Questions tagged [africa]

Africa is the continent on which the human species probably originated. It fostered some of the earliest known civilizations, and contains a vast array of cultures to this day.

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70
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8answers
23k views

Why was Africa colonized last of the continents in the Age of Discovery?

One thing that I always wondered is during the time where European powers were dividing up the world amongst themselves (1500-1900 roughly), why was it that Africa seemed to lag behind in colonization,...
36
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5answers
5k views

Why are many African nations poor?

Many African countries are currently in the bottom parts of socioeconomic rankings like GDP per capita, life expectancy, literacy, HDI, etc. Some of them possess a decent amount of natural resources ...
33
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5answers
8k views

Why isn't Somaliland recognized as a separate country?

The modern country of Somalia is pretty much universally considered a failed state. Within Somalia itself, however, is the de facto state of Somaliland, which if I remember correctly is almost ...
29
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4answers
6k views

Why was sugar cultivation more profitable in the Caribbean/Brazil than West Africa?

The Atlantic slave trade involved the large-scale deportation of West African slaves to sugar plantations on the other side of the Atlantic. Why was it more profitable to do that, rather than to ...
27
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1answer
407 views

Relation between Afroamerican religions and colonial metropoles?

In most of Brazil, Afroamerican religion is Candomblé, which is rooted in Yoruba traditional religion, with influences of Angola-Congo traditions. The main exception is the Northeastern state of ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Are there records of US slaves who practiced Islam following their import from Africa?

Islam has historically been prevalent in many regions of Africa, such as in the Songhai Empire, which was based around Sharia law. It seems plausible to me that some Africans were practitioners of ...
24
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3answers
22k views

Why did Mozambique join the British Commonwealth?

In short, the Commonwealth originated in the British Empire, as an association of Britain and its former colonies. Why did Mozambique (a former Portuguese colony) join?
22
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1answer
4k views

Why didn't Britain or any other European power colonize Abyssinia/Ethiopia before 1936?

It is well mentioned while reading books on Africa or, the colonization or “scramble” for Africa, that two countries, Liberia and Ethiopia/Abyssinia, had retained their sovereignty as independent ...
22
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1answer
867 views

Why were La Réunion and Mauritius uninhabited?

Why were the Mascarenes islands, La Réunion and Mauritius (and Rodrigues), uninhabited until Europeans arrived ? Many islands off the coast of Africa remained uninhabited until the arrival of ...
21
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3answers
2k views

Did Egyptians circumnavigate Africa in three years during Nekau's reign?

I read in an old High School-level History book* that during the reign of Nekau (or Necho II), during the Saita Period, someone called "Hamon" circumnavigated Africa in three years. However the book ...
19
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3answers
3k views

Did Julius Caesar say: “Africa, I have grabbed you”?

Someone once told me that when Julius Caesar stepped off the boat onto the North African shore, he tripped and landed flat on his face, to which he then said (in an amazing comeback to onlookers ...
19
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2answers
1k views

Why was the area now known as Liberia chosen as the location for repatriation of African slaves in the US?

The American Colonization Society thought that colonizing Africa for the purpose of returning US slaves to Africa was the solution to slavery problems. Why, and how, did they come to decide that the ...
18
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2answers
5k views

Approximately how much travel time was saved by the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869?

Understanding that there were a few variables involved, approximately how much travel time was saved by no longer having to travel around Africa after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869?
16
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2answers
594 views

Was there a serious proposal to offer India territory in East Africa?

In the recent World Service series The War That Changed The World the episode dealing with India contains a rather extraordinary claim. A panel member, an Indian, says there was a notion during WW1 ...
15
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4answers
8k views

How long would it take to travel from England to western Africa in the late 1890's?

I am trying to do some research for a book I am planning to write, and I would like to know how long it would take for a troop transport ship to travel from England to the Gold Coast region of Africa. ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Why did Kabila discard the name and flag of Zaire?

Early in Mobutu's long spell in power he instituted a policy of Authenticité, promoting African names over colonial ones. As part of that policy the name of the country was changed from Congo to Zaire....
14
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5answers
10k views

Why did France put so many resources into fighting Algeria in comparison to its other former colonial holdings?

Why did France put so many resources into fighting Algeria in comparison to its other former colonial holdings? Was there anything unique about the French-Algerian relationship. On Wikipedia it says ...
14
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1answer
727 views

Why did Guinea vote so differently in the 1958 French constitutional referendum?

In the 1958 French constitutional referendum, 79.3% of Metropolitan France and 82.3% of the territories voted in favor of the constitution. Out of the latter, votes in favor ranged from 64.40% in ...
13
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7answers
6k views

Is there a correlation between the colonial power and the stability/success of the post colonial state?

Looking at the history of Ghana relative to many post-colonial African states, it appears to be quite a successful and stable nation-state, both politically and economically, compared to many other ...
13
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3answers
15k views

Is there any truth to the claim that freed slaves who moved to Liberia enslaved the local population?

This claim was made in a documentary I saw on youtube called 'The Cannibal Warlords of Liberia' at about 1:22, as well as on the blog BloggingWithoutMaps I can't find strong sources to back this ...
13
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2answers
529 views

How does Nigeria stay together?

My naive mental picture of Nigeria - the second largest economy in Africa - is as follows: A Muslim North scratching out a living in the Sahara desert A nominally Christian South making money on the ...
13
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4answers
6k views

How did the Tutsis win the civil war in Rwanda after 70% of them had been killed?

I read an assertion that as high as over 70% of Rwanda's Tutsis were killed in the Rwanda genocide. Yet immediately after the genocide the anti-government Tutsi rebel group NPF successfully defeated ...
13
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1answer
493 views

“Year without a summer” 1816 effects on Africa

I have found quite a bit of information on the farming and societal effects of the volcanic eruption of Mt Tambora in 1815, but they all talk about North America, Europe and Asia. I wondered if there ...
12
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3answers
5k views

Why would the Rhodesians trust Blacks in their army?

I was reading about Rhodesia and found that there were Blacks serving in the Rhodesian military. The caption of this picture asserts that they were the majority of the millitary! I would have ...
12
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3answers
976 views

How powerful was the Malian empire?

I heard someone talking about Timbuktu, Mansa Musa (they claim that he is the richest man in history). They also claimed that Mali was the richest state in the 14th century world and that the Malian ...
12
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6answers
2k views

Why didn't Turkish become an official language in former Ottoman colonies in the Middle-East and North Africa?

The main language in the Middle East is Arabic, however English and French considered as a secondary language. Especially in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon (there are other countries..) people still use ...
12
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2answers
4k views

How was Sahara desert formed?

According to U-Like C.B.S.E CCE Sample Papers with Solutions and Model Test Papers for Revision in SOCIAL SCIENCE, the Sahara desert resulted from overgrazing by herbivores. This happened because the ...
12
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2answers
786 views

What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide?

The genocide took place during 1904-1907, organized by General von Trotha. Wikipedia says: Von Trotha's methods caused a public outcry which led the Imperial Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow to ask ...
12
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1answer
248 views

Do we know anything in detail about the effect of the black death on Sub-Saharan Africa?

When I was in school 20-odd years ago, historians were still unsure about whether or not the black death traveled through Sub-Saharan Africa to any large degree, in large part because the vector (...
11
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3answers
2k views

How much contact did Sub-Saharan Africa actually have with the rest of the world since the beginning of civilization?

The book 'Guns, germs and steel' introduced me to the fact that the Sahara desert actually isolated Sub-Saharan Africa from the developments elsewhere since the beginning of civilization until ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Did the Romans see Africa as a black continent? Was there a perception of a divide between Africa and Europe?

Nowadays the Western world perceives Africa as the continent of the black people and hence a standard African person as a black individual. How did the people in the Roman empire perceive the African ...
11
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3answers
774 views

Did the Portuguese build any settlement around the Cape of Good Hope?

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to go around the Cape of Good Hope and build several outposts, later turned into large colonies, at Angola and Moçambique, on both sides of the Cape, but none ...
11
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1answer
654 views

Did any Ethiopian leaders help the Italians?

Around the two Italo-Ethiopian wars, did any Ethiopian leaders side with the Italians? By "around", I mean anywhere from about 1890 to 1936. By "leaders", I mean noblemen, military officers, popular ...
10
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2answers
1k views

What was the impetus for some African nations to participate in the slave trade?

I know that some African nations participated in the slave trade by providing captured enemies as slaves to Europeans, but what are some of the reasons they did? Was it simply a new economic ...
10
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2answers
5k views

Why did the attempts to keep Africa colonized after World War II fail?

After World War II, though the Attlee-led British government decided to give freedom to India, they held on to much of Africa. But why did this attempt at colonization fail? Wikipedia explains that ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Why was there no concerted effort to end the Barbary pirate raids until the 1800's?

Barbary pirate raids on the Mediterranean coast led to widespread depopulation of the coasts from Venice to Malaga with the obvious exception of the larger cities. The pirate raids also seem to be the ...
9
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2answers
756 views

Was African slave trade ever directed towards Europe? If not, why?

The capture, shipping and sale of African slaves was most famously directed towards the colonies of European empires in the Americas, where they were put to work on plantations and other harsh, labor-...
9
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1answer
378 views

Were does Tifinagh come from?

Because all of my knowledge of Tifinagh came from the Wikipedia article, I was quite puzzled to read this blog. For those of you that just don't bother checking, the author describes the different ...
8
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4answers
2k views

Why does the monarchy of Belgium still exist after Leopold 2?

I was browsing the internet and came across the post Which Dictator Killed the Most People. It seems that Leopold 2 had a lot of people killed. This got me thinking, I don't see for example heirs of ...
8
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2answers
258 views

What trains were used on the Dakar-Niger Railway in the late 1950s and early 1960s?

What trains were used on the Dakar-Niger Railway in the late 1950s and early 1960s, i.e. the transition to independence? Are there any images available? I can find images of the railway from 1950 and ...
8
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1answer
205 views

Demonym for someone from the kingdom of D'mt

D'mt is a little-studied kingdom which lasted from the 10th to 5th centuries BC, in Eritrea and Ethiopia. For further information, you can look here and just about nowhere else. The civilization is ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Sources for letters written during the Boer Wars?

For a project at my school I need to make a 'letter home' of a Canadian soldier that participated in the Second Boer War. I need to draw from primary sources and I'm not having luck finding any. Does ...
8
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0answers
423 views

Is there evidence for the use of the solenarion in late Medieval Ethiopia?

Shihab al-Umari, an Arab historian of the 14th century, wrote much of what's know of Emperor of Ethiopia Amda Seyon I campaigns against the Muslim States, namely Awfat, Dawaru, Arababni, Hadya, ...
7
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4answers
620 views

When did “Africa” become the name of the whole continent?

I learned from wiki that Africa was the name of a Roman province during Roman times, and that the continent was divided into Libya, Egypt and Ethiopia. So when did Africa become the name of the ...
7
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3answers
2k views

What was the flower of Empress Taytu?

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia. Its name means "New Flower" in Amharic (አዲስ አበባ), and the tale of how it got its name is told thus: The location of Addis Ababa was chosen by the Empress ...
7
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2answers
697 views

What was Yugoslavia doing in the Angolan Civil War?

I was looking through Wikipedia (a mixed quality source) about the military history of Yugoslavia, when I noticed this odd listing of Yugoslavia as one of the combatants in the Angolan Civil War (1975-...
7
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1answer
499 views

Are there any known instances of sub-Saharan African democracy before European colonialism?

I've been reading up on pre-Athenian democracy (sometimes referred to as primitive or tribal democracy) where leaders were selected by some or most members of a group and were subject to established ...
7
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2answers
1k views

What was the ancient Greeks view on people of African descent?

I am interested in sources (reference author, work, paragraph/fragment) describing the view ancient Greeks held about people of African descent. By that I mean those whom they called Αιθίοπες (...
7
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1answer
853 views

What led to election violence in Kenya in 2007?

What were the historical circumstances that led to the violence in 2007? Do any of those circumstances still exist today, and if so, is there a possibility for the violence to happen again?
7
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0answers
236 views

How did the Belgians issue ID cards with ethnicity to women in Ruanda-Urundi?

I've read about how the Belgians issued ID cards to the inhabitants of their colony Ruanda-Urundi (later independent under the names of Rwanda and Burundi): Indeed, the Belgian colonists ...