Dutch Slave Coast
The Dutch Slave Coast refers to the trading posts of the Dutch West India Company on the Slave Coast, which lie in contemporary Ghana, Benin and Nigeria. The primary purpose of the trading post was to supply slaves for the plantation colonies in the Americas. Dutch involvement on the Slave Coast started with the establishment of a trading post in Offra in 1660. Trade shifted to Ouidah, where the English and French had a trading post. Political unrest caused the Dutch to abandon their trading post at Ouidah in 1725, now moving to Jaquim, at which place they built Fort Zeelandia. By 1760, the Dutch had abandoned their last trading post in the region; the Slave Coast was settled from the Dutch Gold Coast. During its existence, the Slave Coast held a close relationship to that colony. According to various sources, the Dutch West India Company began sending servants to the Ajaland capital of Allada from 1640 onward; the Dutch had in the decades before begun to take an interest in the Atlantic slave trade due to their capture of northern Brazil from the Portuguese.
Willem Bosman writes in his Nauwkeurige beschrijving van de Guinese Goud- Tand- en Slavekust that Allada was called Grand Ardra, being the larger cousin of Little Ardra known as Offra. From 1660 onward, Dutch presence in Allada and Offra became more permanent. A report from this year asserts Dutch trading posts, apart from Allada and Offra, in Benin City, Grand-Popo, Savi; the Offra trading post soon became the most important Dutch office on the Slave Coast. According to a 1670 report, annually 2,500 to 3,000 slaves were transported from Offra to the Americas and writing of the 1690s, Bosman commented of the trade at Fida, "markets of men are here kept in the same manner as those of beasts are with us." Numbers of slaves declined in times of conflict. From 1688 onward, the struggle between the Aja king of Allada and the peoples on the coastal regions, impeded the supply of slaves; the Dutch West India Company chose the side of the Aja king, causing the Offra office to be destroyed by opposing forces in 1692.
After this debacle, Dutch involvement on the Slave Coast came less to a halt. During his second voyage to Benin, David van Nyendael visited the king of Benin in Benin City, his detailed description of this journey was included as an appendix to Willem Bosman's Nauwkeurige beschrijving van de Guinese Goud- Tand- en Slavekust. His description of the kingdom remains valuable as one of the earliest detailed descriptions of Benin. On the instigation of Governor-General of the Dutch Gold Coast Willem de la Palma, Jacob van den Broucke was sent in 1703 as "opperkommies" to the Dutch trading post at Ouidah, which according to sources was established around 1670. Ouidah was the place where English and French traded slaves, making this place the candidate for the new main trading post on the Slave Coast. Political unrest was the reason for the Ouidah office to close in 1725; the company this time moved their headquarters to Jaquim, situated more easterly. The head of the post, Hendrik Hertog, had a reputation for being a successful slave trader.
In an attempt to extend his trading area, Hertog negotiated with local tribes and mingled in local political struggles. He sided with the wrong party, leading to a conflict with Director-General Jan Pranger and to his exile to the island of Appa in 1732; the Dutch trading post on this island was extended as the new centre of slave trade. In 1733, Hertog returned to Jaquim, this time extending the trading post into Fort Zeelandia; the revival of slave trade at Jaquim was only temporary, however, as his superiors at the Dutch West India Company noticed that Hertog's slaves were more expensive than at the Gold Coast. From 1735, Elmina became the preferred spot to trade slaves. Delepeleire, Y.. Nederlands Elmina: een socio-economische analyse van de Tweede Westindische Compagnie in West-Afrika in 1715. Gent: Universiteit Gent. Den Heijer, Henk. "David van Nyendael: the first European envoy to the court of Ashanti". In Van Kessel, W. M. J. Merchants, missionaries & migrants: 300 years of Dutch-Ghanaian relations.
Amsterdam: KIT publishers. Pp. 41–49. Media related to Dutch Slave Coast at Wikimedia Commons
Second Franco-Dahomean War
The Second Franco-Dahomean War, which raged from 1892 to 1894, was a major conflict between the French Third Republic, led by General Alfred-Amédée Dodds, the Kingdom of Dahomey under King Béhanzin. The French emerged triumphant and incorporated Dahomey into their growing colonial territory of French West Africa. In 1890, the Fon kingdom of Dahomey and the French Third Republic had gone to war in what was remembered as the First Franco-Dahomean War over the former's rights to certain territories those in the Ouémé Valley; the Fon ceased hostilities with the French after two military defeats, withdrawing their forces and signing a treaty conceding to all of France's demands. However, Dahomey remained a potent force in the area and re-armed with modern weapons in anticipation of a second, decisive conflict. After re-arming and regrouping, the Fon returned to raiding the Ouémé Valley, the same valley fought over in the first war with France. Victor Ballot, the French Resident at Porto-Novo, was sent via gunboat upriver to investigate.
His ship was forced to depart with five men wounded in the incident. King Benhanzin rejected complaints by the French, war was declared by the French; the French entrusted the war effort against Dahomey to Alfred-Amédée Dodds, an octoroon colonel of the Troupes de marine from Senegal. Colonel Dodds arrived with a force of 2,164 men including Foreign Legionnaires, engineers and Senegalese cavalry known as spahis plus the trusted tirailleurs; these forces were armed with the new Lebel rifles. The French protectorate kingdom of Porto-Novo added some 2,600 porters to aid in the fight; the Fon, prior to the outbreak of the second war, had stockpiled between 4,000 and 6,000 rifles including Mannlicher and Winchester carbines. These were purchased from German merchants via the port of Whydah. King Béhanzin bought some machine-guns and Krupp cannons, but it is unknown that these were put to use. On the 15 June 1892, the French blockaded Dahomey's coast to prevent any further arms sales. On the 4 July the first shots of the war were fired from French gunboats with the shelling of several villages along the lower Ouémé Valley.
The organized French army began moving inland in mid-August toward their final destination of the Dahomey capital of Abomey. The French invasion force assembled at the village of Dogba on the 14 September some 80 kilometres upriver on the border of Dahomey and Porto-Novo. At around 5:00am on the 19 September the French force was attacked by the army of Dahomey; the Fon broke off the attack after three to four hours of relentless fighting, characterized by repeated attempts by the Fon for melee combat. Hundreds of Fon were left dead on the field with the French forces suffering only five dead; the French forces moved another 24 km upriver before turning west in the direction of Abomey. On the 4 October the French column was attacked at Poguessa by Fon forces under the command of King Béhanzin himself; the Fon staged several fierce charges over two to three hours that all failed against the 20-inch bayonets of the French. The Dahomey army left the field in defeat losing some 200 soldiers; the French carried the day with only 42 casualties.
The Dahomey Amazons were conspicuous in the battle. After the hard-fought victory at Poguessa, the Fon resorted to guerilla tactics rather than set-piece engagements, it took the French invasion force a month to march the 40 km between Poguessa and the last major battle at Cana just outside Abomey. The Fon dug trenches in their desperate battle to slow the French invasion. On the 6 October the French had another major encounter with the Fon at the village of Adégon; the Fon, fared badly, losing 86 Dahomey Regulars and 417 Dahomey Amazons. The French suffered another 32 wounded before the fighting was ended; the French made use of a bayonet charge. The Battle was a turning point in the mind of Dahomey; the royal court decided. The battle was significant in that much of Dahomey's Amazon corps was lost in the engagement; the French column was able to cross another 24 km toward Abomey after Adégon, bivouacking at the village of Akpa. From the moment they arrived, they were attacked daily. From the French arrival until the 14 October 14, Dahomey's Amazons were conspicuously absent from the fighting.
On the 15 October, they reappeared in nearly every engagement inflicting significant losses against officers. Once resupplied, the French left Akpa on the 26 October toward the village of Cotopa. From the 26 to 27 October the French fought through the Dahomey forces at Cotopa and elsewhere, crossing lines of enemy trenches. Bayonet charges were the deciding factor in nearly all engagements; the Fon penchant for hand-to-hand fighting left them at a disadvantage against French bayonets, which outreatched Dahomey's swords and machetes. The Amazons are reported by the French to have fought the hardest, charging out of their trenches but to no avail. From the 2 November until the 4 November the Fon armies fought on the outskirts of Cana. By this time, Béhanzin's army numbered no more than 1,500 including pardoned convicts. On the 3 November the king directed the attack on the French bivouac. Amazons seemed to have made up much of the force. After four hours of desperate combat, the Fon army withdrew.
The fighting continued until the fourth. The last engagement at Cana, which took place at the village of Diokoué, site of a royal palace, was the last time Amazons would be used. Special units of the Amazon
In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union, of the parties of the Communist International, after their Bolshevisation, is the ideology of Stalinist political parties. As Stalin's synthesis of Leninism, the political praxis of Lenin, of Marxism, the politico-economic theories of Karl Marx, the purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the transformation of a capitalist state into a socialist state, by way of two-stage revolution and led by a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries, drawn from the proletariat. To realise the two-stage transformation of the state, the vanguard party establishes the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy with democratic centralism. Politically, the Marxist–Leninist communist party is the vanguard for the organisation of a capitalist society into a socialist society, the lower stage of socio-economic development, progress towards the upper-stage communist society, stateless and classless. In the late 1920s, after the death of Lenin, Stalin established universal ideologic orthodoxy among the Communist Party, the USSR, the Communist International, with his coinage Marxism–Leninism, a term which redefined theories of Lenin and Marx to establish universal Marxist–Leninist praxis for the exclusive, geopolitical benefit of the USSR.
In the late 1930s, Stalin's official textbook The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, made the term Marxism–Leninism common, political-science usage among communists and non-communists. Critical of Stalin's political economy and single-party government in the USSR, the Italian Left-communist Amadeo Bordiga said that Marxism–Leninism was a form of political opportunism, which preserved rather than destroyed capitalism, because of the claim that the exchange of commodities would occur under socialism; the American Marxist Raya Dunayevskaya dismissed Marxism–Leninism as a type of state capitalism because: state ownership of the means of production is a form of state capitalism. In 1929, within five years of the death of Lenin, Stalin was the Government of the Soviet Union, a ruler who flouted and applied the socialist principles of Lenin and Marx as political expediencies used to realise his plans for the USSR and for world socialism. Stalin justified his régime's deviations from Lenin's practices with the book Concerning Questions of Leninism, in which Stalin represented Marxism–Leninism as a separate communist ideology, which featured an omniscient leader, hierarchies of one global communist party and communist vanguard parties in each country of the world.
Stalin's interpretations of Lenin and Marx became Stalinism, the official state ideology of the Soviet Union. As the Left Opposition to Stalin within the Communist Party and the Soviet government, Leon Trotsky and the Trotskyists argued that Stalin's Marxist–Leninist ideology contradicted Marxism and Leninism in theory and in practice, thus was illegitimate socialist philosophy for the practical implementation of Socialism in Russia. Moreover, within the Party, the Trotskyists identified their communist ideology as Bolshevik–Leninism, to politically differentiate their ideology from the ideology Stalin used to justify and implement his theory of Socialism in One Country. In Marxist political discourse the term Marxism–Leninism and connoting the theory and praxis of Stalinism, has two usages: praise of Joseph Stalin, by Stalinists who believe Stalin developed Lenin's legacy. Consequent to the Sino-Soviet split, in each socialist country, the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union each claimed to be the sole heir-and-successor to Stalin, regarding the correct interpretation of Marxism–Leninism, thus ideological leader of world communism.
In that vein, the History of the People's Republic of China represents Maoism as Mao Zedong's fundamental up-dating and adaptation of Leninism to Chinese conditions, in which revolutionary praxis is primary and ideologic orthodoxy is secondary. The Sino-Albanian split was caused by Socialist Albania's rejection of the PRC's Realpolitik of Sino–American rapprochement the Mao–Nixon meeting, which the anti-revisionist Albanian Labor Party perceived as an ideological betrayal of Mao's own Three Worlds Theory, which excluded such political relations of rapprochement. To the Albanians, the Chinese dealings with the U. S. were a lessening of Mao's practical commitments to proletarian internationalism. Enver Hoxha, the head of the Albanian Labor Party, theorised an anti-revisionist Marxism-Leninism referred to as Hoxhaism, which attempted to retain an'authentic' socialism in comparison to the post-Stalinist Soviet Union
The Kingdom of Dahomey was an African kingdom that existed from about 1600 until 1894, when the last king, Béhanzin, was defeated by the French, the country was annexed into the French colonial empire. Dahomey developed on the Abomey Plateau amongst the Fon people in the early 17th century and became a regional power in the 18th century by conquering key cities on the Atlantic coast. For much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Kingdom of Dahomey was a key regional state ending tributary status to the Oyo Empire; the Kingdom of Dahomey was an important regional power that had an organized domestic economy built on conquest and slave labor, significant international trade with Europeans, a centralized administration, taxation systems, an organized military. Notable in the kingdom were significant artwork, an all-female military unit called the Dahomey Amazons by European observers, the elaborate religious practices of Vodun with the large festival of the Annual Customs of Dahomey, they traded prisoners, which they captured during wars and raids, exchanged them with Europeans for goods such as knives, firearms and spirits.
The Kingdom of Dahomey was referred to by many different names and has been written in a variety of ways, including Danxome and Fon. The name Fon relates to the dominant ethnic and language group, the Fon people, of the royal families of the kingdom and is how the kingdom first became known to Europeans; the names Dahomey and Danhome all have a similar origin story, which historian Edna Bay says may be a false etymology. The story goes that Dakodonu, considered the second king in modern kings lists, was granted permission by the Gedevi chiefs, the local rulers, to settle in the Abomey plateau. Dakodonu requested additional land from a prominent chief named Dan to which the chief responded sarcastically "Should I open up my belly and build you a house in it?" For this insult, Dakodonu began the construction of his palace on the spot. The name of the kingdom was derived from the incident: Dan=chief dan, xo=Belly, me=Inside of; the Kingdom of Dahomey was established around 1600 by the Fon people who had settled in the area.
The foundational king for Dahomey is considered to be Houegbadja, who built the Royal Palaces of Abomey and began raiding and taking over towns outside of the Abomey plateau. King Agaja, Houegbadja's grandson, came to the throne in 1708 and began significant expansion of the Kingdom of Dahomey; this expansion was made possible by the superior military force of King Agaja's Dahomey. In contrast to surrounding regions, Dahomey employed a professional standing army numbering around ten thousand. What the Dahomey lacked in numbers, they made up for in superior arms. In 1724, Agaja conquered Allada, the origin for the royal family according to oral tradition, in 1727 he conquered Whydah; this increased size of the kingdom along the Atlantic coast, increased power made Dahomey into a regional power. The result was near constant warfare with the main regional state, the Oyo Empire, from 1728 until 1740; the warfare with the Oyo empire resulted in Dahomey assuming a tributary status to the Oyo empire.
Tegbesu spelled as Tegbessou, was King of Dahomey, in present-day Benin, from 1740 until 1774. Tegbesu was not the oldest son of King Agaja, but was selected following his father's death after winning a succession struggle with a brother. King Agaja had expanded the Kingdom of Dahomey during his reign, notably conquering Whydah in 1727; this increased both domestic dissent and regional opposition. Tegbessou ruled over Dahomey at a point where it needed to increase its legitimacy over those who it had conquered; as a result, Tegbesu is credited with a number of administrative changes in the kingdom in order to establish the legitimacy of the kingdom. The slave trade increased during Tegbessou's reign and began to provide the largest part of the income for the king. In addition, Tegbesu's rule is the one with the first significant kpojito or mother of the leopard with Hwanjile in that role; the kpojito became a prominently important person in Dahomey royalty. Hwanjile, in particular, is said to have changed the religious practices of Dahomey by creating two new deities and more tying worship to that of the king.
According to one oral tradition, as part of the tribute owed by Dahomey to Oyo, Agaja had to give to Oyo one of his sons. The story claims that only Hwanjile, of all of Agaja's wives, was willing to allow her son to go to Oyo; this act of sacrifice, according to the oral tradition made Tegbesu, was favored by Agaja. Agaja told Tegbesu that he was the future king, but his brother Zinga was still the official heir; the kingdom fought Second Franco-Dahomean War with France. The kingdom was reduced and made a French protectorate in 1894. In 1904 the area became part of French Dahomey. In 1958 French Dahomey became the self-governing colony called the Republic of Dahomey and gained full independence in 1960, it was renamed in 1991 the Republic of Benin. The Dahomey kingship exists as a ceremonial role to this day. Early writings, predominantly written by European slave traders presented the kingdom as an absolute monarchy led by a despotic king. However, these depictions were deployed as arguments by different sides in the slave trade debates in the United Kingdom, as such were exaggerations.
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Kingdom of Whydah
The Kingdom of Whydah was a kingdom on the coast of West Africa in the boundaries of the modern nation of Benin. Between 1677 and 1681 it was conquered by one of the Akan people, it was a major slave trading post. In 1700, it had a coastline of around 16 kilometres; the Kingdom of Whydah was centered in Savi. The last ruler of Whydah was King Haffon, deposed in 1727, when Whydah was conquered by the Kingdom of Dahomey; the name Whydah is an anglicised form of Xwéda, from the Yoruba language of Benin. Today the port city of Ouidah bears the kingdom's name; the area gives its name to the native whydah bird, to pirate captain "Black Sam" Bellamy's Whydah Gally, a slave ship turned pirate ship. Its wreck has been explored in Massachusetts. According to one European, who visited in 1692–1700, Whydah exported some thousand slaves a month taken captive from villages in the interior of Africa. For this reason, it has been considered a "principal market" for human beings; when the king could not supply the European traders with sufficient slaves, he would supplement them with his own wives.
Robbery was common. Every thing in Whydah paid a toll to the king. Despite this, the king was wealthy, clothed in gold and silver—goods of which little was known in Whydah, he commanded great respect, unusually, was never seen to eat. The color red was reserved for the royal family; the king was considered immortal, although successive kings were recognized as dying of natural causes. Interregna of only a few days,were occasions of plundering and anarchy by the populace; the patriarchal society isolated women. Fathers were recorded with more than two hundred children by their numerous wives. Three public objects were the subject of devotion: some lofty trees, the sea, a type of snake; this snake was the subject of many incidents. Priests and priestesses were held in high regard, immune from capital punishment; the king could field 200,000 men. In comparison, other estimates range upward from twenty thousand, although contemporary interpretation is that these armies were of "overwhelming size". Battles were won by strength of numbers alone, with the weaker side fleeing.
With King Haffon's rise to power in 1708, European trade companies had established a significant presence in Whydah and were in constant competition to win to King’s favor. The French Company of the Indies presented Haffon with two ships worth of cargo and an extravagant Louis XIV-style throne while the British Royal African Company gifted a crown for the newly appointed King; such practices illustrate the high level of dependence European traders had on native African powers in the beginning of the 18th century and the close relationship that emerged between the two entities. This association is further reiterated by the fact that Dutch, British and Portuguese trading company compounds all bordered the walls of Haffon’s royal palace in the city of Savi; these compounds served as important centers of diplomatic and commercial exchange between European companies and the Kingdom of Whydah. While company compounds facilitated the interaction between European traders and native Africans, the true center of European operations in Whydah were the various forts that existed along the coast near the town of Glewe.
Owned by the Portuguese Crown, the French Company of the Indies, the British Royal African Company, the forts were used to store slaves and trading merchandise. Made up of mud walls, the forts provided tolerable protection for the Europeans but were not strong enough to withstand a legitimate attack from the natives. Furthermore, because the forts were located more than three miles inland, cannons could not protect European ships in the harbor and anchored ships could not come to the aid of the forts in times of need. In this sense, while the forts showcased some degree of European influence, the reality was that the Europeans relied on the king for protection and local natives for sustenance and firewood; this relationship would take a drastic turn with the decline of royal authority and increase of internal power struggles throughout the 18th and 19th centuries that gave way to French colonization of the region in 1872. In 1727, Whydah was conquered by King Agaja of the Kingdom of Dahomey.
This incorporation of Whydah into Dahomey transformed the latter into a significant regional power. However, constant warfare with the Oyo Empire from 1728 to 1740 resulted in Dahomey becoming a tributary state of the Oyo. Harms, Robert; the Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade. Basic Books: New York, 2002; the Ouidah Museum of History. History of Xweda
History of Africa
The history of Africa begins with the emergence of hominids, archaic humans and—at least 200,000 years ago—anatomically modern humans, in East Africa, continues unbroken into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states. In the Kingdom of Kush and in Ancient Egypt, the Sahel, the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa. Following the desertification of the Sahara, North African history became entwined with the Middle East and Southern Europe while the Bantu expansion swept from modern day Cameroon across much of the sub-Saharan continent in waves between around 1000 BC and 0 AD, creating a linguistic commonality across much of the central and Southern continent. During the Middle Ages, Islam spread west from Arabia to Egypt, crossing the Sahel; some notable pre-colonial states and societies in Africa include the Ajuran Empire, D'mt, Adal Sultanate, Warsangali Sultanate, Kingdom of Nri, Nok culture, Mali Empire, Songhai Empire, Benin Empire, Oyo Empire, Ashanti Empire, Ghana Empire, Mossi Kingdoms, Mutapa Empire, Kingdom of Mapungubwe, Kingdom of Sine, Kingdom of Sennar, Kingdom of Saloum, Kingdom of Baol, Kingdom of Cayor, Kingdom of Zimbabwe, Kingdom of Kongo, Empire of Kaabu, Kingdom of Ile Ife, Ancient Carthage, Numidia and the Aksumite Empire.
At its peak, prior to European colonialism, it is estimated that Africa had up to 10,000 different states and autonomous groups with distinct languages and customs. From the mid-7th century, the Arab slave trade saw. Following an armistice between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Kingdom of Makuria after the Second Battle of Dongola in 652 AD, they were transported, along with Asians and Europeans, across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Sahara Desert. From the late 15th century, Europeans joined the slave trade. One could say the Portuguese led in partnership with other Europeans; that includes the triangular trade, with the Portuguese acquiring slaves through trade and by force as part of the Atlantic slave trade. They transported enslaved West and Southern Africans overseas. Subsequently, European colonization of Africa developed from around 10% to over 90% in the Scramble for Africa; however following struggles for independence in many parts of the continent, as well as a weakened Europe after the Second World War, decolonization took place across the continent, culminating in the 1960 Year of Africa.
Africa's pre-colonial history has been challenging to research due to the extreme lack of documentation and architecture that the continents of Europe and Asia are so richly dense in. Disciplines such as the recording of oral history, historical linguistics and genetics have been crucial; the first known hominids evolved in Africa. According to paleontology, the early hominids' skull anatomy was similar to that of the gorilla and the chimpanzee, great apes that evolved in Africa, but the hominids had adopted a bipedal locomotion which freed their hands; this gave them a crucial advantage, enabling them to live in both forested areas and on the open savanna at a time when Africa was drying up and the savanna was encroaching on forested areas. This would have occurred 10 to 5 million years ago, but these claims are controversial because biologists and genetics have humans appearing around the last 70 thousand to 200 thousand years. Https://web.archive.org/web/20150907140051/http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD020876.html By 4 million years ago, several australopithecine hominid species had developed throughout Southern and Central Africa.
They were tool users, makers of tools. They were omnivores. By 3.3 million years ago, primitive stone tools were first used to scavenge kills made by other predators and to harvest carrion and marrow from their bones. In hunting, Homo habilis was not capable of competing with large predators and was still more prey than hunter. H. habilis did steal eggs from nests and may have been able to catch small game and weakened larger prey. The tools were classed as Oldowan. Around 1.8 million years ago, Homo ergaster first appeared in the fossil record in Africa. From Homo ergaster, Homo erectus evolved 1.5 million years ago. Some of the earlier representatives of this species were still small-brained and used primitive stone tools, much like H. habilis. The brain grew in size, H. erectus developed a more complex stone tool technology called the Acheulean. The first hunters, H. erectus mastered the art of making fire and was the first hominid to leave Africa, colonizing most of Afro-Eurasia and later giving rise to Homo floresiensis.
Although some recent writers have suggested that Homo georgicus was the first and primary hominid to live outside Africa, many scientists consider H. georgicus to be an early and primitive member of the H. erectus species. The fossil record shows Homo sapiens living in Southern and Eastern Africa at least 200,000 to 150,000 years ago. Around 40,000 years ago, the species' expansion out of Africa launched the colonization of the planet by modern human beings. By 10,000 BC, Homo sapiens had spread to most corners of Afro-Eurasia, their disperals are traced by linguistic and genetic evidence. The earliest physical evidence of astronomical activity appears to be a lunar calendar found on the Ishango bone dated to between 23,000 and 18,000 BC. Scholars have argued that warfare was absent throughout much of humanity's prehistoric past, that it emerged from more complex political systems as a result of sedentism, agricultural farming, etc. However, the findings at the site of Nataruk in Turkana County, where the remains of