Category: Africa

Africa – 15.-17. century
Early modern Africa shows a belt of African empires north of the equator and some scattered empires along the coasts and inland in the south. Around the birth of Christ, the Bantu peoples had penetrated south through the equatorial rainforest and founded three centers of power there: the Congo Empire at the mouth of the Congo and in northern Angola (Lunda), Zimbabwe and its successor kingdom Monomotapa and the Hima kingdoms on Lake Victoria. In East Africa around 100 AD, South Arabian tribes founded the empire Aksum in what would later become Ethiopia. The legendary Ghana, the forerunner of Mali, dates back to around AD 400.

Ghana, the “land of gold”, owes its legendary wealth to salt deposits and gold deposits. “The king of Ghana is the richest man on earth,” reported the Arab historian Ibn Haukal in 997. Around this time the empire stretched from the coast of the Atlantic to near Timbuktu and allegedly had an army of 200,000 men. Wars of faith with the Almoravids, an Islamic renewal movement, ushered in its downfall in the 11th century.

Smaller Islamic states such as Mogadishu, Malindi, Mombasa and Kilwa existed on the east coast and lived from trading in natural products and slaves. The Christian empires of Ethiopia and Nubia developed their own. Ethiopia was Christianized in the 4th century, and neighboring Nubia in the 6th century at the latest. It withstood the Arab conquests in its northern regions until 1315, in the south until 1504. Ethiopia was hit hard several times by the advance of Islam, but was able to maintain its independence.

Around the birth of Christ, a group of peoples who referred to themselves as ” Bantu ” (“people”) moved from the area of ​​what is now Chad and Niger to the southern parts of the continent. Although they were mostly organized in smaller communities and ruled not by an authoritarian chief or leader but by a “council of elders”, they established some empires there. For more information about the continent of Africa, please check

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