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African History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Apartheid FAQ -- Common Questions About South...
What was Apartheid? Find the answer in this FAQ.
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 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 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.
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: 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...
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
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...
What Led Up to the Colonial Scramble for Africa?
Why was Africa so rapidly colonized?
Why These South African National Holidays Are...
The significance of South Africa's national holidays.
Pass Laws
What were the Pass Laws in Apartheid era South Africa?
Apartheid Era Laws: Prohibition of Mixed...
What was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act No 55 of 1949?
What Are Political Institutions?
What are Political Institutions?
What Caused the Sharpeville Massacre in South...
The Origin of South Africa's Human Rights Day
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.
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
A biography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
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.
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.
Short Biography: Walter Max Ulyate Sisulu
A short biography of Walter Sisulu, anti-Apartheid activist and co-founder of the African National Congress Youth League and Umkhonto weSizwe.
When and How Did Apartheid Come to an End in...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Question: Apartheid
Moving Quotes from Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Selection of Quotes by Julius Kambarage Nyerere
4 Types of Slavery in Africa
Types of Slavery in Africa - What Kinds of Slavery Existed in Africa?
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?
Chronological List of African Independence
From the early departure of the Germans under the Treaty of Versailles to the first-in-last-out stance
Women's Anti-Pass Law Campaigns in South Africa
What happened when the South African government tried to force women to carry passes.
What Is ECOWAS, and what countries are members?
ECOWAS was created in 1975 to promote economic integration and has evolved into a regional group with legislative, economic, and military functions.
What Was the Mfecane?
A explanation of the term Mfecane and why the subject is controversial.
Why was Africa called the Dark Continent?
Europeans did not call Africa the Dark Continent simply because they didn't know much about it. Slavery, missionaries, racism, and savagery were all part of this myth.
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.
11 Memorable Quotes by Stephen Bantu Biko
A selection of quotes by Steve Biko
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 is Pan-Africanism?
How has Pan-Africanism developed over the last couple of centuries into a socio-political movement?
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…
Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
A Gallery of Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
Apartheid FAQ: Who Supported Apartheid?
Unsure who supported Apartheid in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade
Portuguese exploration and trade: 1450-1500.
School Enrollment in Apartheid South Africa
Data on School Enrollment for Blacks and Whites in South Africa in 1982.
What was Ujamaa?
What was Ujamaa and how did Nyerere's social and economic policy affect Tanzania in the 1960s and 70s?
Nongqawuse (1841-98)
Xhosa (Gcaleka) Prophetess who's visions resulted in the Xhosa Cattle-Killings of 1856-57.
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: What Were the Foundations of...
Unsure what the Foundations of Apartheid were? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Caused the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya?
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.
Apartheid Legislation in South Africa
Descriptions of the main apartheid legislation enacted in South Africa.
Soweto Student Uprising, pt 2: Students...
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.
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.
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.
Sharpeville Massacre
The events of the day. African History.
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.
Adinkra Symbology and its Origins
The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols.
Southern African Independence
A chronology of colonization and independence.
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…
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.
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
Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu
Biography of Albertina Sisulu. Prominent leader in the African National Congress and 'Mother of the Nation'. Part 1 1918-1958.
Soweto
What is Soweto? African History.
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…
Colors of Ancient Egypt
Color in Ancient Egypt. African History.
Inspiring Quotes from Jomo Kenyatta
Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya, lived a fascinating life. Read a selection of his most famous quotes.
Grand Apartheid
Under Apartheid, the South African government built on earlier discriminatory laws to segregate whole populations and deny black South Africans political rights.
White Area 1976
An apartheid notice on a beach in 1976 near Cape Town, denoting the area for whites only. Page 4.
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?
Alphabetical List of All African Countries with...
Alphabetical list of all African countries as of 2015, with state capitals and the names of each state as known within their respective countries.
Soweto Uprising 1976 Image Gallery
A gallery of images of the 16 June 1975 Soweto Uprising.
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
Text of the Freedom Charter
Freedom Charter. African History.
Afrikaner Broederbond
What was the Afrikaner Broederbond?
What was the Kingdom of Kush?
The Kingdom of Kush was a powerful ancient African state that lasted for 2400 years and once ruled over Egypt, .
Apartheid Beach 1979
Sign on a Cape Town beach in 1979 reserves it for white people only: "WHITE PERSONS ONLY This beach and
Road Sign 1956
A fairly common road sign around Johannesburg in 1956: "Caution Beware Of Natives"
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.
Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire. Page 13.
Apartheid Era Laws: Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967
The Terrorism Act allowed unlimited detention of anti-apartheid activists without appeal. Find out more...
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.
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...
Absolute Monarchy
What is an Absolute Monarchy? African History.
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 Era Laws: Suppression of Communism...
What was the Suppression of Communism Act No 44 of 1950
Irredentism
What is Irredentism? 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.
Memorable Quotes by Nelson Mandela
A selection of quotes by Nelson Mandela
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…
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.
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
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.
Former President of Uganda Idi Amin Dada Quotes
A selection of quotes by Idi Amin Dada, president of Uganda from 25 January 1971 to 13 April 1979.
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.
Testing an African Slave For Sickness
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Testing an African Slave For Sickness. Page 10.
Apartheid Era Laws: Identification Act No 72 of...
Identification Act No 72 of 1986 removed the requirement for Identity Numbers to reflect race. Find out more...
How the state assigned race under Apartheid
Under Apartheid, your race determined everything, but legally, race was a matter of opinion. Here is how the state assigned everyone to a race.
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.
What was the Black Consciousness Movement?
The Black Consciousness Movement started as a student movement and quickly became the voice and spirit of anti-Apartheid resistance in 1970s South Africa.
Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of Tanzania.
Segregated Toilets 1979
May 1979: Public conveniences in Cape Town in 1979 allocated to white people only: "Whites Only, Net
Telegraph Office 1955
Signs in English and Afrikaans, in Wellington railway station, South Africa, enforcing the policy of
Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes. Page 11.
African Commonwealth Nations A to Z
A list of when various African countries joined the Commonwealth of Nations.
Quotes About Helen Suzman
A Selection of Quotes About Anti-Apartheid Activist Helen Suzman
Apartheid FAQ: How Did Apartheid Evolve During...
Unsure how? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Inspection of an African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Inspection of an African Slave. Page 9.
Quotes: Desmond Tutu
A selection of quotes by Desmond Tutu
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.
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.
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
A Brief History of Zambia
A brief introduction to the history of Zambia from the time of early humans to the present day.
Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade. Page 8.
What is Ubuntu and What Does it Mean?
Ubuntu is the southern African word describing a person's connectedness to others that became the centerpiece of the humanist philosophy promoted by Mandela.
South African Apartheid Era Identity Numbers --...
An explanation of how the Apartheid Era Identity Number recorded racial categories in South Africa.
How did the 1913 Natives Land Act contribute to...
The Natives (or Black) Land Act stripped black South Africans of their ability to own, or even rent, land outside of limited reserves and changed the map of South Africa.
Female East African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Female East African Slave. Page 7.
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.
"Wind of Change" speech
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >What was the "Wind
Where in Africa is Zambia?
A map showing the location of the Republic of Zambia in Africa. Page 5.
African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery. Page 3.
A Slave Barracoon
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slave Barracoon. Page 6.
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.
Tungiasis / Chigoe / Jigger
What is Tungiasis / Chigoe / Jigger?
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.
The Quest for the Nile
The Quest for the source of the Nile was the focal point of European exploration in Africa in the 19th century. It made or broke men's reputations and remains in dispute to this day.
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.
A Brief History of Swaziland
A brief introduction to the history of Swaziland from the time of early humans to the present day.
Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast. Page 5.
Banning
What was the Banning? African History.
Timeline of Apartheid History: 1912 to 1959
A Timeline of Key Apartheid Events from 1912 to 1959.
Book Review: Transformations in Slavery by Paul...
An introduction to the history of slavery in Africa which examines how indigenous practices of slavery developed under the influence of international trade. Read this review of Paul E. Lovejoy's Transformations in Slavery.
Cape Town's Infamous Robben Island
A short history of island that housed the most notorious prison of the South African apartheid regime.
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.
Eritrea Today: why are refugees fleeing
Great things were expected of Eritrea, but today a flood of refugees is fleeing its borders. What is the news out of Eritrea and how did it get to this point?
Slave Laws in South Africa
It is a popular misconception that slavery in South Africa was mild compared to America and the European colonies in the Far East. This is not so, and punishments meted out could be very harsh.
Demonstrators at Soweto Uprising - June 1976
Demonstrators in the streets during the Soweto uprising, South Africa, June 1976. By the end of the third day of rioting, the Minister of Bantu Education closed all schools in Soweto. Page 3.
A Slaver's Canoe
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slaver's Canoe. Page 2.
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.
Indigenous African Slavers Traveling From the...
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African slavers Traveling From the Interior. Page 4.
Indigenous African Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African Slavery
A Brief History of Mauritius
A brief introduction to the history of Mauritius from the time of early colonization to the present day.
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: Origins of Slaves
A map showing where slaves were sourced in Africa for the trans-Atlantic slave trade and a table giving the numbers of slaves from each region.
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.
This Day in African History: January calendar
Monthly calendar for Events from Africa's past.
Soweto Uprising Roadblock - June 1976
Rioters in Soweto use cars as roadblocks during unrest. Page 4.
This Day in African History: August calendar
Monthly calendar for Events from Africa's past.

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