History of Early Africa

History of Early Africa

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The history of early Africa began with the emergence of archaic humans in East Africa. The earliest written history arose in Ancient Egypt, and later spread through Nubia and the Sahel to the Horn of Africa. North African history became entwined with the empire of Islam, which expanded into Southern Europe. Meanwhile, the expansion of the Bantu peoples swept from Central Africa across the Sahel in waves beginning around 1000 BC. This created a community of related languages across much of central and southern Africa.

Farther south, the Nok culture developed in 1500 BC in what is now Nigeria. The Nok produced terracotta figures of human heads and forms and various animals, and by 500 BC they had developed an iron industry. But by 200 AD the Nok culture had vanished. Based on stylistic similarities, the bronze figurines of the kingdoms of Ife and Benin appear to have been derived from the traditions of the earlier Nok culture.

During the 7th century AD, the empire of Islam began to spread west from Arabia to Egypt and went on to become the foundational faith of the West African empires of Mali, Ghana, and Songhai. Before the onset of European colonialism, Africa had some 10,000 different states and tribes with their own languages and customs.

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Early Africa Index | Society: CommunitiesEnvironmentMigration | Central Africa: Kongo | East Africa: KushLand of PuntSwahili City-States: SocietyEconomy | East Africa: Economy | Ethiopia: Christianity | Southern Africa: Great Zimbabwe | West Africa: Hausa States: BornuGobirKanemKanoZazzau | Kingdom of Benin | Kingdom of Ife | Kingdom of Oyo | Sudanic Kingdoms: Ghana: SocietyPowerEconomy | Mali: Power | Songhai

Early Africa: Index


Society: Communities

Society: Environment

Society: Migration

Central Africa

Central Africa: Kongo

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East Africa

East Africa: Kush

East Africa: Land of Punt

East Africa: Swahili City-States

Swahili City-States: Society

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Swahili City-States: Economy

East Africa: Economy

East Africa: Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Christianity

Southern Africa: Great Zimbabwe

West Africa

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West Africa: Hausa States

Hausa States: Bornu

Hausa States: Gobir

Hausa States: Kanem

Hausa States: Kano

Hausa States: Zazzau

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West Africa: Kingdom of Benin

West Africa: Kingdom of Ife

West Africa: Kingdom of Oyo

West Africa: Sudanic Kingdoms

Sudanic Kingdoms: Ghana

Ghana: Society

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Ghana: Power

Ghana: Economy

Sudanic Kingdoms: Mali

Mali: Power

Sudanic Kingdoms: Songhai

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