What is the historical geography of Africa?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As with any area of such a huge size, Africa has a very complex historical geography.  It is only possible to give the briefest outlines here. 

Africa is believed to be the cradle of humanity.  It was in Africa that human ancestors first evolved.  It is also in Africa that modern humans first existed.

Africa is also the site of one of the first great civilizations in history.  This is the civilization of Egypt, which existed along the Nile Valley and in the Nile delta for hundreds of years.  Africa was then home to a number of major civilizations, largely in Western Africa.  These included the Kingdom of Ghana and the Kingdom of Benin. 

After around 700 AD, the kingdoms of Western Africa came in contact with Islam.  This faith came to them through trade with the Mediterranean countries.

One of the next important changes to the historical geography of Africa came with contact with Europe.  This contact led to the creation of the slave trade.  This trade devastated many areas of Western Africa.  Later, Africa came to be colonized by European countries.  Only the countries of Ethiopia and Liberia escaped being colonized.  In the 1960s, the European countries started to give up their colonies and Africa came to be made up of independent nations.

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