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African History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
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.
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.
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 Is Desertification?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Desertification
Apartheid FAQ -- Common Questions About South...
What was Apartheid? Find the answer in this FAQ.
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 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.
Chronological List of African Independence
From the early departure of the Germans under the Treaty of Versailles to the first-in-last-out stance
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
A biography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
When Did Apartheid Start in South Africa?
Unsure when Apartheid started in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
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 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.
Apartheid Era Laws: Population Registration Act...
The Population Registration Act required South Africans to be identified and registered as belonging to one of four distinct racial groups. Find out more...
Apartheid Era Laws: Prohibition of Mixed...
What was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act No 55 of 1949?
Why These South African National Holidays Are...
The significance of South Africa's national holidays.
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
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 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?
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 Are Political Institutions?
What are Political Institutions?
What is Pan-Africanism?
How has Pan-Africanism developed over the last couple of centuries into a socio-political movement?
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.
What Was the Mfecane?
A explanation of the term Mfecane and why the subject is controversial.
When and How Did Apartheid Come to an End in...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Question: Apartheid
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.
Moving Quotes from Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Selection of Quotes by Julius Kambarage Nyerere
Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
A Gallery of Images of African Slavery and the Slave Trade
Pass Laws
What were the Pass Laws in Apartheid era South Africa?
What Caused the Sharpeville Massacre in South...
The Origin of South Africa's Human Rights Day
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.
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.
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.
Adinkra Symbology and its Origins
The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols.
11 Memorable Quotes by Stephen Bantu Biko
A selection of quotes by Steve Biko
Women's Anti-Pass Law Campaigns in South Africa
What happened when the South African government tried to force women to carry passes.
Colors of Ancient Egypt
Color in Ancient Egypt. African 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.
Southern African Independence
A chronology of colonization and independence.
4 Types of Slavery in Africa
Types of Slavery in Africa - What Kinds of Slavery Existed in Africa?
Origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade
Portuguese exploration and trade: 1450-1500.
Apartheid FAQ: How Did The Apartheid Government...
Unsure how the Apartheid regime came into power? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
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
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.
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.
Inspiring Quotes from Jomo Kenyatta
Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya, lived a fascinating life. Read a selection of his most famous quotes.
What was Ujamaa?
What was Ujamaa and how did Nyerere's social and economic policy affect Tanzania in the 1960s and 70s?
Ubuntu
What does Ubuntu mean? Find the answer to what Ubuntu means in this African History Glossary
Robben Island Prison Museum: Reunion Cairn
Gallery of images of Robben Island, World Heritage Site and Apartheid era prison: Reunion Cairn. Page 33.
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.
Apartheid FAQ: Who Supported Apartheid?
Unsure who supported Apartheid in South Africa? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
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.
School Enrollment in Apartheid South Africa
Data on School Enrollment for Blacks and Whites in South Africa in 1982.
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.
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.
Testing an African Slave For Sickness
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Testing an African Slave For Sickness. Page 10.
Apartheid FAQ: What Were the Foundations of...
Unsure what the Foundations of Apartheid were? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
Apartheid Signs Image Gallery
A gallery of images of Apartheid Era Signs from the mid 1950s to late 1970s.
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
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: Immorality Amendment Act No...
What was the Immorality Amendment Act No 21 of 1950
Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Diagram of the Slave Ship Brookes. Page 11.
Gukurahundi
What was the Gukurahundi? African History.
Issayas Afeworki, Eritrea
Image of President Issayas Afeworki of Eritrea, © IRIN. Page 2.
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…
Apartheid Era Laws: Suppression of Communism...
What was the Suppression of Communism Act No 44 of 1950
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.
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.
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.
Nongqawuse (1841-98)
Xhosa (Gcaleka) Prophetess who's visions resulted in the Xhosa Cattle-Killings of 1856-57.
Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Plans of Slave Decks, Slave Ship Brookes. Page 12.
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.
Inspection of an African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Inspection of an African Slave. Page 9.
A Slave Barracoon
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slave Barracoon. Page 6.
Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Young African Boys Captured for Slave Trade. Page 8.
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.
African Commonwealth Nations A to Z
A list of when various African countries joined the Commonwealth of Nations.
Julius Kambarage Nyerere
A Biography of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of Tanzania.
Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu
Biography of Albertina Sisulu. Prominent leader in the African National Congress and 'Mother of the Nation'. Part 1 1918-1958.
Female East African Slave
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Female East African Slave. Page 7.
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.
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.
Soweto Uprising 1976 Image Gallery
A gallery of images of the 16 June 1975 Soweto Uprising.
Text of the Freedom Charter
Freedom Charter. African History.
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
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…
Tutankhamun: The Boy Pharaoh
Be amazed at the treasures discovered in the tomb of the most famous Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun. His was the first tomb found still containing treasure.
A Slaver's Canoe
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Slaver's Canoe. Page 2.
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.
Memorable Quotes by Nelson Mandela
A selection of quotes by Nelson Mandela
Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Cape Coast Castle, Gold Coast. Page 5.
Apartheid Legislation in South Africa
Descriptions of the main apartheid legislation enacted in South Africa.
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.
Indigenous African Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African Slavery
Indigenous African Slavers Traveling From the...
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: Indigenous African slavers Traveling From the Interior. Page 4.
South African Apartheid Era Identity Numbers --...
An explanation of how the Apartheid Era Identity Number recorded racial categories in South Africa.
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, .
African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery
Image of African Slavery and the Slave Trade: African Captives Being Sent Into Slavery. Page 3.
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 Zambia
A brief introduction to the history of Zambia from the time of early humans to the present day.
Frederick J. T. Chiluba, Zambia
Image of President Frederick J. T. Chiluba of Zambia, © IRIN. Page 4.
Road Sign 1956
A fairly common road sign around Johannesburg in 1956: "Caution Beware Of Natives"
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.
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.
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.
Apartheid FAQ: What was Grand Apartheid?
Unsure what Grand Apartheid was? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
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.
Early Christianity in North Africa Part 1
Historical Background, Factors Which Influenced the Spread Of Christianity, Christianity Reaches North Africa
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.
Where in Africa is Zambia?
A map showing the location of the Republic of Zambia in Africa. Page 5.
Apartheid Beach 1979
Sign on a Cape Town beach in 1979 reserves it for white people only: "WHITE PERSONS ONLY This beach and
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.
A Brief History of Cameroon
A brief introduction to the history of Cameroon from the time of early humans to the present day.
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?
Apartheid FAQ: How Did Apartheid Evolve During...
Unsure how? Find the answer in this Apartheid FAQ.
White Area 1976
An apartheid notice on a beach in 1976 near Cape Town, denoting the area for whites only. Page 4.
Segregated Toilets 1979
May 1979: Public conveniences in Cape Town in 1979 allocated to white people only: "Whites Only, Net
Quotes: PW Botha
A selection of quotes by PW Botha.
Robben Island Prison Museum: Robert Sobukwe House
Gallery of images of Robben Island, World Heritage Site and Apartheid era prison: Robert Sobukwe House. Page 34.
Boko Haram's Appeal in Nigeria Explained
Boko Haram's violence has led to thousands of deaths and displaced over a million people. What explains their appeal in northern Nigeria?
Soweto Uprising Casualties - June 1976
Injured people waiting for treatment after the riots in Soweto, , South Africa. The rioting started after police opened fire on a march by black students, protesting against the use of Afrikaans in lessons. The official death toll was 23; others put it as high as 200. Many hundreds of people were injured. Page 5.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Afrikaner Broederbond
What was the Afrikaner Broederbond?
Nigeria Timeline -- From Colonization to the...
A chronology of key events in Nigeria's history
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
Emir
Find out more about the Ottoman title Emir
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.
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'.
Photo Gallery of African Leaders
Browse through this photo gallery of African Leaders.
Free Adinkra Stencil Collection
A collection of free stencils with an African theme. For personal, non-commercial use only.
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.
Zulu War Vocabulary
A list of common Zulu terms relevant to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
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.
Kenyan Leaders Since Independence
A list of the leaders of Kenya since gaining independence on 12 December 1963.
Telegraph Office 1955
Signs in English and Afrikaans, in Wellington railway station, South Africa, enforcing the policy of
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.
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.
Bayajidda
Who was Bayajidda? African History.
This Day in African History: 28 July
A chronicle of events in African history on 28 July
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberia
Image of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, © Claire Soares/IRIN. Page 5.
Quotes: Desmond Tutu
A selection of quotes by Desmond Tutu
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: 31 July
A chronicle of events in African history on 31 July
This Day in African History: 30 July
A chronicle of events in African history on 30 July

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