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African History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
What Caused the Scramble for Africa?
Why was Africa so rapidly colonized?
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
A biography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Biography: Idi Amin Dada
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.
Chronological List of African Independence
A Chronological List of Independence Dates for Africa.   Country Independence Date Prior ruling country
Countries in Africa Considered Never Colonized
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.
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.
Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
A Gallery of Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
South Africa's National Holidays
The significance of South Africa's national holidays.
When and How Did Apartheid Come to an End in...
Unsure when Apartheid ended in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
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 1: Background to the uprising.
Sharpeville Massacre
The Origin of South Africa's Human Rights Day
Trade Across the Sahara
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 is Pan-Africanism?
How has Pan-Africanism developed over the last couple of centuries into a socio-political movement?
Women's Anti-Pass Law Campaigns in South Africa
What happened when the South African government tried to force women to carry passes.
Southern African Independence
A chronology of colonization and independence.: south west africa dutch east indies walvis bay gold ivory africa independence
Political Institutions
What are Political Institutions?
Stephen Bantu (Steve) Biko
A short biography of Steve Biko, founder and martyr of the Black Consciousness movement in South Africa.
Apartheid FAQ: When Did Apartheid Start in...
Unsure when Apartheid started in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Biography: Idi Amin Dada (Part 2 of 2)
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. (Part 2 of 2). Page 2.
Jomo Kenyatta
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.
Economic Community of West African States
What is the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS?
Quotes: Idi Amin Dada
A selection of quotes by Idi Amin Dada, president of Uganda from 25 January 1971 to 13 April 1979.
African Slavery 101
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.
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.
Types of Slavery in Africa
Types of Slavery in Africa - What Kinds of Slavery Existed in Africa?
Colors of Ancient Egypt
Color in Ancient Egypt. African History.
8 Inspirational Quotes by Nelson Mandela
A selection of quotes by Nelson Mandela
Quotes: Stephen (Steve) Bantu Biko
A selection of quotes by Steve Biko
What was Ujamaa?
What was Ujamaa and how did Nyerere's social and economic policy affect Tanzania in the 1960s and 70s?
The Role of Islam 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?
A Brief History of Kenya
A brief introduction to the history of Kenya from the time of early humans to the present day.
Origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade
Portuguese exploration and trade: 1450-1500.
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.
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
Kingdom of Kush
What was the Kingdom of Kush? African History.
Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes. Page 12.
Timeline of the Algerian War of Independence
A chronology of key events in Algeria's War of Independence -- From French Colonization to the End of the 'Battle of Algiers'.
What Was the Mfecane?
A explanation of the term Mfecane and why the subject is controversial.
Dusé Mohamed Ali
Dusé Mohamed Ali was an influential Pan-Africanist, a supporter of Islam, and traveled widely throughout the African Diaspora. He founded the 'African Times and Orient Review' in 1911, which spread the call for African nationalism, and later founded 'The Comet' in Lagos, Nigeria.
Adinkra Symbology and its Origins
The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols.: adinkra symbols traditional cloths africanhistory akan symbols abstract shapes
Black Consciousness Movement (BCM)
What was the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM)?
Ubuntu
What does Ubuntu mean? Find the answer to what Ubuntu means in this African History Glossary
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
Explorers of Africa
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.
Quotes: Rwandan Genocide
A Selection of Quotes About The Rwandan Genocide.
How Many Slaves Were Taken from Africa?
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.
Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of Tanzania.
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
The Rwandan Genocide -- Part 1
Why was there such strong antagonism between the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda? What Role did European colonization play? Was the 1994 genocide the first outbreak of violence? Find out more about the origins of the Rwandan Genocide.
Julius Kambarage Nyerere Quotes
A Selection of Quotes by Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Very Short History of Morocco
A potted history of Morocco. African History.
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
Apartheid 101
From the Afrikaans' word for 'separation,' Apartheid was a social philosophy which enforced racial and economic segregation on the people of South Africa.
Timeline: The Suez Crisis
Timeline for the Suez Canal Crisis: suez canal zone hassan el banna son farouk caliph of islam king farouk
Jomo Kenyatta Quotes
Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya, lived a fascinating life. Read a selection of his most famous quotes.
Egypt
A brief history of the colonization and independence of Egypt. Page 2.
A Brief History of Cameroon
A brief introduction to the history of Cameroon from the time of early humans to the present day.
A Brief History of Zambia
A brief introduction to the history of Zambia from the time of early humans to the present day.
Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC)
What was the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC)?
Indigenous African Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African Slavery
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.
Sonni Ali
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.
Algeria Timeline -- Timeline of Algeria from...
A chronology of key events in Algeria's history
New Names in South Africa
Since the end of apartheid, a number of town and geographical names in South Africa have changed. Here's a list of them.
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.
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.
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…
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.
Harold Macmillan's "Wind of Change" Speech
Made to the South Africa Parliament on 3 February 1960: It is, as I have said, a special privilege for
A Slaver's Canoe
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slaver's Canoe. Page 2.
Testing an African Slave For Sickness
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Testing an African Slave For Sickness. Page 10.
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.
Short Biography: Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu
Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu Influential anti-Apartheid activist and co-founder of the African National Congress
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.
Cape Town's Infamous Robben Island
A short history of island that housed the most notorious prison of the South African apartheid regime.
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins of Slaves
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins of Slaves Details of where slaves were taken from Africa and how
Inspection of an African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Inspection of an African Slave. Page 9.
Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes. Page 11.
African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery. Page 3.
School Enrollment in Apartheid South Africa
Data on School Enrollment for Blacks and Whites in South Africa in 1982.
A Very Short History of Tanzania
A potted history of Tanzania. 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.
Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire. Page 13.
A Brief History of Mali
A brief introduction to the history of Mali from the time of early humans to the present day.
A Slave Barracoon
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slave Barracoon. Page 6.
Gukurahundi
What was the Gukurahundi? African History.
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.
Female East African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Female East African Slave. Page 7.
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.
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.
Indigenous African Slavers Traveling From the...
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African slavers Traveling From the Interior. Page 4.
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...
Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast. Page 5.
Early Christianity in North Africa Part 1
Historical Background, Factors Which Influenced the Spread Of Christianity, Christianity Reaches North Africa
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…
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.
Tanzania Timeline -- Timeline of the History of...
A chronology of key events in Tanzania's history: vasco da gama john hanning speke lake tanganika lettow vorbeck german protectorate
World War II in Africa Timeline: June 1940
When Italy declared war against Britain and France in June 1940 it seemed inevitable that the conflict would come to Africa – Italy wanted an empire, and it was only on the African continent that it would be able to achieve such conquest. But even with Britain's pre-emptive forays into Libya, the war was slow to start…
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
This Day in African History: 16 April
A chronicle of events in African history on 16 April.
Apartheid Era Laws: Prohibition of Mixed...
What was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act No 55 of 1949?
This Day in African History: 17 April
A chronicle of events in African history on 17 April.
A Brief History of Swaziland
A brief introduction to the history of Swaziland from the time of early humans to the present day.
The History of Islam in Africa
The Islamic faith and Muslims have played a crucial role in the development of Africa, not only in North Africa and West Africa where it is still the dominant religion, but also in East Africa, where its dominance decreases as one moves south, and in Southern Africa, where it was introduced through slaves and political exiles and is most prominent today in the cities of Durban and Cape Town.
Africa and the Commonwealth of Nations
18 countries in Africa are currently part of the Commonwealth of Nations (with Zimbabwe having departed in 2003).
Dusé Mohamed Ali Quotes
A collection of quotations by the influential, early twentieth century Pan-Africanist, Dusé Mohamed Ali.
A Brief History of Angola - Part 1
A brief introduction to the history of Angola from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 1 - Kingdoms to Independence
Léopold Sédar Senghor
Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906 - 2001), first president of Senegal, internationally acclaimed poet, writer and statesman.
A Brief History of Mozambique - Part 1
A brief introduction to the history of Mozambique from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 1 - Indigenous Peoples to Independence
A Brief History of Sudan - Part 1
A brief introduction to the history of Sudan from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 1 - Kingdoms to Independence
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...
Color Technology in Ancient Egypt
Today we consider chemistry to be a science, but its roots, back in Ancient Egypt, lie in art and the creation of synthetic pigments.
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.
West African Independence
A chronology of colonization and independence.: french west africa french protectorate grand popo africa independence portuguese guinea
A Brief History of Eritrea - Part 1
A brief introduction to the history of Eritrea from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 1 - Warlords to Independence
Nigeria Timeline -- From Colonization to the...
A chronology of key events in Nigeria's history: british protectorate british colonial rule frederick lugard kingdom of benin southern nigeria
Text of the Freedom Charter
Freedom Charter. African History.
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.
Where in Africa is Guinea?
A map showing the location of the Republic of Guinea in Africa. Page 2.
Timbuktu: The El Dorado of Africa
Timbuktu is widely used to describe a place extremely far away and regarded by many as a myth. In reality it's a city in Mali, West Africa, of such great historical importance that in 1988 it was designated a World Heritage Site.
Where in Africa is Zambia?
A map showing the location of the Republic of Zambia in Africa. Page 5.
A Very Short History of Côte d'Ivoire
A potted history of Côte d'Ivoire
A Brief History of Botswana
A brief introduction to the history of Botswana from the time of early humans to the present day.
Anwar el-Sadat
Renowned Egyptian statesman and soldier, served as president of Egypt from 1970 to his assassination in 1981. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in the negotiations for the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Accord of 1978. Find out more about his life.
The Suez Crisis – Key Event in the...
Part 1 – Partial Decolonization Leads to Resentment
Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu
Biography of Albertina Sisulu. Prominent leader in the African National Congress and 'Mother of the Nation'. Part 1 1918-1958.
Leaders of Tanzania Since Independence
A list of Tanzanian leaders since gaining independence on 9 December 1961.
A Brief History of Mauritius
A brief introduction to the history of Mauritius from the time of early colonization to the present day.
A Brief History of the African Commonwealth of...
A list of when various African countries joined the Commonwealth of Nations.
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
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.
Salva Kiir Mayardit
First president of the Republic of South Sudan, veteran of the Fist and Second Sudanese Civil Wars, and member of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
Apartheid Signs Image Gallery
A gallery of images of Apartheid Era Signs from the mid 1950s to late 1970s.
Free Adinkra Stencil Collection
A collection of free stencils with an African theme. For personal, non-commercial use only.
Kenyan Leaders Since Independence
A list of the leaders of Kenya since gaining independence on 12 December 1963.
"Wind of Change" speech
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >What was the "Wind
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.
This Day in African History: 15 April
A chronicle of events in African history on 15 April.
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.
Great Rift Valley
Where is Africa's Great Rift Valley?
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
Zulu War Vocabulary
A list of common Zulu terms relevant to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
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.
A Brief History of Benin
A brief introduction to the history of Benin from the time of early humans to the present day.
A Brief History of Tunisia
A brief introduction to the history of Tunisia from the time of early humans to the present day.
Hastings Kamuzu Banda Quotes
A selection of quotes by Hastings Kamuzu Banda, first president of Malawi.
Timeline of Apartheid History: 1912 to 1959
A Timeline of Key Apartheid Events from 1912 to 1959.
This Day in African History: 18 April
A chronicle of events in African history on 18 April.
Biography: Mary Henrietta Kingsley
A biography in three parts of Mary Henrietta Kingsley, a Victorian explorer and writer who greatly influenced European ideas about Africa and its people. Part 1: Early Life in England

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