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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 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.
What Are Political Institutions?
What are Political Institutions?
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.
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 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.
Chronological List of African Independence
From the early departure of the Germans under the Treaty of Versailles to the first-in-last-out stance
The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act
The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act (1949) forbid white people from marrying non-white people in South Africa, but did not prevent other inter-racial marriages.
Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
A Gallery of Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
Southern African Independence
A chronology of colonization and independence.
What is Pan-Africanism?
How has Pan-Africanism developed over the last couple of centuries into a socio-political movement?
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?
When and How Did Apartheid Come to an End in...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Question: Apartheid
Interracial Marriage Under Apartheid
Officially, there were no interracial marriages under Apartheid, but pre-existing interracial marriages existed and others embraced illegal relationships
What was Ujamaa?
What was Ujamaa and how did Nyerere's social and economic policy affect Tanzania in the 1960s and 70s?
4 Types of Slavery in Africa
Types of Slavery in Africa - What Kinds of Slavery Existed in Africa?
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.
Origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade
Portuguese exploration and trade: 1450-1500.
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
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.
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.
Grand Apartheid
Under Apartheid, the South African government built on earlier discriminatory laws to segregate whole populations and deny black South Africans political rights.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Moving Quotes from Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Selection of Quotes by Julius Kambarage Nyerere
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.
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.
When Did Apartheid Start in South Africa?
Unsure when Apartheid started in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
The Colonial Names of African States
What was that colony? Modern Africa states listed according to their former colonial names with an explanation of significant border shifts.
A Brief History of Zambia
A brief introduction to the history of Zambia from the time of early humans to the present day.
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, .
What Was the Mfecane?
A explanation of the term Mfecane and why the subject is controversial.
Colors of Ancient Egypt
Color in Ancient Egypt. 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.
Ethiopia Timeline -- Timeline of Ethiopia from...
A chronology of key events in Ethiopia's history
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.
Adinkra Symbology and its Origins
The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols.
Testing an African Slave For Sickness
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Testing an African Slave For Sickness. Page 10.
Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes. Page 12.
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
A biography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
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.
Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Slave Decks on the Slave Bark Wildfire. Page 13.
Why These South African National Holidays Are...
The significance of South Africa's national holidays.
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.
Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes. Page 11.
What Caused the Sharpeville Massacre in South...
The Origin of South Africa's Human Rights Day
Indigenous African Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African Slavery
This Day in African History: January calendar
Monthly calendar for Events from Africa's past.
"Wind of Change" speech
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Biography: Sir Seretse Khama
A biography of Sir Seretse Khama, African nationalist leader and first president of Botswana.
Inspection of an African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Inspection of an African Slave. Page 9.
A Slaver's Canoe
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slaver's Canoe. 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 2 of his biography, from his political awakening to the Mau Mau Rebellion.
Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade. Page 8.
11 Memorable Quotes by Stephen Bantu Biko
A selection of quotes by Steve Biko
A Slave Barracoon
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slave Barracoon. Page 6.
Early Christianity in North Africa Part 1
Historical Background, Factors Which Influenced the Spread Of Christianity, Christianity Reaches North Africa
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
Egypt
A brief history of the colonization and independence of Egypt. Page 2.
Female East African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Female East African Slave. Page 7.
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
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.
Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast. Page 5.
The 1979 Kagera War and the Ousting of Idi Amin
The Kagera War began when Uganda invaded the Kagera region of Tanzania, igniting the long-simmering animosity between the two countries, and their leaders.
African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery. Page 3.
A Brief History of Mauritius
A brief introduction to the history of Mauritius from the time of early colonization to the present day.
Apartheid FAQ -- Common Questions About South...
What was Apartheid? Find the answer in this FAQ.
A Brief History of Cameroon
A brief introduction to the history of Cameroon from the time of early humans to the present day.
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: Immorality Amendment Act No...
What was the Immorality Amendment Act No 21 of 1950
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.
Population Registration Act No 30 of 1950
The Population Registration Act required South Africans to be identified and registered as belonging to one of four distinct racial groups. Find out more...
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.
This Day in African History: February calendar
Monthly calendar for Events from Africa's past.
Who Was the First Pharaoh of Egypt?
Ancient Egyptian historians taught that, Menes was the first pharaoh, the founder of the unified Egyptian state: But who was Menes?
Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of Tanzania.
African Slave Traders
African slave traders were important participants in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Why were these traders willing to sell slaves into the horrors of Atlantic slavery?
A Brief History of Niger - Part 1
A brief introduction to the history of Niger from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 1 – Early Humans to Military Rule
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 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
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.
African Commonwealth Nations A to Z
A list of when various African countries joined the Commonwealth of Nations.
A Brief History of Mali
A brief introduction to the history of Mali from the time of early humans to the present day.
What is Kente?
Kente cloth is the most widely known type of African cloth. It is associated with the Akan people of West Africa and each color has a particular meaning.
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.
Inspiring Quotes from Jomo Kenyatta
Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya, lived a fascinating life. Read a selection of his most famous quotes.
Jews in Twentieth-Century South Africa
South Africa's Jewish population is known for anti-Apartheid activism, but many SA Jews had a more ambivalent relationship with Apartheid and white society.
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.
Memorable Quotes by Nelson Mandela
A selection of quotes by Nelson Mandela
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 Botswana
A brief introduction to the history of Botswana from the time of early humans to the present day.
Afrikaner Broederbond
What was the Afrikaner Broederbond?
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.
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.
A Brief History of Liberia - Part 2
A brief introduction to the history of Liberia from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 2 – Civil War to Present Day
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.
Timeline: The Suez Crisis
Timeline for the Suez Canal Crisis
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…
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.
The Effects of Abolition in Africa
The abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade ended a horrific trade in human beings, but it also had many unintended consequences in Africa.
What was the Mau Mau Uprising?
The Mau Mau revolt (1952-1960) is one of the most hotly contested issues in the history of British colonialism in Kenya.
Gukurahundi
What was the Gukurahundi? African History.
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.
Léopold Sédar Senghor: a brief...
Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906 - 2001), first president of Senegal, internationally acclaimed poet, writer and statesman.
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
Women's Anti-Pass Law Campaigns in South Africa
What happened when the South African government tried to force women to carry passes.
Africa and the Commonwealth of Nations
18 countries in Africa are currently part of the Commonwealth of Nations (with Zimbabwe having departed in 2003).
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.
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.
Donald Woods -- Death of an Activist
Brief biography of South African newspaper editor and anti-apartheid activist Donald Woods.
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
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.
A Brief History of Zimbabwe - Part 1
A brief introduction to the history of Zimbabwe from the time of early humans to the present day. Part 1 - Early Kingdoms to UDI
Explaining the Rapid Decolonization of Africa
The decolonization of Africa was almost as fast as the more famous Scramble to colonize the continent had been, and there were five main causes.
South African Apartheid Era Identity Numbers --...
An explanation of how the Apartheid Era Identity Number recorded racial categories in South Africa.
Nok Culture: Sub-Saharan Africa's earliest...
There are many unknowns about the ancient, West African culture of Nok, but what we know from its superb terracotta sculptures and iron working is enticing.
More Quotes: Nelson Mandela
A selection of quotes by Nelson Mandela
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.
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'.
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?
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?
Mandates in Africa
Mandates were granted by the League of Nations for former German colonies in Africa. Find out more about who received these mandates and what they were required to do.
5 Things You Didn't Know About Africa
One fact that many people get wrong about Africa and four they will find surprising.
A Brief History of Morocco
2000 years of Moroccan history, from the Phoenician invasion to present day conflicts over the status of the Western Sahara.
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.
Nigeria Timeline -- From Colonization to the...
A chronology of key events in Nigeria's history
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.
Slave Origins for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
Slavery Regions for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Page 5.
A Brief History of Swaziland
A brief introduction to the history of Swaziland from the time of early humans to the present day.
A Brief History of Benin
A brief introduction to the history of Benin from the time of early humans to the present day.
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.
Algeria Timeline -- Timeline of Algeria from...
A chronology of key events in Algeria's history
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.
The Extension of University Education Act in...
The Expansion of University Education Act segregated Apartheid universities by race and ethnicity, ensuring non-white students received limited educations.
The Jameson Raid, December 1895
The Jameson Raid was an ineffective attempt to overthrow President Paul Kruger of the Transvaal Republic in December 1895.
Timeline of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
A timeline of the trans-Atlantic slave trade from its origins to the final emancipation of slaves in the New World with explanations of key events in the trade.
Ahmed Sékou Touré
Sékou Touré was one of the foremost figures in the struggle for West African independence, the first President of Guinea, and a leading Pan-African. He was initially considered a moderate Islamic African leader, but became one of Africa's most oppressive Big Men.
The Great Rift Valley / Eastern Rift Valley of...
Where is Africa's Great Rift Valley?
Nigeria Timeline -- From Prehistory to...
A chronology of key events in Nigeria's history
Where in Africa is Zambia?
A map showing the location of the Republic of Zambia in Africa. Page 5.
This Day in African History: 3 February
A chronicle of events in African history on 3 February.
East African Independence
A chronology of colonization and independence.
The Successes and Failures of the OAU
The pan-Africanist Organization of African Unity was mocked as the Dictator's Club, but its policies set the course of African politics for 39 years
A Brief History of Tunisia
A brief introduction to the history of Tunisia from the time of early humans to the present day.
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.
The Science and Madness of African Exploration
Explorers like Livingstone and Stanley became household names in the 19th century, but the exploration of Africa was centuries in the making.

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