Africans: The History of a Continent (African Studies) by John Iliffe

By John Iliffe

This historical past of Africa from the origins of mankind to the South African normal election of 1994 refocuses African heritage at the peopling of an environmentally adverse continent. The social, fiscal and political associations of the African continent have been designed to make sure survival and maximize numbers, yet within the context of scientific growth and different twentieth-century ideas those associations have bred the main swift inhabitants progress the area has ever visible. The historical past of the continent is hence a unmarried tale binding dwelling Africans to the earliest human ancestors.

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The Berber goddess Tanit of Carthage became Juno Caelestis, the Roman Queen of Heaven. Mosaic artists and writers like Apuleius expressed a vigorous and distinctive North African culture, which was to outlive Roman government. Even those who resisted Rome’s authority were often influenced by its culture. The Gaetuli formed ephemeral coalitions to resist Roman interference, but they also relied on grain, harvest employment, and stubble for grazing in the northern agricultural zones to which they drove their stock each summer.

Its pottery was partly of local Tigrayan origin and partly derived from the tradition of Egypt and Kerma via the Gash Delta. Its high culture, however, was largely of South Arabian origin, either by immigration or imitation. A temple of the period to the astronomical gods of South Arabia survives at Yeha in modern Tigray, probably Daamat’s capital, together with a possible palace, smaller temples elsewhere, inscriptions in the Sabean language of South Arabia (although diverging from it as time passed), and sickles and other objects in bronze, which was probably introduced from South Arabia.

Meanwhile food-production had also spread southwards into East Africa. By the fifth millennium bc, the high-rainfall culture of fishing, foraging, and pottery embraced the Lake Turkana region. When rainfall declined thereafter, Nilo-Saharan speakers may have carried this culture and later the exploitation of grain southward towards Lake Victoria, although there is as yet no archaeological confirmation of this. Reduced rainfall may also have damaged grazing lands in the north while reducing disease further south, thereby encouraging a southward drift of pastoralism that reached the Lake Turkana area around P1: RNK 0521864381 c02 CUNY780B-African 978 0 521 68297 8 May 15, 2007 15:22 Emergence of food-producing communities 15 2500 bc and continued southward through the Rift Valley.

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