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Chapter 7 – Classical Era Variations - Big Picture Question #2

“The particular cultures and societies of Africa and of the Americas discussed in this chapter developed largely in isolation from one another.”
What evidence would support this statement, and what might challenge it?

“The particular cultures and societies of Africa and of the Americas discussed in this chapter developed largely in isolation from one another.”

Evidence in support of this statement includes the complete physical separation and lack of contact between the African and American cultures and societies discussed in this chapter.

“The particular cultures and societies of Africa and of the Americas discussed in this chapter developed largely in isolation from one another.”

The geographic and cultural separation between Meroë and Axum on the one hand and the Niger Valley civilization on the other also provides support.

“The particular cultures and societies of Africa and of the Americas discussed in this chapter developed largely in isolation from one another.” So too does the significant physical distances that separated Andean, North American, and Mesoamerican civilizations, along with the lack of sustained contact between these three regions.

“The particular cultures and societies of Africa and of the Americas discussed in this chapter developed largely in isolation from one another.”

Evidence to challenge this statement includes the extensive interaction between the Maya and Teotihuacán civilizations; the conquest of Meroë by Axum; and the encounters between Bantu-speaking peoples and gathering and hunting groups, including the Batwa, as the Bantuspeaking peoples migrated into Africa south of the equator.

The word ban-tu means "person" and has come to signify a great linguistic family that today is spoken by around 100 million people in southern and central Africa.

“The particular cultures and societies of Africa and of the Americas discussed in this chapter developed largely in isolation from one another.”

The Chavín religious cult, which provided for the first time and for several centuries a measure of economic and cultural integration to much of the Peruvian Andes, also challenges the statement.

“The particular cultures and societies of Africa and of the Americas discussed in this chapter developed largely in isolation from one another.”

Additional challenging evidence is the critical arrival of maize from Mesoamerica into the Ancestral Pueblo and mound-building societies.