Nilo-Saharan Farmers Spread Cultivation and Herding (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Nilo-Saharan speakers spread the practices of cultivation and herding westward across the Sahara and the Sudan Belt into the Eastern Sahara and also eastward across the upper Nile plains; these practices led to the establishment of farmsteads and the production of cotton textiles and leather products.
Summary of Event
One of the most remarkable early events in the history of Africa is the shift from food consumption by way of collection to food production in farming and herding. In the long view, agricultural production and animal husbandry created new opportunities and resources that had a major impact on all aspects of society, economy, and politics throughout the continent.
One of the independent inventions of agriculture linked to animal husbandry took place between 6500 and 5000 b.c.e. among Nilo-Saharan people. The Nilo-Saharan language family includes groups as diverse as the Kanuri of Kanem-Bornu region in the central Sahel and the Luo and Maasai of eastern Africa. Before true cultivation, Nilo-Saharan speakers collected wild grains and in time added wild grass (sorghum, fonio, pearl millet) to their repertoire. Along with grain collection came important technologies such as grindstones and pottery, which the archaeological record reveals preceded the development of agriculture by as much as two millennia. Although still collectors of grasses and grains, the Nilo-Saharan communities...
(The entire section is 1252 words.)
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