When did Christianity spread to Africa?

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Christianity came to Africa fairly early in the history of the Christian faith. Initially, Christianity had started as a Jewish movement in the area that nowadays forms Israel and Palestine. However, back in those days, this area had been conquered by the Romans, and therefore formed part of the Roman Empire. Following Jesus’s death, the Christian faith began to slowly spread and expand across the Roman Empire. Since parts of Africa were also part of the Roman Empire, and given their proximity of Egypt to Israel, the new faith quickly arrived on the African continent. In fact, it is said that the Evangelist Mark himself was the very first bishop of Alexandria, a city in Northern Egypt.

From Egypt, Christianity spread further, into neighboring Sudan and other regions of northern and northwest Africa. Carthage, for example, located in the country we nowadays refer to as Tunisia, also soon became an important Christian hub.

Unfortunately, the Christian faith was not always welcomed by the Roman Emperors, which is why Christians were frequently persecuted and had to hide, even in Africa. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Northern Africa was conquered by the Arabs, which lead to a rise of the Muslim faith in these regions and a decline in the numbers of Christians.

In more recent history, Christianity was re-introduced into Africa through the various colonial powers, such as France, Britain and the Netherlands, who frequently sent missionaries into their colonies in an attempt to make the locals follow the Christian faith of their colonial rulers.

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