Ch 37: Overview of African History

About This Chapter

Learn about Africa's regions, societies, city-states and cultures by watching short videos and taking quizzes. Study its economy, geography and contemporary issues.

Overview of African History - Chapter Summary

Discover the history of Africa through fun lessons taught by subject experts. Our instructors will guide you through videos of Africa's kinship relations, religious systems and political systems. You'll learn about the spread of agriculture throughout the continent and study the migrations and societies of ancient Africa. This chapter covers various regions in Africa, including the trans-Saharan, central Africa and southern Africa. It examines African colonization and the decolonization of Africa and rise of nationalism. When you've finished watching these videos, you'll know about:

  • Africa's physical and human geography
  • Environmental zones
  • Pastoralism's spread through Africa
  • Bantu migrations of ancient Africa
  • West African Sudanic states
  • Ghana and Mali cultures
  • City-states on the East Coast
  • Indian Ocean economy
  • European imperialism
  • Purpose of the African Union

Our professional instructors utilize fun graphics and animations and engaging narration to help you quickly and easily learn about African history. Each video has a tag you can use to refer back to main points of from the lesson without having to re-watch the entire video. Lesson transcripts are useful for finding definitions of key terms or just following along with the video. You'll also find self-assessment quizzes that come with each lesson, so you can quickly make sure you comprehend the subjects taught in the videos.

15 Lessons in Chapter 37: Overview of African History
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Geography of Africa

1. Geography of Africa

The geography of Africa includes a variety of ecosystems with beautiful geological features. Learn about Africa, life in Africa, touring Africa, and major landmarks.

Africa's Environments: Zones & Agricultural Adaptation

2. Africa's Environments: Zones & Agricultural Adaptation

The African continent has an incredible range of diverse environments. Explore how human beings have adapted agricultural practices to fit zones like the Sahara, the Sahel, the tropics and highlands, the coasts and savanna, and the rocky lands in the south.

Kinship Relations & Political Systems in Africa

3. Kinship Relations & Political Systems in Africa

Kinship can determine a lot, from marriage to social organization and politics. In this lesson, explore the kinship relations and political systems that existed in pre-colonial Africa.

Religious Systems of Africa: Similarities & Differences

4. Religious Systems of Africa: Similarities & Differences

Africa is home to many different cultures, histories, ethnicities, and, consequently, many religions as well. Learn more about the similarities and differences of the religious systems of Africa, including indigenous religions, Abrahamic, Islamic, and Christian beliefs of people in the region.

The Spread of Pastoralism and Agriculture in Africa

5. The Spread of Pastoralism and Agriculture in Africa

Pastoralism and agriculture have been major practices throughout history, but the latter did not emerge in Africa until around 3000 B.C.E. Follow the spread of pastoralism and agriculture in Africa, learning to define key terms along the way.

Ancient West Africa: Bantu Migrations & the Stateless Society

6. Ancient West Africa: Bantu Migrations & the Stateless Society

Ancient West Africa was characterized by rich culture, agriculture, and trade, composed of stateless societies without organized hierarchy or government. Learn about the Bantu migrations, village structure, and how these sometimes developed into towns or eventually cities.

Trans-Saharan Trade & West African Sudanic States

7. Trans-Saharan Trade & West African Sudanic States

Trans-Saharan trade routes moved salt, gold, and other goods to and from the West African Sudanic states as early as the 4th century. Explore the beginnings of trans-Saharan trade, discover how caravans crossed the desert, and examine the reasons for the route's decline hundreds of years later.

African Cultures: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

8. African Cultures: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

The pre-colonial period in West Africa was dominated by three empires: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. Discover how the trans-Saharan gold trade helped these empires rise to power.

Establishment of Small City-States on Africa's East Coast

9. Establishment of Small City-States on Africa's East Coast

The establishment of small city-states on Africa's east coast was mostly due to the expansion of trade in the region during the Middle Ages. Learn about the development of these east African city-states, and examine their growth and subsequent decline.

Central & Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean Economy

10. Central & Southern Africa & the Indian Ocean Economy

Past networks of trade in the Indian Ocean affected the central and southern African economies, influencing the migration of large populations. Examine these dynamics in central and southern Africa, and explore details of how the Indian Ocean economy fluctuated.

The Colonization of Africa & the Berlin Conference: Definition & Purpose

11. The Colonization of Africa & the Berlin Conference: Definition & Purpose

In the mid-1880's, over a dozen European nations met at the Berlin Conference to create guidelines for the colonization of Africa. Learn about the definition of colonization and the purpose of the Berlin Conference.

European Imperialism in Africa: Invasions, Colonization & Rivalries

12. European Imperialism in Africa: Invasions, Colonization & Rivalries

European imperialism in Africa was marked by invasions, colonization, and rivalries. Learn about this period by first exploring the background to European imperialism in Africa, then discovering the impact of the Scramble for Africa, including invasions, occupations, and rivalries.

Life in Africa after Independence

13. Life in Africa after Independence

After World War II, the countries in Africa were decolonized. Learn about life in Africa after the countries received independence. Explore the impact of WWII on Africa, African decolonization, and the impact of African decolonization to understand how Africa changed following WWII.

Decolonization and Nationalism in Israel, Egypt, Africa & Algeria

14. Decolonization and Nationalism in Israel, Egypt, Africa & Algeria

Decolonization and nationalism in Israel, Egypt, Africa and Algeria after World War II was a tumultuous affair but a great stride for independence in the region. Learn about which nations were involved and their movements.

The African Union's History & Purpose

15. The African Union's History & Purpose

The African Union was created as an intergovernmental organization of all of the states that reside in the continent of Africa in order to centrally address issues such as security and economic development. Learn more about the African Union's history, purpose, and structure, and explore the different bodies that compose the organization.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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