The era of African civilization is a pre-colonial history of 16,000 BC through 1800. Africa is well known with diversity of culture and many colonial masters. The civilization ranges widely from the social and cultural points of view. It does not exclude the technology and the economy.
From an objective overview, it shall be demonstrated that histories and civilization of Africa since 1800 is a clue to understanding the essential roles played by the African people and continent as a whole in the genealogy of human race. The topic – civilization in Africa is inexhaustible. We shall consider each heading in brief.
Africa is a large continent of immense population tribes and size, almost covering a whole twelve million squares landscape in miles. This distance is times three of the United States of America. Majority of the land mass is situated along the globe tropics. Others are rain forests, tropical forest comprising less than ten percent of the continent.
Much of its surface is enveloped by open grassland, Savanna’s forestation, dry plain land and deserts. In geographical and geological terms, Africa is formed by numerous “high plateaus broken in the east by the Great Rift Valley and the mountains that surround it; large rivers – River Congo, River Nile, River Zambezi, and River Niger.
Begin in the interior of the continent and flow to the sea over the great falls and cataracts; this marks the channel from the plateau down the coast”.
The Ghana Empire
Colonized in the southeastern Mauritania, Western Mali, and Eastern Senegal. It began in the 8th century with a dramatic drift in Sahel economy area southern Sahara. Initially, camel was introduced. This preceded Muslims and Islam centuries ago. Later, there was introduction evolutional trade, extensive gold, ivory, and salt resources.
These were sent to North Africa, Middle East and Europe in an exchange or other needed manufactured goods and commodities. The success of the empire was connected in addition to aforesaid exchange, from rich “trans-Saharan trade in gold and salt”. They gain control over other lucrative trades. In addition to its success, Ghana could harbor army of over 200,000 soldiers.
The Mali Empire
Founded by Sundiata Keita, and reigns from 1235 to 1600. Otherwise known as Manding Empire or Manden Kurufa. Of importance are the cultural influences Mali Empire had on West Africa in “terms of language, laws and customs.” Kouroukan Fouga reigned in Mali Empire with a notable social and economic reform, relieving mal-handled slaves, encouraging women in power.
Mansa Mari reigned conquered several icons in Mali empire. With this, he ruled a larger realm that out ways that o Ghana Empire, extending over a thousand miles east to west. Having unified Manden, Mari added “Wagara goldfields” among the conquered lands were northern commercial towns Oulata and Audaghost. Mali Empire was indeed great.
The Mutapa Empire
Simply means “conquered land”. The empire was created by Rozi o the modern-day Shonans. “The founder of the ruling dynasty was Mbire, a semi-mythical potentate active in the 13th century. Mbire’s purported great-great-grandson Nyatsimba was the first ruler to assume the title of the “owner of the Conquered Lands and Peoples.”
Mutapa Empire survived based on the Chinaware and fabrics were exchanged for luxurious gold before the states collapsed and moved to Mount Fura. Portuguese attempted to overpower Shona but failed (Fernand Braudel).
Owing that the first domesticated cultivations were sorghums and millets, the origin of agricultural civilization is traced far to the West Asia. The channel of agricultural transportation is marked to have gone via the Egypt or Ethiopia; they both had contact with the Red Sea. The agricultural civilization is traced far as 3000 B.C.
The dissertation of Sahara, moving people to the south sub-Saharan African provides a sustained fish farming for livelihood. African began to plant and develop its own crops. This did not still exclude warn reception on import foods from neighboring continent in addendum. The foundational area for African crops’ domestication ranges between Ethiopia through the southern Sudan to West Africa.
The success of earlier crops gave confidence to planting other cash crops such as bananas which were introduced from the Southern Asia. In 16th century, maize, manioc, apples and other crops spread through the land from America.
Livestock rearing also originated from outside the African continent. Cattle for example were introduced from Asia. Horses spread across Sudan to West Africa from West Asia through the Hyksos – invader in Egypt. Live stock serves a mean of survival in the arid region of Savanna belt and the Sahara.
The spread of cattle were significantly limited by tsetse fly in certain part of Africa. The fly is a carrier of causative organism causing sleeping sickness. According to experts, “the tsetse flourished in wet lowlands areas below the sea level of 3300 feet, and it severely limited pastoralism and also hindered the use of animals for farming and transport as away of life in large areas of West and central Africa.”
The civilization of Africa recorded a technological shift from technology of stone to technology of iron. The shifting earlier passed sequentially through the stages of copper and bronze metallurgy. The Phoenicians transported the knowledge of iron smelting technology from Near East and Anatolia of Africa to their colonies.
The knowledge of iron smelting had been in existence for over a thousand years B. C. From here, iron technology migrated to the Western Europe. Some of the evidences of iron technology originating in Africa still remain in substantial part of Nigeria culture, Ghana, and Mali.
In the uncivilized African, iron symbolized a possession of Power. The blacksmith made tools and weapons from iron, the possessions of which confirm the owners an important place in the society.
America received late development in metallurgy. In the present civilized Africa, Africans have found a better use in making cutleries, utensils and as a mean of revenue generation fro exportation.
Africans usually inhabit a small enclosure with poor sanitation. This owing to the poor economy condition led to numerous avoidable and preventable prevailing diseases. The politics of importing raw materials to finance the economy and develop Africa worried the colonial masters.
The first colonial response was rather a move to separate Africans from Asians and Europeans, and establish control laws, hence, the establishment of apartheid policy in South Africa in 1950. This policy later spread to Nairobi, Harare, Lusaka.
With the dragging economic recession over years in the past, prices of African exporting products fell drastically, leading to a pronounced economic downturn and crisis. Leaderships of Africa lend a helping hand from civilized continents to salvage the suffering masses.
With the knowledge, the mining companies for example began to prefer permanent workers, authorities changed some stiff policies to effect change and facilitate development.
The new policies mainly strengthened the land control by individuals, city growth and by and large make life easier for a better administration. Sequel to the introduction of the apartheid policies, the urban migration received a boost of 3.3% and an overall of 4.6% in Africa. Some challenges that the policy is regionally limited.
The growth in economy further encouraged many other civilization agenda Africa. Social amenities and services, including primary schools, secondary schools, and even some tertiary institutions were built close to the end of the colonial era.
With the collective support and the regain of economic depression in 1930, infrastructures were developed to meet the peculiar need of the people/masses. These were road constructions, electricity grid erection, and provision of borehole water among others.
Gradually in early 90s, African begins to travel around the world in search of westernization. The discovery of western education has been a major brake through in the continent.
Through education, African became significantly independent to take care of her own health, though with the limited power to manufacture drugs and equipment. The advent of information and technology in the present civilized Africa is a dividend of academic liberation from ignorance and hard life.
But for civilization, hard ship and sufferings would amount a gradual extinct of the human source itself- the African land. On the scale of development many grounds are yet to be conquered for African dependent. Over 60% of Africans’ daily needs are still based on importation, the huge debt to World Bank and IMF is an economic enslavement that speaks loud of underdeveloped and yet civilized Africa.
When will Africa and the entire black race be free of bad leadership that failed to focus on the pertinent needs in the interest of its economy? When will our mother land that gave birth to nations be redeemed from gradual abstract extinction? With a civilized utilization of African abundant natural resources, the room is widely open to absorbed awaiting development and full civilization.
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Diamond, Jared (1999). Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Norton.