African History?

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Bob the Gunslinger
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African History?

Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2018-02-21 10:37pm

I am looking for a resource for a layman to learn about African history, preferably a book that covers all of the civilizations that have existed on the continent along with a lot of photographs or illustrations, like a DK Eyewitness book for adults. I am most interest in the cultures that existed before European Colonialism, as well as those that survived the period more or less intact.

I'd also appreciate a similar recommendation for the Americas before colonialism, since that was also overlooked in my education. Thanks.
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Re: African History?

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-02-22 11:18pm

African history is so long and so diverse I kinda doubt you will find a book that covers all of it and yet is worth reading or any better then browsing the interwebs. Egypt with it's ~3,400 BC kind of documented history would just dominate otherwise, while most of the other known African civilizations show up in say 1,000 AD like the Awkar or in many cases, only after the discovery of America, but before African colonialism like say the Zulu Empire.

For the America's one good starting point is this book aimed at more or less exactly what you want for Latin America.
https://www.amazon.com/1491-Revelations ... 1400032059

It's a bit dated now and has some really dumb claims on metalworking early on (claims it was equal to Europe, which is utter nonsense, but not repeated) but otherwise a good read and in large part the major discoveries we've made since it was written only reinforce key points of the authors claims. Particularly that the population of the America's was high and that physical development was widespread, not limited to small niches. Note though that the author is a journalist writing a compilation type work, not a subject expert but it makes for a very approachable work.
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Re: African History?

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-02-23 12:04am

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-02-22 11:18pm
It's a bit dated now and has some really dumb claims on metalworking early on (claims it was equal to Europe, which is utter nonsense, but not repeated)...
Uh, I didn't interpret the passage in question that way. I no longer have a copy, but the extreme of Mann's claim that I recall was that the Incas had metallurgy that was specifically sophisticated in the field of jewelry and decorative metalworking. Not on par in terms of, y'know, being able to make good swords and stuff.
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Bob the Gunslinger
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Re: African History?

Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2018-02-23 12:41am

I should have specified non-Egyptian African history. I already have a couple of books about Ancient Egypt. Thank you for the other recommendation,though!
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Re: African History?

Post by SpottedKitty » 2018-02-23 01:00am

The History of Africa page on Wikipedia has a bunch of links in the first paragraph, including a lot I'd never heard of. There was also a very good documentary series on UK TV a few years back (can't remember the name) about feuding kingdoms in IIRC the Uganda region and around Lake Victoria, although that might be a bit later than what you're looking for — part of it covered their dealings with European colonials.
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Re: African History?

Post by MarxII » 2018-02-23 01:58am

I myself am working through Africans, The History of a Continent by John Iliffe, and can recommend it at least as starting point. There is much on the spread of language groups that may not be the easiest to keep track of, but on the whole I feel it does a good job working around the lack of written records for much of the period you specify.

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Re: African History?

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-02-23 11:43am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-02-23 12:04am
Uh, I didn't interpret the passage in question that way. I no longer have a copy, but the extreme of Mann's claim that I recall was that the Incas had metallurgy that was specifically sophisticated in the field of jewelry and decorative metalworking. Not on par in terms of, y'know, being able to make good swords and stuff.
No it is a really blunt statement that claims it was in no way inferior and that it didn't matter that they didn't value hardness ect..., then rambles on about jewelry as an example of why in which the author pretty much demonstrates that they have no clue what they are talking about. But overall that's the only real problem I saw with it.

Ironic too since the book then gives zero attention to the Tarascan whom where the only place on Mesoamerica whom seemed to be on the verge of major breakthroughs towards widespread bronze age technology. Importantly they were already casting copper items centuries before the Spanish, and created small scale bronze items. I never read his second book 1493 though, perhaps it gives the Tarascan some attention since they became a major part of Spanish rule precisely because they had such an above average culture.
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Re: African History?

Post by Aleister Crowley » 2018-03-03 04:25pm

If you're looking for interesting African cultures, look at the peoples of the Congo, the Yoruba, and the Ethiopians and Eritreans. Egypt is an overfocused one, but it has underrated dynasties that are very worth a historians interest. I would also look at the linguistic aspects of the aformentioned cultures. Yoruba also has a very interesting diaspora in the New World, along with the Fon people. Not to give too much away, but the Fon are associated with Vodou and the Yoruba with Lucumi/Santeria. Some are in Brazil, where they practice Umbanda. Africa has impacted the whole world and yet gets very little recognition. As far as I can tell, they even managed to have influence in India. That is unverified though, so take it with a grain of salt. Happy searching!

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