History of Africa

Third edition

by Kevin Shillington

Table of Contents

  • List of Maps
  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface


  1. Historiography
  2. Geography, climate and vegetation

Chapter 1 Early prehistory of Africa

  1. Human evolution
  2. Homo sapiens, the hunter-gatherer
  3. Further climate change, adaptation and the ancestry of African languages

Chapter 2 Later prehistory: farming and pastoralism in tropical Africa and Ancient Egypt

  1. Crop cultivation, domestication and the origins of farming
  2. The impact of agriculture
  3. The origins of farming and pastoralism in tropical Africa
  4. Ancient Egypt

Chapter 3 The impact of iron in north and west Africa

  1. The spread and impact of early metal-working
  2. Origins of iron-working
  3. The Iron Age Kingdom of Meroe
  4. Iron Age north Africa and early trans-Saharan trade

Chapter 4 The Early Iron Age in central, eastern and southern Africa

  1. Evidence for the spread of iron-working
  2. Origins of the Early Iron Age in sub-equatorial Africa
  3. The spread of the Early Iron Age
  4. The development and organisation of Early Iron Age society

Chapter 5 North and north-eastern Africa to 1000 CE 69

  1. Northern Africa in the Graeco-Roman period
  2. The spread of Christianity in northern Africa
  3. The origins and rise of Aksum
  4. The Arab invasions: the Nile valley and the Maghrib

Chapter 6 Trans-Saharan trade and the kingdom of ancient Ghana

  1. Trans-Saharan trade
  2. The kingdom of ancient Ghana
  3. Other early west African states and societies

Chapter 7 Islam and the Sudanic states of west Africa

  1. The Almoravids
  2. The Muslim states of north Africa, 1100–1500
  3. The empire of Mali
  4. The decline of Mali
  5. The origins and rise of Songhay
  6. The Fulbe (or Fulani)

Chapter 8 Eastern Africa to the sixteenth century

  1. The Christian kingdom of Ethiopia, 850–1550
  2. The Muslim penetration of Ethiopia and Somalia, 850–1550
  3. Pastoralists and farmers of the east African interior

Chapter 9 Trading towns of the east African coast to the sixteenth century

  1. The origins of east African coastal trading society
  2. The growth of Swahili trading towns
  3. The Portuguese on the east African coast, 1498–1600
  4. Madagascar

Chapter 10 Later Iron Age states and societies of central and southern Africa to 1600

  1. The emergence of Later Iron Age states north of the Zambezi
  2. The development of Later Iron Age communities south of the Zambezi
  3. The origins and character of the Great Zimbabwe tradition
  4. Cattle-keeping peoples south of the Limpopo

Chapter 11 North and north-east Africa to the eighteenth century

  1. The ‘Arabisation’ of northern Africa
  2. From Fatimid to Mamluk: Egypt before the Ottoman conquest
  3. Egypt under Ottoman rule
  4. Nubia and the Funj Sultanate
  5. Oromo migrations and the kingdom of Ethiopia
  6. States of the Maghrib, sixteenth to eighteenth century

Chapter 12 The Atlantic slave trade, sixteenth to eighteenth century

  1. Slavery in Africa before the Atlantic trade
  2. The origins of European maritime trade with west Africa
  3. The nature of the slave trade
  4. Profit from the slave trade: the European dimension

Chapter 13 West African states and societies, to the eighteenth century

  1. The fall of the Songhay empire
  2. The sultanate of Borno-Kanem
  3. The Hausa city-states
  4. Wolof kingdoms of Senegambia
  5. Kingdoms of the forest: Ife and Benin
  6. Oyo and Dahomey, savannah states of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
  7. The kingdom of Asante

Chapter 14 Central and eastern Africa to the eighteenth century

  1. Farmers, fishers and hunters of the Congo forest
  2. West-central Africa in the era of the slave trade
  3. Central African empires and the growth of trade
  4. The east African interior west of the Victoria Nyanza
  5. The east African interior east of the Victoria Nyanza

Chapter 15 Southern Africa to the eighteenth century

  1. Southern Africa before 1650
  2. The early Cape Colony: white settlement and Khoesan resistance,1650–1770
  3. States and societies of the southern African interior, 1600–1800

Chapter 16 West Africa in the nineteenth century and the ending of the slave trade

  1. Islamic jihads in the western Sudan
  2. The ending of the Atlantic slave trade
  3. West African commerce in the nineteenth century
  4. Sierra Leone and Liberia

Chapter 17 Central and east Africa in the nineteenth century

  1. West-central Africa in the nineteenth century
  2. Kingdom of the floodplain
  3. The development of long-distance trade in east-central Africa
  4. Invasion from the south: the Ngoni
  5. The east African slave trade
  6. The trade in ivory and slaves in the interior of central Africa
  7. Madagascar: the rise of the Merina kingdom

Chapter 18 Pre-industrial southern Africa in the nineteenth century

  1. State-building and conflict: the mfecane/difaqane and its effects
  2. The British at the Cape
  3. The Boer Trek and African resistance
  4. Southern Africa in 1870

Chapter 19 North and north-east Africa in the nineteenth century

  1. The French in north Africa and Algerian resistance
  2. Egypt and Sudan to the Mahdist jihad
  3. The reunification of Ethiopia

Chapter 20 Christianity and pre-colonial ‘nationalism’

  1. European Christian missionaries in pre-colonial Africa
  2. African Christians and pre-colonialism nationalism
  3. European ‘explorers’: the mapping of Africa as a prelude to Empire

Chapter 21 The European ‘Scramble’, colonial conquest and African resistance in east, north-central and west Africa

  1. The ‘Scramble for Africa’
  2. Conquest and resistance

Chapter 22 Industrialisation, colonial conquest and African resistance in south-central and southern Africa

  1. The southern African mineral revolution
  2. The British ‘Scramble’ for south-central Africa
  3. Wars of conquest and resistance in Mozambique
  4. Conquest and resistance in Namibia
  5. The South African War (1899–1902)

Chapter 23 Consolidation of empire: the early period of colonial rule

  1. Raw materials and markets
  2. Peasant producers, railways and white settlement in British east Africa
  3. Rebellion in the German colonies
  4. Missionaries, Christianity and early expressions of ‘nationalism’
  5. The First World War and Africa, 1914–18

Chapter 24 Africa between the wars: the high tide of colonial rule

  1. The economic impact of colonial rule
  2. The nature and impact of colonial administration
  3. The spread of Islam in tropical west Africa
  4. Education: from pre-colonial tradition to colonial reality
  5. African nationalism and protest movements in the inter-war years
  6. Segregation, nationalism and protest in South Africa

Chapter 25 The Second World War and Africa

  1. Fascist aggression and the Second World War in north and north-east Africa
  2. The impact of the war on Africa and Africans

Chapter 26 The winning of independence (1)

  1. Colonial development strategies
  2. The winning of independence in British west Africa
  3. The winning of independence in French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa
  4. The struggle for independence in the Maghrib
  5. Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia

Chapter 27 The winning of independence (2)

  1. British east Africa
  2. Independence in Belgian-ruled central Africa
  3. Independence on the islands

Chapter 28 The winning of independence (3)

  1. Federation and independence in British Central Africa
  2. The winning of independence in Portuguese-ruled Africa
  3. The struggle for freedom in southern Africa

Chapter 29 Africa since independence (1)

  1. The political legacy of colonial rule
  2. The economic legacy of underdevelopment and dependency
  3. The early drive for economic development
  4. The role of the military in African politics
  5. Socialism and self-reliance: the Tanzanian course

Chapter 30 Africa since independence (2)

  1. The dilemmas of development: debt, climate change and international aid
  2. International cooperation and the Organisation of African Unity

Chapter 31 Contemporary Africa (1)

  1. Democratic progress in the 1990s
  2. North Africa
  3. West Africa

Chapter 32 Contemporary Africa (2)

  1. Eastern and Central Africa
  2. Southern Africa
  3. The HIV/AIDS pandemic
  4. China and Africa
Suggestions for further reading