Pastoralism In Ancient Africa

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At the beginning, humans were set in small, basic groups. They were hunters and gatherers, never staying in one place for too long. It was not until the creation of farming and pastoralism that things began to change. With farming, people began to domesticate plants by cultivating for specific traits. (bigger fruits, more seeds, etc) Pastoralism is the exact same thing, but with animals. Animals, such as cows, were bred to be bigger and more docile. Together these two acts created an advancement in society. Specifically in ancient Africa, farming and pastoralism had a tremendous effect on development. One impact that farming directly had on society was creating much larger settlements. Most people were originally hunters and gatherers. This…show more content…
As the cities grew their jobs became more complex. In hunting and gathering societies, there was not as much of an emphasis on leadership roles. As farming created these big cities, leadership was no longer just an option; the society depended on it. Another aspect that began to form in the development in ancient Africa was that of social organization. Social organization is defined as the way in which a society organizes itself in accordance to its members. Today, that can be seen in the three social classes. (Upper, middle, and lower) In ancient times it was a bit different. At the beginning, there was more of a focus on teamwork and the type of job a person had. The better one was at working, the higher their status. As time passed, the ideas slightly shifted to match almost to ours today. Ironically enough, a great example during the time was in a society that gave much of the social power to women. The Niger-Congo culture often put their women at the highest rank in social organization. This was due to the fact the women did most of the farming. Since this was key to their survival, the women were rightly…show more content…
As mentioned before, pastoralism is defined as the domestication of animals. Through selective breeding, the animals that had the most desirable traits would reproduce. Within a few years, some of the wild animals of Africa became tame. One interesting domestication was that of sheep in Egypt. Around 4100 B.C.E, sheep were much thinner (in terms of wool) as evident in tomb paintings. After two thousand years of pastoralism, the paintings began to change. By the Middle Kingdom, sheep were drawn much fatter. Animals were important for a multitude of reasons. Pastoralism also was used as a great source of reliable food. In times of drought, animals could be used in place of plants. Animals, like oxen, were used to speed up the production of plants too. They would be used to plow field faster. This allowed farmers to use more land, increasing production. Lastly, animals were a key component in trade. This was important to increase relations between societies and fuller development with the increase in diversity of
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