Africa is the one continent that has been plagued by some of the worst human evils to date. Slavery, aggressive opposition and even torture defined much of what happened to the native people through the centuries. Sometimes, this was at the hands of fellow Africans. However, Africans were more often brutalised by the colonialists and other foreigners that desired to invade the land.
The written annals of Africa begin in the 4th millennium Before our Common Era (BCE), although evidence, fossils and spoken tales precede this period. It was with the rise of the Egyptian civilisation around the Nile Valley that these formal records began. Even with these written accounts, there remain many unknown details and events because the African society has always been one that favours oral tradition, rather than the written word. While some of the gaps may be filled in with detailed cave paintings, prehistoric tools and implements and the fossils that have been found throughout Africa, the mystery around the process of civilisation still exists quite prominently.
The earliest Homo sapien remains were found in Ethiopia, situated in West Africa in what is known as the Horn of Africa. This human being is thought to have lived on the earth 200 000 years ago. This dating is based on research and scientific testing. From the time of the establishment of the Egyptian civilisation, the written records follow the development of those groups that moved further out from the Nile and established their own societies, many of them nomadic.
Many other civilisations moved into the African territory in an attempt to expand their own across from the centre of Tunisorders. The Phoenicians began the empire of Carthage, which included the coastal section of Tunis. The exact records of this period were destroyed by the Roman Empire, which conquered Carthage in the Punic Wars. These three wars extended between 264 and 146 BCE. Once the Romans had Carthage under their control, they went on to conquer all of North Africa in the first century CE (Common Era). While the Romans initially worshiped pagan gods, it was during this time that Christianity began to spread through the Empire, presumably as a result of Jesus’ preaching and teaching work just prior to the first century. This religious ideal spread rapidly and extended right up to Ethiopia and Kush (the area that would now include Sudan).
The next wave came in the seventh century, when Islam spread throughout North and East Africa. This bore major consequences for the development of the civilisations in those areas. New cultures sprung from religion, as they often do. These included the Swahilis in the east and the Songhai in the west. As Islam became more popular, so the Arab slave trade escalated until it peaked in the 1800’s. This forced African slaves to be sent to North and South America, taking their cultures and religions with them.
In 1951, Libya became the first colony to gain its independence. Since then, most of remaining Africa has followed suit. The revolutionary attitude of modern Africa has led to much controversy and hardship, but is necessary for the current civilisation to develop into a viable, productive continent.
For more information, please view: http://www.mnh.si.edu/africanvoices/