AFRICAN HISTORY AFRICAN CIVILIZATION HISTORY OF AFRICA

Afrihist

Multiregional and monoregional theories of human origins point to Africa as the birthplace of humanity.

Several molecular biologists and paleontologists confirm this to date.

The evidence so far implies that the first humans in the world (homo sapiens) emerged in Africa about 200,000 years ago and migrated to the various continents much later-perhaps as recent as 45,000 years ago, in the case of migration to Europe.

We note the 4 million year old fossils of Ardi and those of Dinknesh (Lucy) and her descendants dated around 3.2 million years.

The1996 discovery in Southern Ethiopia of stone tools 2.6 million years old is relevant to this discussion.

The Kenyan -Ethiopian- Tanzanian region seems to be an important birthplace of modern humans.

Not surprisingly,however, some find it difficult to reconcile the Book of Genesis with scientific findings.

A common view in the scientific community is that Ancient Africans migrated within Africa, vertically and horizontally, as well as OUT OF AFRICA to populate the world.

For views on the African and Afro-Pacific (Afro-Australian) origins of some Ancient Americans, such as the Ancient Brazilians, see Dr.Walter Neves,University of Sao Paolo, Brazil (BBC Homepage: Thursday August 26, 1999).

See also Spencer Wells of in his pathbreaking work 'Journey of Man: The Story of the Human Species' (PBS, 2003). Consult www.pbs.org.

The Kushite Spread of Haplogroup R1*-M173 from Africa to Eurasia(Winters, 2010)

Having emerged millions of years ago in the environs of present day Ethiopia and Kenya, some ancient Ethiopians and Eritreans migrated into neigboring Yemen (Saba), across the Red Sea.

Legends of the area, view Queen Makeda, also known as the Queen of Sheba (Saba) and Ethiopia, as an Ancient Ethiopian. Biblical texts such as 1 Kings 10, 'The Song of Solomon', and, Ancient Ethiopian chronicles such as the 'Kebra Nagast' tend to reflect this view.

As pointed out by historians such as Stuart Munro-Hay Aksum was an African civilization.

It was one of many centers of power to emerge in the environs of ancient Ethiopia and Eritrea, and, was predominantly derived from the intellectual and material resources of ancient Africa.

See some relevant resources:

Note AFRICAN LEGACY, and the significance of a range of newly discovered sites, which include:

The world's oldest stone tools dated 3.3 million years.

The discovery in Ethiopia of skeletal remains of homo erectus- 1.3 million years old. Olduvai, Northern Tanzania hosts the third oldest tools- dated 2.1 million years.

Note also, Blombos Cave, South Africa, where, in 2003, the world's oldest jewelry were found, in the form of 41 perforated shell beads.

Here we have evidence of stylized art work, as well as 'the kind of symbolism and creativity associated with modern humans.'.... now dated 100,000 years ago.

See South Africa museums,Cape Town.
(www.museum.org.za/sam/muse/9904/htm)

At Loiyangalani, Tanzania,East Africa, in the Serengeti National Park, decorated ostrich eggshell beads were discovered by archeologists.

These point also to early human creativity, and were found March 2004, in layers dated between 280,000 and 40,000 years.

See www.CBC.ca/stories/2004/03/31/sci-tech/beads040331.

We must also take into account:

The Ishango mathematical/calendar artifact of East-Central Africa, dated about 25,000 years.

(This artifact was taken out of the Congo region to Belgium.

See the exhibit at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium. )

Also in this category of early mathematical artifacts is the 37,000 year old Lebombo bone of SWAZILAND, Southern Africa.

The Blombos findings of South Africa, earlier mentioned, include symbolic inscriptions of straignt and diagonal lines, according to Henshilwood (2009).These finds are approximately 60,000 years older than the Lebombo artifact, according to recent dating.

Other relevant sites include:

Rock Art in Southern Africa

In 2007 Swiss archeologists found ancient pottery in Mali, West Africa, dated 9400 BCE.

Ancient pots in this range have also been found in Niger, West Africa Malian Pots- Swiss Info

(h) Africa's oldest boat has been found in Ancient Nigeria - 8000 years old, the oldest in the continent and the third oldest in the world.

Dufuna Boat

Extract from the inscriptions on the walls of the funeral palace of Queen Hatshepsut, at Dar al-Bahri. See Hilliard,C.'Intellectual Traditions of Pre-Colonial Africa.' McGraw Hill, 1998.
'Measuring the fresh myrrh, in great quantities, for Amon, lord of Thebes; marvels of the countries of Punt, treasures of God's-Land, for the sake of the life, prosperity and health.....'

Here is an example of Egyptian sentiments about Punt:

'When I hold my love close and her arms steal around me, I'm like a man translated to Punt....'
Foster,John. Love Songs of the New Kingdom.Univ. of Texas, 1992.p.25

WEST AFRICA

Benin Iya, the Benin Enclosures and Fortifications, West Africa, 10,000 miles in length. This is one of the largest man-made structures in the world according to the renowned British archeologist Patrick Darling. The Gwoza Terraces of NE Nigeria, West Africa The Walled Cities of Zazzau & Kano, Northern Nigeria, West Africa Monumental fortifications of West Africa 1000AD (wall 100 miles long x 70' high) - commissioned by Madame Sungbo of the Ijebu Kingdom, Yorubaland, West Africa. Note numerous metallurgical and other artifacts such as: The Bronzes of Benin, Ife and Igbo-Ukwu, Nigeria, West Africa Indigenous Glassworks of Bida, Nupeland, Nigeria, West Africa Ancient Terracotta Figurines of Nok, Nigeria, West Africa

Southern Africa

Innovations and Indigenous Technology in Great Zimbabwe

Despite eurocentric strategies of disinformation, Africans developed knowledge systems of their own in the pre-colonial era. Some survived into the post-colonial era, despite various forms of colonial intimidation. In the case of writing, the use of specific scripts was often confined to the priestly hierarchy.

Africans in various parts of the continent developed a wide range of symbols and motifs for communicating various ideas and concepts. The variety of writing material used in some parts of the continent, historically, reflects the complex history of Africa's writing systems which in the past were in scribed on materials such as parchment, papyrus, leather, skin, fabric, sand, clay, and metal more extensively in some parts of the continent than others. Among some of the writing systems (Ayele Bekerie)

Geez (Ethiopia), Meroitic (Nubia), Hieroglyphics (Egypt), Bamum(Cameroon), Vai (Liberia), Nsibidi (Nigeria/Cameroon), Ajimi (Nigeria/Niger)and the Adinkra pictographic system (Akan- Ghana,Ivory Coast)

But Africans also developed a wide range of sophisticated systems of oral expression involving the preservation and transmission of information in oral format.In some cases these systems coexisted with the above-mentioned writing systems. Texts such as the epic of Sundiata (Mali) or the Abuja Chronicle (Nigeria) are good examples of works which were originally in this mode.

See Johnson, Hale and Belcher, African Oral Epics, 1997

SELECTED PRIMARY SOURCES ON ANCIENT AFRICA

On-line Newsletter of African Studies

Send comments to Dr Gloria Emeagwali, Professor of History and African Studies, CCSU
emeagwali@mail.ccsu.edu
Phone : 860-832-2815