Talk:History of Africa

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There's a typo in last sentence of the palaeolithic section, homo erectus should be replaced by homo sapiens. thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.95.236.201 (talk) 04:17, 17 March 2010 (UTC)


History and geographical classification?[edit]

This is the history of Africa, geographical classification.

Well, an article called "history of Africa" should be an article about the history of Africa. It shouldn't be a link page, I think; we certainly should have an article about the history of Africa on this page. It probably shouldn't be on an "outline of the history of Africa" page, because one goes to a "history of Africa" page precisely to get an outline of the history of Africa.

To link to a topic that doesn't have an obvious focus within one of the regions below, create a link here at the top level and/or link it within multiple region pages.

In a certain way, there is really no such thing as a "top-level" page within Wikipedia. Pages can and should be linked to from a wide variety of other relevant pages.

Anyway, this sort of thing goes without saying on Wikipedia. We want to interlink pages as much as possible--more or less.

--Larry Sanger

An article about "history of Africa" could be a) very big b) an outline c) a link page.

a) is not good I think, since you can't easy link into a big page. You suggest b) which is ok.

But I think the regions should be left as a separate page and linked at the beginning of the article.

-- Hagedis


Seeing as how the other continental history pages are all link pages, I think that the text should be shortened or lost. Also, looking at what's here -- it isn't by any means a history of Aftrica -- it's a history of African regions known to or ruled by other (mostly western) powers. I think it really needs to go, with the text incorporated into more appropriate areas. This exactly why there is so much pressure to teach World History, and a great example of the reasons that many non-western peoples refuse to believe westerners can treat their history witht the proper respect. I am generally very anti-political correctness for its own sake, but as an historian working in the 21st century, I feel very uncomfortable with the 'pedia putting out this article as is. JHK

Eurocentric? Racist?[edit]

This article is Eurocentric to the point of being racist. It’s shocking that any article on African history doesn’t detail black African states like Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Kanem-Bornu, Kano, Ashanti, Oyo, Benin, Ife, Monomontapa, or the Swahili-speaking city-states in East Africa, just to name some of the most notable.

Although the posted content is well-written and fairly comprehensive, the lack of any attempt to address the historical record of literate black societies or reconstruct the histories of pre-literate but highly sophisticated peoples like the Yorubas, Efik-Ibibios, and numerous other societies is far more disconcerting than the moronic antics of Zog, who was Wikipedia’s resident Nazi for a brief period of time prior to his many bannings. At least that kind of racism is blocked with great effort from dozens of contributors, but these little subtle biases go unnoticed.

I'm going to do my best to correct this. Meanwhile, I'm begging other contributors to help.

172

Even what little is said of Africans is not always correct. E.g. the distinction between Xhosa en Bantu.. isiXhosa is a Bantu language. Where it says Xhosa probably Khoisan is to be substitutedsd.
Just spotted that, fixing it now -- Cabalamat 03:16, 12 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I have created Wikipedia:Africa-related regional notice board.iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 05:28, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)

Useful Info[edit]

Someone put this paragraph in History of Europe:

Also, in 1835, an uprising of German Afrikaners attacked the Dutch army regiment stationed at the town of Neu Scheveningen. This lead to all-out war on the African continent, lodged between the Dutch, English, and French against the Germans and Italians. Eventually, the peace was restored; the Germans were given a geographically-separate colony in which to live, near present-day Lesotho; it was named New Saxony. The war was officially ended in 1837, with the Treaty of Tripoli. The Germans eventually separated, politically, from their homeland, and set up a kingdom. But the new king was eaten by a lion, and the Kingdom of New Saxony was once again swallowed up by the Dutch. No warfare, suprisingly, took place on European soil, and the treaty held for many years.

It obviously doesn't belong there but I thought that maybe this information could be useful here. Kpalion 10:31, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Unified history[edit]

I think there does need to be an outline History of Africa page, not just a series of links - even if some matter is duplicated. This is because Africa is thought of far more as a single entity than most other continents. The division of Africa into a large number of small countries also makes it difficult for people without much knowledge of Africa to decide which modern nation's history to investigate in order to get the material they want.

The article certainly does need a far less Euro-centric makeover however.

Evolution of language[edit]

The Khoisan languages are almost unique in using clicks, and all but one of the few other languages to use them are believed to have acquired them under Khoisan influence. Khoisan languages are now spoken mostly by isolated islands of genetically and culturally distinct populations of hunter-gatherers on marginal lands such as the Kalahari Desert.

I moved the above paragraph, together with its heading, out of the article. The paragraph actually says nothing about the evolution of language and it does not in any way make clear why KhoiSan, or its rarity, would have anything to do with the 'Out of Africa'-hypothesis. - Mark Dingemanse (talk) 22:04, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Fair point. I think it's quite probable that Khoisan (if it's a valid family) was one of the earliest surviving branches off "Proto-World", but it's scarcely more than speculation to say anything much about that at this stage. - Mustafaa 22:24, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Africa-related regional notice board[edit]

I have created Wikipedia:Africa-related regional notice board.iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 05:29, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)

See main articles: how to do it[edit]

Hi, I have made the 20th century subsection, and within them different regions (Southern Africa etc.). It should probably be best to link them and delegate their info to their respective articles (considering we're above 43 kB). Problem is that the history sections in these articles span their entire history, not just the 20th century (same about the history of the Sahara). So, what should be done to make sure it won't become a mess? Also, in my opinion, an overview of African history topics shouldn't handle about date Y in country X, like it is now, but about their international relationships, the feel of the time (I'd even like to say: a more essayist viewpoint). The related topics all suffer from redundancy. Phlebas 18:34, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"Startled into new life"?[edit]

There's a sentence in one of the paragraphs which reads:

"Railways penetrated the interior, vast areas were opened up to Western occupation, and from Egypt to the Zambezi the continent was startled into new life."

"Startled into new life" is a rather odd phrase. No doubt these were huge changes, but "new life" seems to imply that the whole place was a big old nothing until they started putting in the railways. Can someone with more historical background than me rewrite? Cromis 23:41, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Article Improvement Drive[edit]

Architecture of Africa is currently nominated on Wikipedia:Article Improvement Drive. Come to this page and support it with your vote. Help us improve this article to featured status.--Fenice 08:45, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

passive voice, colonialist mentality[edit]

This article has a lot of useful information, but the authors' excessive use of passive voice, coupled with colonialist mentality (e.g. "adventurers", "there was much gold to be had", "filling in the spaces on the African map" <--not exact quote, but something similar) create the impression that Africa was waiting to be "claimed" by European powers, who had nothing but the people's best interest in mind. Obviously, this is a highly biased way of portraying events. (—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 67.83.100.62 (talkcontribs) .)

That's because the first half of the article appears to be lifted from a 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article. Feel free to edit it... - Humansdorpie 22:40, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Sub-Saharan Africa is a myth[edit]

The word has two meanings. The political or geographical meaning of the word "African" refers to people who live on the continent of Africa. The anthropological meaning of "African" refers to native Africans, people whose physical appearance and cultural identity is characteristic of the continent of Africa.

The notion of some invisible border, which divides the North of African from the South, is rooted in racism, which in part assumes that a little sand is an obstacle for African people. This barrier of sand hence confines/confined Africans to the bottom of this make-believe location, which exist neither politically or physically. The Sahara is a broad desert belt, which encompasses countries like Mali, Sudan, and Mauritania, and hence they are neither “sub” nor “North Africa.” In addition, many African communities historically have travelled freely across this European barrier set for Africans. Mansa Musa famous Hajj travelled through North Africa in the 13th century so why do we assume Africans would be confined to this nonsensical designation called sub-Saharan Africa. Again, Eurocentric dialectics is at play in the insatiable need to categorize and define things solely on superficial limited physical observation. This is a mindset, which they cannot escape, and the only way they can process reality. Hence, sharp definitions, physical quantities are pre-emphasised in their mental navigation of the world around. Interestingly, most non-European cultures embody a more spiritual approach to reality, which is expressed in language, culture, and perception of the World. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Halaqah (talkcontribs) 18:53, 23 September 2006.

No matter if it is Sub-Sahara or not new evidence point out that mummification, blacksmith of metal, the worship of Horus, among other things were started and found in and "below" the Sahara so once again you can only fool the people but so much. The truth is there.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Halaqah (talkcontribs) 18:53, 23 September 2006.


Also, Nubia is not in "Sub-Saharan" Africa, this is a history of "Africa", separating sections into Sub-Saharan and Northern Africa with no basis is arbitrary and nearly racist. I'm adjoining the sections. Plus, 10,000 years ago there was no "Sahara desert" anyways.. "Sub-Sahara" is a modern geo-political term and has no basis in geography or history. Egypt, Nubia, and Ethiopia are all in Africa and always has been, no separation needed, this is a history of "Africa". There are separate wiki articles for Sub-Saharan and North Africa as it is, refer to them.. Also Kush and Nubia were two different states, there is no "Nubian Kush".Taharqa 03:10, 1 April 2007 (UTC)


In reference to this quote here from the ancient Egypt section,


The Egyptians reached Crete around 2000 BC and were invaded by Indo-Europeans and Hyksos Semites. They defeated the invaders around 1570 BC and expanded into the Aegean, Sudan, Libya, and much of the Levant, as far as the Euphrates.

^This is a load, no wonder it wasn't cited. I heard about Egypt reaching Crete but Egypt began in 3,300 B.C., so that seems quite irrelevant. Also the chronology is horrible, Indo-Europeans didn't invade until the Greco-Roman era, and Egypt did not expand an empire all the way to the Aegean preceding the expulsion of the Hyksos, nor did they expand as far as the Euphrates.. Ethiopia isn't in North Africa and while contact with the Middle East and North Africa was a reality, more contact was made with inner Africa.

"Ethiopia, closely linked with North Africa and the Middle East"

^There's no evidence for a "Close" link or influence in Ethiopian state building, look up the the article on the Kingdom of Askum and Ethiopia.

Who writes this crap? Someone who doesn't know very much about Africa I'd assume. I rewrote (slightly reworded) it with sources.Taharqa 03:46, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Material moved here in need of re-write[edit]

I've moved this contribution because it is repetitive and out of place and needs rewriting or editing with correct formatting of inline references:

"It was not until the late 1950s that Ghana won its freedom from British colonialism. At this time, Kwame Nkrumah, as well as other leaders of this country rose up to power and gave Africa a sense of their own history. One effort Nkrumah made in the start towards independence was The Organization of African Unity.<Alkalimat, Abdul. The African American Experience in Cyberspace. London: Pluto P, 2004. 22./> This group was formed in 1963 in order to set apart Africa from other countries but this never occurred because they were under European power for so many years.
It has been said that in today's society, Africa plays two varying roles. For instance, they helped in the labor part in builing America with Europeans, while at the same time, they were able to set about their own continent by vastly shaping the culture. <H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online. Michigan State University. <www2.h-net.msu.edu/~africa>.
/> Slaves were representing two different worlds at the same time. They were a major role player in the declining population of Africa, as well as a major builder of the new world of America. During this time, it was as if Africans lived in a world similar to the Holocaust of the Jews. They were subjected to many things that in today's society would be viewed as in humane. In order to ignore the harsh realities of our world, Africa was basically wiped out from World History. Rexparry sydney 01:51, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

African History Usually Narrated By Non-Africans[edit]

Unfortunately, most literature on African history is written by Europeans with obvious Eurocentric slant, if not outright bias. Thus the world at large still views Africa as one complex, monolithic and retro continent that they do not care to understand. There is hardly an African perspective in the general discourse, be it on mainstream TV, internet or print media. The result is that our history is written and narrated by former colonialists and present-day exploiters of the continent. It is not surprising therefore that images of Africa etched on the minds of people around the world are that of wars, disease and poverty. The best news out of Africa as typically seen in Western media is exotic wild life!

The story is not told that Africa generally is safer and cheaper to invest than South East Asia or South America. There is no telling that the Nigerian Stock Market offers the highest returns and stability in the world, ten years running, and that it has created an entirely new class of instant millionaires. There are no images of cosmopolitan cities like Abuja and Calabar (Nigeria), Nairobi, Capetown, and Johannesburg, with their skyscrapers, affluent middle class, and globe-trotting businessmen and women carrying Blackberries in their custom-made designer suits. The preponderance of African intellectuals at the highest levels of Science, Technology, Medicine and Education at prestigious institutions worldwide hardly receives a mention. Western Diplomats serving in some parts of Africa know this fact, as they sometimes retain permanent residency, opting not to return to their home countries after their service there.

It is up to African scholars and historians to elevate the discourse and correct this anomaly. It is not enough to simply get published; African authors and institutions must also fight a public relations battle - in the world stage. In this Information Age, truth does not always win; it is often the first casualty of politics and war, beclouded by the louder and more influential purveyors of mischief and falsehood. To start with therefore, any African scholar is always free to edit this Wikipedia page on African History with facts as necessary.

Any party interested in further discussions may email me at basseyoe@yahoo.com.

Red Alert[edit]

I've spent so much time on states that I have neglected this article. It should have been first on my list. I just wrote the intro. Notice I said wrote instead of re-wrote, because what was put there before me was NOTHING. Written history may indeed start with Egypt, but history as defined by happenings and the evidence they leave behind goes well beyond that. I'm using the History of Europe page as my model and they put one pathetic line up saying the history of that continent started with the first literate civs. They include everything as we should here. The periodization scheme i put up should work rather well here. It's obvious Africa developed differently than the rest of the world. What sucks is that it's like the least studied continent in the world despite it being the origin of the most important race ever- THE HUMAN RACE. Time for me and all who give a hoot to step their game up. HOLLA! Scott Free (talk) 00:46, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Wholeheartedly agree. Alatari (talk) 19:15, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

The fact is that there is not much known about sub-saharan african history before colonialism because there are no records of anything, and basically anything that you might say is hypothetical and has no place in history. The theory of evolution and the idea of the human race originating in Africa are very loosely based theories and in fact they are wrong. Modern humans originated in India. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.4.224.134 (talk) 03:57, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

History of Africa?[edit]

Africa being the second largest continent in the world can not be covered as a whole. In the same way one could not seriously write about a history of Asia, one can not write about a history of "Africa." North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa should be covered separately. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.89.174.196 (talk) 17:10, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

This is a very large subject but it can be divided into sections properly. I replaced one tag because there are some major gaps in sections of the Sub-Saharan history that need addressing. Genetic differences between East, North and South African ethnic groups are extremely wide and so are the histories. Some examples:

I'll see if I can find some more Sub Saharan info or someone who is better at archeaology topics then me. Alatari (talk) 00:45, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes and at the same time there are more genetic similarities than differences between any two of these populations. Additionally there is the fact that more than seven out of ten indigenous males are paternally descended from E-P2*, in large part being descendants of two brother haplogroups - E1b1b and E1b1a - which are less than 8kya apart in their divergences in ancestral E-P2* bearing populations either way you slice it.
We have:
  • ["Phylogeography of the human Y chromosome haplogroup E3a"]
In this study we analyzed more than 1,600 Y chromosomes from 55 African populations, using both new and previously described biallelic markers, in order to refine the phylogeny and the geographic distribution of the E3a haplogroup.
The most common E-DYS271 sub-clades (E-DYS271*, E-M191, E-U209) showed a non uniform distribution across sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the E-DYS271 chromosomes found in northern and western Africa belong to the paragroup E-DYS271*, which is rare in central and southern Africa. In these latter regions, haplogroups E-M191 and E-U209 show similar frequency distributions and coalescence ages (13 and 11 kyr, respectively), suggesting their involvement in the same migratory event/s.
By the use of two new phylogenetically equivalent markers (V38 and V89), the earlier tripartite structure of E3 haplogroup was resolved in favor of a common ancestor for haplogroups E-DYS271 (formerly E3a) and E-M329 (formerly E3c). The new topology of the E3 haplogroup is suggestive of a relatively recent eastern African origin for the majority of the chromosomes presently found in sub-Saharan Africa.
- F. Cruciani et al 2008
Also, Africa's genetic diversity - such as noted by the poster above - is for the most part within-population diversity and not between population diversity, as is most human diversity. The only real part of Africa i see as differentiable is the coastal North African and sparse Saharan populations -- but this is only differentiable from the perspective of non-Africans because non-African DNA influence is very rare in Africa South of the Sahara.
The AMOVA analysis performed on the 16 Bantu-speaking populations analyzed in the present work showed that almost all the genetic variation (98.8%) was found to be within populations, with the remaining 1.2% between populations (but not significantly different from 0; P=.103). These results again reflect the very high level of genetic homogeneity among these populations.
AMOVA analysis was also applied to the whole African data set, using several designs:
Taking all the African populations separately, 79.2% of the variability occurs within populations, whereas 20.8% of the variability occurs between populations.
Grouping the populations by main geographic areas, 10.6% between groups, 12.5% between populations within groups, and 76.9% for variance within groups.
Considering the main groups of African languages (Afroasiatic, Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan, and Khoisan), similar values were obtained for the variation within groups (76.8%), but 18.9% was found to occur between populations within groups, with the remaining 4.3% corresponding with differences between groups. (This last was not significantly different from 0; P=.068.)
When populations were grouped into Bantu versus non-Bantu, a similar apportionment of genetic variation was found: 74.9% within populations, 17.2% among populations within groups, and 7.9% among groups.
Therefore, it seems that, in Africa, geography plays an important role in defining differences between the main groups, whereas language plays a lesser role.
- A. Salas et al 2002
Even if whatever definable and overall **distinct** (if there was one) ancestral East African population from which all non-Africans are descended had remained together but segregated from all other populations, you'd see much more diversity within this group than outside it. This wouldn't necissarily equate to any definable groups such that some are more destinct from others than are they to non-Africans.
Africa is a vast continent and of course geographical distance is important (culturally, linguistically, genetically, whathaveyou) but numerous migratory events criss cross the continent both before and expecially after the migration of non-Africans. The criss crossing E-P2* (and its derivatives) which as we all know is found in it's highest frequencies in Ethiopian groups and in Senegal (Senegalese sample having been found with more from a percentage standpoint than a few of the said Ethiopian cases) attests to this. The fact both NorthWestern Amazighen speakers and al Tamasheq (both speaking Berber languages that originate in the Eastern Sahara) ultimately descend from derivative E1b1b1* lingeages that expand West from the Western desert of Egypt around 2kya, and the finding of Benin Sickle Cell in Predynastic Egyptian mummies and further aid my point.
Lastly, concering E-M2's very origins and connections to metallurgical and agricultural advancement, as well as its constant linking to the Sahara as seen in the Alexandra Rosa et al study entitled "Y-chromosomal diversity in the population of Guinea-Bissau: a multiethnic perspective" cited here at wiki as a source for the time frame and geographical origins of E1b1a* here are a few citations that may clear the picture up.
A cultural flow, from the southeast of Subsaharan Africa and to the Sahara, could explain the diffusion of the microlithic industries all the way through West Africa. We observe them initially in Cameroon at Shum Laka (30.600-29.000 BC), then at the Ivory Coast in Bingerville (14.100-13.400 BC), in Nigeria in Iwo Eleru (11.460-11.050 BC), and finally in Ounjougou (phase 1, 10th millennium BC).
[...]
Outstandingly, there has been evidence of the presence of pottery and seed grinding implements since at least the beginning of the 8th millennium BC. It is therefore the oldest site. The eighth millennium (Phase 2 of the Holocene in Ounjougou) known of this socio-economic type in sub-Saharan Africa...
The pottery and the seed grinding implements of phase 2 of Ounjougou are the oldest artefacts of this type known at present in sub-Saharan Africa. To current knowledge, the pottery of Ounjougou could either have been invented in the actual Sudano-Sahelian zone or been imported from the Central Sahara, where there has been evidence since the ninth millennium BC. Still, the oldest pottery known in the Sahara, from the site of Tagalagal in Niger, is already quite diversified at the moment of its appearance, possibly meaning that the technique has been introduced.
The lithic industry of the phases 1 and 2 on the other hand shows similarities to both more southern and Saharan industries. Quartz microliths, obtained through bipolar debitage on anvil, are a characteristic of the West African techno-complex according to Kevin MacDonald. Bifacially retouched arrowheads, in contrast, are specific for Saharan production.
The Sahara, before this wet-phase (where rock art even in Egypt shows animals like Giraffes) that begins around 14,000 years ago, had previously been abandoned by its hunters and foragers due to the hyper-arid phase it went through over 21,000 years ago. When arid conditions returned is likely when people of the Pan-Saharan melting pot culture migrated out of the desert in all directions including some taking refuge EastWard in the Nile Valley.

Infiniti28 (talk) 10:15, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

"Medieval Africa"[edit]

Is there any merit of speaking of the "Middle Ages" of Africa? It strikes me not only as misleading but actually rather tasteless in the context of a history of centuries of highly prejudiced Eurocentric history writing. Do modern scholars in African studies accept this type of periodization?

Peter Isotalo 08:36, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

I personally believe there is merit to the term since Africa as whole or in portions needs a scale of periodization as much as any other portion of the world.
    • Roland Oliver and John Donnelly Fage's "Cambridge History of Africa" assert that there is no acceptable periodization of Africa as a whole. Keep in mind these two are european scholars. They have however contributed in a relatively unbiased way to African studies if you look at their works.
    • The study of Medieval WEST AFRICA according to David C. Conrad's 2005 "Empires Of Medieval West Africa" encompasses from the beginning of the Ghana Empire to the end of the Songhai Empire or approximately 750 AD to 1591 AD. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 4shizzal (talkcontribs) 23:51, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
      • That doesn't strike me as particularly strong arguments for using a term invented by Europeans for a European context. Of course the article needs some sort of periodization, but simply grafting on European periodization doesn't seem very logical unless there is widespread agreement among scholars of African history about this. Peter Isotalo 10:16, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I pretty much agree with you, but I haven't seen any other names for the period in question. Besides, there is a medieval period in Asia, so why not in Africa? But heck, I'm still not sure where the African "Middle Ages" begins and ends. I did do some digging tho and came across the UNESCO General History of Africa series. The authors are almost all African (though Western educated, but who isn't). There periodization goes something like this...
  • 5 million years ago - 8000 BC
  • 8000 BC - 700 AD
  • 700 AD - 1100 AD
  • 1100 AD - 1500 AD
  • 1500 AD - 1800 AD
  • 1800 AD - 1890 AD
  • 1890 AD - 1935 AD
  • 1935 AD - 1945 AD
With the exceptin of 8000 BC (which the authors dub the beginning of Africa's Stone Age), there are no period names to speak of. I think 700 AD is supposed to be when ALL of Africa was fully in the Iron Age. These books rely mostly on events, though. According to this scheme of things, I guess the Middle Ages would be 1100-1500 in Africa. I'd love to hear any published names/dates to the contrary, though. Scott Free (talk) 23:41, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Asia, which is even larger and more diverse than Africa, has absolutely nothing resembling a unified medieval period. It's impossible to unite such varied empires and cultures as the Ottomans, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc. under one single periodization scheme, and the same goes for just about every region of it. The concept of a medieval period is largely based on the relatively high level of cultural unity of Europe, and is not usefully applicable anywhere else. The closest one can get is to date all of world history based on a strictly European timescale, but that really doesn't amount to anything more highly misleading Eurocentrism for everything short of the late modern period.
It would be far more preferable to simply date by centuries, and the UNESCO history could be used as a rough guideline since it's actually written by African scholars.
Peter Isotalo 08:20, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Agreed :) Scott Free (talk) 23:40, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's all that necessary to establish periods in the lead, so I removed that part from the lead. I also tried to give other relevant tidbits and some comments on historiography. African history is largely unknown territory to me, so don't hesitate to correct me.
Peter Isotalo 12:56, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Prehistory[edit]

Prehistory does not apply to Africa, particularly sub-saharan Africa. Prehistory refers to the time before writing was invented[1]. Writing was only introduced to Africa on a limited scale after European contact in the 15th century. Writing was only introduced on a wider scale after colonialism. Therefore it would be confusing to refer to any time prior to the 15th century in Africa as prehistory. In short we should not model African history after European history. Instead we should periodize African history in a logical manner that represents the various stages that are unique to Africa. I think we should not use the terms "prehistory" or "medieval". Maybe we can use what anthropologists have been using such as the Lower Paleolithic, the Middle Stone Age, the Late Stone Age, and the Neolithic as reference points. Second of all the idea that the history of Africa has filled with turmoil and turbulence is very much incorrect. Africa's turmoil is fairly recent, as a result of its highest population density Muntuwandi (talk) 10:05, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree that there's a problem here, but the early writing of Egypt, Kush and the introduction of the Arabic script after the spread of Islam are more than just notable exceptions. I don't quite agree that prehistory in this case is as inappopriate as you suggest. It certainly can't be compared with speaking of "medieval" Africa.
The removal of the turmoil wording was a good call, btw.
Peter Isotalo 12:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
If we are talking of Africa as a whole, then prehistory ends when Egypt started using glyphs. The differences between Europe and Africa become really apparent in situations like this.

If we look at prehistory as ending when people started recording it, we have to decide if that means aracheological records (which is what Egyptian hieroglyphs really are), indigenous written records (like the stuff written in Ge'ez by the Axumites), adopted written records (like the use of Greek by Nubians) or the oral record (history recorded and remembered by specified peoples of institutions like the chroniclers of Mali). Just cuz people weren't writing down their history, didn't mean they weren't recording as we see with the traditional epics in much of the Sahel.

Regardless, we must all remember that writing was introduced way before 15th century Europeans popped up. As Peter pointed out, Nubia and Ethiopia were using home-grown scripts that descended from outside Africa. And Arabic was used widely (at least among the nobility) in states of Sub-Saharan Africa since the 8th century of the Common Era (specifically with the Ghana Empire and later Sahel empires). The penetration of the written word happened at different places in Africa just as it did in Europe. Most of Europe wasn't literate when the Romans were, but we don't regard the entire continent (or region) as being stuck in prehistory. Btw, I agree with Peter's removal of the "medieval" line, which I originally put in. Good call. Scott Free (talk) 00:20, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

There are still black Africans living today as it was several hundred years ago, why don't you go to them for your history? You will see the reason why there isn't much, which isn't neccesarily a bad thing! Yes euroasians have all kinds of technology, writing, history, wars, etcetera but these aren't neccesarily a good thing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.4.224.134 (talk) 04:06, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

  • African history is under construction, just like European history is - the difference is that Europeans have had a headstart in the art of creating and promoting thier legends and myths into a written narrative of history. The trick for Africans is to promote legends and myths as successfully as Europeans and Asians have done. Interesting is Jan Guillou's findings that the Viking saga is nothing much but a saga. --85.226.85.52 (talk) 20:31, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Ok, actually, Pre-history should only refer to the time before which history was written about. Most of what we know about Africa in medieval times was written about, and so is therefor history. Cases like the Nok culture and Dar Tichitt Walatta complexes are prehistory for instance. I do agree that little is known about many of Africa's indigenous states do to writing primarily having been done by foreigners but at the same token many of the European legends and stories are not counted as prehistory to my knowledge. Also, all a history is is a record and if it's not written in native script it ain't written but that doesn't negate it as history nonetheless. And for your information indigenous scripts were created and implemented by people located geographically South of the Sahara (which from an African abd cultural standpoint arbitrary and purely geographical anyway) such as the Bamun Script of Cameroon which chronicled a history and even the arrival of the Germans. In many instances indigenous scripts were outlawed for obvious reasons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Infiniti28 (talkcontribs) 17:41, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Repeated acts of vandalism by 216.212.248.59[edit]

Anonymous user 216.212.248.59 has committed repeated acts of wanton vandalism on this site today, 18 April 2008. This user, whomever he/she is, is hereby warned not to repeat these acts again. Notification will be made to the administrators and the user will be blocked. Michel Doortmont (talk) 19:07, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism on this page abounds[edit]

This page seems to be troubled by many random acts of foolish vandalism. Some people seem to find that funny. I personally find it a nuisance, as it takes a lot of time to undo things time and again. Is this a case for the administrators and semi-protected status? Michel Doortmont (talk) 19:53, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

"Possible copyright infringement" tag[edit]

RE this [2] tag, below is a copy of the note I left on the talk page of the editor that tagged this article
Hi. You tagged History of Africa as a copyvio. Note that both the Wikipedia and about.com [3] articles derive from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, sometimes called the 1911 Encyclopedia to avoid trademark problems. That encyclopedia is in the public domain, so it's not a violation. I'm not sure about the 2nd URL you listed though [4] as I can't see the violating text in the Wikipedia article. Ha! (talk) 02:38, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

It's this bit "The Beaker culture began to affect western North Africa. Named for the distinctively shaped ceramics found in graves, the Beaker culture is associated with the emergence of a warrior mentality. North African rock art of this period depict animals but also places a new emphasis on the human figure, equipped with weapons and adornments." I really that the fact the a century old encyclopedia is being used for copy and paste, but I guess there is little that can be done about it except fix it.--Doug Weller (talk) 06:42, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
It looks like that text was added to Wikipedia on 04:50, 28 October 2006. According to Internet Archive, the same text was added to The Metropolitan Museum of Art page during June 2001 at the latest [5]. I've removed the text and left a message on the contributing editor's talk page. I guess the rest of the text added at the same time needs checking. Ha! (talk) 10:00, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Periodization revisited[edit]

Following a discussion on the fringe theories noticeboard about Africa and the other articles about continents, I would like to see this article improved, so that it can be more easily summarized in the Africa article. Could I suggest the following periodization:

  1. Origins of humanity to 3000BCE ("prehistory" in the sense that there was no writing anywhere on the continent)
  2. 3000BCE to 500CE (ancient civilizations and empires)
  3. 500 to 1500 (spread of Islam and Christianity, emergence of states)
  4. 1500 to 1950 (colonization)
  5. 1950 to present (decolonization)

Ideally the periods would be those used by most historians, but it seems that historians differ or say that it is not possible to divide African history into periods. The ones above seem to be based on real changes and developments, so I hope that they will not prove too controversial. I suggest that when there is consensus about periodization we remove the division of the continent into regions. Obviously the geographical focus will be different in each period: east Africa is of supreme importance in the origins of humanity, while much later the Niger Bend was a major centre of civilisation. As someone said above, the division into north and south of the Sahara can be very unhelpful, especially when there are developments in Saharan area itself that need explaining. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:49, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Splitting of prehistory[edit]

  • My preference is that a small section should stay in this article, linking to a much longer main article on Prehistoric Africa. The reason is that some good sources treat the prehistorical (neolithic, at least) and historical periods alongside each other. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:36, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

What should define prehistoric? I guess pre-historic can be any entity on which one would be hard-pressed to find an account. Including the PreDynastic Nile Valley.. Infiniti28 (talk) 23:39, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

merge from Ancient African kingdoms[edit]

Ancient African kingdoms has a number of issues, the main being that it doesn't define "ancient", so includes everything from the Calabar Kingdom, which is claimed to originate several thousands years BC, to the Aro Confederacy, which ended in 1902. Its scope overlaps this page pretty much in its entirety and, if someone was going to make era-specific subpages, the logical way to do so would be to merge here and then break them out of the sections here in order to avoid fragmenting the wiki coverage. - BanyanTree 01:40, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Good point. It's almost as if, on one hand, for Africa anything after writing should be medieval and not ancient, but then for many they don't get this until colonial times. And this all hearkens back to that poster who was dissident toward using the Eurocentric time scale. While i don't give a .. rat's behind about the nomenclature being Euro it is backward for Africa. African states weren't behind at around the medieval ages but ahead, though, then again it isn't as easy generalizing what people were doing across such a vast continant compared to Europe. Generally, the medeival age for any region usually starts sometime around or after the Eleventh Century BC. For Africa i'd say anything starting when or after Mali did is Medieval i guess..

Infiniti28 (talk) 23:35, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Early Agriculture[edit]

Can someone assist me on what the bolded below has to do with the topic, the rest of the paragraph, or the other paragraphs for that matter if you want to go check?

By 3000 BC agriculture arose independently in Ethiopia, where coffee, teff, finger millet, sorghum, barley, and enset. Donkeys were also independently domesticated somewhere in the region of Ethiopia and Somalia, but most domesticated animals spread there from the Sahel and Nile regions. Agricultural crops were also adopted from other regions around this time as pearl millet, cowpea, groundnut, cotton, watermelon and bottle gourds began to be grown agriculturally in both West Africa and the Sahel Region while finger millet, peas, lentil and flax took hold in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia had a distinct, ancient culture with an intermittent history of contact with Eurasia after the diaspora of hominids out of Africa. It preserved a unique language, culture and crop system. The crop system is adapted to the northern highlands and does not partake of any other area's crops. The most famous member of this crop system is coffee, but one of the more useful plants is sorghum, a dry-land grain; teff is also endemic to the region.

The entirety of the article section is strictly centered agricultre, sometimes zero-ing in on specific cultures or regions, but staying on topic, which is the beginnings of agricultre.

Pray tell what the "close connections" Ethiopia's hunter-gatherers kept with "Out of Africa" hunter-gatherers has to do with the beginnings of agriculture which come much later? I'm aware that Ethiopia has interacted with SW Asia (from modern times to way back, even forming states there) and vice-versa, but if Ethiopia's "distinct" culture with contact with exodus humans is relevant to the topic does anyone care to shed light?

I'd just like to discover how the interaction between the two is important to early agriculture is all, but for now i'm moving the bolded out. Or better yet, i'll put a "how?" in those bracket thingys after it. Infiniti28 (talk) 23:56, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Call for editors to collaborate on a new African history Wikiproject[edit]

All editors with a specific interest in African history are invited to help start a new African history Wikiproject. This is not a substitute for the Africa Wikiproject, but editors with a historian's perspective on African history articles (as opposed to a generalist interest in Africa) would collaborate on improving the historical quality of Wikipedia articles about Africa and African history. For more details click here or here here.

Ackees (talk) 16:45, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

black history is about people fighting for there freedom like for instance martin luther king .jr worked hard for all black american people freedom back then we use to be treated like slaves but if it was not for the black american heros we would be still be sitting in the back of the bus and still be treated like slaves so we should take black history serious.we should be more interested in black history because it is things that we don't now that we should learn about things that happened in the past black history is very important because you can learn about your ansester .

by . sierra giles . the end . and merry chrismas. and a happy new years . —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.33.213.228 (talk) 19:36, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Recent deletions[edit]

User:Kacembepower recently deleted big chunks of this article. Are sections being split off into another article? I see no evidence of that. Wizzy 10:34, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

I encourage you to revert it back to the rubbish that was there before. I find this article to be an improvement.Kacembepower (talk) 15:30, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Recent additions[edit]

User:Kacembepower recently added a map he made that suggests Mogadishu, a large city in Somalia and the nation's capital, was not, in fact, a Somali civilization as logic would indicate, but rather a Swahili one. After various unsourced edits to this effect, the user above finally produced some references to support his position. However, his sources all of have one thing in common and that is that they are all modern and written by people unfamiliar with Somalia i.e. writers outside the field of Somali Studies. This is important because Somalist scholars are intimately familiar with the historical sources on the city, and the actual historical sources on the city (that is, people who actually visited it in the distant past) invariably describe Mogadishu as inhabited and ruled by Somalis and/or Arabs (not Swahili people). These old authorities include the twelfth century Syrian historian Yaqut al-Hamawi, who explained that the inhabitants of Mogadishu were dark-skinned Berbers (the ancestors of the Somali). From J. D. Fage, Roland Oliver, Roland Anthony Oliver, The Cambridge History of Africa, (Cambridge University Press: 1977), p. 190.:

"Yakut, a twelfth-century Arab geographer, says that the inhabitants of Mogadishu were 'Berbers, of a colour between that of the Abyssinians and the Negroes."

And the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, who visited the city in 1331 and made sure to distinguish between the inhabitants of the Bilad al-Barbar ("The Land of the Berbers", which was the medieval Arabic name for the Somali coast) and the Bilad al-Zanj ("The Land of the Zanj, which was the old Arabic name for the Swahili coast to the south of it). From The Rise and Fall of Swahili States by Chapurukha Makokha Kusimba, p.58:

"As to the occupants of these settlements, Ibn Battuta noted that the ruler of Mogadishu was from Berbera and his speech was not Arabic or Persian, but Mogadishu, while the occupants of Mombasa and Kilwa, he noted were Zanj, extremely black, with cuttings in their faces..."

And from I.M. Lewis, A modern history of Somalia: nation and state in the Horn of Africa, 2nd edition, revised, illustrated, (Westview Press: 1988), p.20:

"This distribution gleaned from oral tradition is supported by the descriptions of the early Arab geographers who refer to the Hamitic peoples (the Galla and Somali) of the north and centre by the classical name 'Berberi', and distinguish them in physical features and culture from the Zanj to their south."

Battuta himself is quoted on p.33 of Muslim Societies in African History by David Robinson as having written about setting sail toward the "land of the Swahili", while already being stationed in Mogadishu:

"Then I set off by sea... for the land of the Swahili and the town of Kilwa, which is in the land of Zanj.

We know that Battuta was already stationed in Mogadishu when he wrote about setting sail for the actual "land of the Swahili" because the book's author David Robinson introduces the quote above with a phrase stating that "Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Battuta, or Ibn Battuta as he is usually called, visited Mogadiscio and then set for the south. He had this to say about the towns he visited," which is immediately followed by Battuta talking about Kilwa and Mombasa in said "land of the Swahili".

The bottom line is, all the historical sources on Mogadishu & the Somalist scholars familiar with them understand and uphold the fact that Mogadishu has predominantly been inhabited and ruled by Somalis and/or Middle Easterners, not by Swahili/Bantu people. Mogadishu, while in part developed by Arab/Persian traders (and consequently Islamic in religion, architecture, and customs), was not Swahili since Swahili culture and language emerged from the interaction and intermarriage between a ruling minority comprised of Arab/Persian merchants/enslavers and their majority Bantu subjects/slaves, whereas historical sources consistently describe the inhabitants of Mogadishu as "Barbar" (just like the Somalis/Afars to the north), not Zanj. Mogadishans also spoke the local dialect of the Afro-Asiatic Somali language (much as the Hawiye majority in the Benadir region do now), not Swahili or any other Bantu language. Middayexpress (talk) 01:55, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

All references are standard historical academic text about Mogadishu, fairly recent not dated 1977. I notice most of your references for somalia is questionable, no date, isbn number, not even historical sources or academic sources. Some are not even in English. Most of your statement above is original research, not allowed on wikipedia. Your focus seems to be on the race of Swahili and Somali, the issue is about Mogadishu being a Swahili city, all these academic historians Shillington, Illife, Collins, Appiah, and Gates point out a Swahili Mogadishu. My map is almost a facsimilie to maps in Shillington and Collins. 168.156.251.65 (talk) 01:45, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Actually User:Kacembepower, as pointed out above, all of the sources that you cited are not by any stretch of the imagination authorities on Somalia. All fall outside the specialized field of Somali Studies (of which scolars such as I.M. Lewis, whom I quoted from above, are, by contrast, doyens), which the subject of Mogadishu -- a Somali city, not a Swahili one -- necessarily falls under. And per WP:VER, "academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources where available." All of the actual historical sources that I have quoted from, from Yaqut to Ibn Battuta, both of whom actually visited the city, likewise identify it as having been inhabited & ruled by the ancestors of Somalis, not the ancestors of Swahili people (the Zanj). Battuta clearly stated that the Swahili coast was to the south of Mogadishu & that he was heading for it afterwards. He also stated that the Sultan spoke Mogadishu, the local dialect of the Somali language (not Swahili). As with Yaqut before him, Battuta stated that the people in Mogadishu were Berbers (not Zanj), and that so was the ruling Sultan that welcomed him:

"As to the occupants of these settlements, Ibn Battuta noted that the ruler of Mogadishu was from Berbera and his speech was not Arabic or Persian, but Mogadishu, while the occupants of Mombasa and Kilwa, he noted were Zanj, extremely black, with cuttings in their faces..." The Rise and Fall of Swahili States by Chapurukha Makokha Kusimba, p.58

"The ruler of Mogadishu was a Berber (Somali) sultan who spoke Somali and Arabic with equal ease. Ibn Battuta seemed to have been astonished by the wealth of Mogadishu." David Laitin and Said Sheikh Samatar, Somalia: nation in search of a state, p.15

You can pretend all you want that modern, inexpert sources with no specialization in or experience with Somalia to speak of trump actual historical documents from the period as well as the testimony of scholars specialized in Somali Studies, but that won't change the facts on the ground. From Sanjay Subrahmanyam's The Career and Legend of Vasco Da Gama, pp.120-121:

"Kilwa, we may note, was visited by Ibn Battuta in the 1330s, and described by that time as having surpassed Mombasa as the dominant center of the Bilad al Zanj (as the Swahili coast was known to the Arabs).

However, in the very next sentence, he places Mogadishu in the Somali/Horn African Bilad al Barbar to the north and not in the Bilad al Zanj to the south, which he of course has just clearly identified as being synonymous with the Swahili coast according to the ancient Arabs themselves:

However, by the late fifteenth century, sharp trading and political rivalries of some importance existed between these centres; if, in the Somali coast (Arabic, Bilad al Barbar) to the north, Muqdisho (Mogadishu) preserved its pre-eminence, the dominant position of Kilwa further south was under challenge by both Mombasa, and the ruling family at Zanzibar."

Furthermore, Mogadishu was ruled by a series of peoples, including Emozeidi Arabs, the Muzaffar dynasty (a joint Somali-Arab federation of rulers allied with the powerful Somali Ajuuraan State), and Somalis from the Hawiye clan. At no point, however, was the city ever ruled by any Swahili or Bantu people:

"Thus Mogadishu, which in the tenth century consisted of a loose federation of Arab and Persian families, had by the thirteenth become a sultanate ruled by the Fakhr ad-Din dynasty. Three centuries later these rulers were supplanted by the Muzaffar Sultans and the town had become closely connected with the related Ajuran Sultanate in the interior. In this period Mogadishu was attacked but not occupied by the Portuguese. The true conquerors of the ancient city were those new Hawiye Somali settlers who defeated the Ajuran and brought the downfall of the Muzaffar dynasty in the early seventeeth century." I.M. Lewis, A modern history of the Somali: nation and state in the Horn of Africa‎, 2002, p.28

The closest it came to be was quite recently, in the late 1800s, when the city was briefly under the simultaneous control of the Somali Geledi Sultanate and the Sultan of Zanzibar (if the latter Afro-Arab can indeed be considered Swahili) -- hardly a "Swahili civilization". Only a few years later, Mogadishu would become a part of Italian Somaliland, again, hardly making it an "Italian civilization".
The fact is, as I pointed out from the start, Mogadishu has always been a Somali-Arab (Benadiri) civilization, not a Swahili one. Those are the people that built the city and principally inhabited & ruled it throughout its existence, including its medieval heyday. Swahili culture and language, by contrast, emerged specifically from the interaction and intermarriage between a ruling minority comprised of Arabs/Persians and their Bantu subjects, not between Somalis & Arabs (both of whom speak Afro-Asiatic languages). From I.M. Lewis (A modern history of the Somali: nation and state in the Horn of Africa‎, 2002, p.21), an actual expert in the field:

"There is little doubt that Arabian penetration along the northern and eastern Somali coasts is of great antiquity. It probably antedates the Islamic period; and certainly shortly after the hegira Muslim Arabs and Persians were developing a string of coastal settlements in Somaliland. From their condition today, from traditional sources, and from such documentary evidence as is available, it is clear that in these towns Arab and Persian merchants and prosyletizers settled usually as local aristocracies, bringing the faith, marrying local women, and eventually merging with the local inhabitants to form a mixed Somali-Arab culture and society. This new culture representing varying degrees of mixing and blending at different periods, and by no means uniform throughout the coastal ports, is the Somali counterpart to the more extensive Swahili society of the East African coast to the south."

I realize you don't know much about actual Somali history, but some of us do and speak not out of desire but knowledge. Middayexpress (talk) 04:50, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

At least you know one place in Africa. I see you have added more material comment the last time I was here. I do accept Mogadishu as Somali. The very same question did enter my mind originally, since Mogadishu is in Somalia. The people you quote as experts are doubtful. I am sorry but I don't accept I.M. Lewis(if you are not him) as an expert on Somalia. Somalian scholars don't even accept him as an expert. He and his ideas are described as "old" and "retired". I.M. Lewis's Retired Ideas and Somalia by Professor Abdi Ismail Samatar. Quoting me Roland Oliver, a prominent espouser of the Hamitic Hypothesis and founder of the Cambridge School of African History does not help your arguments of expertise. I find it interesting Jared Diamond seem to reference Roland Oliver quite a bit, in Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Do Englishmen still use the term "subjects". If they were Bantu subjects or Cushitic subjects, they would be speaking Arabic. The Swahili would not be speaking Swahili or Somali's would not be speaking Somali if they were "subjects". As you can see in North Africa, where Arabs dominate and conquer they don't share. They impose. The Berber language is now marginalised and in Egypt the last vestiges of the ancient Egyptian language in the Coptic Church, might be cleanse. Lets just say you find a lot of Copts living outside of modern day Egypt. It seems we have old retired Englishmen from the British imperial era trying to write African history. You have been coming to the article and constantly labeling the Horn of Africa. I thought you loved the Horn of Africa. I deliberately left Medieval Ethiopia out of the section of Horn of Africa to see if you were here in good faith. It is 9 months you have contributed nothing on the history of Medieval Ethiopia to the article, which tells you are not here in good faith. I have decided to complete this article, somewhere else in one of my pet projects. Working for free without self interest, bad idea. I thank you for one thing. You have made it clear that the other child of the Horn has been a bit neglected in broader African History.Kacembepower (talk) 15:26, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Personal attacks and incivility only do you a disservice, not me. Your rather cryptic suggestion that where Arabs "conquer" they apparently don't share is irrelevant, as Arabs never conquered the Somali territories. They came as individual merchants, proselytizers and settlers (not en masse), and they never managed or indeed even attempted to subjugate the local Somalis [6]:

"Muuse Galaal (Somali poet, historian, sheekh, teacher, UNESCO representative for the MInistry of Education, and presently a member of the Somali Language Commission)[...] notes, where Arabs do miscegenate, it is with peoples they have enslaved. The Somalis, being warlike, and close racially to the Arabs, have never been enslaved by them. So although the Arab peninsula was the foundation of the religion of the Somali people, the degree of Arab cultural influence has been rather small."

Arabs did, on the other hand, enslave the local Bantus; that is what the term "subjects" referred to. Why this basic regional history is a source of distress, I do not know.
Further, why you deliberately left Ethiopia out of the section (as you've just indicated) is more a statement on your own decision-making than anything. Complaining about it is also not particularly ingenuous since the history of the Somali empires was left out of the page altogether to begin with, while Axum was of course already mentioned. As for I.M. Lewis, that link to an opinion piece from a rival scholar in no way changes the fact that Lewis is a doyen of Somali studies, and as such is widely respected for his large body of work [7]. Had you been better informed on the region, you'd already have been aware of this as well. In future, it would be more helpful to adopt a constructive tone rather than a confrontational one; I'm not the enemy here (nor need there even be one). Middayexpress (talk) 18:25, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

"Your rather cryptic suggestion that where Arabs "conquer" they apparently don't share is irrelevant, as Arabs never conquered the Somali territories."

That is the point. That is why Somalians don't speak Arabic.

"They came as individual merchants, proselytizers and settlers (not en masse), and they never managed or indeed even attempted to subjugate the local Somalis."

Again that is the point. Same with the Sahel, that is why the Sahel speaks native african languages and write native ajami scripts.

"Muuse Galaal (Somali poet, historian, sheekh, teacher, UNESCO representative for the MInistry of Education, and presently a member of the Somali Language Commission)[...] notes, where Arabs do miscegenate, it is with peoples they have enslaved."

Like North Africa, not cryptic there.

"The Somalis, being warlike, and close racially to the Arabs, have never been enslaved by them."

I am assuming racially you mean phenotypically. That is not exactly true. John Hunwick Arab Views of Black Africans and Slavery says,

One of the very first black Africans known to have been in slavery in the

Arabian peninsula, and to have become one of the first converts to Islam., was the Abyssinian called Bil!l [b. Raba˛], who was owned and then freed by Abü Bakr, the Prophet Mu˛ammad's father-in-law and later successor, to whom he gave his freed slave, who then accepted the Prophet's message and was given the position of

muezzin - "caller to prayer" by Mu˛ammad.

Abyssinians or Ethiopians are not that phenotypically different from Somalis. They can be distinct but not that phenotypically apart.

"So although the Arab peninsula was the foundation of the religion of the Somali people, the degree of Arab cultural influence has been rather small."

Agree. It is interesting. Some on Wikipedia have made the argument that because Somalia is part of the Arab League, she is part of the Arab world. I am assuming being part of the Arab World one would have a alot of Arab cultural influences, not small.

"Arabs did, on the other hand, enslave the local Bantus; that is what the term "subjects" referred to. Why this basic regional history is a source of distress, I do not know."

You obviously are not up to date with Swahili scholarship. They did not subject local Bantus, the evidence does not support that. Notions of Swahili culture being Arabic and Persian culture on the African coast is no longer accepted scholarship, that is from the colonial past a bit dated like the term "subjects". To use the word,"subjects" would be a bit anachronistic in current vocabulary. Any racist colonialist ideology on Africa would cause me concern.

http://books.google.com/books?id=LgnhYDozENgC&pg=PA128&dq=swahili+history&hl=en&ei=sQalTM1Vk_a2A4fowf0O&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=swahili%20history&f=false
http://books.google.com/books?id=frC8SAu9QxQC&pg=PA148&dq=swahili+history&hl=en&ei=QhWlTL2iCIjQsAOo-rT-Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CFUQ6AEwCDgy#v=onepage&q=swahili%20history&f=false
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsoPMbt5CZM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew_3IQ6842Q&feature=related

"Further, why you deliberately left Ethiopia out of the section (as you've just indicated) is more a statement on your own decision-making than anything. Complaining about it is also not particularly ingenuous since the history of the Somali empires was left out of the page altogether to begin with, while Axum was of course already mentioned."

I deliberately did not write about "Medieval" Ethiopian History (Solomonid, Zagwe, etc.) to test how commited you are to the Horn of Africa. It is 9 months all you have contributed is 2 paragraphs only on Somalia. You have contributed nothing on that major period of Ethiopian History. But you are always coming around altering the geographic makeup of major articles you contribute nothing to. So let me refer you to incivility. I don't complain. When working for free there is a simple solution to complaining.

"As for I.M. Lewis, that link to an opinion piece from a rival scholar in no way changes the fact that Lewis is a doyen of Somali studies, and as such is widely respected for his large body of work."

The rival is a current professor. He is not retired. He is Somali. He lives Somali culture. He is highly engaged in Somali issues. He is publishes quite a bit and his opinion is highly sought after. It is not just him that has misgivings about the expertise of I.M. Lewis. I.M. Lewis: Celebrating The Work Of The Godfather Of Somalia's Darkest Era, SOMALIA WATCH

other critiques: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=8552

"Had you been better informed on the region, you'd already have been aware of this as well."

I am aware now to know that the expertise of I.M. Lewis is questionable. He might be an expert in certain circles, but not in the circles he claims expertise.

"In future, it would be more helpful to adopt a constructive tone rather than a confrontational one; I'm not the enemy here (nor need there even be one)."

I don't know if there is a future. You are the one that alter articles, you don't invest the time in and contribute to. That is confrontational. I could care less if you are the enemy or not. All I know is the internet needs a reliable source of information on Africa and African peoples. Wikipedia is not the place for it. Any racist or bigot can edit her. The internal ones are the most dangerous.Kacembepower (talk) 04:03, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

You seem bothered by the fact that Somalis were never enslaved by Arabs, though I can't understand why since this is in fact the case. From yet another source [8]:

"One important commodity being transported by the Arab dhows to Somalia was slaves from other parts of East Africa. During the nineteenth century, the East African slave trade grew enormously due to demands by Arabs, Portuguese, and French. Slave traders and raiders moved throughout eastern and central Africa to meet the rising demand for enslaved men, women, and children. Somalia did not supply slaves -- as part of the Islamic world Somalis were at least nominally protected by the religious tenet that free Muslims cannot be enslaved -- but Arab dhows loaded with human cargo continually visited Somali ports."

On the other hand, the fact that Bantus in Somalia (the Bantus I was actually referring to) were enslaved by both Arabs and Somalis is common knowledge. Many of their modern descendants, in fact, still live in the southern regions (c.f. [9]).
Furthermore, that link to a paper on Arab Views of Black Africans and Slavery is irrelevant since Arabs did not consider the Somalis to be "black Africans"; they considered them racially distinct from the latter. This was enshrined in law too. Here's a passage on Sayyid Said bin Sultan, the ruler of Oman and of Omani possessions in East Africa [10]:

"In December 1839, small additions to the Moresby Treaty were agreed upon by Said. One addition shifted the line marking the limits of the "internal" Omani slave trade slightly westward so as to insulate the British "protected" states in India from the virus of the Arab slave trade. Another clause was designed to protect the "caucasoid" Somalis from enslavement. Said agreed that the Somalis, being "free men," i.e. Muslims, were not to be carried away from Africa as slaves.14 By implication, non-Muslims were suitable objects of enslavement."

Your complaints about the scholar and doyen of Somali studies I.M. Lewis again demonstrate a clear lack of familiarity with Somali history since he wrote much of the material that some of these later scholars' own work is based on. That is why he is being toasted in the first place by members of Chatham House, the Anglo-Somali Society (a Somali non-profit), and the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) alike, as that same opinion piece by some random non-scholar that you just produced indicates. That is also why Lewis has compendiums by other Somali studies scholars dedicated to him, such as Milk and Peace, Drought and War: Somali Culture, Society, and Politics. As Professor Gunther Schlee, Director of the world-renowned Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology notes, "the list of contributors to this volume reads like a Who's Who in Somali Studies" [11].
Lastly, in terms of Wikipedia policy (which is all that matters at the end of the day), I'm under no obligation to edit anything I do not feel like editing, nor is there even a deadline to do so. In other words, it is none of your business what I do or do not choose to edit or how fast or slow it takes me to do so. I could edit exclusively porn-related articles at a snail's pace if I wanted to, and it would still be none of your affairs. This matter is closed, as far as I'm concerned. Middayexpress (talk) 00:32, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Reading your response provided me with comic relief. Who are you? I must be speaking to somebody else.

"You seem bothered by the fact that Somalis were never enslaved by Arabs,"

Quite the opposite. From my previous comment of Arabs not sharing that should be obvious. I am happy a black African nation was not Arabised. Somalis kept their native African language and culture, as did the Sahel, unlike North Africa, which saddens me more.

"though I can't understand why since this is in fact the case. From yet another source,"

I agree you can't understand why, that is quite evident. My friend let me educate you on a rule with islamic slavery. It was forbidden to enslave a muslim. Most slaves converted quickly to Islam because it was a pathway to freedom. Most slaves be it Bantu, Cushitic, or "Abyssinian", whatever were not muslims on being enslaved. In both your references its says:

"Somalia did not supply slaves -- as part of the Islamic world Somalis were at least nominally protected by the religious tenet that free Muslims cannot be enslaved"

"Said agreed that the Somalis, being "free men," i.e. Muslims, were not to be carried away from Africa as slaves.14 By implication, non-Muslims were suitable objects of enslavement."

This is from both your references. Now your claim that Somalian were not enslave because they were racially similiar or caucasoid to Arabs is absolute rubbish. Hunwicks work,Arab Views of Black Africans and Slavery is very valid. Its says Abyssinians or Ethiopians were enslave, who are phenotypically similiar to Somalis. One of the major source of slaves in the Arab world was the Slavic population of eastern and central Europe. The term slave comes from the word slav. Slavery in medieval Europe http://histclo.com/act/work/slave/eur/sla-med.html

You have link phenotype to language. In this video, the people are not from the Horn. They are not Ethiopians or Somalis. They are Tutsis, no different genetically from Hutus. They are Bantus. Their genetics are not from the Horn. Also, Kikuyu Bantus in Kenya, can have so called caucasoid phenotypic traits. In West Africa, ethnique groups of the Niger Congo group can also have the caucasoid phenotypic trait, and I am not just talking about Fulanis. Dry heat can produce the trait.

"On the other hand, the fact that Bantus in Somalia (the Bantus I was actually referring to) were enslaved by both Arabs and Somalis is common knowledge. Many of their modern descendants, in fact, still live in the southern regions"

We have moved from Swahili Bantus to Somali Bantus. Why not enslave the Swahili Bantus? Swahilis are Bantus, since Bantus are the only one Arabs enslaved.

Your complaints about the scholar and doyen of Somali studies I.M. Lewis again demonstrate a clear lack of familiarity with Somali history since he wrote much of the material that some of these later scholars' own work is based on.

Apparently not this one based on his critique:http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php?id=8552 . Plus he would not need secondary source. He is of the source. It wasn't a complaint, it was an observed fact.

that is why he is being toasted in the first place by members of Chatham House, the Anglo-Somali Society (a Somali non-profit), and the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) alike, as that same opinion piece by some random non-scholar that you just produced indicates. That is also why Lewis has compendiums by other Somali studies scholars dedicated to him, such as Milk and Peace, Drought and War: Somali Culture, Society, and Politics. As Professor Gunther Schlee, Director of the world-renowned Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology notes, "the list of contributors to this volume reads like a Who's Who in Somali Studies"

You referenced "Chatham House", "Anglo-Somali Society", " School of Oriental and African Studies", "Somali studies scholars", and "Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology." You have not negated my original statement: "He might be an expert in certain circles, but not in the circles he claims expertise."

Lastly, in terms of Wikipedia policy (which is all that matters at the end of the day), I'm under no obligation to edit anything I do not feel like editing, nor is there even a deadline to do so. In other words, it is none of your business what I do or do not choose to edit or how fast or slow it takes me to do so. I could edit exclusively porn-related articles at a snail's pace if I wanted to, and it would still be none of your affairs. This matter is closed, as far as I'm concerned

It is the editors business. If you edit and re-arange articles that you contribute minuscule. It is that editors business who wrote 90% of it.In this article, you have contribute two pretty short section on Somalia, 9 months ago. You have contributed little else. We had to touch race. That is why you are here. Contributing nothing to articles on Africa, but instantly wanting to make changes that fits your racial POV. One of your English countrymen says its American race identity issue. I don't think he knows his own countrymen.72.86.24.67 (talk) 20:10, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Let me to quote from you the purpose of talk pages since there seems to be confusion as to what they are here for. They are reserved for discussing the actual article and nothing else:

Talk pages are for discussing the article, not for general conversation about the article's subject (much less other subjects). Keep discussions focused on how to improve the article. Irrelevant discussions are subject to removal.

That said, I can see that this is a very emotional issue for you. But you are frankly wasting my time at this point with these irrelevant digressions.
In my comments above from September 30th, it's very clear that I am referring to the Bantus in Somalia being enslaved since I alluded to the "local Bantus".
Moreover, it is both disrepectful and dishonest to ascribe comments to an editor that the editor has never made; it is also a violation of WP:CIV. You claim I wrote that "Somalian were not enslave because they were racially similiar or caucasoid to Arabs". This is patently false. As can clearly be seen in my posts above, I quoted not one but two reliable sources explicitly indicating that the ethnic proximity of Somalis to Arabs was a factor in Arabs not enslaving them; those unfortunately aren't my words but the words of actual authorities on the issue. The bottom line is, there were many factors why Somalis weren't enslaved by Arabs, and indeed chief among them was the fact that Somalis were Muslim. But that was not by any means the only factor. Other factors include ethnic, legal (Somalis were legally exempted from enslavement; see the quote above) and behavioral considerations (i.e. the fact that Somalis were "war-like"). This too unfortunately is not coming from me, but from those same reliable sources that I've quoted.
That pdf on Arab Views of Black Africans and Slavery, on the other hand, is still likewise very much irrelevant since it does not even mention Somalis to begin with, while sources must directly discuss the subject: "Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in an article, and should be appropriate to the claims made. If a topic has no reliable sources, Wikipedia should not have an article on it." That pdf is also irrelevant because, again, Arabs did not consider the Somalis to be "black Africans"; they considered them racially distinct from the latter and referred to them differently too. With regard to Somali cities:

"As to the occupants of these settlements, Ibn Battuta noted that the ruler of Mogadishu was from Berbera and his speech was not Arabic or Persian, but Mogadishu, while the occupants of Mombasa and Kilwa, he noted were Zanj, extremely black, with cuttings in their faces..." Chapurukha Makokha Kusimba, The Rise and Fall of Swahili States, p.58.

"The ruler of Mogadishu was a Berber (Somali) sultan who spoke Somali and Arabic with equal ease. Ibn Battuta seemed to have been astonished by the wealth of Mogadishu." David Laitin and Said Sheikh Samatar, Somalia: nation in search of a state, p.15

"Ibn Battuta referred to the two cities' inhabitants as Barbara or Berbers to distinguish them from the Zinj or Zenghi, the blacks, who inhabited the coast and hinterlands south of the Shabelle river." Katheryne S. Loughran, Somalia in word and image, p.18.

I will also ask you to stop linking me to weird, afrocentric Youtube videos on the genetics or supposed physical characteristics of unrelated people (i.e. Tutsis). I'm not interested in them nor are they in the least bit relevant to this discussion. They are also in no way reliable sources, as anyone can make them (refer to Wikipedia's policy on self-published sources).
You also state that I have not negated your original contention that the scholar I.M. Lewis "might be an expert in certain circles, but not in the circles he claims expertise." This is absurd since the only "circle" Lewis claims expertise in that is relevant to this discussion is in Somali studies, an expertise that is acknowledged by the overwhelming majority of scholars in that field (as that same link I produced earlier makes clear) [12]:

"The contributions to this volume, a timely collection of papers in honor of Ioan Lewis, read like a Who's Who of Somali studies. Markus Hoehne and Virginia Luling have mobilized many reputed scholars for this volume, but far from it being a ritualized homage to its subject, the collection actively engages with Lewis's work. Many of the authors take up the ideas of Lewis, the unquestioned doyen of studies on Somalia, and thereby prove the vitality and continued relevance of his findings to the country's society, politics, and culture." -- Günther Schlee, director, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology."

Your critique from exactly one rival scholar unfortunately in no way comes even close to invalidating Lewis' acknowledgement as an authority and pioneering figure in Somali studies from the bulk of scholars in the field (and elsewhere in anthropological and historical studies too). Like I wrote, had you known anything about Somali history, you'd already have been quite familiar with Lewis and his esteemed position in it, which you clearly are not. Might as well try and challenge Isaac Newton's place in physics while you're at it since it's pretty much the same thing.
FYI, I have contributed to the Somalia and Ethiopia sections of the article because (1) the history of the Somali territories was not even included to begin with, despite the article being on the entire continent's supposed history; (2) what are rightfully Somali civilizations were being unjustly assigned to other people, and (3) I edit many Horn-related topics since this is an area that I am knowledgeable on; hence, why I have focused on those areas of this article. That is why I am here. I too could speculate on you reasons for being here, but I don't need to resort to ad hominem since I've got actual knowledge that I can rely on. That would also be a breach of WP:NPA, which stipulates that editors should "comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks do not help make a point; they only hurt the Wikipedia community and deter users from helping to create a good encyclopedia."
With that said, it is not any of your business at all what articles I choose to edit, how much I choose to contribute to said pages, or how fast or slow I choose to make those contributions. Per WP:WIKIHOUNDING:

Wiki-hounding is the singling out of one or more editors, and joining discussions on pages or topics they may edit or debates where they contribute, in order to repeatedly confront or inhibit their work, with an apparent aim of creating irritation, annoyance or distress to the other editor[...] The important component of wiki-hounding is disruption to another user's own enjoyment of editing, or to the project generally, for no overriding reason. If "following another user around" is accompanied by tendentiousness, personal attacks, or other disruptive behavior, it may become a very serious matter and could result in blocks and other editing restrictions.

You also appear to think that because you may have made many contributions to this one article that you own it (your words: "It is that editors business who wrote 90% of it"). Unfortunately, however, you don't; see WP:OWN. Middayexpress (talk) 01:48, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Somalia -- Berberi civilization?[edit]

There's no explanation in Wikipedia as to what is meant by "Berberi civilization". The only occurrences of the phrase are repetitions of this same sentence. Checking Google also turns up a long list of sites that repeat the phrase from the same sentence, word-for-word. It's not helpful to Wikipedia users to include such a vague, unexplained phrase; that's why it was deleted. Rhyme3 (talk) 21:43, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

The term was meant to be "Berber", not "Berberi". The "i" was a typo. "Berber" was the old term medieval Arabs reserved for Somalis & other Cushitic peoples of the Horn. Middayexpress (talk) 21:48, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Note that in Wikipedia (and elsewhere, generally) the term "Berber" is used for an entirely different group, not the Cushitic peoples of the horn but the Afro-Asiatic groups in regions west of the Nile (e.g., see the Wikipedia articles on "Berber people", "Berber languages", "Berberism", etc.). Wouldn't it be better to use some other term (such as, perhaps, "Cushitic") that will not be so completely misleading to most readers? Rhyme3 (talk) 22:33, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
There's nothing misleading about what the ancestors of Somalis were referred to. That's sourced fact. Complaining about that is like complaining about associating the Japanese with their own Jomon ancestors; it's a tall order. The fact is, we are talking about the past here, not the present (as is clearly indicated in the text). The name "Somali" wasn't even in use back then; that came later. This article is called "History of Africa" for a reason, not "African now" or some variation thereof. And even if it were an article on the present, that still wouldn't change the term for the Somalis' ancestors. Middayexpress (talk) 22:46, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Iron Contradiction?[edit]

In the "Metallurgy" section, it says there was ironworking in Egypt by the 1st millenium BCE. Then it says there was ironworking elsewhere between 1000-500 BCE, ''way before there was ironworking in Egypt. Are these two statements contradictory?70.179.92.117 (talk) 03:00, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

You should fix it.Kacembepower (talk) 15:28, 30 September 2010 (UTC)