Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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1. West African culture: The culture of the West African people consists of many aspects. The cohesiveness of linking groups joined the society together since even from childhood, Africans were taught to hold their grandparents and elders in highest esteem. The family structure consisted of polygyny where a man married more than one woman. Another aspect of culture is the labor of cultivation of crops. The Africans were able to keep fertile soil to grow root crops such as yams and also rice and grain was grown. The religion of the West African culture recognized the spirits of nature and its magic. Artistic traditions were linked to religion as well. An ivory, cast-iron, and wood sculpture would be used to honor spirits and many African folk tales were told by oral reciters through dancing, music, and ritual masks.

2. Polygyny: The practice where a man marries several wives and has many households and families.

This custom was part of the family structure of West Africans and it was accepted in their culture.

3. Similarities between West Africans and Native Americans: Cultivation was a similarity shared by both groups since Africans would maintain soil fertility by practicing slash-and-burn tillage. Religion was also another similarity since both cultures believed in and recognized the spiritual presence of nature. The powers of earth spirits and the belief in their power caused many Africans to worship these spirits. When misfortunes came, both cultures would blame the bad luck on witchcraft.

4. European social hierarchy: During the 1500s, at the top of the European hierarchy were the kings with all the power. Sometimes without sufficient support, kings would often cause wars with enemies that would cost a great deal of money. Europeans considered governance as a responsibility for men and so rule by a...