAO. The Yao traders got beads and cloth from Kilwa. They also captured and sold slaves from neighboring communities, Yao chiefs such as Mpanda, Mataka, Machemba and Mtalika dominated the Southern route during the long distance trade.

THE NYAMWEZI. The Nyamwezi dominated the central route conducted trade between the interior of Tanganyika and the coast. The Nyamwezi sold slaves and ivory, hide rhinoceros horn..
Impacts/ effects of regional trade.
Positive consequences/impacts.

  • Some traders became very rich. e.g. Mirambo and Isike.
  • The communities were able to obtain new commodities e.g. guns, clothes, beads, ivory, etc.
  • The rise of trade centers such as Saadans, Pangani, Bagamoyo, Tabora, Ujiji, Voi, and Taveta.
  • The rise of trade routes.
  • The rise of powerful Empires/Kingdoms such as Nyamwezi.
  • New food crops such as maize, rice and cassava were introduced.
  • Spread of Islam by the Arabs to the interior Tabora and Ujiji.

Negative impacts.

  • The rise of inter-tribal wars in Oder to get slaves.
  • Many elephants were killed, as there was high demand of Ivory.
  • It led to depopulation and under development in some areas.
  • Slave raids caused insecurity and loss of innocent lives.
  • Foreigners used trade routes to reach to the interior.
  •  Exploitation of African wealth by Europeans and Asians.
  • Decline of local industries in Africa.


Long Distance Trade.

 Long distance trade was the trade carried out long distance as people/traders had to move for long distance going on exchanging goods with other societies and the major aim was to get profit for example a salt traders was exchanged salt foe hoes not because he wanted to use hoes but he wanted re sell them at a profit later.


Trans Saharan Trade:

 Trans Sahara trade was the trade conducted across the Sahara desert. It involved the people of Northern Africa and the people of Western Sudan. This trade started long time ago between 3000BC to 2000BC. It became important in the 1st century AD after the people of West Africa to discover the use of camel and led to formation of many trade routes. The Trans Saharan trade was known as dumb trade because there was no common language, which was used. People who involved in the trade; West Africa; North Africa and Savannah Region.

Movement of Traders.
People (traders) organized themselves in groups known as CARAVANS

Goods involved in the trade
Kola nuts, gold, salt, foodstuffs, Ivory, clothes, gold, bee-wax, slaves and ostrich feathers goods from West. In addition, from North Africa salt and animal skin. Goods from Europe and Asia were cotton and silk cloth, swords, guns, metal pans, horses and Arabic books.

Trade routes:
(a) Western route- From Sijilmasa, Fez in Morocco passed through Taghaza, Taodeni, Walata, Audaghost, and Kumbi Saleh to Timbuktu.

(b) Central route- This passed Tunis, Ghat, Ghamese, Kano, GAO and Hausa land.
(c) Eastern route- This began in Tripoli, Marzul and Bilma.

Factors That Led To the Growth of The Trans-Saharan Trade
The following are some of the factors that contributed to the growth of the Trans Saharan trade:

  • Stability of the communities: Both North African and Western Sudan zone were politically stable. For example, leaders like Sundiata Keita and Mansa Musa collected taxes and established guides on trade routes. This enabled the people to conduct trade without fear. Up to the end of the 15th century AD, many traders were motivated to come to Western Sudan for trade.
  •  Western Sudan provided goods needed by traders from Europe. These goods included gold, ivory and slaves. Through trading Western Sudan exchanged her own commodities with goods from Western Europe and Asia. In turn, she got clothes, guns and other commodities. The surplus production in Western Sudan was adequate to sustain demand for products such as kolanuts and gold, hides, ivory slaves, whereas Taghaza produced enough salt to meet the needs in Western Sudan. The high production capacity in the region enhanced the growth of the Trans Saharan trade.
  • Honesty: The Berbers of North Africa and the African traders of Western Africa trusted each other. Traders brought in commodities without fear of theft and robbery, enabling the trade to flourish.
  • The use of camels for transport suited the desert conditions and facilitated the development of the Trans-Saharan trade. These animals could not only carry more commodities than horses and human porters, but also endured desert conditions. Camels can survive without water for a longtime. This convenient means of transport strengthened the development of the Trans-Saharan trade.
  • Geographical location of the region: The location and climate favored the production of kola nuts and other foodstuffs that were needed in the community, especially the forest region to the south. The region of Western Sudan had no impassable forests because many areas were covered by short grassland. This enabled traders to cross the desert without fear or any difficulty.
  • The invention of a medium of exchange contributed to the growth of the Trans Saharan trade. At the beginning, only the silent barter system of trade was practiced. Later on, cowrie shells were introduced as a convenient medium of exchange. This in turn facilitated the development of the Trans-Saharan trade.
  • From the northern part, the Berbers provided capital to many traders who used to cross the Sahara desert.
  • Removal of language barrier: This was attained after Arabic language became the trader’s medium of communication. This in turn facilitated the trade by making communication between the traders easy.
  • Absence of competition for trading activities in the region: There were no regular ships that visited the coast of West Africa. As a result, what was produced from the forest zone was peacefully transported to North Africa through the Saharan desert.
  • Scarcity of commodities like gold and salt.

Introduction of horses, which were used in conquest and expansion.

Effects of the Trans Saharan Trade In Africa.
1. It led to the growth of empires like Ghana, Mali etc
2. It increased development of Agriculture.
3. It led to the introduction of Arabic Islamic religion cultures.
4. Formation of mixed races example half cast
5. Growth of town and cities e.g. Jenne, Timbuktu, GAO and Walata.

The Decline of The Trans-Saharan Trade
By the second half of the nineteenth century, the volume of Trans-Saharan trade started to decline. A number of obstacles or problems have been identified to explain the decline. These are:-

  • Strong desert winds: The traders could not withstand the hazards of sand storms. Many abandoned the trade as a result.
  • Traders faced the danger of getting lost in the desert because the routes were not clear. Once traders got lost, they would wander in the desert for a long time and eventually die of thirst and starvation.
  • Desert robbers who made their living by stealing from trade caravans subjected traders to attacks. In the process, traders lost their lives and goods. This discouraged traders from participating effectively in the trade.
  • The extreme climatic conditions were unfavorable to traders. The heat and high temperatures during the day and every low temperature at night due to the absence of cloud cover discouraged traders.
  • Traders faced the danger of highly poisonous desert creatures whose bites could result in death. These included snakes and scorpions.
  • Traders faced language difficulties. This hampered communication during trade. As such, “silent trade” had to be used initially.
  • The development of the Trans-Atlantic rout across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe: commodities like ivory and slaves were transported quickly to the coast of West Africa from where they were transported to Europe. Thus, the trade routes shifted from the Saharan desert to the Atlantic. Instead of the direct route to the North, they went via the coast of West Africa.
  • Commodities obtained from Western Sudan such as salt and gold faced competition from similar goods from other America cheaply. As result, the volume of Trans-Saharan trade decreased because Western Sudan could no longer claim a monopoly in production of certain commodities like salt and gold. In addition, gold from Zimbabwe via Sofala port by the Portuguese ended up in Europe.
  • The abolition of slave trade contributed to the decline of the Trans-Saharan trade. Slaves were the main item of trade. When slave trade was abolished, trade started to decline.
  • Shortage of water also led to the decline in trade. The oases in the Saharan desert provided water seasonally but they sometimes dried up. This made it difficult for the traders to cross the Saharan desert.
  • Wars: The war in Morocco and the one between Christians and Muslims disrupted the smooth running of the trade. The Moroccan invasion of western Sudan in 1591 AD disturbed the growth of the trade by taking gold at Wangara.
    Finally, the Trans-Saharan trade collapsed in the 16th century. From this period onwards, West Africa witnessed the expansion of European occupation on the coast of West Africa.



  • Clan refers to a group of families in a tribe who share common ancestors.
  • There are two types of clan organization; these are Patrilineal and Matrilineal clan organization.
  • The Maasai practiced age – set organization.
  • The Maasai society is led by Laibon.
  • Ntemiship was a system of organization which involved finding a location.
  • Ntemiship was practice in area like Usukuma
  • A state is a community occupying a defined territory and existing under the full control of its government.
  • Factors that lead to state formation include trade, good leadership, migration, size of Kingdom, availability of iron and good climatic conditions.
  • There are two types of state in Africa; Decentralized states and Centralized Kingdoms.
  • Centralized states existed in Egypt in North Africa, Nubia and Axum in North East Africa, Ghana, Mali and Songhai in West Africa, Zimbabwe in South – Africa and Bunyoro, Buganda, Karagwe, Ankole and Toro of East Africa.








 (i) Social organization in which clan inheritance was based on father and all children belonged to father was known as;

  1.        Patrilineal societies
  2.         Family
  3.         Matrilineal
  4.        Kingship

(ii) The name give to masai home stead was;

  1.        Moran
  2.         Manyalta
  3.         Ndemi
  4.        Oloiboni

(iii) Ntemiship system was practiced by

  1. Sukuma
  2. Nyamwezi
  3. Gogo
  4. All of the above

(iv) The following factors led to state formation except;

  1. Trade
  2. Colonization
  3. Good climate fertile soil
  4. Migration

(v) One characteristic of centralized system was

  1. Clan controlled by Comal of Elders.
  2. Clan paid tribute to monarchy
  3. Small in term of population and geographical distribution.
  4. Political autonomous villages.

(vi)  The following are factors that led to emergence of Ghana Kingdom except.

  1. Specialization of labour
  2. Introduction of camel as means of transport
  3. Prosperity of Trans – Saharan Trade.
  4. Introduction of Iron Technology.

(vii) The Kimbu Empire was found in which country?

  1. Tanzania
  2. Ghana
  3. Mozambique
  4. Mali

(viii)  The factors which led to grown a Buganda Kingdom were:

  1. Geographical location
  2. Centralized power
  3. Taxation
  4. All of the above.

(ix) One feature of Decentralized system is?

  1.        Presence of clan controlled by Kings of Queen.
  2.         Clans pay tribute to monarchy
  3.         Centralized system which solved social disputes.
  4.        All of the above.


(x) Which of the following practiced matrilineal clan organization?

  1.        Chagga
  2.         Embu
  3.         Kamba
  4.        Pare



2. Match the item in LIST A with their correct response from LIST B by writing the letter of correct response in space provided after each item in List A



  1. Permanent settled agricultural communities
  2. Small in items of population and geographical area.
  3. Achar University
  4. Land of Gold
  5. Sundiata Keita
  1. Feature of communal societies
  2. Mali Empire
  3. Egypt
  4. Ghana Empire
  5. State Organization
  6. Timbuktu and Sankore
  7. Decentralized states
  8. Songhai Kingdom.


3. Fill blanks below;

a)      In order for state organization to come into existence the society had to be able to produce___

b)     Under centralized system, clans had to pay tribute to ______

c)      The ancient Kingdom of Ghana existed between __________ and _________ centuries.

d)     A Mali leader who went to pilgrimage to Mecca was________

e)      The fall of Songhai was greatly caused by the_________





4. Briefly explain the political organization of:

a)      Centralized states

b)     Decentralized states.


5. Discuss factors which led to collapse of Ghana Empire


6. Describe fire factors that gave rise to centralized states in Africa.


7. Explain six factor that led to growth of Buganda Kingdom.


8. Why was Ghana Kingdom able to stay powerful for a period of time?


9. Describe the characteristics of centralized political system.




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