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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.
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
A biography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
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
11 Memorable Quotes by Stephen Bantu Biko
A selection of quotes by Steve Biko
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.
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…
What Led Up to the Colonial Scramble for Africa?
Why was Africa so rapidly colonized?
When Did Apartheid Start in South Africa?
Unsure when Apartheid started in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Why These South African National Holidays Are...
The significance of South Africa's national holidays.
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.
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 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
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.
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 Era Laws: Prohibition of Mixed...
What was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act No 55 of 1949?
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...
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...
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.
Chronological List of African Independence
A Chronological List of Independence Dates for Africa.   Country Independence Date Prior ruling country
Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
A Gallery of Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
What Caused the Sharpeville Massacre in South...
The Origin of South Africa's Human Rights Day
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.
What Was the Mfecane?
A explanation of the term Mfecane and why the subject is controversial.
4 Types of Slavery in Africa
Types of Slavery in Africa - What Kinds of Slavery Existed in 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.
Women's Anti-Pass Law Campaigns in South Africa
What happened when the South African government tried to force women to carry passes.
What Are Political Institutions?
What are Political Institutions?
Short Biography: Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu
Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu Influential anti-Apartheid activist and co-founder of the African National Congress
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 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 is Pan-Africanism?
How has Pan-Africanism developed over the last couple of centuries into a socio-political movement?
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.
Pass Laws
What were the Pass Laws in Apartheid era South Africa?
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.
Kingdom of Kush
What was the Kingdom of Kush? African History.
What Is the Purpose of the Economic Community...
What is the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS?
Colors of Ancient Egypt
Color in Ancient Egypt. African History.
Apartheid Legislation in South Africa
Descriptions of the main apartheid legislation enacted in South Africa.
Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire. Page 13.
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.
Apartheid Era Laws: Suppression of Communism...
What was the Suppression of Communism Act No 44 of 1950
Apartheid Era Laws: Immorality Amendment Act No...
What was the Immorality Amendment Act No 21 of 1950
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.
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.
Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes. Page 12.
Adinkra Symbology and its Origins
The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols.: adinkra symbols traditional cloths africanhistory akan symbols abstract shapes
Quotes: Idi Amin Dada
A selection of quotes by Idi Amin Dada, president of Uganda from 25 January 1971 to 13 April 1979.
Apartheid Signs Image Gallery
A gallery of images of Apartheid Era Signs from the mid 1950s to late 1970s.
Apartheid FAQ: How Did The Apartheid Government...
Unsure how the Apartheid regime came into power? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Apartheid FAQ: Who Supported Apartheid?
Unsure who supported Apartheid in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Memorable Quotes by Nelson Mandela
A selection of quotes by Nelson Mandela
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.
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
Ubuntu
What does Ubuntu mean? Find the answer to what Ubuntu means in this African History Glossary
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…
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.
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…
Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes. Page 11.
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.
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 2 of his biography, from his political awakening to the Mau Mau Rebellion.
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
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.
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.
What was Ujamaa?
What was Ujamaa and how did Nyerere's social and economic policy affect Tanzania in the 1960s and 70s?
School Enrollment in Apartheid South Africa
Data on School Enrollment for Blacks and Whites in South Africa in 1982.
Moving Quotes from Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Selection of Quotes by Julius Kambarage Nyerere
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins of Slaves
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins of Slaves Details of where slaves were taken from Africa and how
Apartheid FAQ: What Were the Foundations of...
Unsure what the Foundations of Apartheid were? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Testing an African Slave For Sickness
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Testing an African Slave For Sickness. Page 10.
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.
Inspection of an African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Inspection of an African Slave. Page 9.
A Brief History of Mali
A brief introduction to the history of Mali from the time of early humans to the present day.
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…
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 Coast Castle, Gold Coast
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast. Page 5.
Female East African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Female East African Slave. Page 7.
Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade. Page 8.
Apartheid Beach 1979
Sign on a Cape Town beach in 1979 reserves it for white people only: "WHITE PERSONS ONLY This beach and
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
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.
A Slave Barracoon
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slave Barracoon. Page 6.
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.
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…
White Area 1976
An apartheid notice on a beach in 1976 near Cape Town, denoting the area for whites only. Page 4.
Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu
Biography of Albertina Sisulu. Prominent leader in the African National Congress and 'Mother of the Nation'. Part 1 1918-1958.
Afrikaner Broederbond
What was the Afrikaner Broederbond?
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.
Black Consciousness Movement (BCM)
What was the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM)?
Road Sign 1956
A fairly common road sign around Johannesburg in 1956: "Caution Beware Of Natives"
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.
Indigenous African Slavers Traveling From the...
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African slavers Traveling From the Interior. Page 4.
Timeline of Apartheid History: 1912 to 1959
A Timeline of Key Apartheid Events from 1912 to 1959.
African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery. Page 3.
Indigenous African Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African Slavery
Cape Town's Infamous Robben Island
A short history of island that housed the most notorious prison of the South African apartheid regime.
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 Slaver's Canoe
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slaver's Canoe. Page 2.
Gukurahundi
What was the Gukurahundi? African History.
Apartheid FAQ: How Did Apartheid Evolve During...
Unsure how? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
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'.
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.
Inspiring Quotes from Jomo Kenyatta
Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya, lived a fascinating life. Read a selection of his most famous quotes.
Apartheid FAQ: What was Grand Apartheid?
Unsure what Grand Apartheid was? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
A Brief History of Zambia
A brief introduction to the history of Zambia from the time of early humans to the present day.
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
Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of Tanzania.
Reparations for Slavery?
There is a call for reparations to be made by the West for the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Are all the issues being considered?
Slave Origins for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Slavery Regions for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Page 5.
São Tomé and the Slave Trade
São Tomé is considered to be a principal port in the export of slaves across the Atlantic, this is, however, only part of the story.
Egypt
A brief history of the colonization and independence of Egypt. Page 2.
A Very Short History of Morocco
A potted history of Morocco. African History.
A Brief History of Cameroon
A brief introduction to the history of Cameroon from the time of early humans to the present day.
Humankind's African Origins
The number of recognised hominid species which form part of our greater family tree is growing. Find out where and when each of these many species was discovered.
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…
Segregated Toilets 1979
May 1979: Public conveniences in Cape Town in 1979 allocated to white people only: "Whites Only, Net
A Brief History of Botswana
A brief introduction to the history of Botswana 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.
Where in Africa is Zambia?
A map showing the location of the Republic of Zambia in Africa. Page 5.
Text of the Freedom Charter
Freedom Charter. African History.
A Brief History of São Tomé and...
A brief introduction to the history of São Tomé and Príncipe from the time of early settlement to the present day.
Telegraph Office 1955
Signs in English and Afrikaans, in Wellington railway station, South Africa, enforcing the policy of
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.
South African Apartheid Era Identity Numbers --...
South African Apartheid Era Identity Numbers How the Apartheid Era Identity Number Recorded Racial Categories
This Day in African History – Tunisia Gains...
The republic of Tunisia achieved independence from France on 20 March 1956. Its history, however, is one of occupation - by the Phoenicians, the Romans,
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.
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.
A Brief History of Mauritius
A brief introduction to the history of Mauritius from the time of early colonization to the present day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Algeria Timeline -- Timeline of Algeria from...
A chronology of key events in Algeria's history
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.
Biography: Antonio Agostinho Neto
A biography of Antonio Agostinho Neto - doctor, poet and first president of Angola.
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.
Nigeria Timeline -- From President Obasanjo to...
A chronology of key events in Nigeria's history: organization of african unity violence flares president obasanjo constitutive act tribal militias
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
A Brief History of Swaziland
A brief introduction to the history of Swaziland from the time of early humans to the present day.
South African Students' Organisation
From 1969 to 1977, when it was banned, the South African Students' Organisation worked tirelessly for the rights of non-white students in South Africa, and in support of Black Consciousness philosophy helped to create the Black People's Convention. Find out more about SASO…
Trance Dance
What is a Trance Dance? 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...
A Brief History of Benin
A brief introduction to the history of Benin from the time of early humans to the present day.
Great Rift Valley
Where is Africa's Great Rift Valley?
Brazzaville Conference 1944
What was the Brazzaville Conference of 1944
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.

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