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Pre-Colonial Africa thread

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Thread replies: 107
Thread images: 49

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ITT we discuss: pre-colonial Africa whether it be domestication, Nation-State formation, culture, society and arts
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Has Somalia ever not been a shithole?
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>>80565
Somalia as a modern nation is a recent manifestation of European border making and nationalists attempting to unite all Somali language speaking people.

The real question is were there ever successful nations in what is now called Somalia and the answer of course is yes: Ajuran Sultanate was a naval trading power in the Indian Ocean.
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>>80565
They have some old cities. I think of Somalia's history to be somewhat similar to the history of Arabia

I know they traded with the Indians and Romans
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I'll just start dumping pictures, I lost all my notes from my "Africa to 1500" history course in a hard drive crash, so all I remember is bits and pieces of cool places.

Here's a slaver fortress in the middle of the Sahara. Dunno who built it or when, but the Kanouri people inhabited it for a while.
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>>81280

I took a course of Africa to 1800, I think it got mostly sidelined by slavery from what I remember.
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This is a North African fortified granary. They were originally places for people to store dried grain and flee to in event of attack, but they eventually turned into something similar to bank vaults.
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>>81378

inside the walls of one of these granaries

>>81358

...W&M?
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I appreciate the contributions :3

Dogon village, Mali
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Old Dongola was a city along the Nile founded in late antiquity that became the capital of the Makurian kingdom. It adopted Christianity by the 5th or 6th century and held out against the spread of Islam for quite some time, defeating the Rashidun caliphate twice in the 7th century and even retaking territory from them when they annexed Nobatia to the North before establishing a peace treaty that lasted for 700 years. During that time they developed a decent international trade network along the river, and even had a community of Genoese merchants by the 13th century.

They finally collapsed in the 14th century after the sneaky Egyptians invaded in a land-grab and converted the populace to Islam.
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>>81741

here's more ruins
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>>81786

and the throne hall
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>>81527

...Dogon peoples interest me
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Tichit started off as a salt trading post in what is now Mauritania in the 12th century. There's a nearby neolithic site as well, but I don't have pictures of that. That's all I really know about it, I came across pictures of it by accident on Nairaland but haven't been able to learn more.
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>>82165
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>>82165
>nairaland

What brought you there?
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>>81527
Reminds me of the Hopi
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>>82196

sorry I don't have more info on it, if you guys find anything please post it here.
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>>82217

I wanted to talk with Africans on the internet, there's not many places to go for that

here's another Saharan trade outpost
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Was war between groups more intensified in Europe or Africa prior to colonization? Do you think Africa would have modern civilizations of its old empires if it was able to match European might?
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>>82453
I don't know about Europe, but demand for slaves definitely intensified wars deeper into the interior of the continent and caused a lot of political instability even for the most successful of them. They realized Europeans were willing to pay a lot for prisoners of war and were also willing to trade them fancy new weapons to capture more.
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>>82453
I think people underestimate the sheer size of Africa. It's far too disparate, geographically speaking, to ever be able to provide the kind of united front against the Europeans
Also what >>82519 said.
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Somewhat relevant but if you got time to kill watch Bamako

It's a great movie
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>>82453

both Africa and Europe are too large to make those kinds of judgements without generalizing to a large degree. There was brutality and compassion between different ethnic groups on both continents.

For your second question, probably? Ethiopia maintained a feudal state right up until the Derg, and I don't think other African nations would have adopted western-styled governments without outside pressure.
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recently i have been extremely interested in Yoruba

does anyone know if scarification has long term effects? (don't worry i'm not getting it)
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This is Ouara, in modern day Chad. Founded in the 16th century, it was the capital of the Wadai Sultanate until it used up all of its wellwater in the 19th century. The Wadai Sultanate itself was destroyed when they waged war against France and lost in the early 20th century.
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>>82791

All that remains is the ruins of the palace, the mosque, and the walls
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>>82606
I always thought the main disadvantage was technological. Europeans had firepower which far outmatched any technology or organization Africans could achieve. Close proximity of European nations and frequent conflict advanced technology at a quicker rate which was then used to expand their empires.
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>>82866
I think population also played a role. I remember reading that Europe at the time actually had a larger population due to their more advanced agriculture, medicine, etc., giving them a further advantage.
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>>82866
Technology was definitely a huge factor, but European colonial strategies also had an important economic component, especially when you're thinking of the British. They essentially saw colonial territories as areas ripe for economic exploitation in terms of extracting natural resources and exporting surplus goods, or channeling those goods into colonial efforts.

This kind of economic colonialism, which was certainly accompanied by a degree of military occupation to ensure transactions and uneven exchanges could be imposed smoothly, was instrumental in securing power. Economic activity enlists a significant segment of the native population, and urbanizing them or imposing a state on them makes them a source of accessible economic production.

That kind of imperialism wins you tons of allies in colonial territories, and allows the colonizer to wield economic and social clout within native society that makes them far more pliable and subjugated than just superior firepower.

It's important to note that colonial occupation is not just pure European force and villainy. It is a reciprocal exchange where many colonized people have a great deal of agency and work with the colonial authorities in a self-interested way that might be construed as collaboration, but is actually far more nuanced.
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>>82955
You pretty much beat me to it. I think the Europeans had an inherent advantage in that they were willing to straight up walk over the African population where necessary. Some of the earliest Portuguese explorers just started bombarding a few cities, IIRC, because they felt negotiations were unfavourable to them. Europeans also could (and very often did) play regional kings against each other, weakening both for their benefit.
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>>82932
Europe was subject to population pressures that less urbanized societies in Africa were not. This gave them a constant source of manpower to sustain their colonial endeavors, along with a serious need to acquire more territory to supply them with the resources they needed to overcome the Malthusian constraints inherent to pre-20th century societies. Colonialism in the 20th century is obviously very different than this, but I think the idea that inherent European ecological/demographic exigencies stimulated early colonialism is very compelling.
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>>82726

long term effects? You mean other than the scarring itself? Probably nothing.

Here's Great Zimbabwe, which is the namesake of the modern country, and one of several massive stone fortresses/cities found in it. Constructed without mortar during the 11th century, it was the capital of the Shona Kingdom of Zimbabwe and an important center of the ivory and gold trade. There are several enclosures, and current theories speculate that each may have been built by a different ruler. Great Zimbabwe was abandoned by the late 15th century as a result of competition with the neighboring Kingdom of Mutapa.
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>>82932
Well I think technological development correlates with population density. Why did they need medicine? Their population was dense and prone to disease. Why did they need agriculture? They needed ways to increase productivity. These advances made it easier to create and manage dense populations.
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>>83038

shit's big
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>>81423
That looks like a movie set for the Monty Python movie Life of Brian.
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>>81837
The dogon are really cool. I'm pretty skeptical about all the ancient alien stuff, but seriously, how did they know about Sirius b? An old episode of in search of delves into the dogon, not just their astronomy but their lore and culture. Its pretty interesting.
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some neat cliff dwellings in Mali, I think they're just used as tombs nowadays
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>>82955
I would say imperialism was the mode used to subjugate Africa and technology the tools.
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>>83082

how about a cruciform church cut from solid bedrock? Lalibela has several of them, their interiors are decorated with lots of icons.
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>>83251
That is really cool.
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>>80515
As much as American schools push black history, there never seems to be any real mention of African culture outside of Egypt. And even still, it's centered on their mythology and the pyramids. Africa's a really, really big place but it just gets shoved aside aside like there's nothing to teach kids about the place at all.

>>82726
It's just like one of my Japanese animes. Minus blonde/white hair.

>>81786
Something about stone ruins always makes me sad.
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>>80652
They will be united again, From the Tana to the Awsa.
>>80565
Strongest state in Africa navally for 200 years
1. Medieval hydraulic empire (only African hydraulic empire during middle ages)
2. One of the first non-European states to successfully engage Portugal in naval warfare. Several battles were waged between the Portuguese and the Ajuuraan who defended their cities from Portuguese occupation.
3. First empire in Africa and one of the first non-European states which succeeded in mobilizing an operation to intervene to assist foreign states and drive the Portuguese out of established colonies. At the request of rulers from Southeast Africa, a joint Ajuuraan-Ottoman naval force freed occupied cities. The Portuguese eventually recaptured these colonies.
4. The empire was also engaged in exploration and had a diplomatic presence as far as China where it established the first recorded African community in China during reign of Emperor Yongle (1360 –1424). Ajuuraan explorers for example went to the Maldives where they occupied the island and found gold before the arrival of the Portuguese. Merchants from Mogadishu established a colony in Mozambique to extract gold from the mines in Sofala etc.
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>>83308
5. Merchants sailed to Cairo, Damascus, Mocha, Mombasa, Aden, Madagascar, Hyderabad and the islands of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, establishing communities along the way.
6. The Ajuuraans had their own currency which was in wide circulation. 15th century Ajuuraan coins were found recently in the UAE.
More info below:
The Ajuuraan state or Ajuuraan sultanate[1] (Somali: Saldanadda Ajuuraan, Arabic: اٍمارة أجوران) was a Somali Muslim empire[2][3][4] that ruled over large parts of the Horn of Africa in the Middle Ages. Through a strong centralized administration and an aggressive military stance towards invaders, the Ajuuraan Empire successfully resisted an Oromo invasion from the west and a Portuguese incursion from the east during the Gaal Madow and the Ajuuraan-Portuguese wars. Trading routes dating from the ancient and early medieval periods of Somali maritime enterprise were strengthened or re-established, and foreign trade and commerce in the coastal provinces flourished with ships sailing to and coming from a many kingdoms and empires in East Asia, South Asia, Europe, the Near East, North Africa and East Africa.
The empire left an extensive architectural legacy, being the major medieval Somali power engaged in castle and fortress building, with many of the hundreds of ruined fortifications dotting the landscapes of Somalia today attributed to Ajuuraan engineers.[5] and includes many of the pillar tomb fields, necropolises and ruined cities built in that era. During the Ajuuraan period many regions and peoples in East Africa converted to Islam because of the theocratic nature of the government. The royal family, the House of Gareen, expanded its territories and established its hegemonic rule through a skillful combination of warfare, trade linkages and alliances.[6]
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>>83320
As an hydraulic empire, the Ajuuraan Empire monopolized the water resources of the Shabelle and Jubba rivers. Through hydraulic engineering, it also constructed many of the limestone wells and cisterns of the state that are still operative and in use today. The rulers developed new systems for agriculture and taxation, which continued to be used in parts of the Horn of Africa as late as the 19th century.
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Liberia is really fascinating.
I made a thread about it a few days ago and got b&. Are hypothetical threads not allowed?

Anyways, my question was what do you think would've become of Liberia if there was a larger influx of educated free American blacks?

(I can see how this can be read as /pol/ bait, but I'm curious of other people's thoughts)
>>83251
>Lalibela has several
What???? I've only ever seen the one in your picture. Care to share some of the rest?
>>83320
>>83308
>>83324
mogadishu is actually really pretty I've heard
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>>83347

>Care to share some of the rest

sure
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>>83347
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>>83581
>>83548
So pretty! Can't believe I've never seen those.
I've always wondered how you get down there.
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>>83347
>Anyways, my question was what do you think would've become of Liberia if there was a larger influx of educated free American blacks?

They'd die
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>>83347
There was fear that the African Americans would take over and exploit the Natives for their own gain.
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>>83655
that did happen though
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>>83610

but wait! there's more!
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Can someone explain the arguments for why africa is a shithole?

The only responses I get are 'cuz niggers' or a big fat wall of pretentious text in lieu of just saying 'we're all equal but white people are more evil and they stole the resources'
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>>83308

>hydraulic

Do you mean naval-based? Also what about Axum?

>>83610

aaannnd one more for now. There's others but not many pictures of them because they're hard to photograph.
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>>83766
Because it doesnt consist of ethnostates, rather frankenstein nations.
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>>83766
I understand what you're saying, coz I get the same answers. Africa is a rough place, and there are probably a million different reasons as to why. The question just gets you flooded by poltards and tumblrites.
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Post masks.
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>>83766
>less access to other regions in Eurasia
>lack of easily domesticatable work animals
>Europe completely lucked out with smallpox and other diseases wiping the Americas out for them
>MASSIVE amounts of wealth sucked out from the Americas helps put Europe on top
>European colonial policy actively destroys native industries and economies to make them more dependent/profitable for the metropole (see: India)
>also create artificial borders dividing groups and lumping them into historically hostile neighbors
>also create artificial ethnic divides like between the Hutu and Tutsi
>massive amounts of corruption left to reign in the poverty conditions

Condensed down as much as humanely possible
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>>83840
Holy shit Africa get it together
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>>83901
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>>83766
This explains it pretty well. All the replies were other anons agreeing with him.
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>>83901
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>>83987
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Could anyone give me a decent summary of the cultural development of the Mbuti peoples, specifically in regards to how they had to adapt to Bantu influence?

Also, tell me about the history of the San bushmen. I've read several anthropological texts on their sociak structures & lifeways, but know next to nothing about their origins or ancestral groups. Have they always been foragers, or did agriculturalists force them out of more fertile lands?
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>>83766
Wow, we managed to get 58 posts in before a bait post. New record, /his/!

Allow me to kek your shit up, senpai.

First, a definition: "civilization", as classically defined, simply means a society that possesses both stable urban centers and a true writing system.

Now, some starting points:

1. Civilization only ever independently developed in two places: Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica.

2. Europe NEVER independently developed writing or civilization. ALL European written languages are the direct descendants of Levantine writing systems.

3. The development of civilization directly jives with contact dates with previous civilizations. This is why South-Eastern Europe developed civilization well before Northern Europe. Rome had been civilized for ~800 years before the first Northern Celtic/Germanics EVER put pen to paper. Large swaths of Northern Europe were uncivilized until the 13th century A.D.

CONT.
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>>84091
Now, in terms of independently developing civilization, Sub-Saharan Africa was at a series of disadvantages, namely:

1. A smaller population (compared to Europe, East Asia, South Asia, etc.) and thus much lower population density in an area roughly two times the size of the United States. Sub-Saharan Africa didn't catch up to Europe in terms of population until about 2000 A.D.

2. A desert roughly the size of the United States separating most of Sub-Saharan Africa from the Levant, the "Cradle of Civilization". By contrast, there was no large geographic separation between Europe and the Levant.

3. Large plains interspersed with jungles, which made interior, far-reaching navigation largely impracticable until European explorers arrived in the 19th century.

CONT.
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http://strawpoll.me/5908001

should mods enable IDs?!??
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>>84091
>>84099

Just to make that point clear, for ALL OF RECORDED HUMAN HISTORY UNTIL 15 YEARS AGO, Sub-Saharan Africa had fewer people than Europe. Nonetheless, it has always been more diverse in terms of genetics and ethno-linguistics.

Put simply, having a small but extremely diverse population on a huge continent is not very conducive to the INDEPENDENT development of civilization. Sadly, this diversity greatly assisted Europeans in divide and conquer tactics during the colonial era and some of those policies resulted directly in genocide (as in Rwanda and Burundi). Many of these issues still plague much of Sub-Saharan Africa today and the politicization of ethnicity (i.e. "if you're part of ethnic group A, you vote for party A or you're a traitor!") is a huge problem today and directly results in massive amounts of corruption.

>muh natural resources
Many of the "natural resources that should have magically thrust civilization and wealth upon the blacks" simply weren't valuable or even known until the 19th century or beyond. I've literally seen /pol/sters cite Uranium and diamonds as would-be sources for African pre-colonial wealth. /pol/ seems to be patently unaware that most precious metals were largely disdained until Arab or European contact.

CONT.
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>>84091
>>84099
>>84114

Please stop.
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>>82726
I might be getting some, but minor ones so I can still work. Everyone's skin is different so you might keloid when you don't want to or vice versa.
>>82352
Oh sweet, yeah we don't go on 4Chan much and people weren't too fond of ebolachan
>>83308
>believing the clans will set aside their squabbling and come together

I have more hope for peace in Congo desu
>>83624
I am aware some still come but people won't ever let them become a power class again.

The president doesn't really like them even though her own mother was adopted by a prominent Americo family.
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>>80565
Yes, there was the Adan Sultanate I think it was called, it was actually very powerful.
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>>84091
>>84099
>>84114

In regards to IQ, if you subscribe to the tautological reasoning that intelligence is "what ever IQ tests measure", then there's only a 50-70 year gap between black Africans and white Europeans. Owing to the Flynn Effect, the average IQ of unselected Finnish, Danish, and American soldiers (the former two tested with a highly g-loaded test (Raven's Matrices)) shows that Europeans in the early-mid 20th century would test around 80-85 today. And even if you reject the Flynn effect's quasi-egalitarian implications, Egypt, which currently has an average IQ of ~81, was civilized for ~3,500 years before the first NORTHERN European (~100) put pen to paper.

Barbados (~83), a black country, is one of the least corrupt and best managed countries in the Americas and currently has a high income and a high human development index (occasionally venturing into "Very High"/"Developed"). The British managed to foster a civilized culture among the descendants of slaves who were by no means selected for their intelligence. So even if there is a permanent, irredeemable gap, culture is certainly a deciding factor in the success of a society. For reference, the average IQ in Sub-Saharan Africa is ~80 (Wicherts et al, 2010).

That being said, if we look at basic societal indicators such as life expectancy, literacy rates, years of education, maternal survival rates, number of Universities, road density, average income, etc. almost all of Sub-Saharan Africa is at a level that Europeans reached in the early-mid 20th century, which is to say that there are plenty of people still alive when most of Europe was shittier than Africa today. Plus, Sub-Saharan African countries currently have amongst the highest growth rates on Earth and there are far fewer civil wars and violent conflict than there were just 20 years ago.
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>>84091
>>84099
>>84114
>>84148

In conclusion, /pol/, people don't call you "ignorant" just because you hurt their feelgoods. They call you ignorant because you're genuinely unaware of human history.
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>>84030

squad

>>84091

that's not a bait post, it's a sincere question. People are afraid to ask these questions outside the anonymity of the internet, and schools don't touch them because they don't have the time/energy to tackle such a big topic.

also,

>Civilization only ever independently developed in two places: Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica

you forgot China, the Andes, the Indus Valley, and Egypt
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>>83766
/pol/ thinks guns germs and steel is a meme but I do agree with taking geography into account. Eurasia has been something like 85% of the world's population for most of civilized history and they all lived in somewhat similar climates, so they had huge collective brainpower discovering technology that could be spread from civilization to civilization and everyone could use.

The only part of (Black) Africa that had access to that trade was Ethiopia via the Red Sea, and not surprisingly they ended up way more advanced than everyone else. They also weren't dense jungle, inhospitable desert, or unreasonably dry savannah like most of the regions accessible to Eurasians. Many discoveries made in Eurasia would have been useless due to the different conditions; grains domesticated by Asians could be used by Europeans and vice versa but none of that shit could survive in most unmodified African climes
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>>83766
Like everything in history a tl:Dr won't suffice.
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>>84166
He was just asking a question, even if you gave a lot of correct information
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>>83766
>>83766
Basically the sahara desert severely limited the amount of trade the sub-saharan africans could have for most of human history, so tech and ideas didn't spread there as much as they did to other parts of afroeurasia (although of course some trade passed around the west coast, along the nile and out from/to the east coast).

This stymies the develop tech -> implement -> enhance standard of living -> population growth -> more people develop more tech and utilise more resources -> rinse and repeat cycle which happened in other parts of the old world.

In addition, the actual geography is very unconducive to the quick development of large empires, which prevented some successful ethnic group from breaking free into the cycle.

Now, because of globalisation, africa is currently absorbing insane swathes of tech and ideas which it missed out on for a long time, and the resultant population growth and development is set to make them the dominant continent in the 23rd century, if demographics hold up to the current projections.
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>>84204
>>84222

That's a copypasta you're replying to, friends.
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>>84166
Im from /pol/ and I made the image you reposted (>>84091).

There's been plenty of good discussion about sub-saharan history on /pol/ before.
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>>84237
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>>84204
>China
Debatable.
>the Andes
No true writing system.
>Indus Valley
No (verified) true writing system.
>Egypt
Likely derived from Levantine civilizations.

Before you respond, please familiarize yourself with true writing systems versus logographic systems, etc.
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step up your mask game
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>>80565
Yes actually. Fought the Arabs, Swahili trade cities, Indians and eventually Euros. East Africa has historically been the best side for black african societies.
>>
>>84302
Are you really arguing the Indus and Andean regions didn't have any form of civilization because they didn't have a true writing system?
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>>84332
>"This isn't even my final form!"
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>>84034
Hey so you some really cool questions, these are people found in Congo

The answers to all this are simple; All pygmies have completely altered in such a way that they completely rely on agricultural sustenance

Every.single.one.

Contrary to popular belief the forests of the mbuti aka the Ituri cannot sustain year round living on honey, roots, insects and meat. As highly seasonal and fluctuating food sources they could not be relied upon to serve the nutritional needs of the people even though they are spread out :-)

This is why all Pygmy speak the language of farmers for it was the banana growing farmers who assisted the pygmies to live deeper into the forest.

The common belief is that pygmies are actually a people of the less dense woodlands where such foods are most avaliable but with banana traded in exchange for meat they could camp in places they other wise couldn't live in long term.

Beyond that the function of hunters pygmies were spies, assassins, scouts during the period of slaving as well as farm laborers and wives to farmers.

Even though they've always been regarded as half human/savages.

The pygmies are believe to have adopted the bow and arrow, net and spear from Bantu and Sudanic farmers, before that bone harpoons, bamboo knives and stone hand axes were the basis of their weaponry.

Today after the wars pygmies have been reduced to serfs, heavily hated.

Fun fact: Genetically speaking Pygmy are two races split between east and west.

Fan fact 2: Twa pygmies have become metal workers, Potters and fishers which are castes of low rank and have expanded beyond the forests into Zambia and Angola.

Most pygmies are highly admixed through constant contact whereas all neighbors have only minor overall input.
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>>84302
The Andean civilizations recorded everything in fabric, both quipus and weavings. Very little of it survives and very little of it can be interpreted. You can't administer a socialist state without a bureaucracy.
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>>84363
That's the classical definition of civilization, so yes. If we're going to use more fluid definitions, then we'll just end up playing semantics the entire time.
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>>84428
Thanks for answering my question.
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>>83954
This is the most benign sounding call to genocide I've ever seen.
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>>84499
I believe, funny enough, that because Africa did not undergo the extreme amount of warfare that Europe, the Middle East, India and East Asia had; they could not build a modern powerful nation state
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>>84034
Khoisan are very complex people.

They are not in fact genetically unified and there are many who've completely been mixed into farming Bantu communities

North Zambia
South Zambia
Malawi
Mozambique
Hadza
Sandawe
And three separate Southern African groups

All genetically distinct in the way other races are from one another

They inhabited the regions from Katanga and Uganda down at various climatic stages in African history for over 60K years

Something only just being understood is the influence of Cushitic speakers to Khoe speakers by way of linguistics, livestock, pottery and genetics.

Funny enough through linguistics we see both sheep and cows in southern Bantu languages all stemming from the Khoe languages which ultimately stems from Cushitic.

Even then it's complicated because while Khoe is a genetic and linguistic group the term Khoi is not unified but rather a term to denote click speaking south africans with livestock, that was an amorphous term as cattle were killed by drought or stolen but could be received through basically apprenticeship.
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>>84441
Quipus were writing, just unusually fragile and hard to decipher.
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>>84375

sick fits

>>84136

Are you Nigerian?
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>>84550
There was war bro.
Just that war adapts to the conditions as well as the situation.
People are the most important resource during that time so waging war on the scale with huge body counts is a very bad idea.
That's like making a 1 bill dollar movie where the marketing budget is 750 million.
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>>84487
No problem, I'm actually quite obsessed with Pygmy and Khoisan populations plus similar groups.

They get forgotten so often because people want to talk about nation states and big buildings but idk I think they're still very important to learn about.

Bonoboincongo has some good posts about their lives and culture on their blog posts, check it out if you want
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>>84642
Congolese
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>>84700
Much appreciated. I'll be sure to check his blog out when I get the time.
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>>84725

Ah, I should have guessed from the name. What do you do over there? Are you a student? The only stuff I know about your country is its relationship with the US and Europe (sorry about Mobutu btw)
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>>84870
Tbh I was born there but was raised most my life in the US, still have family there though but they're doing their own thing.

Eh, he meant well at first on somethings but I have to recognize his insanity came from a reactionary place stemming from the horrors of Belgian colonialism.
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>>83766
Why is it when people answer this question they never bring up European backed coups?
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>>85086
In my experience save for Sankara most people neither know or care

That or believe it's a "conspiracy"
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>>84952

that's still pretty neat, I don't think I've ever spoken with anybody born in the Congo. I'll keep an eye out for your tripcode in the future.
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>>84302
So according to you the only civilization in Mesoamerica was the Mayans?

How is China being a civilization debatable?
>>
>>84441
Having agriculture would be a more accurate metric to define civilization. The Andean cultures had a deep, deep history a lot older than anything in Mesoamerica.
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