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African History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Apartheid Legislation in South Africa -- The...
South Africa used legislation to implement the segregation of its black population. Here is a descriptive list of the key Apartheid laws enacted by the National Party government.
Apartheid FAQ -- Common Questions About South...
What was Apartheid? Find the answer in this FAQ.: apartheid government racial segregation union of south africa geographical boundaries afrikaans word
Group Areas Act No 41 of 1950
The Group Areas Act No 41 of 1950 forced physical separation between races by creating different residential areas for different races. Find out more…
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
A biography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
What Was the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade?
A brief review of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, with particular reference to the triangular trade and recent statistics.
Why These South African National Holidays Are...
The significance of South Africa's national holidays.
When Did Apartheid Start in South Africa?
Unsure when Apartheid started in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
What Caused a Student Uprising in Soweto in 1976?
The historical background to the June, 16 1976 protest by high-school students in Soweto, South Africa, where police fired teargas and live bullets
What Led Up to the Colonial Scramble for Africa?
Why was Africa so rapidly colonized?
Why Idi Amin Dada Was Known as the 'Butcher of...
Idi Amin, who became known as the 'Butcher of Uganda' for his brutal, despotic rule whilst president of Uganda in the 1970s, is possibly the most notorious of all Africa's post-independence dictators. Find out more in this biography.
Apartheid Era Laws: Population Registration Act...
The Population Registration Act required South Africans to be identified and registered as belonging to one of four distinct racial groups. Find out more...
Apartheid Quotes - Bantu Education
Bantu Education, the separate and limited experience encountered by non-whites in South Africa when pursuing an education, was a cornerstone of the apartheid philosophy. The following quotes illustrate the diverse viewpoints about Bantu Education from both sides of the anti-Apartheid struggle.
Apartheid Era Laws: Prohibition of Mixed...
What was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act No 55 of 1949?
Blacks (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination...
Blacks (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act No 67 of 1952 required all black persons over the age of 16 to carry a reference (or pass) book at all times. Find out more...
Women's Anti-Pass Law Campaigns in South Africa
What happened when the South African government tried to force women to carry passes.
Chronological List of African Independence
A Chronological List of Independence Dates for Africa.   Country Independence Date Prior ruling country
Which 2 African Countries Were Never Actually...
There are two countries in Africa which are considered to never have been colonized. The truth, however, is much more complex and open to debate.
When and How Did Apartheid Come to an End in...
Unsure when Apartheid ended in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
What Everyone Should Know About African Slavery
Although slavery has been practiced for almost the whole of recorded history, the vast numbers involved in the African slave trade has left a legacy which can not be ignored.
What Caused the Sharpeville Massacre in South...
The Origin of South Africa's Human Rights Day
Pass Laws
What were the Pass Laws in Apartheid era South Africa?
How Stephen Bantu Biko Became an Anti-Apartheid...
A short biography of Steve Biko, founder and martyr of the Black Consciousness movement in South Africa.
Apartheid Legislation in South Africa
Descriptions of the main apartheid legislation enacted in South Africa.
Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
A Gallery of Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
Short Biography: Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu
Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu Influential anti-Apartheid activist and co-founder of the African National Congress
11 Memorable Quotes by Stephen Bantu Biko
A selection of quotes by Steve Biko
What Was the Mfecane?
A explanation of the term Mfecane and why the subject is controversial.
What is Pan-Africanism?
How has Pan-Africanism developed over the last couple of centuries into a socio-political movement?
Biography: Chief Albert Luthuli
A biography of Chief Albert Luthuli, Africa's first winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace and president of the ANC until his death (under mysterious circumstances) in 1967.
What You Should Know About Apartheid
From the Afrikaans' word for 'separation,' Apartheid was a social philosophy which enforced racial and economic segregation on the people of South Africa.
How Did Goods Get Across the Sahara in Medieval...
Between the 11th and 15th centuries West Africa was a major trading region, exporting goods to Europe, Arabia, India, and China across the Sahara Desert.
What Role Did Islam Play in African Slavery?
When Africans talk of slavery they inevitably mean the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Is this a true representation of the practice in Africa?
What Are Political Institutions?
What are Political Institutions?
Ebola
What is Ebola? African History.
Memorable Quotes by Nelson Mandela
A selection of quotes by Nelson Mandela
What Is the Purpose of the Economic Community...
What is the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS?
Apartheid Signs Image Gallery
A gallery of images of Apartheid Era Signs from the mid 1950s to late 1970s.
4 Types of Slavery in Africa
Types of Slavery in Africa - What Kinds of Slavery Existed in Africa?
The Legacy of Jomo Kenyatta, the First...
First president of Kenya and prominent independence leader. Born into dominant Kikuyu culture, Kenyatta became its most famous interpreter of Kikuyu traditions through his book Facing Mount Kenya. Part 1 of his biography, from his early days to his political awakening.
School Enrollment in Apartheid South Africa
Data on School Enrollment for Blacks and Whites in South Africa in 1982.
Ubuntu
What does Ubuntu mean? Find the answer to what Ubuntu means in this African History Glossary
Timeline: Mau Mau Rebellion
The Mau Mau were a militant African nationalist movement active in Kenya during the 1950s whose main aim was to remove British rule and European settlers from the country.
Kingdom of Kush
What was the Kingdom of Kush? African History.
Apartheid FAQ: Who Supported Apartheid?
Unsure who supported Apartheid in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Quotes: Idi Amin Dada
A selection of quotes by Idi Amin Dada, president of Uganda from 25 January 1971 to 13 April 1979.
Origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade
Portuguese exploration and trade: 1450-1500.
How Slaves Were Traded from Africa to the...
Information on how many slaves were shipped from Africa across the Atlantic to the Americas during the sixteenth century can only be estimated as very few records exist for this period. But from the seventeenth century onwards, increasingly accurate records, such as ship manifests, are available.
Apartheid FAQ: How Did The Apartheid Government...
Unsure how the Apartheid regime came into power? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Colors of Ancient Egypt
Color in Ancient Egypt. African History.
Adinkra Symbology and its Origins
The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols.: adinkra symbols traditional cloths africanhistory akan symbols abstract shapes
Apartheid Era Laws: Suppression of Communism...
What was the Suppression of Communism Act No 44 of 1950
Southern African Independence
A chronology of colonization and independence.: south west africa dutch east indies walvis bay gold ivory africa independence
A Brief History of Ghana - Part 1
A brief introduction to the history of Ghana from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 1 - Early Kingdoms to Independence
Apartheid Era Laws: Immorality Amendment Act No...
What was the Immorality Amendment Act No 21 of 1950
Desmond Mpilo Tutu
South African Anglican cleric, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent anti-Apartheid role, chairman of the TRC in late 1990s. Tutu was a powerful moral force in South Africa, and a central figure in the anti-Apartheid struggle.
Moving Quotes from Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Selection of Quotes by Julius Kambarage Nyerere
Apartheid FAQ: What Were the Foundations of...
Unsure what the Foundations of Apartheid were? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Apartheid Era Laws: Black (Bantu) Authorities...
The Black Authorities Act No 68 of 1951 allowed for the creation of traditional tribal, regional and territorial authorities. Find out more…
Martin Thembisile (Chris) Hani
A short biography of Chris Hani, South African political activist, chief-of-staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, and Secretary-General of the South African Communist Party, assassinated in April 1993.
Apartheid Era Laws: Promotion of Bantu...
Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act No 46 of 1959 allowed for the transformation of reserves into fully-fledged independent Bantustans. Find out more…
Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu
Biography of Albertina Sisulu. Prominent leader in the African National Congress and 'Mother of the Nation'. Part 1 1918-1958.
What was Ujamaa?
What was Ujamaa and how did Nyerere's social and economic policy affect Tanzania in the 1960s and 70s?
11 Greatest African Explorers
Over the centuries, explorers have found the allure of the unknown reaches of Africa irresistible. Find out who was who, where they went, and when.
Inspiring Quotes from Jomo Kenyatta
Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya, lived a fascinating life. Read a selection of his most famous quotes.
16 June 1976 Student Uprising in Soweto
On 16 June 1976 high-school students in Soweto, South Africa, protested for better education. Police fired teargas and live bullets into the marching students. Part 2: Students organize a protest.
Helen Suzman
Helen Suzman -- South African politician and anti-Apartheid activist who spent thirteen years as the lone liberal opposition MP to the Apartheid era National Party
General Act of the Berlin Conference on West...
Full Text of the General Act of the Berlin Conference on West Africa as signed on 26 February 1885
Afrikaner Broederbond
What was the Afrikaner Broederbond?
Timeline: Slavery in the Cape Colony
Many South Africans are the descendants of slaves brought to the Cape Colony from 1653 until 1822. Follow the main events in this period of South Africa's history in this timeline.
Apartheid Era Laws: Bantu Homelands Citizenship...
The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act No 26 of 1970 required that all South African Blacks become citizens of one of the self-governing territories. Find out more…
Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century
In February 2002 a list of Africa's Top 100 books was announced. Find out why.
Pre-Colonial Cultures in South Africa: San and...
Two thousand years ago the first of several waves colonists swept into South Africa. In the first of these waves, the pastoralist Khoikhoi moved down into the western and southern coastal regions - pushing the hunter-gatherer San inland.
An Atlas of African Independence
By the mid 1960's the majority of African states were free from colonial rule. Read more about each country's story in this Atlas of Independence.
A Brief History of Liberia - Part 1
A brief introduction to the history of Liberia from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 1 –Colonization to Civil War
Timeline of Apartheid History: 1912 to 1959
A Timeline of Key Apartheid Events from 1912 to 1959.
Soweto Uprising 1976 Image Gallery
A gallery of images of the 16 June 1975 Soweto Uprising.
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins of Slaves
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins of Slaves Details of where slaves were taken from Africa and how
Biography: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia's...
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, described by some of her rivals as an Americo-Liberian, the descendant of Liberia's ex-American-slave colonists, has reached the pinnacle o her political career. Awaiting the results of an investigation into alleged (by her main political rival George Weah) election fraud, Johnson-Sirleaf could become Africa's first elected woman president. Find out more…
Union Of South Africa
The politicking behind the scenes for the formation of the Union of South Africa allowed the foundations of Apartheid to be laid.
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland lasted for 10 years, part of Britain's approach to independence in Africa. Find out more about the federation and why it ended.
South African Apartheid Era Identity Numbers --...
South African Apartheid Era Identity Numbers How the Apartheid Era Identity Number Recorded Racial Categories
Apartheid FAQ: How Did Apartheid Evolve During...
Unsure how? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
What You Should Know About the History of Kenya
A brief introduction to the history of Kenya from the time of early humans to the present day.
Apartheid FAQ: What was Grand Apartheid?
Unsure what Grand Apartheid was? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
How South African Place Names Have Changed
Since the end of apartheid, a number of town and geographical names in South Africa have changed. Here's a list of them.
Gukurahundi
What was the Gukurahundi? African History.
Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of Tanzania.
Trance Dance
What is a Trance Dance? African History.
Moments in Apartheid: The Treason Trial
In 1956, in response to the adoption of the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People, the Apartheid government in South Africa arrested a total 156 people for high treason. The penalty for this was death.
How Sonni Ali Formed a Great African Empire
West African monarch who ruled Songhai from 1464 to 1492, expanding a small kingdom along the Niger River into one of medieval Africa's greatest empires.
Road Sign 1956
A fairly common road sign around Johannesburg in 1956: "Caution Beware Of Natives"
Indigenous African Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African Slavery
John Garang de Mabior
Colonel John Garang de Mabior was a Sudanese rebel leader and founder of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) which fought a 22 year civil war against the northern dominated, Islamist Sudanese Government. Was made vice president of Sudan on the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, shortly before his death.
Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes. Page 12.
Telegraph Office 1955
Signs in English and Afrikaans, in Wellington railway station, South Africa, enforcing the policy of
Biography: Mungo Park
Mungo Park, a Scottish surgeon and explorer, was sent out by the 'Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior of Africa' to discover the course of the River Niger. Having achieved a degree of fame from his first trip, carried out alone and on foot, he returned to Africa with a party of 40 Europeans, all of whom lost their lives in the adventure.
Biography: Joe Slovo
Joe Slovo, anti-Apartheid activist, was one of the founders of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the armed wing of the ANC, and was general secretary of the South African Communist Party during the 1980s.
White Area 1976
An apartheid notice on a beach in 1976 near Cape Town, denoting the area for whites only. Page 4.
History of Apartheid: Crossroads
South African police and rioters in South Africa's Cape Town informal settlement of Crossroads clashed over an attempt to move residents to the new Township of Kayelitsha.
A Brief History of Zimbabwe - Part 2
An introduction to the history of the African nation. This part confronts the effect of nationalistic shifts and the new constitution.
Pre-Apartheid Era Laws: Black (or Natives) Land...
Under the Black (Natives) Land Act Blacks were no longer be able to own, or even rent, land outside of designated reserves. Find out more…
This Day in African History: 27 August
A chronicle of events in African history on 27 August
Biography: Thomas Joseph Mboya
Thomas Mboya was a Kenyan trade unionist and statesman. Earmarked as Jomo Kenyatta's successor, Mboya was assassinated six years into independence, sparking tribal unrest between Kenyatta's Kikuyu supporters and Mboya's Luo.
Cape Town's Infamous Robben Island
A short history of island that housed the most notorious prison of the South African apartheid regime.
Text of the Freedom Charter
Freedom Charter. African History.
Senzangakhona kaJama
Senzangakhona kaJama was a Zulu chief whose claim to fame is as father of Zulu kings Shaka, Dingane, and Mpande, and as grandfather to Cetshwayo.
Banning
What was the Banning? African History.
Pre-Apartheid Era Laws: Native (Black) Urban...
The Native (Black) Urban Areas Act strictly controlled the movement of Black males between urban and rural areas in South Africa. Find out more...
"Wind of Change" speech
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >What was the "Wind
Inspection of an African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Inspection of an African Slave. Page 9.
Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire. Page 13.
African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery. Page 3.
Apartheid Beach 1979
Sign on a Cape Town beach in 1979 reserves it for white people only: "WHITE PERSONS ONLY This beach and
Black Consciousness Movement (BCM)
What was the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM)?
Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd
National Party Prime Minister of South Africa from 1958 until his assassination on 6 September 1966, Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd was the chief architect of 'Grand Apartheid', which called for the separation of races in South Africa.
Where in Africa is Zambia?
A map showing the location of the Republic of Zambia in Africa. Page 5.
Testing an African Slave For Sickness
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Testing an African Slave For Sickness. Page 10.
Menes: First Pharaoh of Egypt?
According to Ancient Egyptian history Menes was the founder of the unified Egyptian state which combined Upper and Lower Egypt.
Ancient Egypt: The Father Of Time
The way in which we divide the day into hours and minutes, as well as the structure and length of the yearly calendar, owes much to pioneering developments in ancient Egypt. Page 2.
A Very Short History of Morocco
A potted history of Morocco. African History.
Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade. Page 8.
A Brief History of Zambia
A brief introduction to the history of Zambia from the time of early humans to the present day.
Nok Culture
Considered the oldest recognisable pre-colonial society in sub-Saharan Africa, the Nok Culture is exemplified by its magnificent terracotta sculptures and the development of iron working. Find out more about this ancient African civilization.
The Afrikaans Medium Decree
The decree that Afrikaans had to be used as a language of instruction in schools contributed to the 16 June 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa.
Segregated Toilets 1979
May 1979: Public conveniences in Cape Town in 1979 allocated to white people only: "Whites Only, Net
A Brief History of Cameroon
A brief introduction to the history of Cameroon from the time of early humans to the present day.
Egypt
A brief history of the colonization and independence of Egypt. Page 2.
Nigeria Timeline -- From Prehistory to...
A chronology of key events in Nigeria's history: kanem bornu bantu migration gao mali kingdoms and empires western nigeria
Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes. Page 11.
Female East African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Female East African Slave. Page 7.
Indigenous African Slavers Traveling From the...
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African slavers Traveling From the Interior. Page 4.
Exclusive Use of European Mothers 1971
Sign outside a Johannesburg park in 1971 restricts its use: "This lawn is for the exclusive use of European
A Brief History of Ghana - Part 2
A brief introduction to the history of Ghana from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 2 - Nkrumah to Rawlings
Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast. Page 5.
This Day in African History: 26 August
A chronicle of events in African history on 26 August
Zulu War Vocabulary
A list of common Zulu terms relevant to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
Great Rift Valley
Where is Africa's Great Rift Valley?
A Slaver's Canoe
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slaver's Canoe. Page 2.
A Brief History of Mauritius
A brief introduction to the history of Mauritius from the time of early colonization to the present day.
Ancient Egypt: Predynastic Period
The Predynastic Period of Ancient Egypt saw the development of grouped communities, the worlds first written language, institutionalised religion, and the development of the plough. Archaeologists have divided the Period into four relatively distinct phases to aid their understanding of the social, scientific, and political developments in Egypt at that time.
A Brief History of the African Commonwealth of...
A list of when various African countries joined the Commonwealth of Nations.
Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua
Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua was president of Nigeria from 2007, breaking the cycle of civilian rule and military coup which had dogged the country since independence. Yar'Adua was somewhat reclusive in his dealings with the public and press, and his only major political success was dealing with the civil unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta -- convincing many to give up their arms during a three-month amnesty in 2009. Part I -- Early Life.
A Slave Barracoon
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slave Barracoon. Page 6.
Exercising Slaves on a Trans-Atlantic Slave Ship
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Exercising Slaves on a Trans-Atlantic Slave Ship. Page 14.
Donald Woods -- Death of an Activist
Brief biography of South African newspaper editor and anti-apartheid activist Donald Woods.
A Brief History of Mali
A brief introduction to the history of Mali from the time of early humans to the present day.
Tutankhamun: The Boy Pharaoh
Be amazed at the treasures discovered in the tomb of the most famous Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun. His was the first tomb found still containing treasure.
This Day in African History: 28 August
A chronicle of events in African history on 28 August
Early Christianity in North Africa Part 1
Historical Background, Factors Which Influenced the Spread Of Christianity, Christianity Reaches North Africa

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