Africa’s forgotten empires

Source: NewStateman

The German philosopher Hegel claimed that Africa “is no historical part of the world”. The corollary of this was taken to be that African history only began when Europeans started to arrive. This idea, and variants of it, became one of the fallacies deployed to justify the Atlantic slave trade, colonisation and the high-handed paternalism that characterised European rule right up until decolonisation in the 1960s. Even before the flags of the European colonisers had been lowered, and the newly independent nations of modern Africa emerged, urgent calls had been made for new histories of the continent that explored the longer and deeper history of Africa’s great civilisations.

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