Chapter 8 Early African Civilizations: 1800 B.C.-1235 A.D. 

Africa had a long history, which reveals growth, change, and interactions with the outside world. It was a leading center of early human development.  Africans created technologies to adapt to their environment, established social relationships and political societies, and they also contributed to the growth of material civilization. Many states and kingdoms emerged, with complex political, economic and social institutions. Historians have uncovered the history of early Africa by relying on a wide range of sources.


1000 B.C.  Many parts of Africa were leaving the Stone Age Civilization behind them.

750 B.C. The city of Carthage was established among the Berbers

350 A.D. Fall of Kush and the Rise of Aksum

1000 A.D. The revival of Ethiopia by the Zagwe dynasty

1050 A.D. The kingdom of Ghana reached the height of its power

1235 A.D. The kingdom of Ghana was eclipsed by the rise of Mali

For centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, most Europeans had distorted and incomplete notions about historical developments in Africa – at least Africa south of the Mediterranean coastal regions. Myths abounded about the “Dark Continent,” as westerners called it, due primarily to their own lack of knowledge about the peoples or even the basic geography of the African interior. In the 19th century, Europeans nicknamed the continent “the White Man’s Grave” because of fast-killing diseases such as malaria, which hindered European exploration and trade. In the last half century, however, the myths have been largely exploded and the history of Africa has become a field for major research and investigation. It is now clear that the patterns of human history have been the same inside Africa as outside it – as elsewhere, the diverse peoples of Africa have survived by adapting to the challenges of their environments. In the process, many established states, both large and small; produced commodities for long-distance trade; and interacted with peoples beyond their own borders, to create a rich and varied cultural mixture.