- The Task of World History
- Theories of World History since the Enlightenment
- World Environmental History
- Nomadic pastoralism
- States, State Transformation, and War
- Religions and World History
- Technology, Engineering, and Science
- Advanced Agriculture
- Trade across Eurasia to about 1750
- Biological Exchanges in World History
- Cultural Exchanges in World History
- Pre-modern Empires
- Modern Imperialism
- East Asia and Central Eurasia
- South Asia and Southeast Asia
- The Middle East in World History
- Africa in World History: The Long, Long View
- Europe and Russia in World History
- Mediterranean History
- The Americas, 1450–2000
- The Atlantic Ocean Basin
- Oceania and Australasia
- The pacific Ocean Basin to 1850
Abstract and Keywords
This article describes the origins of Africa; the ‘First Great Transition’ of human history from foraging to food production; the era of agricultural elaboration; the ‘Second Great Transition’, from villages and tiny local political units to towns and states; early towns and states in West Africa and the Horn of Africa; the era of empires, and Africa in the Atlantic Age. To view Africa over the very long term is to discover that the notable developments of Africa's past followed similar pathways and proceeded at similar paces as comparable changes elsewhere in the world. Two great transitions of human history in the Holocene — from foraging to farming and, several thousand years later, from villages and informal governance to towns and states — shows that Africa was a continent of primary invention in those times.
Christopher Ehret is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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