The history of North Africa parallels that of the Middle East. The first civilizations appeared sometime around 3000 BC in Egypt and Ethiopia. The shared history of North Africa and the Midde East are not surprising when one considers that Egypt was linked through the Fertile Crescent all the way to Western Asia, while Ethiopia was heavily influenced by Arabia, just across the Red Sea. It was natural, then, for these two North African locations, isolated from the rest of the African continent by desert to the west and equatorial jungle to the south, to evolve in rhythm with the Middle East, insulated from the rest of the land mass of which they were a part. A course in African history, which will include North Africa, will cover the following topics:

  • Early prehistory of Africa
  • The development and spread of farming and pastoralism
  • The impact of iron in northeast and west Africa
  • The Early Iron Age and Bantu migrations
  • North and northeastern Africa to 1000 AD.
  • Trans-Saharan trade and the kingdom of Ancient Ghana
  • Islam and the Sudanic states of west Africa
  • Eastern Africa to the sixteenth century
  • Trading states of the east African coast to the sixteenth century
  • Later Iron Age states and societies of central and southern Africa to 1600 AD
  • North and northeast Africa to the eighteenth century
  • The Atlantic slave trade, sixteen to eighteenth century
  • West African states and societies to the eighteenth century
  • Central and eastern Africa to the eighteenth century
  • Southern Africa to the eighteenth century
  • West Africa in the nineteenth century and the ending of the slave trade
  • Central and east Africa in the nineteenth century
  • Pre-industrial southern Africa in the nineteenth century
  • North and northeast Africa in the nineteenth century
  • Prelude to empire in Tropical Africa
  • The European 'Scramble', colonial conquest and African resistance in east, north-central and west Africa
  • Industrialization, colonial conquest and African resistance in south-central and southern Africa
  • Consolidation of empire: the early period of colonial rule
  • Africa between the wars: the high tide of colonial rule
  • The Second World War and Africa
  • The winning of independence
  • Africa since independence

Students interested in the history of this part of the world should be reading The Journal of North African Studies. is one place to find books on North African history. Students can also find books on North African history on

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