African original history

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African original history

The History of Africa begins from the emergence of modern human beings to its current state as a politically developing continent. Africa's ancient historic period involves the rise of Egyptian civilization, the further development of societies outside the Nile River Valley and the interaction between them and civilizations outside of Africa. In the late 7th century North and East Africa were heavily influenced by the spread of Islam, leading to the Appearance of new cultures such as those of the Swahili people. This also lead to an increase in the Arab slave trade that would culminate in the 19th century.

Pre-colonial African history focuses on the time between the early 16th century with the forced transport of African peoples and cultures to the New World in the Atlantic slave trade up to the beginning of the European scramble for Africa. Africa's colonial period lasted from the late 1800s until the advent of African independence movements in 1951 then Libya became the first former colony to become independent. Modern African history has been rife with revolutions and wars as well as the growth of modern African economies and democratization across the continent.

Long-standing prejudice against particularly black Africans has meant that until recently African history writing was largely dictated by Eurocentric or outright racist scholarship. African history has been a challenge for researchers due to the scarcity of written sources in large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, and also because of conflicting opinions on what is and is not African. Scholarly techniques such as the recording of oral history, historical linguistics, archeology and genetics (to trace the movement of peoples) have been crucial to writing the history of many regions that in the past often have been dismissed as lacking a meaningful history altogether.

According to the latest paleontological and archaeological evidence, hominids were already in existence at least five million years ago. Their skull anatomy was similar to their close cousins, the great African apes, but they had adopted a bipedal form of locomotion, giving them a crucial advantage, as this enabled them to live in both forested areas and on the open savanna at a time when Africa was drying up, with savanna
ncroaching on forested areas. By 3 million years ago several australopithecine hominid species had developed throughout southern, eastern and central Africa.

The next major evolutionary step occurred approximately 2 million years ago, with the advent of Homo habilis, thought to be the first species of hominid capable of making tools. This enabled H. habilis to begin eating meat, using his stone tools to scavenge kills made by other predators, and harvest carrion for their bones and marrow. In hunting, H. habilis has probably not capable of competing with large predators, and was still more prey than hunter, although he probably did steal eggs from nests, and may have been able to catch small game, and weakened larger prey (cubs and older animals).

Around 1.8 million years ago Homo erectus first appeared in the fossil record in Africa, out nearly simultaneously in the fossil record of the Caucuses (Eastern Europe). Some of the earlier representatives of this species were still fairly small brained and used primitive stone tools, much like H. habilis. The brain later grew in size and "H. erectus" eventually developed a more complex stone tool technology called the Acheulean. He was likely the first hunter. In addition Homo erectus mastered the art of making fire, and was the first hominid to leave Africa, colonizing the entire Old World, and later giving rise to Homo floresiensis. This is now contested by new theories suggesting that Homo georgicus, a Homo habilis descendant, was the first and most primitive hominid to ever live outside Africa. However, many scientists consider "Homo georgicus" to be an early and primitive member of the "Homo erectus" species.

The fossil record shows Homo sapiens living in southern and eastern Africa at least 100,000 and possibly 150,000 years ago. Around 40,000 years ago, their expansion out of Africa launched the colonization of our planet by modern human-beings. Their migration is indicated by linguistic, cultural and (increasingly) computer-analyzed genetic evidence. At the end of the Ice Age (guessed to have been around 10,500 BC), the Sahara had become a green fertile valley again, and its African populations returned from the interior and coastal highlands in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the warming and drying climate meant that by 5000 BC the Sahara region was becoming increasingly drier. The population trekked out of the Sahara region towards the Nile Valley below the Second Cataract where they made permanent or semi-permanent settlements. A major climatic recession occurred, lessening the heavy and persistent rains in Central and Eastern Africa. Since then dry conditions have prevailed in Eastern Africa.

The international phenomenon known as the Beaker culture began to affect Western North Africa. Named for the distinctively shaped ceramics found in graves, the Beaker culture is associated with the emergence of a warrior mentality. North African rock art of this period depict animals but also places a new emphasis on the human figure,
quipped with weapons and adornments. People from the Great Lakes Region settled along the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea to become the proto-Canaanites who dominated the lowlands between the Jordan River, the Mediterranean and the Sinai Desert.

By the 1st millennium BC, iron-working had been introduced in Northern Africa and quickly began spreading across the Sahara into the northern parts of sub-Saharan Africa[1] and by 500 BC, metalworking began to become commonplace in West Africa, possibly after being introduced by the Carthaginians. Iron-working was fully established by roughly 500 BC in areas of East and West Africa, though other regions didn't begin Iron-working until the early centuries AD. Some copper objects from Egypt, North Africa, Nubia and Ethiopia have been excavated in West Africa dating from around 500 BC time period suggesting that trade networks had been established by this time.

Africa during the glacial age. The region of the present Sahara was an early lite for the practice of agriculture (in the second stage of the culture characterized by the so-called "wavy-line ceramics" ca. 4000 BCE.). However, after the desertification of the Sahara, settlement in North Africa became concentrated in the valley of the Nile, where the pre-literate Nomes of Egypt laid a base for the culture of ancient Egypt. Archeological findings show that primitive tribes lived along the Nile long before the dynastic history of the Pharaohs began. By 6000 B.C., organized agriculture had appeared.

Africa's earliest evidence of written history was in Ancient Egypt, and the Egyptian calendar is still used as the standard for dating Bronze Age and Iron age cultures throughout the region. In about 3100 B.C. Egypt was united under the first known Narmer, who inaugurated the first of the 30 dynasties into which Egypt's ancient history is divided: the Old, Middle Kingdoms and the New Kingdom. The pyramids at Giza (near Cairo), which were built in the Fourth dynasty, testify to the power of the pharaonic religion and state. The Great Pyramid, the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops), is the only surviving Monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ancient Egypt reached the peak of its power, wealth, and territorial extent in the period called the new Empire (1567–1085 B.C.).

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