Pre-Historic African Development the Concept Term Paper

  • Length: 6 pages
  • Subject: Literature - African
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #10467725

Excerpt from Term Paper :

It had started in the present-day Sahel region of south-eastern Mauritania and western Mali. (The similarities and differences between the rise of complex societies in West and East Africa) The evidence for this is again not in written records, but archeological evidence, and this also makes it clear that the history of Ghana has been influenced a lot by geographical changes. A similar situation exists with Egypt. There was a discovery by archeologists in the late 20th century that there was human habitation before 8000 BC in an area in the southwestern corner of Egypt, which is near the border with Sudan. Who are these people? They are likely to have been nomads attracted to this area of Egypt because of the hospitable climate and environment. Now it is exceptionally dry, but once that area had grassy plains and temporary lakes which were caused by seasonal rains. (Encyclopedia: History of Ancient Egypt)

The climate has changed again. Why? Scientific analysis of the remains of their culture indicates that by 6000 BC they were herding cattle and constructing large buildings. (Encyclopedia: History of Ancient Egypt) This behavior is again similar to areas in the Middle East and not Africa. Written history had started in Ancient Egypt, and the Egyptian calendar is still used as the standard. How did this come about? Ethiopia preserved a very unique or distinct, ancient culture which had an intermittent history of contact with that of Eurasia. This resulted in a bringing about a unique language, culture and crop system. The crop system is suited only to those parts of the dry northern highlands and it should be noted that the most famous member of this crop system is coffee, but the most useful plants are that of sorghum, which is a dry-land grain. (Encyclopedia: History of Africa) Why did they start on this crop? The greatest difficulty in historical research for this area is the absence of written records, and most of the decisions are made of archeological evidence. At the same time, there is no likelihood of any written records existing of that time also.

With the evolution of Homo sapiens in Africa between the periods of 200,000 and 60,000 years ago, more specialized tools were devised by them to cope with a new range of environments. Tools for actual hunting were created by these men. Probably there was also a conscious division of labor on the basis of gender, with men creating the groups required to track and kill large animals. Women on the other hand defended their camps and continued to provide the bulk of the fundamental diet of the plants and that of the small animals. Shelters were constructed and fishing was being started and the population also increased. There was also development of foraging groups, which were called bands, by the anthropologists, and these were of the size of about 30-75 people which is still found in surviving gatherer-hunter societies. The starting of art has been seen in cave shelters, and this tells us that people were concerned with beauty and the meaning of things. The meaning of things has now probably taken on the name of science and religion. This tells us that these concerns are fundamental to our survival and growth as humans. (Ancient African Civilizations to ca. 1500)

Yet there is very less information about how Africans who inhabited the vast lands of the modern Saharan and Sudan regions during the 6000 BCE lived. We have proof that there were prosperous fishing communities on the banks of the several lakes and the great rivers had emerged. They were probably not dependent on agriculture, since they did not need to be! They collected enough to eat by means of fishing, collecting seasonal fruits, and harvesting wild grains. To add further, the initial signs of livestock raising and grain cultivation in Africa show as to what is now known in the mid of the Sahara desert. These people do not reside there now and clearly geography has influenced their history. In 6000 BCE, and up to 3000 BCE, this huge area was habitable savanna country, with thick grass and abundant wildlife. This was an environment that provided sustenance for suitable animal and plant species for domestication. Yet the methods as to how cattle were raised in the Sahara are not known. With regard to the areas of domestication and cultivation of plants, the Sahara and the Nile valley areas also produced crops which were similar to that of the Middle East, with which they shared similar climatic backgrounds. The animals and plants which were originally domesticated in this region were that of goats, sheep, cattle, wheat, barley, olives, and dates. (Ancient African Civilizations to ca. 1500)

We see clearly that changes had been taking place in the history of Africa from the beginning and the reasons and results have not been studied enough as the continent has always been viewed as the Dark Continent. To a certain extent this is due to the views of the early colonizers, and this is irrespective of the country from where the colonizers came from - Britain, Germany, Portugal, and the Arabian countries. To a certain extent only the Arabs treated these countries as other human beings, while the West has always treated them as slaves and their land as territories to be plundered.


Some truths are hard but they have to be accepted and in the case of Africa it is a question of your father being treated as a slave. It is time that something is done for their development.


Brass, Mickey. The similarities and differences between the rise of complex societies in West and East Africa. Retrieved at Accessed 14 September, 2005

Encyclopedia: History of Africa. Retrieved at Accessed 14 September, 2005

Encyclopedia: History of Ancient Egypt. Retrieved at Accessed 14 September, 2005

Encyclopedia: Sahara. Retrieved at Accessed 14 September, 2005

Herlin, Susan. J. Ancient African Civilizations to…

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