African Civilisations – Graham Connah, 2016

We need to understand the past if we are to try and change the future. Chapters 6 and 7 of this book provide a summary of the current knowledge of the civilisations of respectively the savanna belt (including northern Nigeria) and the West African forest (including southern Nigeria).

The summary of the latest research provided in these two chapters from this book also show that West Africans led the world in technology until the last few thousand years and the Europeans did not gain military superiority until the late 19th Century. The variety of climates going north-south in West Africa may have encouraged trade. Periodic climate change may also have facilitated cultural change.

The earliest pottery in the world comes from Mali and is dated around 11,500 years ago. As does the independent domestication of cattle and millet around the same time. Iron was also used in West Africa at least 3,400 years ago, before its use was known in Western Europe. Due to its gold production, for centuries, West Africa was a centre of the world economy.

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AC(Graham Connah)

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