Tuesday, August 31, 2004

History of Africa

History of Africa. This is a good outline on the history of Africa from Wikinfo.

From the site:

The following is an outline of African history, followed by a list of articles about the history of particular places in Africa. The text may be dated in parts because it was taken originally from a 1911 encyclopedia— please modernise and update as required.

Origins of the Name

The name Africa came into European use through the Romans, who administered as the province of Africa the territory formerly of Carthage (location of modern Tunisia) The historian Leo Africanus attributes the origin to the Greek word phrike (φρικε, meaning "cold and horror"), combined with the negating prefix a-, so meaning a land free of cold and horror. But the change of sound from ph to f in Greek is datable to about the first century, so could not really be the origin of the name. Others have suggested it is from a name Afer, related to the modern name Berber. Egypt was considered part of Asia by the ancients, and first assigned to Africa by the geographer Ptolemy, who made the isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea the boundary between Asia and Africa. As Europeans came to understand the real extent of the continent, the idea of Africa expanded with their knowledge.

Prehistory

For the evolution of hominids, which occurred in East and Central Africa, and particularly of Homo sapiens, see under paleontology and other entries.

The earliest human migration out of Africa and within the continent are indicated by linguistic and cultural evidence, and increasingly by computer-analyzed genetic evidence (see Cavalli-Sforza). The Khoisan languages are almost unique in using glottal clicks - the only other languages that do this are the Nguni Bantu languages of southern Africa, such as Xhosa and Zulu. Khoisan languages are now spoken mostly by isolated islands of genetically and culturally distinct populations of hunter-gatherers on marginal lands such as the Kalahari Desert.
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