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Essay about West African Kingdoms

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West African Kingdoms

It is generally accepted by scholars and scientists today that Africa is the original home of man. One of the most tragic misconceptions of historical thought has been the belief that Black Africa had no history before European colonization. Whites foster the image of Africa as a barbarous and savage continent torn by tribal warfare for centuries. It was a common assumption of nineteenth-century European and American Whites - promoted by the deliberate cultivation of pseudoscientific racism - that Africans were inferior to Whites and were devoid of any trace of civilization or culture.

It is only recently that more reliable studies have brought to light much information about great civilizations that developed in Africa while Europe was in the period often referred as the Dark Ages. The earliest of these mature civilizations were in West Africa. In a vast region south of the Sahara, Africans organized kingdoms which in time became great empires. This region is called the Sudan (a word meaning "land of the Blacks" in Arabic) The Sudan was important in the early history of Black Africa because the Africans first practiced agriculture in this region, and thus became the first people south of the Sahara to fashion and use iron tools and weapons. They were also among the first people in Africa to organize viable political systems. The Sudanic Blacks had learn to domesticate crops long before the coming of Christianity, and their grain production furnished food for an expanding population.

The first West African state of record was Ghana which had been ruled by over forty kings by the year 300 A.D. The early Ghanaians were a peaceful and prosperous people who developed an economy based on agriculture and...


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...ns were capable of managing their own affairs and creating noteworthy civilizations long before Europeans appeared on that continent. They left a heritage that continues to influence the lives of Blacks in Africa and abroad today.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Koslow, Philip. Centuries of Greatness - The West African Kingdoms:750-1900, Chelsea House Publishers, 1995.

McKissack, Patricia and Fredrick Mckissack. The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay - Life in Medieval Africa, Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1994.

Bianchi, Robert Steven. The Nubians - People of the Ancient Nile, Millbrook Press,1994.

Chu, Daniel and Elliott Skinner. A Glorious Age in Africa - The Story of Three Great African Empires, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1965.

Trupin, James E. West Africa - A Background Book from Ancient Kingdoms to Modern Times, Parent's Magazine Press. New York, 1991.


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