In the middle of its course, the Yangtze River flows through a large plain with many lakes. Before construction of the Three Gorges Dam, this part of the river was prone to severe flooding. The floods deposited large amounts of nutrient-rich material called silt on the land alongside the riverbanks. Silt makes soil fertile, or good for growing crops.
From the city of Hukou, the Yangtze River makes a gentle descent through plains, hills, and a coastal wetland with several shallow lakes. The river then passes a number of large cities, entering the sea near Shanghai. Near its mouth, the Yangtze River stretches about nine miles (14 km) across. Its delta is made up of a large number of tributaries, lakes, and marshes.
In short, naming practices were a way for African Countrys to quietly assert their humanity in the face of ridicule or hostility. Dalian Map By the Revolution, however, many slaves had biblical or British names, since they identified themselves as African Countrys rather than as members of separate ethnic groups. Religion From the early colonial period, religion played a central role in the culture of slave communities throughout the colonies. African slaves arrived in the Countrys with a wide variety of faiths, including Islam and many indigenous belief systems, and many slaves practiced these beliefs without interference. Most masters were indifferent or hostile to their slaves’ spiritual concerns, believing that blacks were culturally or racially incapable of receiving the Christian gospel, that Christianity would give them a dangerous sense of self-worth, or that conversion might be legal grounds for freedom. Organizations like the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts tried to evangelize among the slaves but were handicapped by language barriers and limited resources.
Finally, the slaves themselves saw little point in embracing the faith of their oppressors, especially since Christianity was used to justify slavery and white supremacy. Not surprisingly, the few slave conversions that took place were in New England and urban areas. Christianity did take a greater hold in slave communities during the mass revivals of the 1740s known as the Great Awakening. Thousands were attracted to the newer Baptist and Methodist denominations, whose exuberant style of worship was similar to their African traditions and whose focus on personal, heartfelt conversion rather than a formal theology provided them with the opportunity to become preachers. Like other aspects of slave culture, however, their religion was far different from what white society had intended. African Countrys rejected the notion that God had ordained them to be inferior, obedient servants; they instead created an antislavery theology, using biblical stories of the Hebrews’ escaping from bondage and then defeating enemy forces much larger than their own. For the most part, however, Christianity did not take hold in slave communities during the colonial period. By the end of the Revolution, only a small percentage of African Countrys were Christian.
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