Key Events in African History: A Reference Guide

Key Events in African History: A Reference Guide

Key Events in African History: A Reference Guide

Key Events in African History: A Reference Guide

Synopsis

This reference guide to African history provides substantive entries on 36 watershed events that shaped the history of the continent from the prehistoric past to the dawn of the 21st century. Noted African scholar Toyin Falola clearly and articulately chronicles the growth and change of the continent from the agricultural revolution through colonial rule to African independence and the end of apartheid, examining the powerful moments at which Africa became drawn into the global world. Each entry appears in chronological order and consists of a comprehensive essay on the event, its historical, social, and geographic context, and its long-term significance. Many illustrations and maps provide valuable visual tools for the reader. Each entry concludes with suggestions for further reading. A narrative introduction to the history of the continent and a timeline of events place the events in historical and global context.

Excerpt

This is a reference work containing chapters on thirty-six significant events in African history, from the earliest historic times to the present. It is directed toward high school and college libraries as a research tool for students who are taking survey courses in African history. This work should be used alongside a reader in African history. The presentations recognize that the majority of readers and students have little or no knowledge of African history. It is not a textbook—the idea is not to present extensive discussions of economics, political development, and contemporary history but to present an analysis of singular events that shaped the history of the continent.

A timeline of key events in African history opens the book, with entries chosen for overall relevancy to the text matter. Some of the initial dates (B.C.) are approximations. The timeline of the premodern era is more detailed because this represents the longest period in African history, a period that is often ignored in the literature. Then comes an overview of the history of Africa that puts all of the events in their proper historical context. Thirty-six chapters follow, arranged in chronological order. Each chapter discusses a watershed event and consists of a comprehensive essay on the event; its historical, social, and geographic context; and its long-term significance. Suggestions for further reading are presented at the end of each chapter, drawing mainly on books that are accessible to students and teachers, that are easily understood, and that can serve as reference material for detailed research. Many of the illustrations are from my personal collections and photographs of replicas of ancient pieces.

This book explores many of the research findings of the last eight decades. The major events are analyzed in all their wide ramifications, and they reveal just how ancient and diverse the history of the continent. Thus, some events deal with ancient times, showing the high points in a long history. Others deal with the periods of the Arab and Western incursions, showing those powerful moments when Africa became drawn into the global world. It was from Africa that blacks in the

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