Category Lost Civilizations

What do we know about the history of the Inca Civilization?

               The Incas established a mighty empire that stretched along the Pacific coast of South America. The early rulers defeated the other tribes of Cuzco. The early kings were called Sinchi. It was only from the rule of the sixth ruler, Inca Roca that they called themselves Inca. The eighth Inca. Huiracoch conquered most of Urubamba Valley, in the fifteenth century. During an attack on the enemy Chanka his son Pachacutec Yupanqui seized power. Pachacutec was called ‘he who remakes the world’. He recorded the history of his people.

               His son Tupac Yupanqui was a patron of art and science. He led the empire to its golden age, and extended his rule as far as Chile and Ecuador. His son Huayana Capac conquered parts of Colombia.


How was the early African kingdom of Kush related to Egypt?

               The pharaohs of Egypt conquered Kush around 2000 BC. Kush, also known as Nubia, is present day Sudan. Kush freed itself from the clutches of the pharaohs during the period of the Hyskos from 1650 to 1540 BC. However, Kush again came under Egyptian rule from 1540 BC. An Egyptian viceroy governed Kush from Aniba. Nubians were skilled fighters and were highly valued as soldiers in the Egyptian army. The Kushites cashed in on the weakening of Egyptian authority, and set up their own kingdom in Napata. The Kushite rulers turned the tables on Egypt. From the reign of King Piye, in the eighth century, Egypt came under their rule. They were known as ‘Black Pharaohs’.

               During the reign of Tahrqa, they were driven out of Egypt by the Assyrians, and they withdrew into Napata. King Ergamenes I founded a new dynasty between 270 and 260 BC. Meroe was the capital of the new kingdom. The kingdom of Meroe experienced its golden age under King Natakamani. The Romans razed Napata to the ground in AD 279. However, the kings and queens of Napata bounced back from defeat, and beat back the Romans. A Nubian nomadic people called Blemmyes took over the rule of Meroe in 250 AD. Meroe was destroyed around AD 350. 

What makes the Ethiopian culture a significant one?

                    The wise King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba had a son called Menelik I, according to Ethiopian legend. King Menelik I was the first king of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is one of the world’s oldest states. Axum was the capital. Ethiopia’s power rose again under the Zagwe dynasty. Roha was made the new capital. The emperors bore the title of ‘Negus Negest’ meaning ‘king of kings’. Yekuno Amlak reestablished the rule of the Solomonic dynasty.

                    After 1493, the Portuguese were allowed into the country. The Portuguese helped the Emperor Claudius to stop the expanding kingdom of Adal. However, the Portuguese were thrown out of Ethiopia by Emperor Fasilidas in the seventeenth century. 

Why do we study the ancient civilizations of West Africa?


               Ghana was the first West African kingdom. It was formed around 750 BC. Mali, then known as Audaghost and Mauritania known as Kumbi Saleh were both part of the Ghana kingdom. Later, the Berber dynasty from the coast of Senegal conquered Audaghost and Kumbi Saleh in the eleventh century. Ghana fell.

               The Mandinka tribes of Mali made themselves independent. They set up their own kingdom with Niani as its capital. Sundiata Keita, the founder of the kingdom took the title of ‘Mansa’ or king of kings. The Kingdom of Songhai replaced Mali around 1375 AD. The conqueror Sunni Ali occupied Djenne and Timbuktu. In 1591, the kingdom was conquered by the Sultan of Morocco. The Hausa and Banza states rose in the area of present day Nigeria, Niger and Chad. 

Which was the centre of cultural development in Southern Africa?

               Have you heard of Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe means ‘great stone house’. The centre of the early culture in Southern Africa is located in the present day countries of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. From the second century, this area became home to farmers called Shona.

              The fifteenth century saw the birth of a new empire in Zimbabwe. The empire was called Munhumutapa after its first ruler’s name. Shortly after 1480, the Munhumutapa Empire fell apart. Changa, a governor of the Munhumutapa Empire founded the empire of Changamire. It remained a political power until 1834.


Who were the Aborigines?

               The Aborigines are the original inhabitants of Australia. They lived as hunters and gatherers in clans of 20 to 30 individuals. The men used boomerangs which came back to hand when thrown, and long spears. The women used clubs for hunting small animals. They also gathered berries, tubers, roots, as well as insects.

               Aborigines wore little clothing, and built simple huts. Their clans are based on ‘skin group’. All the father’s brothers are called fathers, and all the mother’s sisters are also called mothers. Their children are regarded as brothers and sisters. All of them belonged to one skin group. Every tribe had four to eight skin groups. Marriage within a skin group was not permitted. 

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