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  • 1. Africa Illuminating the “Dark Continent”
  • 2. Geography of Africa
    • Northern Mediterranean
    • The Sahara
    • The Sahel
    • The Niger, Congo, and Nile Systems
    • The Rift Valleys and the Great Lakes
    • South Africa
  • 3. The Dawn of Humanity
    • The “Out of Africa” thesis and Leakey’s “3 Firsts”
    • The Rise of Homo Sapiens
    • The Rift Valleys
    • Agriculture and Sedentary Society
    • The Green Sahara
  • 4. The Bantu Migrations
    • The Khoi and the San
    • Iron Age technology and the Nok
    • Hiving-off and linguistic derivation
    • Leaving the cows behind: the Tsetse belt
    • The Indonesian Connection
  • 5. Early African Empires
    • Egypt: African or Near Eastern?
    • Kush and the domination of Egypt
    • Meroe and Ironworking
    • Kleptocracy and underdevelopment
    • Axum and the Lion of Judah
    • Adulis and Hellenistic trade
  • 6. African Social Life
    • The primacy of states
    • Kinship structures
    • Informal relations of gender
    • The role of religion and African shamanism
    • The “Big Man” system of rule
    • Varieties of state formation
  • 7. African Proto-states
    • Ghana: Land of Gold
    • Islam in Africa
    • Swahili Culture
    • Mali
    • Mansa Musa
    • Songhai
    • Sunni Ali
  • 8. Summary
    • The History of Africa, long-neglected and misunderstood by the West, is only now being understood in more clarity and rigor. The demographic and climactic challenges faced by the peoples of Africa led to a unique path of social construction, one that often revealed unity within its apparent division. Nonetheless, the notion that Africa was isolated and disengaged from the wider world has been decisively relegated to the past.