Africa: A Short History / Edition 1

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This is a concise but sweeping account of the African past, its peoples, and their institutions. The book attempts to provide an overview of African history without getting bogged down in details and data. This approach is very useful for general readers who seek to gain an understanding of the major trends and developments, and for teachers who plan to supplement this text with primary sources depending on the emphasis of the course.

Beginning with the dynasties of the Nile valley, Collins explains the importance of language in identifying the enormous human diversity of the Africans, the evolution of African societies into kingdoms and empires through new social structures, the introduction of Christianity and Islam, and the migrations of various groups. The book then describes the appearance of the Europeans in the fifteenth century and the rise of the Atlantic slave trade. It continues with the brief but traumatic period of colonial rule and the nationalist movements for independence that ensued. Finally, it accounts for the struggles of Africans in recent years, including civil conflict, military dictatorships, and ethnic insurgencies, as the newly independent states of the continent mature.

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Editorial Reviews

African Studies Review
Robert O. Collins, already well-known for his "Problems in African History" (Markus Wiener, 1992) and "Documents from the African Past" (Markus Wiener, 2001), has presented us with an elegantly written narrative that takes us from prehistoric times to contemporary Africa in fewer than 250 pages. Needless to say, the text is concise, and it is precisely for its brevity that it is important for the readers to understand what Collins has achieved in this work....Given its characteristics, this book will be a valuable tool for teachers and graduate students. Certain chapters can also be useful for course reading in introductory courses, although these need to be carefully chosen. Finally, historians of Africa will also benefit from reading this text. Like any good work of synthesis it will encourage re-conceptionalization and reassessment and thus will contribute to the exploration of old and new questions.
World History Bulletin
Professor Collins has written an extremely perceptive introduction to the principal themes of African history. Africa: A Short History will serve as an excellent basic textbook for use in the sorts of one-semester surveys of African history and civilization that are frequently offered in American community colleges and in the lower division general education components of many four-year colleges. It should, however, be supplemented with a volume of collateral readings of the kind that Collins and his collaborators have themselves produced, plus a few Internet links. Students wishing to read further will find many of the standard works on African history listed in the "Selected Readings" section that concludes the volume.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558763739
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/15/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 247,004
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents




Pre-History in Africa

Ancient and Medieval Africa

Islam. Trade, and States

Europeans, Slavery, and the Slave Trade

European Conquest and Colonization of Africa

Independent Africa


Geography Defines Man and Woman

Evolution of Man and Woman in Africa

Peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa

Crops, Cows, and Iron


Dynastic Egypt, 3100-332 BCE

Kingdom of Kush: Corridor to Africa

806 BCE-350 CE

Bantu Migrations, 1000 BCE-17?? CE

Aksum, 200-700 CE

Christian States of Nubia


Arabs and Islam

Trans-Saharan Trade

Empires of the Plains

East African Coast and the Indian

Ocean World

City-States of the African Coast


Niger Delta and Igbo

Kingdoms of the Forest and the Savanna

State-Building in the Interior of East Africa

States of the West African Forest





States of East Central Africa




States of West Central Africa



States of Southern Africa






Portuguese Explorations of the West and East

African Coasts

Slavery in Africa

Atlantic Slave Trade

Asian Slave Trade

Trans-Saharan Slave Trade

Red Sea Slave Trade

East Africa and the Indian Ocean Slave






Prelude to the Conquest

European Conquest of African States from the Sahel to the Southern Savanna

European Conquest of Southern Africa

European Colonial Rule in Africa

Colonial Legacy


Nationalism and Independence

Apartheid State in South Africa

Ethnicity and Insurgency in Cold War Africa

Africa at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Excellent History of Africa

    This book is thoroughly researched, well-written, and very informative. It is clearly written and provides ample details and facts germane to the subject matter. I would highly recommned this book.

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