Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mr. Dowling's African History Page

Mr. Dowling's African History Page. This is a nice history site designed for children and teenagers. Of course, some adults may find it useful too!

It gives brief background information on the ancient civilizations and cities of ancient Africa including Nok, Ghana, Kush, and Timbuktu. There is also information on more recent African history including Liberia, the Boers, and Nelson Mandela.

I certainly have a decent grasp of African history. However, I will admit it is not as strong as my knowledge of European, Asian, or American history. As such, I try to blog African history sites at least several times a month for my own education and to help keep this blog's "world history" balanced.

I was pleased that I was able to help my brother recently. He called me up as he was playing Civilization IV. (This is a computer game which simulates world history by allowing players to develop a culture through time.) He asked, "Berlin just got sacked by Mansa Musa. Who the heck is this guy?" And I was able to tell him.

From the site:

The European colonial powers called Africa “the Dark Continent” when they began their explorations. They saw it as a vast and dangerous place filled with savage people, but Africa has been home to many advanced, exotic civilizations. Many have been buried beneath the sands of time, but we know of others, and archaeologists continue to uncover more clues about ancient African civilizations.

West Africa has a great oral tradition. A griot is a learned storyteller, entertainer, and historian. Often a griot will memorize the genealogy, or family history, of everyone in a village going back centuries. American writer Alex Haley met a griot in 1966 that had memorized the entire story of the village of Juffure to a date two centuries in the past when his ancestor was enslaved.

A great deal of what we know about West Africa comes from the griots, but archaeologists are often surprised by new finds. In the last twenty-five years, scholars have concluded that civilization developed in West Africa as much as one thousand years earlier than expected. We now know that Africa had an Iron Age culture with cities and trade routes about 250 years Before the Common Era.


A Teacher's Log said...

Just wanted to say thank you. My class is struggling with their research because they do not want to believe that Africa once ruled the world.

A Teacher's Log said...

Perhaps we can have a dialog about this topic. I would love it and so would my students--6th and 7th graders in an inner city school in Chicago--but one of the best classes I ever taught.

Michael H. Brownstein

Miland said...

I am not an expert on African history. However, I do not mind dialogue. What do you want to talk about?