*** national histories Africa

African History: Modern Independent Countries

African history
Figure 1.--Thev modern history of Africa has been scarred a large number of conflicts. Many were wars associated with independence from European colonialism. These with the exception of Algeria mostly occured in southern Africa. Since ibdependence there have been a large numbers of civil wars, but only a few between the new African states. The primary exception has been the wars in East Africa involving Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Somalia. Particularly brutal civil wars have and in several cases still are being fought in Algeria, Angola, Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Mozambique, and Nigeria. The wars and violence have been fueled by ethnic rivalries, ideology, political power strugles religion (especially Islam), and other issues. The Cold War was a factor in intensifying the various struggles because of the modern weapons that flowed into the area. These wars and conflicts have scattered uneploded ordinance all over the continent like the bomb here in East Africa. And even greater problem has been land mines. These wars have been a factor, but not the major one, in Africa's inability to benefit from the economic opportunities of independence.

Modern African nation states are 20th century creations. Africa was colonized by European countries (beginning in the 15th century). For the most part, European intrusion into African affairs only invollved coastal trading posts. This chnge in the 19th century after the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). First the French begn colonizing North Africa (1830s). And then the Europeans in the late 19th century launched the colonization of the interior with the Scramble for Africa (1870s). The colonies created are the basis for the modern independent nation states. For the most part, geographic features were used to draw boundaries, although many straight lines developed in negotiations were used. Existing African tribal and ethnic structures were ignored. As a result, ethnic communities today cross many national boundaries. The European colonial powers began to grant independence after World War II. Much of the continent which was governed by Belgium, Britain, and France became independent (1960s). The Portugrse colonies were granted indeoendence in the next decade (1970s). The 1960s was the height of the Cold War. Many in both the developing world and even the West believed that Socialism and Soviet-style state planning was the wave of the future. Because of the popularity of Socialist and Soviet ideas and lack of European prepration, decolonization proved a disaster. Only now because of semocraticand free market reformns are these new nations beginning to make grater progrss in devloping successful societies.


Indigenous states were developing in southern Africa before the arrival of the Europeans. The most important in the area that is now Angola was the Kongo Kingdom. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach southern Africa. The Portuguese were attempting to find a sea route to the East and during the 15th expeditions century gradually moved south along the Atlantic coast of Africa. Along with this effort, the Portuguese began setting up trading posts. One of the most important commodities, especially in Angola, proved to be slaves. There were attempts to establish constructive relations with native kingdoms in the interior, but over time this was undermined by the Portugese participation in the slave trade. Other European countries began setting up trading posta and eventually colonies along the African coast, but Angola remained in Portuguese hands. There was, however, no attempt by the Portuguese to settle Portuguese families in Angola. The Portuguese used Angola as a kind of prison colony. They exiled criminals to the colony. Thus most of the Portuguese who settled there as late as the 19th century were criminal exiles--the degredados. The degredados were heavily involved in the slave trade. They also were involved in a range of vilolent and criminal activities in the colony. This had a profound impact on how the Anolans viewed the Portuguese. Portuguese settlement changed in the 20th century when landless peasants began emigrating to Angola. Many settled down in towns and sought livlihoods other than farming. Here they competed with mestiços (mixed race people), Portuguese descent, and urban Angolans who were already established in the towns abd developing cities. The new settlers were poor, bringing little capital, and lacking in education or any real commitment to Angola. Portugalsaw promoting imigration to Angola was a way of civiling the colony. Descrimination against the indigenous Angolan population as well as mestiços fueled the independence movement which developed after World War II. After the revolution in Portugal, Angola was granted independence (1975). The country became a Cold War battlefiekd when two political movements that had emerged during the independence struggle for control. South Africa and Cuba (as a Soviet proxy) intervened.


The area of modern Benin was part of a an important African civilization (14th century). Benin is the former French colomy of Dahomey. It has no coherence in African terms. Europeans beginning with the Portuguese arrived along the coast (mid-15th century). Much of the value of Benin to the Europeans was based on the slave trade. The Portuguese did not move to colonize the interior. European contact was limited to coastal trading posts. The Portuguese establish trading posts all along the West African coast. Porto-Novo was their trading post on what is now Benin. English, Dutch, Spanish, and French traders followed, primarily to participate in the slave trade. The French established posts at Ouidah and Savé (mid-17th century). The English and Portuguese built forts nearby (early-18th century). There is no gegraphic sence to the borders or African historical experience. It resulted from the Anglo-French colonial rivalry as part of the scarable for Africa (late-19th-century). Europeans drew boundaries with no geographic or ethnic coherence. Northern Benin is culturally similar to the countries it borders rather than the tribal groups of the south. Southern Benin was a more coherent cultural entity because several native kingdoms developed there among the Fon and Adja people. They were related to the Ewe of southern Togo and southeastern Ghana. The kingdoms were of Allada, Abomey (or Dahomey), and Adjatché (later Porto-Novo). Two brothers of the king of Allada created their own kingdoms, north and southeast of Allada. Abomey conquered Allada (1724). They seized the port of Ouidah (1727). This enabled them to dominate the local slave trade, an enormous source of wealth. Abomey was noted for recruiting women soldiers for regular service. The French seized control and moved to end the slave trade (1885). While the French did end slavery, they did little to prepare Benin for independence. Benin achieved independence (1960). As with many African countries, Benin adopted, statist, Marxist solutions to rapidly modernize society. The primary result of statist solutions was corruption on a phemomenasl scale and ecomomic disaster. The Communist regime was finally ousted (1991). Thehe Comminists regained power (1995, but were agaun outsted (1998).


The San provided anthropolgists a look at hunter gathers from the dawn of civilization. Areas of modern Botswana were developed by agriculturists without any large central organization (7-13th centuries). The Tswana dynasties rising in the east (South Africa’s Gauteng Province) conquered large areas in what is now Botwana (14th century). When the Tswana kingdoms broke up, the Hurutshe and the Kwena began to migrate east into Botwana (late-17th century). The Tswana migrants developed a well-organized state in southern Botwana (18th century). The economy was based on hunting, cattle-breeding, and copper mining. Slave rading by the Arabs to the east and the Portuguese to the west did not sihnificantly penetrate into the Botswana area. This began to change as tribal groups to the north that were affected began migrating south to saftey (early-19th century). The Kololo were followed by the Ndebele. Developments to the south also impinged on the Tswana. The Boers began moving into the interior and forming independent states to avoid British rule. King Sechele (1829-92) allied his kingdom with the British. The British South Africa Company engineered a form of corporate colonial control. The British established the Bechuanaland Protectorate (1890). The British considered joining Bechuanaland with Rhodesia. They were unwilling to combine it with South Africa. Thus it remained a British protectorate until granted independence (1966). Inependence commenced without the Apartheid that so contorned South Africa. Botwana today is Africa's longest functioning democracy.

Burkina Faso

The territory of Burkina Faso waa dominated by Mossi people who build an extensive empire. The Mossi people are believed to have originated Central or East Africa. They developed a warrir culture abd entered the area of what is Burkina Faso (11th-13th century). They conquered the weaker aboriginal Ninigi tribes. They named their territory Mogho (country of the Mossi) and five independent kingdoms (Tenkodogo, Yatenga, Gourma, Zandoma, and Ouagadougou) gradually emerged. Each was ruled by a king--the mogho or moro naba (ruler of the Mossi). Ouagadougou was the strongest of the five kingdoms. Other tribal groups moved into the area. Themost important were the Hausa and the Fulani While they moved into Mossi territory, they tended to hold n to their ethnic and cultural identity. Contact and often conflict with Islam whuch was esstablished in thevMuslim states to the north. They controlled important trade routes between the Muslin north and Sub-Saharan Africa to the south. Important trade goos included ivory, gold, and slaves. The Mossi participated in on and off warfare with the Mali and Songhai Empirws (14th century). They occupied the key trading center of Timbuktu several times. Askia Daoud of Songhai decisively defeated the Mossi (16th century). This ended their attempts to conquer their more powerful neighbors. The Mossi retained, however, their warrior traditiins. Over tine, Mossi power and internal unity eroded. The ccountry thus fell prey in the Europeab scrable for Africa. ThecFrench dispatched a small firce vcommabded by a Lieutenant Voulet to establish French control (1896). He seized Ouagadougou. The Mossi for the most part accepted French rule without major resistance, in part out of protection from their hostile neighbors. The French after World War I created the colony of Upper Volta (1919). They divided the colony among their other African possessions (Niger, French Sudan/Mali), and Côte d'Ivoire). The French did not attempt to dimantle the the traditional political structure. They treated the moro naba of Ouagadougou as the emperor of the Mossi. And the Mossi suported the French in World war II. The moro naba's two eldest sons fought for France and more than 10,000 youths also volunteered. The tribal chiefds had long desired that Upper Volta be trstored as a territorial unit. Partly as a reward for their loyalty, the French did so (1947). Upper Volta became involved in the de-colonization process after the French defeat in Vietnam and the outbreak of fighting in Algeria. voters in Upper Volta approved the new constitution of the Fifth French Republic and Upper Volta's territorial assembly made the country an autonomous state within the French Community. This placed authority notvwith the traditional chiefs, but with the young, French-educated elite. Upper Volta achieved independence (1960). Maurice Yaméogo, leader of the Volta Democratic Union, was the first president. Yaméogo moved to make his rule permanent and banned the opposition parties. The country's first post-independence election involved a single list of candidates. It is interesting how even dictators saw the need to stage a semblance of elections. The opposition staged protests and were joined by civil servants, labor unioniss, and students. The resulting disorder brought down the Yaméogo government (1965). Lt. Col. (later Gen.) Sangoulé Lamizana, a former army chief of staff, became president (1966). He moved to suspend the 1960 constitution and dissolved the Yaméogo-dominated National Assembly. Lamizana appointed a military-civilian cabinet.


The history of Burundi is very similar to that of neighboring Rawanda. The first known human population of what is now Burundi were the Twa, a Pygmy hunter-gather tribe. The Hutu, a more advanced agricultural people, appeared in the area (7th century). They were a Bantu people, probably migrating for better land from the central Congo basin. They displaced the Twa who retreated into remote jungle areas. The Hutu dominted the area (10th century). The Tutsi, a lanky pastoral people, began moving from Ethiopia into the area (15th century). They conquered the Hutus and established a kind of feudal rule over them. Native African kingdoms with a Tutsi aristocracy controlled the area in the period before the arrival of the Europeans. Arab slave traders caused considerable disruption. The German colonized the country (late-19th century). The native kings resisted and extensive military force was needed in contrast to the situastiin in neigboring Rwanda. Germany did not interfere greatly in Burdian life even after seizing control. Burundi became patt of German East Africa. Belgium seized control of the colony during World War I (1916). It became the Belgian colony of Rawana-Urunsi under a League of Nations Mandate after the War and eventually a United Nations Trusteeship. Belgium granted iundependence to the monarchy after a U.N.-sponsored referendum (1962). The Watusi king became the monarch. The new country was buffeted by political turmoil. A military junta deposed the king and Burundi became a republic (1966). While the country's history has een tumultuous, there was nothing like the horific genocide in Rwabnda.


Cameroon is a political entity created by the colonial powers (England, France, and Germany) with no regard for tribal/ethnic boundaries or topographic features. European contact with Cameroon began when Portuguese explorers sailed up the Wouri River (1472). They named the river the Rio dos Camarões (River of Prawns). At about the same time, Fulani pastoral nomads began moving from from what is now Nigeria began to migrate in Cameroon (anout 1500). This forced the indigenous forest peoples southwards. The Fulani migration accelerated slave traders supplying Dutch, Portuguese and British slavers (early-17th century). Germany signed a treaty with the chiefdoms of Douala and central Bamiléké Plateau (1884). This essentially blocked expanding Britih influence. The British occupied Cameroon during World War I. After World War I, as part of the Versailles Peace Treaty (1919), the German protectorate of Kamerun was parfitioned between France and Britain. Revolts against French control were supressed by French authorities (1950s). By this time, the independencr movement throughout Africa was too strong for France and the other European powers to resist. The French granted self-government (1958) and then independence (1960). The boundaries of Cameroon changed during the colonial period and did not assume the modern configuration until independence (1961). Aa a result of the boundary and territorial shifts, Camerron achieved independence as a mixed Anglophone, Francophone nation. This dichotomy has affected post-indepemdence development.

Cape Verde Islands

Cape Verde is an archipelago along the coast of West Africa about 500 kilometers west of Senegal. The islands were Uninhabited when the Portuguese discovered them as part of the voyages of discovery south along the African coast (1456). They provided a secure location for an outpost. The Islands were added to the expanding Portuguese empire (1495). The population is mostly of mixed Portuguese and African ancestry. As the Islands were located on the great trade routes between Africa, Europe, and the New World, they became a prosperous center for the slave trade. The island location made them more secure than outposts on the mainland. The Islands experienced an economic decline after Portugal abolished the slave trade (1876). Cape Verde became a Portuguese shipping port. Portugal changed the Islands from a colony to an overseas province (1951). The African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau (also a former Portuguese colony) and Cape Verde (PAIGC) was founded (1956). The Island inhabitants became full Portuguese citizens (1961). The independence movement began to gain a popular following in the 1960s. A coup in Portugal resulted in a new government which granted independence to its former colonies. Cape Verde became independent ( 1975).

Central African Republic

The principal tribes in what is now the Central African countries were the Azande, Banda, Baya, and Ngbandi. These and other smaller tribes were terrorized by slave traders. Located in central Africa, the Europeans colonized the area later than along the coast. The French finally moved inland into the area (1894). The French clled it Ubangi-Shari. French authorities made several reorganizatins of its African colonies. They joined Ubangi-Shari with Chad (1905). Then they joined it with Gabon and the Middle Congo to form French Equatorial Africa (1910). After World War II a rebellion occurred (1946). Weakened by the War, France decided not to expend the resources needed to retain control of such a remote area and granted self-government. The population voted to become an autonomous republic within the French Community (1958). President David Dacko proclaimed the independence from France (1960). Many Africans leaders at the time saw socialism and communism as the panacea for rapid development. Dacko decided to move the country toward Communist China. Col. Jean-Bédel Bokassa, army chief of staff. staged a coup (1965). Bokassa converted the country into the Central African Empire (1976). Bokassa had himself declared emperor--Emperor Bokassa I. His reign was marked by excesses, both brutality and extrodinary fiscal expenditures. He ran up huge debts. Bokassa after bankruping the country was finally deposed by another coup (1979). Former president David Dacko became president again and the country was once again the Central African Republic. The Army staged a coup and overthrew President Dacko a second time (1981). After several decadeds of dictatorial or miitary rule, President André Kolingba, not altogether willingly, announced that the CAR would move toward parliamentary democracy (1991). Prime Minister Ange-Félix Patassé defeated Kolingba in the ensuing election (1993). Patassé promissed to pay the back salaries of the military and civil servants. The coutry's huge debts encurred by Bokassa, however, made it impossible for Pesident Patassé to pay the back salaries as promised. The military mutined. Patassé requested French intervention and French troops suppressed the mutiny. The United Nations sent an all-African peacekeeping force to the CAR (1998). Patassé defeated Kolingba in elections (1999). There were widespread charges of voter fraud. Patassé managed to survive a coup attempt (2001). Gen. François Bozizé organized a coup (2003). Bozizé was elected president in what was generally see as fair and free elections (2003). The International Criminal Court began investigating charges of attrocities that were allegedly committed during the 2002-03 civil unrest following the attempted coup against Patassé (2007). Prime Minister Elie Dote resigned one day before Parliament was preparing to debate a censure motion (2008). Parliament chose Faustin Archange Touadéra as his successor (2008).


Poorly studied ancient settlements have been found in what is now Chad. The kingdoms of Kanem-Bornu, Baguirmi, and Ouaddai rose and fell in the region. The slave trade was active in the area. Arab slavers drove captives north to markets in North Africa, After the Portuguese began establishing trading posts along the Atlantic coast (15th century), Arab slasvers began supplying the Atlantic slave trade as well. The French as part of the Scranble for Africa penetrated the area. The local Muslim leaders resisted French control leading to battles with the French Foreign Legion. The region became a French governorship (1905). The French established French Equatorial Africa (FEA) was established which included four territories (Chad, Gabon, Oubangui Chari and French Congo) as well as the Cameroon mandate (1910). There was still resistance from Muslim forces in Chad for some time. Chad became a colony after World War I (1920). French forces in the FEA and Chad in particular was an early suppoter of the Free French novenment during World War II. When the FEA was disolved after World War II (1950), Chad became a member of the French Community. The country achieved full independence (1960). Fighting broke out between the Muslim north and east against the Chritian southern-led government (1965). The French attempted to negoiate in an effot to avoid the conflict, but without success. A military coup was staged to create a government that could end the fighting (1975). There were some transient governmental compromises. Fighting broke out agasin (1980). The Givernment asked Libya to help negotiae apeace which it did, but fighting broke out again (1982). Fighting conontinued until a settlenent was reached (1988). Instability, however continued, General Idriss Deby ousted the ruling government, with the idea of instituting a multiparty democracy. Deby won elections (1996). The intermitent civil war as impeded the country's ability to address the country's develomental needs.

Comoro Islands

Human habitation may date to about 2000 BC, but such early haitation is based primarily on leged. Persians are belieed to have establishing Islam as the dominant religion. Persian sultanates established trade relations with ports all along the Indian Ocean which led to a thriving economy based on trade. Gradually Arab traders displaced the Persians. Spices and slaves were especually important. The Sultanate of Ndzuwani (Anjouan) was founded about the time the Europeans entered the Indian Ocean (about 1500). The Ndzuwani sultanate became the most powerful of all the Comorian sultanates. Sultan Alawi bin Husein requested French assistance against the Sultanate of Zanzibar which was threatening his domain (1816). This was just after the Napoleonic Wars. The islands was recognized as within the French zone of influence by the Great Powers following the Berlin Conference which played an important role in the Scramble for Africa (1887). The Comoros chose to remain part of the French Republic (1958). They remained a part of France until three of the islands: Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Moheli), and Nzwani (Anjouan), declared independence from France (1975). Since then the history of the islands has been stormy. There have been more than 20 coups or attempted coups and declations of independence by individual islands. Eventually most of the islanders chose independence and chanhed their names to the local language. The fourth, Mayptte, chose to remain a part of France. They have formed the Union of Comoros, but each of the three islands have substantial autonomy. The fourth major island, Maore (Mayotte) voted to fully integrate with France (2009). The Comoros Union Government which claims the island and labels the referendum null and void. Thus Mayote is administered as part of France.

Congo (Brazzaville)

The area of the modern Congo was first inhabited by Pygmies. Subsequently, Bantu peoples moved south into what is modern Angola, Gabon, and Congo/Zaire. Banu kingdomes arose in the area (Kongo, Loango, and Teke) controlled trade routes that led into the vast Congo River basin. Portuguese explorers moving south reached the Congo River (late-15th century). Slave trading became a major economic activity. Slaves captured in the interior were brought tothe coast and traded to the Europeans. As the Royal Navy ended the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Bantu kingdoms declined (19th century). France emerged as the principal colonial power. Pierre Savorgnon de Brazza promoted French interests. He competed with Belgian interests in the Congo basin. . King Leopold of Belgium was particularly interested in the Congo basin. His International Congo Association (Belgian Congo/Zaire) gained control over an immense area of the interior. De Brazza negotiated treaties with native chiefs to the north og the Congo River who placed their domains under French protection (1880s). France developed several colonies in central Africa: Middle Congo (modern Congo), Gabon, Chad, and Oubangui-Chari (modern Central African Republic). France reorganized its colonial possessions in the area as French Equatorial Africa (AEF) (1908). Brazzaville was established as the federal AEF capital. French colonial policy focused on the extraction of raw materials which was conducted by private companies. France completed the Congo-Ocean Railway (CFCO) (1924-34), a major engineering achievement. CFCO was a major step in opening the interior to economic development. Towns along CFCO developed into major Congo cities. The Atlantic terminus of Pointe-Noire as the colony's principal port.


The Congo is a huge country. It covers a large area of Central Africa and is dominated bt the emense Congo River. Belgium was not one of the major European colonisl powers, but during the European sramble for Africa, King Leopold II laid his claim to the Congo. He thought as many Europeans did at the time that any self respecting European country should have its overseas colonies. The Belgian Congo would not a standard European colony. It was not under taken by the Belgian Goverment, but rather the King sacting as a private contractor. Rather the King claimed the Congo as his personal fiedom and obtained international recognition for whsat he called the Congo Free State (1885). The King funded the project from his own personal resources and from concessions sold to private Belgian companies. Belgium was a constitutional monarchy with a parlimentarian system. The Belgian Parliament had no desire to fund an expensive venture in far-away Africa. In the end, the King made a huge fortune in the Congo. The Congo Free State the King oversaw was responsible for horrendous attrocities which shocked the world. The King while making huge sums asked parliament for financial support. The Goverment eventually took over control of the colony (1908). While Belgian companies continued making huge profits exploiting the Congo's resources, Belhian made virtually no investments in the country outide of the infrastructure needed to extract the resources. As a result, shen Belgium granted the Congo independence (1960), the country was totally unprepared


Djibouti claims to be the first African country to adopt Islam. Close commercial contacts with the Arabian peninsula since ancient times brought the Somali and Afar tribes in contact with Islam at a very early period. France signed various treaties with the then ruling Somali Sultans (1883-87). The French and other European colonists were interested in the Horn of Africa as a result of sea lanes to and from Suez. France also wanted a east-west collection of colonies connecting the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. At the same time the British were building a north-south connectin between Capetown and Cairo. French Somaliland (French Territory of the Afars and Issas) was formally created as a French colony (1897). The British and Italians also estanlished Somali colonies. The Republic of Djibouti became independent (1977).

Equitorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is a small, oil-rich, country on the western coast of central Africa at the apex of the Gulf of Guinea. The mainland known as Rio Muni is located south of Cameroon where the African coast turns south. Pygmies were the first known population on the mainland. Now they remain in only a few isolated pockets in the north. More advanced Bantu tribes, including the Bubi, entered the the mainland. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the area, part of their voyages of discovery south along the African coast. For security reasons, they were primarily interested in the offshore islands. They visited Anobón (1470). They subsequently settled Anobóón and the other islands in the Gulf of Guinea (Bioko, São Tomé and Príncipe). The Portuguese founded the Atlantic slave trade and these islands were used in that enterorise. The Fang, a branch of the Beti, migrated into the area and establish a dominant position (about 17th century). They not only conquered the area, but intermarried with the Bantu. The Bubi are believed to have fled to Bioko to escape the Fang. There are, however, no written records. Some believe that the Bubi were indigenous to the island). The Portuguese and Spanish gradually establisged a presence on the mainland, but were resisted by the Fang. The country was a former Spanish colony known as Spanish Guinea. Fernando Po was initially a Portuguese possession ceded to Spain (1778). Bioko, Anobón and parts of the mainland were traded to Spain in exchange for regions in Latin America. Bioko ly became an important base for slave-trading for several European nations (early-19th century). Britain subsequently used also used it as a naval base as part of its campaign to end the slave trade. The mainland boundaries were established by the Treaty of Berlin (1885). Spanosg settlers founded cocoa plantations on Malabo (late-19th century) which made the colony Spain’s most valuable possession in equatorial Africa. The Fang resisted European colonization, but more than two centuries of European slaving drove them away from the coast. With the end of the slave trade and abolition, the Fang and other Africans moved back into coastal areas. Spain granted internal self-government (1964) and full indeopendence (1968). Francisco Macias Nguema at independence launched a reign of terror. A third of the population fled. The Fang still dominate Equatorial Guinea, now by their control of the country's Army. Macias Nguema initiated a genocide against the Bubi ethnic minority. He also ordered the death of thousands of suspected opponents, closed down churches, and presided over the an economic collapse. He was overthrow after a decade of bloody rule and economic failure (1979). Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo seized power in a coup. He has not roven as murderous, but has shown little tolerance for criticism and opposition. And thanks to oil discoveries, he but not the people has become very rich. The country is theoretically a multi-party constitutional republic. All branches of government are, however, controlled by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who first elected (1979). He was declared the winner of the latest presidential election with over 95 percent of the vote (November 2009). Equatorial Guinea was one ranked as one of the poorest countries in Africa. With the discovey of oil it has become one of the richest, in terms of percapita income. Very little of that wealth has trickled down to the people, many of which live desperately poor lives little changed from centurues ago.


Eritrea is a small East African country part of the Horn of Africa. Like most of the Red Sea coast, what is now Eritrea was Islamacized and there were areas of local independence and other eras of control by Christian Ethiopia. Italy colonized Eritrea, but failed to move further inland and colonize Ethiopia (late-19th century). Italy later attackd Ethiopia again, using Eritrea as a base, and finally suceeded in defeating and occupying Ethiopia (1935). After World War II, Ethiopia arranged a union with Eritrea. The Ethiopians Eritrea so it could have a seaport. This led to a brutal 30-year civil war. Eritrea finally achieved independence from Ethiopia (1993). Isaias Afewerki was elected president nd through his People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDF) has tightly contolled the country eer since. The country is bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti. It occupies a strategic area in the Horn of Africa. Despite the end of the civil war, tensions with Ethiopia remain elvated. The two countries face each other high across a closed and heavily fortified border. Some observers describe Eritrea as Africa's North Korea. The Government has used the perceived threat of Ethiopian invasion to tightly contol Eritrean society. The county is very poor and much of the nationl income is devoted to military spending. It is also one of the most secretive states in the world. The 1997 Constitution establishes a multi-party democracy, but the country is insted governed by aingle party which does not permit other parties to organize. Life in Ertrea is dominated by military conscription which is desribed by Amesty International as both mandatory and indefinite. The country's commitment to military spending and periodic border clashes with Ethiopia hae combined with drought and desertification have left the country one of the poorest in Africa. A full scale war was fought with Ethiopia (1998-2000).


Ethiopia is sub-Sahara Africa's oldest independent nation. Most other countries in Africa are creations of European colonial era. The first known kingdom developed around Axum (3rd century BC). Axum developeed from the Semitic Sabeam kingdoms in southern Arabia. Here geography was a factor. The Horn of Aftrica shoots out into the Indian Ocean toward Arabia. This provided a natural channel for trade and commuication. Axum came to control the ivory markey in northeast Africa. The earliest written information on Ethiopian history comes from the Bible when it was reported that the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon (1000 BC). Axum gradually encroached on the Meroe kingdom in modern Sudan, eventually conquering it. A Syrian, Frumentius, grew up in Axum and converted the King and Christianity became the state religion. Frumentius became the first Bishop of Ethiopia (330 AD). Ethiopia was the one African country to defeat a European army during the Scramble for Africa--an Italian army. The Italians invaded again in a prelude to World War II.


Gabon is a former French colony in west equitorial Africa. It has proven relatively stable while wars and coups swirled all around it. Some archeologists report thge presence of humanoids in Gabon for over 0.4 million years. The most exciting archelogical finds have been about 1,200 rock pictographs found around Réserve de la Lopé. They were the work of iron people that cleared the fort for agriculture in effect creating the savannah that dominates much of the country. In more modern times the area of modern Gabon was dominated by Pygmies. They were displaced by the more advabced oeople migrating south into Gabon (16-18th centuries). The most importantribe was the Fang who first settled in what is now Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, finally reaching the area of modern Gabon. The Fang moved into Gabon at about the same time the Portuguese reached the area (1472). The Portuguese and the other Europeans who followed them (Spanish, French, Dutch, and British) traded for ivory, tropical woods, and slaves. The slave trade gradually increased in importance. And that trade destabilized the tribal structure and relations among tribal groups. The coastal tribes made their peace with the Europeans and benefitted from trade with them. The interior tribes resisted the Europeans and slave raiders. The anger and hatred that developed between the coast and interior has not entirely disappeared in modern Gabon. against European encroachment. Animosity still lingers between the coastal tribes and the rest of the country. The French Navy helped found Libreville which grew into the country's capital and largest city. The French who joined the effort to end the slave trade, intercepted a Brazilian slaver (1849). The slaves were set free at a site along the coast at the mouth of the Komo River. It was an esturiune area used by traders. Librevill was essentially the French version of Freetown and Monrovia. It remained a smll town for decades. The European powes at the Berlin Congress assiugned the French brights to Gabon. The French over time changed their colonial administration. Thus Gabon was at times part of the French Congo and then French Equatorial Africa. The World War II Battle of Gabon was fought there in whoch the Free French wrestled control from Vichy (1940). After the War, Gabon achieved self-government (1958) and independence (1960). The country since independence has been dominated by two autocratic leaders. The first president was Léon M’Ba who died in a French hospital (1967). M’Ba was replace by his vice president, Albert Bernard Bongo. He chnged his name to El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba when he converted to Islam (1974). He s one of the longest-serving heads of state worldwide. The country has Gabon has a nominally democratic multi-party system and a constitution adopted (1990s). The relative stability is in part due to a degree of economic success.


The histories of Gambia and Senegal are intertwined. Gambia is essentially an English-speaking riverine enclave within Senegal. The area was known to ancient scholars. The Portuguese as they moved south along the Atlantic coast were the First Europeans to arrive. The Sahara Desert dominates the coast of West Africa. Oe of the first difficult barriers for the Portuguese was the promontory of Cape Verde. Then the coast begin to change as a result of rivers flowing from the interior. The first important river they reached was the Senegal (1444). They reached the Gambia River (1445). Thois created a huge estuary and the Gambia was navigable for even ocean vessels for 150 miles up river. As Portuguese power wained, the British and French struggled for control of the area (17th and 18th centuries). The French establish a trading station at the mouth of the Senegal (1638). They seize Gorée Island from the Dutch (1677). This became a major center of French power and a key shipment center in the developing slace trade. The British focused on the larger Gambia River. They build Fort James is built on an island some 17 miles upstream (1661). The British formally establish the Gambia Protectorate (1894). The Gambia achieved independence within the Commonwealth (1965). A new constitution was approved by a referendum created a republic (1970).


Archeologists have found traces of sedentary habitation as far bsck as 30,000-40,000 years along the Ghanian coast, near Tema. Little is known about these early humans. The earliest traves of civilizatin have been found in the Brong-Ahafo Region, close to the Black Volta (1700-1500 B.C). This is the Kintampo culture. There are examples of naturalistic art. The most notable state to develop in the area was the Ghana Empire (4th-11th centures AD). Despite the name, the Empire existed north of modern Ghana. The Empire did trade with what isd now Ghana. Archeologists are slso working at Begho (1350-1750 AD). Begho was a marketplace frequented by caravans crossing the Sahara. The Portuguese nvigating south along the Atlsntic coas\t of Africa were the first Europeans to reach what is now Ghana (15th century). Thy named it the Gold Coast. Ghana became the British Gold Coast colony. The British moved te capital Cape Coast to Accra (1876). Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African colony to obtain independence (1957). The first president was pan-African hero, Kwame Nkrumah. African nationalist and socialist rhetoric and responsible management as in other newly independent African countries proved to be two different matters. The high hopes of Independence were dashed by corruption, mismanagement, and socialist economics. soon after independence in 1957. Nkrumah, was deposed in a military coup (1966). This began a long period of mostly-military rehgimes. Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings staged his second coup (1981). After a series of corupt military regimes, the country began to move towards more competent management. Ghana voters in a nationsal referendum approved a new constitution providing for a competitive, multi-party system (1992). This has laid the ground work for both economic stability and democracy.


Guinea in West Africa is dominated by the Niger River, one of the continent's great rivers. This made what is now Guinea an important trade cross roads. Archaeologists have found evidence of stone tools in Guinea that appear to hsve been made by peoples originting in the Sahara. They specualte that they were driven south as a result of desiccation (2000 BC) Agriculture developed along the coast (1000 (AD). Rice was the staple crop. (Slave owners coastal in South Carolina would later take advantage of this technology.) Several African empires controlled the area of modern Guinea or at least influeced it (10-15th centuries). Much of Upper Guinea was within the cultural area of the medievl Ghana Empire. The northern half of Guinea was within the subsequent Mali and Songhai empires. The Portuguese were the first to reach the area (mid-15th century). Guinea Bissau became a Portuguese colony. It was the French who began to dominate in Guinea proper (17th century). The French made Guinea a formal colony (1845). The French named it French Guinea (1893). The French after World War II formed the Federation of French West Africa which included Guinea. The members of the Federation rejected membership in the Fifth French Republic (1958). As a result, political ties with France and the other ederatin members were dissolved. Guinea declared independence. Sekou Toure became the country's first president. He led Guinea until his death (1984). General Lansana Conti led a military government which seized power. Conti was elected president (1993 and 1995). Guinea held its first multi-party elections. Conti's Unity Progress party won 71 of 114 seats in the legislature. Conti was succeeded by Sidia Toure (1996).


The rivers of Guinea attracted the interest of Portuguese exploers moving south long the Atlantic coast (15th century) because they could be used to safely move into the interior. By the same time the offshore islands of Cape Verde offered even greater security than the mainland. Thus they were among the first locations in Sub-Saharan Africa to be explored bt Europeans. Portugal claimed Guinea (1446), but few trading posts were established. A more extensive commercial exploitation of the area began later (17th century). Portugal established a captaincy-general (1630). Portuguese merchants working with local chiefs and Arab slave traders entered the slave trade. Expanding colonial activity in the Caribbean and Brazil created a demand for slaves. Captives from Guinea were shipped to the Americas from the Cape Verde Islands. Cacheu became a major slave center and a small Portuguese fort still exists there. The Alantic slave trade declined as the British deployed the Royal Navy to stop the commerce (19th century). Bissau was founded as a military outpost and slave-trading center (1765). It developed as the major commercial center of Portuguese Guinea.

Ivory Coast

The area of the Ivory Coast saw the development of several pre-European sttes. This included Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the Gulf of Guina as they attempted to find a trade route east. They set up trading posts for gold, ivory, and slaves. Gradually the French presence became dominant. A treaty made Côte d'Ivoire a French protectorate (1843–44). Two Agni kingdoms (Indénié and Sanwi) attempted to retain their soverignity during the French colonial period. The French ended the slave trade and promoted Christianity. The Ivory Coast became a French colony (1893) as part of the European colonial scramble for Africa. Ivory Coast achieved its independemce (1960) under Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Côte d'Ivoire unlike many newly indeprndent countries, maintained close relations with the former colonial power. The country was at independence one of the strongest West African countries economically. The econmy was primarily agricultural with coffee and cacao the primary export commodity. The economy suffered in the 1980s. This in part contributed to the destabalization of the political system. Houphouët-Boigny strong-arm rule prevented the development of democratic institutions. After Houphouët-Boigny's rule, two coups d’état (1999 and 2001) and a civil war caused wide spread domestic disprder. Elections and a political agreement between the new government and rebels offers the prospect for domestic peace.


Kenya was a British colony. The liberation struggle was led by Jomo Kenyata. He was Kenya's first president (1963). Kenyata developed a system of a one-party state, although there were at first multi-party trapings. Like many African leaders, Kenyata did not understand the value of multi-party democracy. The Soviet single-party system was aluring and of course made the job of president permaent. The ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya (1969). When Kenyata died, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi became president (1978). Moi became not only the next president, but the KANU leader--essentially a dictator. MOI eventually reacted to both internal and external pressure for political liberalization (1991). The ethnically fractured opposition failed to defeat KANU which also had the ability to use the organs of the statec to help win elections (1992 and 1997). While these elections had incidents of violence and fraud, they were more fair than those held in many other African elections. President Moi finally stepped down following universally agreed fair and peaceful elections (2002).


The country became a British protecorate (1868). The British called it Basutoland. The country became independent as a constitutional monarcy (1966). The country's name was changed to Lesotho. King Moshoeshoe reigned as the Basuto National Party dominated elections and governed for the first two decades of independence. The military seized power (1986). The military government exiled King Moshoeshoe (1990), but he returned (1992). He was reinstated as monarch in 1995. Constitutional government was restored (1993). The country remained unstable politcally. Contested elections resulted in protests and a military mutiny (1988). The Southern African Development Community oversaw a South African and Botswana military intervention. Lesotho is a poor country.


The modern nation of Liberia was born out of American abolitionist movement. After the abolition of slavery in northern states, the principal project pursued by the American Aboloitionist Movement was the African Colonization Society. This was a movement which began in the 18th century. It was controversial from the beginning among both whites and blacks. Some blacks dispairing of justice in America supported the back to Africa movemnent. Others thought that blacks should remain in Anerica and press for abolition and full legal rights. White supporters had varying opinions. Some saw it as a way of removing what they saw as an inferior people. Others had more benign view, thinking that blacks would be happier and better off in Africa. Others thought that repatriated Africans could play an important role in Christianizing and civilizing still largely pagan Africa. The American Colonization Society (ACS) was founded (1816) to send frees slaves back to Africa. This was an anti-slavery measure which was feasible at the time. Emancipation was not ppossible in the South, but there were numbers of feed or just about to be freed slaves in the North. The first group of freed slaves reached Western Africa (1822). Elements in the abolitionist movement began attacking the ACS (1830s). They were accused of being a "slaveholder's scheme". Freed Afro-Americans established the independent republic Liberia (1847). Most of the Afro-Americans settled in Liberia did not come from Liberia or even West Africa. Some had lived in America for decades or were born in America. Quite a number had white fathers or other relations. From the beginning there were was an economic and social divide between the Afro-Americans whobestablished and cintroled the Republic and the bative residents of Liberia. The country was the only African country to avoid European colonization. Long term president William Tubman (1944-71) promoted foreign investment. He attempted to address the econimic and social divided between the desendents of the Affro-American settlers and the native Liberians who dominated the interior. Samuel Doe engineered a military coup and instituted authoritarian rule (1980). Charles Taylor, an American, launched a rebellion (December 1989), leading to a protracted civil war. Doe was eventually killed. And the fighting subsided. Taylor won an election (1997). Taylor's criminal rule led to another rebellion (2000). A peace was eventually reached (August 2003). Taylor had become involved in the Sierra Civil War where diamonds could be obtained. He resigned under international pressure. Taylor is now being tried for war crimes charges at The Hague as a result of his barbaric activities in Sierra Leone. A transitional government ruled for 2 years (2003-05). Democratic elections were won by Ellen Johnson (2005). She has the difficult task of rebuilding a war-torn country. A UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is helping to prevent a return to violence.


Madagascar is separated from southern Africa by the 400 km-wide Mozambique Channel. For reasons of geography we have included it with our African history section. Some historians argue that culturally it has more in common with Asia. The people are etnically African and Malay. DNA studies will provide some important information. The Mozambique Channel wile relatively narrow was wide enough to prevent Africans from reaching Madagascar in the various waves of pre-historic migrations. They are believed have followed herds of migrating animals along land routes. The first humans sid not reach Madagascar until fairly modern times, about 2,000 years ago. The origins of these early people and how they reached Madagascar is still unknown. They appear to have been prople from India, Africa, and Arabia. These people lived in tribes. Little is known about the early tribal history. The interesting aspect of the country's history is that over time these people merged to form a fascinating cultural and ethnic synthesis. Living on an island may have been a factor. This has left the country a national society that despite the disparate origind that is remarkably uniform in lenicity, language and culture. Arab traders established coastal colonies (9th-14th centuries). Portugese explorers landed on the island (1500), but did not colonize it. They and the Spanish defeated Arab seapower in the Indian Ocean. As Portuguese and Spanish seapower wained, Madagascar became an object of both British and French imperial interest. The Malagasy tribes formed coalitions to defend themselves from the Europeans. King Andrianampoinimerina united the tribes, forming a single united kingdom for the first time (1794). The French established a limited protectorate (1883) and a formal colony (1896). Madagascar became a memembr of the French Community (1958) and fully independent (1960). The first president was Philibert Tsiranand.


The recorded history of the region in which we now find Mali began with Ghana Empire (4th century AD). It gradually expanded at at its pealk included eastern Senegal, southwest Mali, and southern Mauritania (10th century). It dominated African trade across the Sahara with the Arab states to the north, a major source of wealth. Trade items included ivory, gold, and slaves. The Ghana Empire disintegrated (13th century). It is at this time that the Mali Empire rises. This new Empire reached its peak under Mansa Musa (14th century). Musa seized Tombouctou and Mali became a center of Muslim scholarship. This was at the same time that the Renaissance was beginning to remake Europe and modern science began to develop. In Mali the focus continued to be on Islam and religious scholsrship. Tombouctou and Djenné were also key links in the eastern trans-Sahara caravan trade. Over time the Mali Empire declined and by the time the Europeans were beginning to make inroads in coastal areas had desintegrated (17th century). The nomadic Tuareg came to dominate the northern area of the former Mali Empire. The Songhai Empire was founded to the east much earlier. It centered on the Middle Niger Rivert (8th century), but graduually shifted to Gao. The Songhai expanded west as the Mali Empire declined. The Songhai seized Tombouctou (1468). This was a significant event as Tombouctou was such an important trading center and thus source of wealth. The major Songhai rulers at the peak of the Empire were Sonni 'Ali Ber (r.1464–92) and Askia Muhammad I (r.1492–1528). A Moroccan Arab army from the north conquered the Sobghai (1591). The Moroccans established important military bases at Gao, Tombouctou, and Djenné. Under Moroccan Arab rule, a military caste developed--the Arma. They controlled the countryside from these bases. Over time Arma rule desintegrated into competing principslities (late-18th century). Al-Hajj 'Umar from the Tukulor tribe launched a Muslim jihad against the remaining pagans (mid-19th century). He conquered Ségou and Macina mid-19th century (1862) and sacked Tombouctou (1863). He was killed in a rebellion (1864). It is at this time that the Europeans began penetrating the interior of Africa and formally establisjing colonoes. The Fremch appeared in the region (about 1880). Samory Touré, a Malinké (Mandingo) leader opposed French colonization (1992-98). The French complete their conquest with the capture of Sikasso. The French called their new colony French Sudan (Soudan Français), although it was located far west of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. It became part of French West Africa. The French introduced modern technology and infrastructure to the refgion for the first time. The French built the Dakar-Bamako railway and launched a Niger Delta development scheme. In 1946, the Sudanese became French citizens, with representation in the French parliament. Under the constitution of 1946, the franchise was enlarged and a territorial assembly was established. Universal suffrage was established in 1957, when enlarged powers were conferred on the territorial assembly, which was also given the right to elect a council of ministers responsible for the administration of internal affairs. In 1958, under the constitution of the Fifth French Republic, French Sudan became an autonomous republic, called the Sudanese Republic, within the French Community. After a failed effort to form the Mali Federation with neigboring countries, Mali declared independence (1960). The country quickly lapsed into dictatorial rule. A coup ended years of dictatorship and ushered in democratic government (1991). President Alpha Konare won the country's first truly democratic presidential election (1992). He was reelected (1997). Respecting a two-term constitutional limit, President Konare stepped down and was succeeded by Amadou Toure (2002).


Archeologists have found evidence of human habitation (5000 BC). These people were African hunter gatheres living on the prevalent grasslands. Climate change began creating a much more arid enviroment (anout 2500 BC). Desiccation gradually forced the original Africam inhabitants south. In more modern times, North African Berbers who domesticated the camel pressed down from the nortjh. This increased pressure on the African population of the Senegal Valley (3rd and 4th centuries AD). An Islamicized Berber tribe, the Lamtuna, and two other Berber groups joined to control of a thriving caravan trade in gold, slaves, and ivory from the south and desert salt and various goods from the north (9th century), The Almoravids, fervent Muslim Berbers from Mauritania conquered Northwest Africa and then much of Spain (11th century). For time they stopped the Reconquidta in Spain. They both traded ab\nd warred with the Ghanian Empire to the south. The Almoravid empire collapsed (12th century). The Mali Kingdom expanded into areas once dominated by Ghana. Ot also expanded west into southeastern Mauritania. It was thus able to dominated the caravan routes. Mali was followed by the Songhai of Gao. The Sonhai fell to Moroccan invaders (1591). At about the same time, nomadic Arab tribes of Yemeni origins, the Banu Ma'qil, entered Mauritania (14th and 15th centuries). They gradually established their dominance over the Berbers calling themselves the Awlad-Banu Hassan. Over time, the Arabs and Berbers intermingled into what is now an Arabized Mauritania who look fown on Afric and from the south. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach Mauritania in modern times. They arrived along the coast as they sailed south (mid-15th century). They did not enter the interior, bur did set up coastal trading posts, attracted by gold and slavesand later gum arabic. The European colonil powers competed for the trade, but only established coastal ports. The issue was not settled until the Congress of Vienna awarded Senegal to France (1815).


Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. The Portuguese discoved Mauritius which was unpopiulated (1507), but did not settle it. The Dutch occupied the island (1598), but despite efforts to establish a profitable colony, abandoned it (1710). The British East India Company took possession of the islsnd (1715). The French took possession after the Seven Years War (1767). The French christened it ‘Ile de France' and founded a flourishing sugar industry based on slave labor. Most of the slaves were obtained from Madadagascar. The British captured Mauritius during the Napoleonic Wars (1810). British possession was formally recognized by the Treaty of Paris (1814). The British allowed the French settlers to stay and to use the French language and civil code. Even during the British periodd, the economy was dominated by Franco-Mauritian property owners and businessmen. The British anolished slavery througout the Empire (1833). The slaves on Mauritius were emancipated 2 years later (1835). The planters than turned to indentured Indian laborers. Britain granted independence (1968). Dr. Seewoosagur Ramgoolam became the first president.


Mozambibque is the southern terminus of the Great Rift Valley where archeologuists have found the earliest homanoids. Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from the north and west into what is now Mozambique (1st and 5th centuries AD). Arab traders set up coastal trading posts (bginning in the 8th century). Swahili, a Bantu lannguage, included by contact with Arabs developed as a kind of lengua franca in East Africa. The Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope as a result of decaded long effort to open a sea route to the East, Mozambique was one of the first areas encountered after rounding the Cape. The Portuguese established coastal trading posts, but did not significantly penetrate the interior. Mozambique vbecame a major source of African caoptives for rhe slave trde. The Portuguese did not cooperate in the British effort to end the slave trade which began during g the Napoleonic Wars. Portuguese authorities finally abolished slavery (1878). The Portuguese formlly established a colony (1907). Portugal after World war II made Mozambique an overses province (1951). The Mozambicans watching Britain and Frnce grant independence to their colonies, launced a war for independence (1964). Portuguese authorities after a left-wing coup granted independence to both Angola and Mozambiue (1975). The result was a new indepedent Marxist government. Many educated Mozambicans believed that as they were told by left-wing instructors that socialism was the wave of the future, a scuentific system offering rapid economic development. Socialist and the authoritarian politics that followed with Soviet influence sparked resistance. And vecause the Mozambicans aided South Adrican guerills, the South Africans supported the Mozambique resistance. The result was a 17-year civil war. The war for independence was fought at low levels, the civil war was a different matter. It became a bloody, vicious struggle. Many Mozambicans were adversely affected, especially people in rural areas where the guerillas were active. Hundreds of thousands were killed. More than 1 million Mozambicans fled the country, seeking safety in Malawi which cuts into central Mozambique. Another million Mozambicans sought safe havens within the country. Large numbers of Mozambucans in the countryside migrated to the safety of the cities, especially the coastal cities where the Government maintained control. Agricultural production plumeted, Some authors seek to blame the economic collapse on entirely on the civil war. The wa was certainly a major factor, but the Government's Marxist policies also played a major role. Mozambique country suffered a deep recession as the economy ground to a halt. Food became scarce. At the peak of the civil war, Mozambique ereported one of the lowest per-capita caloric intakes in the world. The 1992 El Niño affected ainfal, precipitating adeadky famine. International releft efforts were impaired by the damage to the country's infrastructure and transportation network as aesult of the civil war, making it difficult to get food to starving people. Feuding political parties also interfered with the relief work. A peace deal ended 16 years of civil war (1992). The country has negun reporting some progress in economic development and a degree of political stability has been achieved.


The pre-history of Naminia is not well understood because there is little archeological evidence and the first written evidence only comes with the Europeans. Presumbably different humanoid species migrated into the region, but left little evidence. The Europeans encountered several African peoples or tribes. The best known are the San people, known as Bushmen. They are the earliest known modern human inhabitants of Namibia and the rest of southern Africa, including Botswana and South Africa. They are believed to have inhabited the region for much of th neolithic era. The San were hunter and gatherers leading a nomadic life wjich left little archeological evidence. They lived on fruits, nuts and roots, but hunted small animals and antelopes. Over more advanced ethnic groups arrived and began displacing the San from large areas of southern Africa (about the 1st century AD). This included th Ovambo and Kavango, and Khoisan peoples. The final group were the Oorians (armed Koisans and other non-whites) and Basters (mulatoes). The only hint of the regions history before the arrival of the Europeans is found in the oral tradition of th various African peoples. This occured mich later in Namibia than in other Aftican areas, largely because the arid offered few enducemebts. European settlment begab very late (early-19th century). This is about the same time that Oorlams (the population descended from the mixture of Malay slaves, Khoi-San, Dutch, and English)crossed the Orange River pressed by the Afrikaaners with horses and guns. These made them he most powerful group in what is now Namibia. They tended substantial herds cattle and goats on land taken from Bantu peoples (the Nama and Herero). The relationship is not well understood. Oral history suugesta a kind of Wild West with cattle raiding, ambushes, drinking, smoking marihuana. orses were needed to tend cattle on wide open landscapes like the Aamerican West. The first Europeans north of the Orange River were missionaries who pursued a 'guns for converts' efforts. The Oorlams maintained trafe links with the Cape Colony and the Afrikaaners. They established a kind of capital at Windhoek, first called Winterhoek. It was the Germans who colonized Naminia, calling in Southwest Africa (1880s), this essentually set off the Scrable for Afric. The Europeans at the Berlin Conference began dividing up Africa and settling conflicting claims (1883). The Germans as newly united and late comers to Africa wound up with scattere fragments and this arid regions that other Europeans saw of little interest. A small detachment of German troops led by Curt Von FranJoise landed at Walvis Bay reportedly desguised as tourists (1889). Walvis Bay at the time was controlled by he British. So the Grmans seized control of Winterhoek nd claimed all of Southwest Africa except Walvis Bay. This was a huge area and the German presence was not large nough to ocupy it all. They commited what is today known as the Herero Genocide. Some 60,000 Hereros and related people were kille out of a total population of some 80,000 people. South Africa occupied the Germn colony as a result of World War I and after the War administered it as a League of Nations mandate territory. After the War, South African without international sanction occupied the country. Namibia achieved independence (1990).


The trans-Saharan caravan trade with slaves an important commodity were a major part of the economy for centuries. The nomadic Tuaregs dominated the caravan trade for much of its exisrence. The Hausa (14th century), Zerma (17th century), Gobir (18th century), and Fulani (19th century) also established themselves in the region now called Niger. The caravan trade towns of Agadez and Zinder are magnificent example of traditional mudbrick architecture. The Hausa moved into southern areas (14th century) followed by the Zerma (17th century), Gobir (18th century), and Fulani (19th century). The modern economy is cetered in the west where some livestock rearing and agriculture is possible. This is becaue the country's namesake, the Niger River cuts across a narrow band of the country there. And it is here where most ofthe population lives. Niger was incorporated into French West Africa (1896). There were frequent rebellions resisting the French. Oneof the primary objections to French rule was traditional Muslim support for slavery. The French finally supressed active resistance and made the area a colony (1922). Niger becam a Fench colony (1921). The first territorial assembly was elected (1946). Niger became an autonomous republic within the French Community which meant approval of the French Constitution (1958). France granted full independence and the country joined the United Nations and withdrew from the French Community, but continued to retain ties with France (1960). There was an era of prosperity, primarily because if uranium mining (1970s). This ended with a fall in uranium prices (1980s). Niger became one of the last countries in the world to outlaw slavery, but has made no effort to enforce the law. The drought of 1968–1975 had a devastating impact on Niger. An estimated 2 million people were on the brink of starvation. The United States and other countries supplied 0.2 million tons of food averting famine..


Nigeria has the largest population in Africa. Vrtually all the native African etnic groups are found in Nigeria. As a result, the Nigerian population and culture is higly diverse. The earliest evidence of human occupation has been found in Nigeroa's central forest belt and in the Niger Delta. The Bantu are the largest tribal group in Africa. And it was in Nigeria that the Bantu and SemiBantu, migrating from southern and central Africa, intermingled with the Sudanese. Subsequently other groups (including Shuwa-Arabs, the Tuaregs, and the Fulanis) reached northern Nigeria in a series of migratory waves south across the Sahara Desert. Nigeria as a result contains more historic cultures and empires than any other other African country. The country's history has beeb traced back to the 5th century BC. The history of African Empires is not well documented as they were pre-literate. There is no substantive evidence that the people of the Jos Plateau were influenced by the Nok culture, or the Eze Nri of today with Igbo Ukwu. The the history of Borno has been dated to the 9th Century when Arabic sources in north Africa noted the kingdom of Kanem centered east of Lake Chad. Other important cultures the Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Benin. Nigeria was one of the many African countries affeced by the slave trade. This began with the Arabs (8th century AD). The Portuguese began the Atlantic slave trade (15th century). Britain after the Napoleonic War began a campaign to enter the slave trade. British navy patrols the coast to liberate captives from slave ships of other nations and to settle them at Freetown in neighboring Sierra Leone. Britain gradualy expanded its role in Nigeria. Britain gradually expanded its role in Nigeria. A British consul at Fernando Po was appointed to assume responsibility for the Bights of Biafra and Benin (1849). He began negotiating with the king of Lagos. It was from here that large numbers of captives were shipped. After these negotiations failed, a British ,ilitary force seized Lagos (1851). From this beginning, the British role in Nigeria steadily grew. The British role in Nigeria was strongest in the south. Frederick Lugard was appointed high commissioner of northern Nigeria with orders to pacify the tribes resisting British rule. The British appoint Lugard governor of both northern and southern Nigeria and ordered to merging them into a united colony (1913). He accomplishes this (1914). After World War II, Nigeria becone independent (1960).


Réunion has a similafr history to Mauritius. It was visited, but not settled by a series of seafarers (Malay, Arab, and finally European mariners beginning with the Portuguese). The small archipelago, cononsists of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Réunion. Portuguese navigator Pedro de Mascarenhas christened the islands the Mascarenes (1512). , The French began the settlement (1642). La Compagnie des Indes Orientales (the French East India Company) sent the the St-Louis. The King of France named the island ile Bourbon. The settlers began the tradition of slavery. Slavery on the island began with settlement, The French settlement created a poopulation of white French landowners and African and Malagasy (Madagascar) slaves (late-17th century). The population was very small and only a few slaces were imported. The French did not show a great interest in Reunion. There was no great rush to populate and develop the island. Few wanted to invest capital or time in the enterprise. The French presence was so tenuous that pirates began using Ile Bourbon as a base for their operagtions and trade there (about 1685). The French East India Company for decades was content to produce provisions only for its own needs and those of any passing ships. This changed when coffee was introduced (1715). Coffee quickly became the island's principlal cash crop which fundamentally changed the economy. The French enslaved more Africans to carry out the intensive labour required for growing and harvesting coffee. The French also introduced other cash crops (cereal grains, spices and cotton).


Anthropologists believe that human occupation of Rwanda probably began after the last ice age. But there is little archaeological evience. The modern history of Rwanda began with the Twa, a Pygmy hunter-gather tribe. The Hutu, a more advanced agricultural people, appeared in the area (7th century). They were a Bantu people, probably migrating for better land from the central Congo basin. They displaced the Twa who retreated into remote jungle areas. The Hutu dominted the area (10th century). Gradually the Tutsi people, a tall cattle-rearing population, from the upper reaches of the Nile migrated into the areas and established dominance over the resident, less militarily organized, Hutu people who were mostly agriculturists. Gradually a number of small kingdoms or chiefdoms began to organize (16th century). King (Mwami) Rwabugiri, a Tutsi, began a decades-long military conquest of the smaller kingdoms (1860). He became essentially the King of Rwanda (late-19th century). His administrative consolidation resulted in his gaining control over most of modern Rwanda. This occured at a time that the European Scrable for Africa was underway. The solated highlands of Rwanda and Burundi, east of Lake Kivu, was the last little piece of Africa to be reached by Europeans--except for Ethiopia which resised European colonization. The colonial powers, first Germany and then Belgium after World War I, as aay of facilitating their administration allied with the Rwandan Tutsi court. Rwanda became part of the Belgian colony of Rwnda-Burundi which bordered on the much larger Belgian Congo. Rwanda after World War II proceeded toward independence as part of not only anti-colonial, but also anti-Tutsi sentiment. Belgium granting national independence (1961). The United Nations sponsored elections in that same year. The current government of Rwanda took power (1962). Grégoire Kayibanda led Rwanda's struggle for independence from Belgium, and replaced the Tutsi monarchy with a republican form of government. The U.N. regonized the Repunic of Rawnda (1962). He asserted Hutu majority power. Unsettled ethnic and political tensions were worsened when Juvénal Habyarimana, who was also Hutu, seized power (1973). The rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) with 10,000 Tutsi refugees from previous decades of unrest, invaded the Rwanda launching the Rwandan Civil War. The war progressed, agrevating ethnic tensions, and more and more Hutus feared losing their democratic gains. Te tragic outcome was the Rwandan Genocide. The Hutu majority rose up and slaughtered more than 0.8 million Rwandans during a horific 100-day period (April 7 to mid-July 1994). Some 70 percent of the Tutsi population was killed along with 30 percent the Pygmy Batwa.


The Sahara Desert has been a major barrier between Europe and most of Africa. Trade routes in ancient times led north across to the Roman Empire, but there were no known direct trade contacts. The medieval Mali, Ghana and Songhai Empires all included pars of modern Senegal. Senegal came in direct contact with Europe when Portuguese navigators began sailing south along the coast of Africa to find a trade route east (15th century). They were soon followed by other Europeans seaking trade with the East. Spain conceded Portugues jurisdiction but the other Europeans (Dutch, English, and French) did not. The Europeans were actively primarily along the coast where they set up trading posts. The principal interest in Senegal was trade--ivory, gold and slaves. The Senegalese coast became a major landing point for the developing Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Eventually the French established a dominant position (by 1659). In the 19th century scramble for Africa, Senegal became a French colony. Thev French incorporated Senegal into French West Africa (1895). It was France's most important colony in West Africa. The colony was ruled without in local government. After World War II, Senegal became a French Overseas Territory. The French finally established a territorial assembly (1946). France gradually expanded the authority of that assembly. France attempted to hold on to its colonial empire after the War, but the Viet Nam War and the Algerian War changed French policy. France granted independence (1960). Senegal seceded from the newly created Federation of Mali. Leopold Sedar Senghor was the first president. He served as president for two decades. National politics were monopolised by the Parti Socialiste Sénégalais (PSS) He was followed by Adbou Diouf, who has held onto the office ever longer than Senghor. Parliament passed a law permitting him to be president for life (1998). This proved to be a short-lived attempt. PPS rule was ended by a democratic movement--Sopi (Change) (2001-02). Senegal has been more stable since independence than many African countries. There is a separtist movement in the heavily Muslim north.


The Seychelles are a group of 115 volcanic islands in the western Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar and about 800 miles east of Zanzibar. The archipelago covers a considerable area, but the actual land area and population make the Seuchelles the smallest country of Africa. The Seychelles were uninhabitd until the modern era. It is likely that Austronesian and subsequently Maldivian, but there are mot reports and no settlement. Nor did Arab traders report encountering the islands. One author had reported the the remains of Maldivian mariners on Silhouette Island (12th century AD). Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama was the first person to report sighting the islands (1502). He named them the Amirantes after himself. They were still uninhabited. The Islands became a kind of transit point betweem Africa and Asia and were used by pirates. The French finally began to take an interest. Captain Nicholas Morphey laid a Stone of Possession (1756). The islands were named by the French after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, one of Louis XV’s Minister of Finance. The Islands were colonized by France during the Seven Years War (1768). France and Britain were at the time contesting control of India. Britain seized control during the Napoleonic Wars and control was formally transferred under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1814). The population is of Afro-European ethnicity. They speak French patois desite becoming a British crown colony. Britain granted independence (1976). As in much of Africa, the new nation experienced a mercenary invasion, an abortive army mutiny, and several coup attempts. The Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) is the ruling party. Party head Albert Rene came to power in a bloodless coup ny ousting president James Mancham. Rene enunciated a program of giving poorer people a greater share of the country's wealth. He ended multi-party elections. Although bloodless, 10,000 people fled the island. Tanzanian troops helped Rene defeat an effort by South African mercenaries to restore Mancham to power (1981). An army mutiny (1982) and several attempted coups also failed. Rene also failed to measurably improve the economy. Finally responding to to pressure from foreign creditors and aid donors, Rene restored multi-party democracy (1991). The Seychelles only began to achieve political stabilty (1990s). The Islanders now have a stanle multi-party political system and are experiencing economic prosperity. Gradually the Seychelles achieved political stability and economic prosperity.

Sierra Leone

The Bulom people are believed to have been the first inhabitants of what is now Sierra Leone. have nothing to do with the previopus history. More recently the Mende and Temne peoples have diominated the area (15th century). Subsequently the Fulani people moved into the area. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore south along the western coast of Africal. They named the region--Sierra Leone (lion mountains). Britain established a oresence at Freetown (1787). The plan was to establish a home for blacks who had served in the British armed forces and a smaller number of runaway slaves who had managed to find asylum in London. BritAin claimed the coastal area around Freetown as a cololony during the Napoleonic Wars (1808). Britain retained the Portuguese name for the region. Freetown would play a role in the British campaign against the Atlantic slave trade. The British proclaimed a protectorate over the interior (1896). Like many small African countries, history is somplicated by the fact that the modern borders established by European colonial rulers. Britain granted independence (1961). A military coup overthrew the civilian government (1967). Civilian rule was returned (1968). The country declared itself a republic as parr of a move away from Britain and democracy (1971). Another military coup was attempted (1971). Primeminister Siaka Stevens requested assistance from neighboring Guinea. Guinean troops remained in the country for 2 years. Stevens during this period began the process of turning Sierra Leone into a one-party state under the control of the (APC). Maj. Gen. Joseph Saidu Momoh succeeded Stevens as president (1986). This was formalized when the APC was made the the only legal party. Rebel soldiers opposed to dictatorial APC rule overthrew Momoh (1992). They announced a desire to return to a multi-party democratic system. Another military coup ousted the country's military leader and president (1996). A previously-announced multi-party presidential election proceeded (1996). People's Party candidate Ahmad Tejan Kabbah won with nearly 60 percent of the vote and thus after over three decades if indeopebdence, he became the country's first democratically elected president.


This East African country juts out into the Indian Ocean south of the Arabian Peninsula. It was Islamicized soon after the Arab outburst. Arab and Persian traders, both acgtive in the Indian Ocean, established posts along the Horn of Africa (7th-10th centuries). Nomadic tribes continued to control the interior, occasionally pushing into Ethiopian territory. Nominal Turkish rule extended to the northern coast (16th century). ,The sultans of Zanzibar gained control in the south and introduced slavery as a major part of a developing plantation economy. The British occupied Aden at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula (1839). This was part of an effort to secure sealanes between Britain and India. Aden was an important Royal Navy port in the campasign to end the Indian Ocean slave trade. The Somali coast was an important source of food for Aden because the arid conditions on the arabian Peninsula limited agricuilture. The Horn of Africa was colonized by the Europeans in the mid- and late-19th century. The French established a coal-mining station at Djibouti (1862). This became known as French Somaliland. The Italians founded a settlement in Eritrea. Egypt which became independent from the Ottaman Empire, laid claim to the former Ottoman territories in the area, but did not have the naval power to enforce them. The British with the powerful Royal Navy did and they saw the area as important to trade routes through the Suez Canal to India. A British colony was established in the north (1884). The colonization of the area resulted in the liberation of large numbers of Africans that had been enslaved by Arabs (the Sultan of Oman/Zanzibar) operating plantations. British and an Italian protectorates occupied what is now Somalia. Italy invaded Ethiopia and created a vast East African colony (1935). The British defeated the Italians in World War II, liberating Ethiopia and occupying Italian Somaliland (1941). After the War it became a U.N. Trusteeship. Somalia was formed during the de-colonization proces following World War II. The former British and Italian Somaliland were united (1960). French Somaliland to the east remained separate as Dijibouti. The country consists of coastal lowlands and a largely arid interioir lateau. The border is disputed with Ethiopia. This is a source of friction as well as the presence of ethnic Somalisin Ethiopia and Kenya. The population until recently was largely nomadic. After a war with Ethiopia and the overthrow of a long-time dictator, Somalia has descended into anarchy.

South Africa

The Dutch created the first European settlement in Southern Africa, located at Capetown near the strategic Cape of Good Hope. The Dutch ceeded the Cape Colony to Britain (1814) near the end of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. Conflict with the British began almost at once, but intensified after the British freed the slaves that the Boers still held (1834). The Boers decided to place themselves beyond British authority and about 7,000 intrpid pioneers emmigrated north in the Great Trek (1835-40). More Boer emmigrants followed and three states were created: the Orange Free State, Natal, and the Transvaal. Wars were fought both between the Boers and the native people. The Xhosa war was fought at the Fish and Kieskama rivers Eastern Cape. Later the Zulu wars were in the then Natal now Kwazulu province. The question of national jurisdiction was not finally settled until the Boer War (1899-1902). The various colonies were combined in the Union of South Africa (1910). Modern South Africa is a union of British and former Boer Republics (1910) with their diverse populations.

South Sudan

Civil war broke out even before independence was achieved. Nimeri ended the 17-year-civil war in the rebellious Christian south by signing the Addis Adaba Agreement, allowing for the internal autonomy of Equatoria. A secular government might have been able to make the compromise work with autonomy and power sharing with with the African Christian south. Islamicists who came to dominate the Arab north were not willing to compromise, but instead set out to Islamicize the south. Nimeri changes his policy. Renewed violence in the south the growing strength of the Muslim Brotherhood in the north were factors here. Nimeri amends Sudanese law to bring it into line with the strict and punitive Islamic legal code, the sharia (1983). He also abrogates the Addis Adaba Agreement, ending southern autonomy bringing Equatoriana back under central administration, meaning northern rule. The attempt to impose Sharia led to renewed civil war between the Arab Islamic north and the Christian African south. The Arab north possessed most of the modern weapons. Open warfare broke out (1983). Air attacks were carried out on southern villages. The victory of the NIF Muslim fundamentalists result in the intensification of Government efforts to defeat the southern rebellion. The rebellion is led by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA). The war with the northern secularists gone acquires the character of Jihad with added ethnic undertones. Newly Impassioned Arab mujaheddin move south with the Army to confront the African Christian infidels. This was poorly reported in the Western press and ignored in the Arab media. Government forces seized women and children and brought north as slaves, An aspect of the Mahdist tradition was the widely accepted belief among fundamentalist Muslims was that that the Koran condones the enslavement of non-Muslims. The result is devastation and suffering. An estimated 2 million people were killed, mostly Christian civilians. Another 3 million southerners became displaced refugees. The Government succeeded in devastating the south and killing civilians, but is, however, unable to defeat the SPLA militarily. The cost of pursuing the war finally convinced even the Islamicists that compromise is needed (mid-1990s). The government and the SPLA agree to hold a referendum on self-determination in the south (1998). A second Sudanese civil war developed and only ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005). Part of that agreement was the restoration of southern autonomy. It also provided for a referendum to allow the people of southern Sudan to determine their political future. The Republic of South Sudan in East Africa is the world's newest country (2011). It is the southern area of the Sudan with its capital at Juba. Independence followed several decades of civil war. The southern Sudanses voted decisively for independence (2011). There are many difference between north and south, including religions, languages, ethnicity, food and traditions. The north is culturally Arab, but many are dark skinned.


The modern Sudan or the area beyond the first Nile cataract. was known as Kush. Sudan through much of its history has been closely associated with Egypt. This began with Kush and pharonnic Egypt. It was conquered by the more advanced Egyptians who gradually advanced up the Bile. Some of the great mounments of ancient Egypt were built in Kush. A Cudshite dynasty conquered Egypt becoming the 25th Dynasty. They were conquered by the Assyriand (7th century BC). The Kushites withdrew up the Nile beyond the reach of the Assyrians and here survived for centuries. The Romans knew themn as Nubians. They became Chritisanized and survived the Arab invasions for a millenium. Sudan is an abreviation for the Arabic bilad as-sudan--"land of the blacks". The Nubians.Sudanese sdurvived in part by paying a tribute in slaves. Geography through the Nile River made Sudan a natual conduit from Equitorial Africa to the Mediterraneam and slaves were one of the primary item involved in this trade. The Koran condoned slacery, especially the enslaving of non-Muslims. The slave trade became am imporant part of the Sudanese econmmy. his brought them into conflict with both the Egyptians and British in the late-19th century. The British launched a major effort both to end the slace trade and to expand the Empire. One result was the Mhadist revoly (1880s). With indepencence, the Aran-dominated Sudanese goverment has no only turned a vlinf eye to slavery, but used it as a tool afainst Africans in the civil war. The Arab government has also been implicated with genocide in Darfur.


Swaziland is a small independent southern African kingdom set between South Africa and Mozamibque. The terraine is mostly mountenous and plateau. Britain guaranteed autonomy for the Swazis in the late 19th century. The Kingdom was a made a South African protectorate (1894), just before the Boer War, but never included as part of South Africa. Britain assumed the protectorateship (1903). Britain granted independence (1968). The Kingdom was essentilly an absolute monarcghy. Student and workers began to stage orotests, demanding political reforms (1990s). King Mswati III decided with little enthusism to allow some political reforms and greater democracy. He has not, however, followed through with mny of his commitments. The Kingdom's first constitution finally came into effect (2006). The political priocess is not, however, well defibed. The King has not allowed the African United Democratic Party to register as an official political party. Talks between the government and progressive groups over constitutional politicalprocesses failed (2007).


Few countries have a longer history than Tanzania. Archaeologist postulate that an estimated 3.6 million years ago, a party of two or three homonids trekked across the plain at Laetoli near Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania. They left their footprints in a blanket of volcanic ash. Mary Leakey uncovered them in 1978. She identified them as the steps of mam's earliest known ancestors--Australopithecines, whose remains have been found only in East Africa (Tanzania and neigbboring Kenya). Modern Tanzania is the union of Zanzibar and Tanganika. Zanzibar was an Arab emirate which for centuries was a key port in the Arab Indian Ocean slave trade. The emirs were pressured by the British during the 19th century end the Indian Ocean slave trade. Zanzibar became a British protectorate (1890). Britain while suppressing the slave trade did not intervene substantially in domestic matters like education. The country today is peopled by more than 120 tribes of varying size and origins. The Swahilia language oiginated along the coast of Tanzaniaith an Arabic base. The first Europeans to reach Tanzania was the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama (late-15th century). The Portuguese seized control of both Zanzibar and the coastal area. Omani Arabs seized control of Zanzibar (1699). The Germans, anxious to have an empire, seized control of what is now Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi--German East Africa (late 19th century). The British and Germans reached a deal as a part of the European Scranble for Africa. Tasnzania was a quiet part of the German Empire except for the Maji Maji revolt (1905). The British during World War I seized control of German East Africa. The British colony became Tanganika, as a League of Nations mandate. Britain granted Tanganika independence within the Commonwealth (1961). As Britain began granting independence to its colonies, the situation on Zanzibar became unstable. After riots on Zanzibar following independence (1963), the island was united with Tanganika to form Tanzania (1964).


Togo like the other Gulf of Guinea West African countries is a strip of land projecting into the interior from the coast. The coast is close to the equator. Phosphates are mined arounf Lake Togo. Togo formed part of the Slave Coast. Captives brought from the interior by native and Arab slavers were bought and transported to the Americas (17th amd 18th century). The British Royal Navy began assive effort to end the slave trade (19th century). The Germans created the protectorate of Togoland (1884). It was one of the German African countries obtained during the Scramble for Africa. After the creation of the German Empire (1871), Germany moved to acquire overseas colonuies like other European countries. Togoland was obtained under the terms of a Treaty of Togoville (1884). Germany declared a protectorate over a stretch of territory on the Gulf of Guina and gradually moved into the interior. It proved to be Imperial Germany's only self-supporting colony. Only a few days after the outbreak of World War I, British and French units invaded Togoland. German forces were outnumbered but resisted and did not finally surrender until 2 years later (August 1916). The Allies partitoned Togoland for administrative purposes. This was formalized after the War when Togoland became a League of Nations mandate. We note a postcard made by French missionaries, presumably in the 1920s. After World War II, the British-ruled western part was incorporated into what is now indpendent Ghana. France granted self government (1956) nd independence (1960). Togo was one of many African cuntries that declined economically after independence. The country is among the poorestin Africa. It also developed a negative reputation for its abisimal human rights record and political governance. The country's long serving strong-arm leader (2005) resulting in a succession crisis and political violence. President Faure Gnassingbe managed to succeed his father, but in a manner thaty lacked democratic creditability. Togo has encountred international pressure to hold legitimate parliamentary elections and improve its human rights record. Thousands fled to Benin after 2005 election violence


Uganda is located in the Great Rift Valley where ancient hominids have been found. The countries of the Rift thus have humanities longest known history. Most of it, however, is pre-history. Thus we have to anthropologists and archeologits for the early history of Uganda which litterally goes back millions of years. The earliest people popultion we have any infomation on is the Bantu peoples who were engaged in agriculture (about 1000 BC). Sub-Saharan Africa had no written language until contact with the Arabs and Europeans. Iron working technology has been noted (around 1000 AD). Important social and political developments began with the appearances of chiefdomnates or small kingdomses in the fertile south and west. This included the Ankole, Buganda, Bunyoro, Busoga, and Toro kingdoms (17th and 18th centuries). Trade links were formed with Arab Sudan. Slaves were the major commodity which dominated the regional economy at the time. The Uganda chieftanates formed alliances which shifted over time. Eventually the Buganda Kingdom allied to the powerful Shirazis of Zanzibar, became the dominant power in what is now Uganda. Bugada gave Uganda its name. Zanzibar was the center of the East African/Inian Ocean slave trade. Buganda was ruled by Kabaka (traditional kings). They wre not absolute leaders. There authority was limited by a council of nobles. Buganda devloped a standing army and an important agriculture base. As a result, when Britain began its campaign against the Indian Ocean slave trade, Buganda was had thus not devestated economically. Arabs traders dominated the area in the 19th century. The region was unknown to Europeans until the late-19th century when explorers arrived: John Speke (1862) and Heney Stanley (1875). Britain established a protectorate (1894) and later annexed adjacent territory. Uganda became independent with Sir Edward Mutessa II who was king of the Buganda Tribe (1962) Prime-minister Obote removed Mutessa and declared Uganda a "unitary" state (1966). Iddi Amin staged a military coup and waged a virtual reign of terror. This had adevestating impact on the Ugandan econonomy as did his expulsion of the country's South Asians. The country, especially the economy, has never fully recovered. Modern Uganda is engaged in a guerilla war with the nilhisic Lords Resistance Movement.


Eastern Zambia touches on the southern teminus of the Great Rift Valley. As a result, evidence has been found of early Homonoids, including Homo rhodesiensis. The area was terrorized by Arab slave traders operating from Zanzibar durung the 18th and 19th centuries. The capitves were transported to both the Middle East through Zanzibar and European colonies (especiually Portuguese cilonies) through Mozambique and to a lesser extent Angola. Europeans did not enter the interior until the mid-19th century. Dr. David Livingston passed through Barotseland (werstern Zambia). He eventually discovered Vicoria Falls (1855) as part of his explorations of East Africa. His writings inspired missionaries to enter the area north of the Zambezi. They were followed by explorers, hunters and prospectors with varied motives. The European prospectors discovered deposits of copper in the area now known as the Copperbelt. Empire builder Cecil Rhodes obtained mineral rights from African chiefs (1880s). The area became known as Northern Rhodesia and was administered by the British South Africa Company which Rhodes owned (1890s). Zambia blocked the route of Rhodes great dream, an unbroken British rail line from Cairo south to Capetown. Britain made Barotseland a protectorate (1891) and governed it from Rhodesia. It was controlled by the British South Africn Company (1911), The British separated the colony into northern and southern colonies (1923). It was Northern Rohodesia eventually became Zambia. Direct British rule was established (1924). The colony afte World war II became part of the Federation Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953). Britain granted independence (1964). Zambia with its vast mineral resources is one of the great failuresin Africa. Dr Kenneth Kaunda became President and remained so for the next 27 years. The great hopes of independence proved illusionary inder Kaunda, inept and corupt rule. Criticism and opposition was not allowed. Kaunda declared hisUNIP the only legal party and himself the sole presidential candidate (1972). Governmental corruption and mismanagement along with debilitating civil wars in neighbouring states, left the Zambian economy in tatters.


Archeologists have found evidence of Stone Age cultures in the area of modrn Zimbanwe (100,000 BC). Etnnologists believe that the San people, who now inhabit the Kalahari Desert, descended from Zimbabwe's original population. The Shona gradually came to dominate the area developed a gold and ivory trade with the coast where the Arabs and later the Europeans set up trading posts. Arab slave raiders penetrated from the Indian Ocean coast. The Shona established a strong kingdom with its capital at the ancient city of Zimbabwe--Munhumutapa (mid-15th century). Munhumutapa split by the end of the 15th century. The southern part became the Urozwi Kingdom which dominated the area for two centuries until the arrival of the Ndebele and soon after the British. Cecil Rhodes obrained mimeral rights from African chiefs (1880s). The British occupied the country (1890). The British separated the colony into northern and southern colonies (1923). Northern Rohodesia eventually became Zambia. Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing colony dominated by the white minority. There was a feeraioin with Nyasaland. Rhodesia was a prosperous colonies with bright prospects as an independent country. Ian Smith's right wing party won elections (1962). Britian refused to grant independence without a degree of blak majority participation. Smith's party won a sweeping party won a sweeping victory (1965). He declared Rgodesia independent. Britain refused to recognize this and asked the United Ntions to apply sanctions. The result was the Bush War and international sanctions. The Lancaster House Agreement ended the War and provided a transitin to majority rule (1980). Britain granted the clony independence with a new name--Zimbabwe. The Government dominated by guerrilla leader Rober Mugabe gradually turned the country unto a dictatorship. Under his rule, the once productive economy steadily deteriorated and by the 2000s Zimbabwe was one of the poorest countries in Africa.


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