141-160 of 633 Results


Disease and Trauma in Past Southern African Communities: Archaeological Perspectives  

Susan Pfeiffer

For thousands of years, all southern African communities survived through hunting and gathering. Within the past two millennia subsistence strategies diversified to include pastoralism, farming, and most recently Eurocentric industry in a colonialist framework. Each of these strategies is distinctive with respect to the way diseases and musculoskeletal trauma affected people’s health. Using methods arising from palaeopathology, forensic anthropology, and archaeology, studies have assessed human skeletons to explore these patterns. Evidence of infectious disease is negligible among hunter-gatherers of the region, but there are examples of environmental and inherited diseases, as well as fatal and near-fatal traumatic injuries. While some trauma may be linked to environmental hazards and predation, other cases appear to reflect intergroup aggression. Non-specific stress indicators suggest possible new challenges to hunter-gatherer health around the time when pastoralism is first discerned archaeologically. Among Iron Age African farmers, who reached the region about 1,700 years ago, the evidence for infectious diseases is equivocal. Investigations are hampered by the rather small sample sizes. In some cases, reburial of excavated remains precludes research using newer methods. Evidence of infectious disease is minimal among all Indigenous groups prior to the disruptions associated with European arrival. After European arrival, there is clear evidence of various infectious diseases affecting Indigenous communities, and the patterns of traumatic damage to the skeleton are more dramatic. Among cemeteries of mine workers from colonial-era settings, the effects of occupational trauma are apparent. The evidence from archaeology is consistent with that of written documents, confirming the destructive impact of colonial practices on the Indigenous populations of southern Africa.


Disease Control and Public Health in Colonial Africa  

Samuël Coghe

Disease control and public health have been key aspects of social and political life in sub-Saharan Africa since time immemorial. With variations across space and time, many societies viewed disease as the result of imbalances in persons and societies and combined the use of materia medica from the natural world, spiritual divination, and community healing to redress these imbalances. While early encounters between African and European healing systems were still marked by mutual exchanges and adaptations, the emergence of European germ theory-based biomedicine and the establishment of racialized colonial states in the 19th century increasingly challenged the value of African therapeutic practices for disease control on the continent. Initially, colonial states focused on preserving the health of European soldiers, administrators, and settlers, who were deemed particularly vulnerable to tropical climate and its diseases. Around 1900, however, they started paying more attention to diseases among Africans, whose health and population growth were now deemed crucial for economic development and the legitimacy of colonial rule. Fueled by new insights and techniques provided by tropical medicine, antisleeping sickness campaigns would be among the first major interventions. After World War I, colonial health services expanded their campaigns against epidemic diseases, but also engaged with broader public health approaches that addressed reproductive problems and the social determinants of both disease and health. Colonial states were not the only providers of biomedical healthcare in colonial Africa. Missionary societies and private companies had their own health services, with particular logics, methods, and focuses. And after 1945, international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) increasingly invested in health campaigns in Africa as well. Moreover, Africans actively participated in colonial disease control, most notably as nurses, midwives, and doctors. Nevertheless, Western biomedicine never gained hegemony in colonial Africa. Many Africans tried to avoid or minimize participation in certain campaigns or continued to utilize the services of local healers and diviners, often in combination with particular biomedical approaches. To what extent colonial disease control impacted on disease incidence and demography is still controversially debated.


Documentary Sources and Methods for Precolonial African History  

Christina Mobley

The goal of African history is not only to establish a chronology of events but also to recover the past from the local African perspective. The challenge is how to recover local ways of knowing and being in societies far different from the perspectives of both the contemporary scholar and the authors of many of the sources used to write history. For written documents, the question is how to extract meaningful data from sparse, biased, or unreliable texts. In a historical context, a documentary source is writing, whether ink or inscription, on material such as paper, papyrus, ceramic, stone, or any of the other surfaces upon which, in relation to Africa, Africans and travelers to Africa have chosen to write the continent’s history. While more and more written evidence from precolonial Africa is coming to light, the relative dearth of documents remains a major challenge for scholars seeking to investigate Africa’s past. This paucity also means that those sources available should be examined especially carefully with an eye to bias and to context. Such careful, grounded examination has not always been a strength of the field, which was initially divided between scholars who dismissed documentary sources (perceived as written by outsiders) as unreliable, and those who uncritically accepted them as eyewitness observation. Neither approach is helpful for historians seeking a nuanced understanding of Africa’s past. Used critically, written documents can provide a window into how human actors understood themselves, their history, specific events, and the world around them, which is difficult to discern in the absence of textual or visual representation. Scholars have developed to major strategies to utilize the unique strengths of documentary sources whilst minimizing their weaknesses. Firstly, historians pay close attention to local context, cultural bias, and pre-existing genealogies of knowledge about Africa and Africans evident in textual sources. Secondly, historians triangulate between different kinds of historical methods and sources such as archaeology, linguistics, ethnography, oral tradition, and even genetics and palynology.


Documenting Precolonial Trade in Africa  

Shadreck Chirikure

Promoted by necessity, scarcity, and/or abundance, trade is one of the most essential cultural behaviors that promoted contact and exchange of ideas, commodities, and services between individuals and communities and variously transformed African societies of different regions and time periods. Anthropological, historical (including historical linguistics), and archaeological evidence points to the existence, on the one hand, of intra-African trade and, on the other, of external trade between Africa and those outside the continent. Traditionally, however, trade and exchange involving perishable and organic commodities such as grain and cattle have until now been very difficult to identify due to a lack of well-resolved documentation techniques. By comparison, some objects such as metal artifacts, glass beads, ceramics, and porcelain are pyrotechnological products, with a high survival rate that makes their trade and exchange easily visible archaeologically. Given the well-known regional differences across the continent, it is essential to combine multiple sources and techniques, in a multipronged way, to provide a dynamic picture of the mechanics of precolonial African trade and exchange of various time periods and geographies.


Documents on South-Central and Southeast Africa to 1890  

Matthew Hannaford

Much research on the history of south-central and southeast African societies prior to colonial rule has made use of historical documents to a greater or lesser degree. Here, the contents and coverage of available written sources are examined over a near-millennial period from the end of the 1st millennium ce to 1890. While the argument that follows is that documents over this period provide valuable historical material beyond the activities of colonial societies, it is inescapable that they are generally “external” narratives written for external purposes, foremost among which was the exploitation of the land and people. This imbues documentation with a multitude of biases but does not preclude careful and critical use of documentary records for the study of African societies and environments. This is especially true when documents are used alongside other source types from other disciplines such as archaeology, oral history, linguistics, paleoecology, and paleoclimatology. Many pre-19th-century documents are housed in European archives, which poses challenges around accessibility. However, endeavors to produce source databases and develop digital archives are beginning to change this picture, providing scope for renewed scholarship on aspects of the history of Africa from the early 16th century through to the end of the 19th century.


Donas, Nharas, and Signares: Women Slave Traders in Atlantic Africa  

Hilary Jones

Donas, nharas, and signares belonged to a class of women who obtained high social and economic standing in Africa’s west and west central region from the age of the European encounter to the era of mercantile companies and transatlantic slavery. These women owned slaves consistent with the notion of “slavery” or institutions of marginality within their specific West African and West Central African societies. As women who lived in close proximity to European military and mercantile installations on the Atlantic coast, they acted as cross-cultural brokers between European merchants and officials and African elites. Whether through marriages arranged by lineage elders or by relationships of convenience between African women and European men, donas, nharas, and signares entered contractual unions with European men. From the late 16th to the early 19th centuries, these relationships originated Afro-European families and established Afro-European men and some women as a propertied class along Africa’s Atlantic coast. Infamous in the texts of traveler’s accounts written by European men and a few Afro-European men, documentation of this era of women’s influence and their role in the Atlantic commercial system largely resides in European administrative reports and population data, court records and notarized documents, and published and unpublished genealogies.


Drug Use, Trade, and Policy in Africa  

Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig

Drugs have a long history in Africa, despite the continent not being as associated with such psychoactive substances as other regions. This psychoactive history in Sub-Saharan Africa can be traced from the earliest evidence for the use of indigenous substances (including alcoholic drinks, khat and kola) to the arrival of imported drugs such as cannabis, distilled spirits, and tobacco and to more recent drug use changes. The colonial period and the era of drug prohibition in the 20th century was a time when the very idea of a “drug” with all its modern connotations took root in Africa, as well as the more recent concern with drug trafficking and consumption through the continent. The history of drugs—their production, trade, and consumption—thus resonates strongly with the wider social, political, and economic history of the continent, and such resonances are also important when considering current and future policy toward such substances in an era when such policy is in flux globally.


The Dutch Slave Trade in the Atlantic, 1600–1800  

Pieter Emmer and Henk den Heijer

The Dutch share in the Atlantic slave trade averaged about 5 to 6 percent of the total, but the volume differed sharply over time. The beginning of the Dutch transatlantic slave trade can be dated to 1636, after the Dutch West India Company (WIC) had acquired its own plantation colony around Recife in Brazil. In order to set up a regular trade in slaves, the WIC also took Elmina on the Gold Coast and Luanda in Angola from the Portuguese. The slave trade to Dutch Brazil was short-lived, and after the loss of Dutch Brazil and Luanda, the WIC as well as private merchants from Amsterdam started to sell slaves to colonists in the Spanish, English, and French Caribbean via Curaçao, the WIC trade hub in the region. In 1667, in addition to the small colonies of Berbice and Essequibo, the Dutch conquered Suriname and during the 18th century established Demerara. The Dutch slave trade became more and more focused on these plantation colonies. Between 1700 and 1725, after the Dutch had been banned from selling slaves in foreign colonies, the Dutch slave trade declined, but the volume increased again after 1730 when the WIC lost its monopoly and private shipping companies were allowed to enter the trade. In addition, Amsterdam-based investors poured money into the Dutch plantation colonies expecting windfall profits from a new cash crop: coffee. These profits did not materialize, and the majority of the planters in the Dutch plantation colonies went bankrupt. These bankruptcies, another war with Britain, and the French occupation caused the Dutch slave trade to decline sharply. The last Dutch slave ship sailed to Suriname in 1802. In 1814, the Dutch government yielded to British abolitionist pressure and abolished the slave trade in the hope of regaining its colonial possessions occupied by Britain.


Early African Pasts: Sources, Interpretations, and Meanings  

David Schoenbrun

Writing Africa’s history before the 10th century almost always means relying on sources other than written documents, which increase in number especially from the 16th century onward. Archaeology (including the study of art objects), the comparative study of historically related languages, paleo-environmental studies, and oral traditions provide the bulk of information. Writing Africa’s early history ideally involves collaboration among experts in using each kind of source, an increasingly common practice. Despite the challenges of analysis and interpretation posed by this base of sources, early African history has a depth and breadth akin to the histories made from the written sources in archives. Even so, whereas written documents provide details about individuals and precise dates, the sources for writing early African histories more often provide detail about conceptualization, for example, of time, hospitality, and individualism and about larger, environmental contexts shaping those concepts and shaped by the actions of the people who held them. Translating such concepts and scales of action into accounts accessible to those—including many historians—not steeped in the methodological conventions underlying the analysis of each source is a major challenge facing historians of Africa’s earlier past.


Early Factionalism in Zimbabwe’s Liberation Struggle  

Brooks Marmon

The course of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle was fundamentally shaped by tensions among competing nationalist factions. The impact of this dynamic is typically observed from 1963, when Zimbabwe’s long-serving ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU)-Patriotic Front, was founded following a fissure in the liberation movement. Earlier instances of intranationalist competition in Southern Rhodesia (colonial Zimbabwe) have generally escaped scholarly attention despite their pioneering contributions to the dynamics of political pluralism in Zimbabwe and the presence of noted political figures amidst their leadership. In 1961, the Zimbabwean nationalist movement experienced its first significant split with the formation of the Zimbabwe National Party (ZNP) which broke away from the National Democratic Party. The ZNP, in turn, experienced its own rupture a year later when the Pan-African Socialist Union (PASU) was formed. Although these were the two only two nationalist challengers of note in the early 1960s prior to ZANU, several other short-lived Black-led political parties emerged at this time in settler-dominated Southern Rhodesia. The ZNP and PASU appealed to rising grievances with the prosecution of the anticolonial liberation struggle. They were also a consequence of the changing geopolitics wrought by Africa’s decolonization. The two parties sought to consolidate their position by appealing to the emerging cohort of African anticolonial leaders across the continent. These efforts induced extensive backlash from the main wing of the nationalist movement, then led by Joshua Nkomo. Both the ZNP and PASU were short-lived, effectively collapsing by 1963. While neither party was able to effectively overcome these intense assaults, their comparatively fleeting existence shaped the political environment by influencing tactics and providing a template for subsequent nationalist contenders seeking greater longevity.


Early Food Production in the Congo Basin  

Dirk H. Seidensticker and Katharina V. M. Jungnickel

The introduction of food production into a specific region is among the most influential transitions in human history. It is frequently connected to other changes such as sedentism and population growth. Though most communities living in the Congo Basin today follow a relatively sedentary lifestyle with a slash-and-burn agri- or horticulture, hunting and fishing still contribute in large part to their subsistence. The lifestyle of historic forager communities and their sedentary neighbours changed significantly through colonialism. When and how food production started in the region is essentially not solved yet. Studies suggest that the introduction of food production dates back to the 1st millennium bce. However, empirical data are sparsely available, and Central African research is still marked significantly by its lack of physical evidence. Postcolonial archaeological research started earlier in other parts of Central Africa, while the Congo Basin saw large-scale, systematic research on its prehistory from the late 1970s. Investigations focused predominantly on the chrono-typological sequences, as ceramics are an easily encountered find category in the region. Archaeobotanical samples often underwent no further scrutiny or are still awaiting processing. Political instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1990s and 2000s halted research in the Congo Basin. The western parts of Central Africa are among the better-researched areas. However, even there, only limited evidence of early food production has been uncovered. For a more concise picture, one should nonetheless discuss these two bodies of evidence in conjunction. The available evidence suggests that during the 1st millennium bce, pearl millet, originating from West Africa, was used in southern Cameroon and the Congo Basin, but presumably not in quantities that constituted a staple crop. The evidence for the use of cooking bananas is incomplete. Archaeobotanical remains are dominated by charred oil palm or wild Canarium, both equally unsuited as a staple food. Thus, the composition of the subsistence base and the reliance on food production of the ceramic-producing communities living in the Congo Basin during the 1st millennium bce and the 1st millennium ce remain uncertain.


Early Slavery in Bantu and Nilotic-Speaking Africa: The Evidence from Historical Linguistics  

Marcos Leitão de Almeida and William FitzSimons

The history of slavery runs deep in Africa, yet historians have rarely explored the early contexts in which Africans resorted to slaving. The burdens of remembering and reckoning with the global trades in African slaves have no doubt shaped this state of affairs, but examining the early history of slaveries in the continent is critical for understanding central themes of the African past, such as political formation, ethnicity, and economic development. While archaeology often appears silent on this topic, the method of historical linguistics can reveal how northeastern and central Africans resorted to slaving strategies as they settled new places, developed new ways of life, established polities, and faced climate change. Historical research thus shows that “slavery” was never a static institution in the continent, but a fraught category Africans constructed in diverse, albeit related, ways. Accounting for the ways in which Africans built such categories in particular contexts remains a major challenge facing historians of Africa’s earlier past.


The East African Revival  

Emma Wild-Wood

The East African Revival was a renewalist movement that spread during the 1930s from Uganda and Rwanda into Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Congo , and South Sudan. It is known as the Balokole movement from the Luganda word for “saved ones” (wokovu in Swahili). Its members attempted to reform mission-initiated churches from within by emphasizing an internalized Christian faith, high ethical standards, strong bonds of corporate fellowship, and the prominence of lay leadership. Women were able to assert greater moral and spiritual authority within the Revival than had become common outside it. Its vision of a transnational community of Christians acted as a critique to ethnonationalist views current in East Africa in the mid-20th century. The same vision also influenced global evangelical movements. The Revival possessed a number of strands, although a strong mainstream element has influenced the historiography of the movement as a largely unified and cosmopolitan form of evangelical Christianity. The Revival maintained momentum into the 1990s and remains a pervasive influence on the language, morals, and spiritual practice of Protestant churches in East Africa, even as newer Pentecostal movements make an impact on the region.


Eduardo Mondlane  

Livio Sansone

Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane (1920–1969) was one of the founders of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and its first president until his assassination. Generally considered one the “fathers” of independent Mozambique and the unifier of this young country, in recognition of that and his academic standing—he had a PhD in sociology—the main university of Mozambique is named after him. His singular, exciting, cosmopolitan, and engaged life has thus far attracted less international attention than could be expected, even though, over the last decade, also on account of his centennial in 2020, a growing national and international scholarship is developing around several facets of Mondlane’s biography. One aspect that is still relatively unexplored is his academic training and many years spent abroad studying in South Africa, Portugal, and the United States. His international training and showing how this had a profound impact on his performance as leader of Frelimo.


Education and Politics in Colonial French West Africa  

Kelly Duke Bryant

Education was profoundly political in colonial French West Africa (1895–1960), a federation that included the modern-day countries of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), Benin (formerly Dahomey), Côte d’Ivoire, and Niger. It shaped political discourse across the federation as officials, educators, missionaries, African families, and African students weighed in on the type of education they thought best. Dissatisfaction with education policies or with the quality of schools encouraged Africans to become politically active, and the practical skills they learned in school along with the status gained through school attendance prepared young people to agitate for colonial reform and ultimately for independence. Colonial officials engaged in a back and forth with the Catholic missionary orders that provided public schooling in much of the region, especially as they sought to balance early 20th-century metropolitan demands for secularization with the colonies’ need for reliable and inexpensive schools. In the second half of the 19th century, administrators attempted to undermine Qur’an schools through regulation and surveillance, hoping that this would result in increased attendance in French schools. In doing so, they competed directly with popular Islamic leaders and the interests of the Muslim community, which had the unintended effect of involving African Muslims in colonial politics in new ways. Officials also attempted to “adapt” colonial school curricula to the local realities of African communities, usually by decreasing academic content and focusing instead on vocational and agricultural training. Yet over several decades, they encountered significant resistance from urban educated elites and rural farmers alike, all of whom pushed in one way or another for schooling that would allow for social mobility and, ultimately, claims for equality with the French. Finally, education played a crucial role in formal politics in the region, preparing Africans for political candidacy and leadership, mobilizing the voting public, and helping to determine access to voting rights after African subjects became citizens in 1946. Education and politics were thus inextricably linked in colonial French West Africa.


Education in Colonial Sudan, 1900–1957  

Iris Seri-Hersch

In the first half of the 20th century, Sudan, which included the territories of present-day Sudan and South Sudan, was ruled by a dual colonial government known as the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (1899–1956). Britain was the senior partner in this administration, Egypt being itself politically and militarily subordinated to Britain between 1882 and 1956. During most of the colonial period, Sudan was ruled as two Sudans, as the British sought to separate the predominantly Islamic and Arabic-speaking North from the multireligious and multilingual South. Educational policy was no exception to this: until 1947, the British developed a government school system in the North while leaving educational matters in the hands of Christian missionaries in the South. In the North, the numerically dominant government school network coexisted with Egyptian schools, missionary schools, community schools, and Sudanese private schools. In the South, schools were established by the Anglican Church Missionary Society, the Roman Catholic Verona Fathers, and the American Presbyterian Mission. Whereas Arabic and English were the mediums of instruction in Northern schools, the linguistic situation was more complicated in the South, where local vernaculars, English and Romanized Arabic were used in missionary schools. The last colonial decade (1947–1957) witnessed a triple process of educational expansion, unification, and nationalization. Mounting Anglo-Egyptian rivalries over the control of Sudan and the polarization of Sudanese nationalists into “pro-British” independentists and “pro-Egyptian” unionists led the British authorities in Khartoum to boost government education while giving up the policy of separate rule between North and South. In practice, educational unification of the two Sudanese regions meant the alignment of Southern curricula on Northern programs and the introduction of Arabic into Southern schools, first as a subject matter, then as a medium of instruction. Missionary and other private schools were nationalized one year after Sudan gained independence from Britain and Egypt (1956).


Education in Mozambique in the 19th and 20th Centuries  

Antoinette Errante and Jessica Jorge

By the time António de Oliveira Salazar pressed for mass schooling to “make Portugal rise again” in the late 1930s, a variety of educational and socialization contexts existed in a loose and often contentious manner in Mozambique. Indigenous educational practices of African societies across the territory prepared the next generation to take their place within their communities. As Arabs established a commercial presence along Mozambique’s northern coast from the 9th century onward, Arabic literacy and adoption of the Arabic alphabet for written representation of Indigenous languages gave rise to a growing network of Qur’anic schools. In the 19th century, Protestant, Catholic, and lay mission schools as well as government schools joined these sites of learning. Europe’s “scramble for Africa” intensified Portugal’s interest in “Portugalizing” colonial educational endeavors and marginalizing sites of learning it deemed a threat to this project. By 1930, Portugal established a dual educational system in Mozambique that supported the legal distinction it created between Portuguese and “assimilated” Africans (official schools, or escolas oficiais) and “Indigenous” Africans (rudimentary schools, or escolas rudimentares). In 1933, under the regime he christened the Estado Novo (New State), Salazar institutionalized the role of schools in his imperialist ambitions by applying the Carneiro-Pacheco educational reforms of 1936–1940 throughout the Portuguese colonial empire. The dual educational system as well as the legal distinction between “Portuguese” and “Indigenous” were designed to funnel most Africans into forced labor schemes from which the regime profited. In 1940, the Estado Novo signed the Missionary Accord, which placed exclusive responsibility for rudimentary education with the Catholic Church in an effort to curb Indigenous, Protestant, and Islamic educational activities that the regime considered “denationalizing.” While the accord hampered expansion of Protestant schools, Portugal’s weak administrative capacities and support of Catholic missions as well as Mozambicans’ association of Catholicism with compulsory labor practices enabled Indigenous educational practices, Protestant missions, and Qur’anic schools to continue to exert influence. By the early 1960s, groups pressing for decolonization coalesced around the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO, or Frente de Libertação de Moçambique). As FRELIMO liberated zones in the northern and central parts of the country, it established primary schools and literacy campaigns in an effort to create the cultural, social, and political transformation that liberated the “New Man” (Homem Novo) from a colonial mentality as well as what FRELIMO perceived to be obscurantist Indigenous and religious cultural traditions. FRELIMO established secondary schools and training centers in Tanzania to support the education of the very brightest. FRELIMO generalized the educational model used in the liberated zones after Mozambique won its independence in 1975. While in the early years the country expanded the school network and raised literacy rates from 2 to 40 percent, the country’s educational legacy proved challenging. With the Portuguese exodus, the country lost 95 percent of its skilled workforce. The government’s attempts to rapidly train a teaching force sacrificed quality, and teachers did not have the training to impart the Marxist-Leninist pedagogy that FRELIMO had envisioned. Internal disputes and tensions as well as destabilization campaigns mounted by neighboring White minority governments, which gave rise to RENAMO (Resistencia Nacional de Mozambique), further eroded FRELIMO’s postrevolutionary gains. In 1992, FRELIMO and RENAMO signed peace accords and moved toward a multiparty democracy. Since then, the education sector has focused on postwar reconstruction and democratization, improved teacher training, and improved retention rates for girls, the latter reflecting some of the ongoing conflicts between Indigenous educational practices and values, and mass schooling.


Egyptian‐Sudanese Trade in the Ottoman Period to 1882  

Terence Walz

Egypt’s trade in the Ottoman period with the Sudanic kingdoms to its south waxed and waned according to political conditions at either end of its trade routes. During the 16th and 17th centuries, powerful kingdoms developed in the area of Sinnar (near modern-day Khartoum) and to the west in the area of Darfur. The trade route connecting western Sudan to Egypt, known as the Forty Days Road, was ancient, probably dating to the Pharaonic period, but it experienced a remarkable revival in the 17th century when the Keira sultans of Darfur consolidated their rule in western Sudan and engaged in trade with Egypt in order to obtain luxury goods. In the following two centuries, trade between Egypt, Sinnar, and Darfur flourished, the pattern being that Egyptian, Syrian, and European-made goods were exchanged primarily for Sudanic exports of slaves, ivory, ostrich feathers, and livestock. Sudanese merchants, known as jallaba, came to Egypt and Egyptians settled in the Sudan as a result of these developments. Asyut was the town in Upper Egypt chiefly benefiting from the revival of the caravan trade, but the primary trade destination was Cairo, whence most merchants went. In 1820, the Egyptians invaded the Sudan and trade between the two countries fell under a different set of rules and regulations. Initially monopolized by the government, items in the trade began to be sold by individual traders, and after 1839, when the Muhammad Ali, ruler of Egypt, was forced to withdraw from lands his army had conquered in Arabia and the Levant, European free enterprise soon became a major economic force in the Nile Valley. For a brief period, between 1845 and 1860, Egyptian middlemen, working closely with jallaba, profited richly from the Sudan trade, the city of Asyut prospered, but eventually they fell victim to European economic domination.


Egyptology and African History  

Juan C. Moreno García

Egyptology has played a rather ambiguous role in the study of the African past. While the Nile Valley was the cradle of one of the oldest states as well as of crucial innovations like writing, monumental architecture, and complex administrative managerial techniques, among others, the burden of Eurocentric historiographical prejudices considered these achievements to be a sort of anomaly. Ancient Egypt was thus interpreted through the lens of an alleged “exceptionalism”—a geographically African but, quite self-contradictorily, culturally non-African society. Such a view was rooted in a too-literal reading of pharaonic texts and images that celebrated the differences between Egypt and its neighbors. At the same time, Egypt was seen as a remote precedent of Western culture and societies—a venerable instigator of an uninterrupted process of progress supposedly culminating in Europe in the 19th century. Only as of the late 20th century has archaeology helped Egyptology overcome such a view, understand the African roots of the pharaonic civilization, and review the nature of its relations with its African neighbors. At the same time, intense archaeological exploration of the African regions that surrounded Egypt has revealed the critical role of Nubian and desert populations in creating original forms of political power and cultural achievement that owed little or nothing to pharaonic Egypt. The result is the emergence of more balanced historical interpretations that emphasize the complex interplay between all these actors in the social dynamics of the Bronze and Iron Age in northeastern Africa.


Ekpo, Margaret  

Chinyere Ukpokolo

Margaret Ekpo was a woman leader, a pioneer parliamentarian and a human rights activist who contributed immensely to the political development of Nigeria during the colonial and pre-Civil War eras. She was actively involved in the struggle for Nigerian independence, and agitations for women’s inclusion in policies and programs of government. A leading member of National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons (NCNC), which became the National Council for Nigerian Citizens in 1960, Margaret rose to become a member of National Executive Council (NEC) of the party as well as the Vice President of the NCNC Women Association. In 1954, she was appointed a Chief with a seat in the Eastern House of Chiefs, breaking gender barrier that had hitherto made the space a male preserve. Margaret was a patriotic Nigerian. As part of her contributions to the constitutional development of Nigeria, Ekpo attended many constitutional conferences in Lagos and London as an adviser to the NCNC. She deployed different strategies to build political consciousness among women in Eastern Region of Nigeria. Her concern on universal suffrage led her to speak unequivocally against women exclusion in political process in the Northern Region of Nigeria. Margaret was an industrialist. She founded a sewing institute named “Windsor Domestic Science Institute” where she trained women in bookkeeping, dressmaking, and home economics among other activities. She believed that women must not be idle but work to earn income to assist their husbands. Margaret founded Aba Market Women Association, which she also used as a platform to educate women on their rights. She was rights activist who utilized her position as a parliamentarian to agitate for the political, economic, educational, and cultural emancipation of her people. For instance, she fought for the welfare of workers and their fundamental human rights. She demanded gender equity in the appointment of people to the Census Board, employment in the police force, and called for more girls to be offered scholarships. Margaret mobilized women against the British colonial administrators following the killing of coal miners at Iva Valley, Enugu, known as “Enugu Colliery Massacre” in 1949, and the murder of Onyia, a wardress in Enugu prison killed in 1954 for her refusal of sexual advances of a warder. She wanted government to coordinate the processes through which Nigerian students abroad access scholarships. Margaret believed in the indivisibility of Nigeria and suffered for her conviction during the Nigeria–Biafra Civil War (1966–1970). For her services to humanity, Ekpo received several awards and honors. An airport, Margaret Ekpo Airport Calabar, was named after her in her life time. She was awarded National Officer of the Order of Niger (NOON) and Commander of the Order of Federal Republic (OFR). Ekpo was a member of the Board of Trustees of Women’s Research and Documentation Centre (WORDOC), Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. Chief Margaret Ekpo died on September, 21, 2006 at the age of ninety-two.