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About this book

This fourth edition of this best-selling core history textbook offers a richly illustrated, single volume, narrative introduction to African history, from a hugely respected authority in the field. The market-leading range of illustrated material from prior editions is now further improved, featuring not only additional and redrawn maps and a refreshed selection of photographs, but the addition of full colour to make these even more instructive, evocative and attractive.

Already hugely popular on introductory African History courses, the book has been widely praised for its engaging and readable style, and is unrivalled in scope, both geographically and chronologically – while many competitors limit themselves to certain regions or eras, Shillington chronicles the entire continent, from prehistory right up to the present day. For this new edition, both content and layout have been thoroughly refreshed and restructured to make this wealth of material easily navigable, and even more appealing to students unfamiliar with the subject.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Abstract
The problems that Africans and their governments had to face in the early decades after independence were, very largely, the product of their history. This is not to suggest that the mistakes, corruption or incompetence of some African leaders, or even ecological factors beyond any leader’s control, were not partly to blame for Africa’s continuing underdevelopment. But the roots of many of Africa’s intractable problems in the early decades of independence were to be found in the period of colonial rule. In spite of this, however, Africans’ determination to better themselves led to major social and education advances, especially in the first decade of independence.
Kevin Shillington

Early and Later Prehistory

Frontmatter

2. Early prehistory of Africa

Abstract
The writing of Africa’s history has taken many forms over the centuries. The Ancient Egyptians, who invented one of the world’s oldest scripts, hieroglyphics, recorded their history on papyrus scrolls, on the walls of temples and tombs, and carved into solid pillars of rock. They certainly wanted people of the future to know about their history, even if it was often little more than lists of kings and fantastic stories of the military prowess of their rulers. The Nubian kingdoms of Sudan were literate from a similar age. Their successor Kingdom of Meroe kept literate records from at least the sixth century bce (Before the Common Era), although their script has not yet been deciphered. Ancestral Ethiopians too were literate from the fifth century bce, and from at least the ninth century ce (Common Era), Ethiopians recorded aspects of their history in religious and regal texts and in works of literature. The most prominent recorders of Africa’s history from the ninth to sixteenth century ce were Arabic-speaking north African scholars. They wrote both the history of their own societies and that of the peoples of а1-Sudan (the ‘land of the black people’) south of the Sahara, whom they had heard about through trading contacts or had visited themselves. But it was not only outsiders who wrote the history of al-Sudan. In the seventeenth century, a local Muslim scholar of Timbuktu, named Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di, chronicled the history of the Songhay Empire in the Ta’rikh al-Sudan. Similarly, in the trading cities of the east African coast, local Swahili-speaking scholars recorded some of their history, writing Swahili in Arabic script. Much of these early forms of African history were heavily dependent on the local oral traditions of the time. Today, they form the basis of much of our understanding of those distant times.
Kevin Shillington

3. Later prehistory: farming and pastoralism in tropical Africa and Ancient Egypt

Abstract
The most important thing to understand about the science of evolutionary theory is that it is constantly evolving in the light of new evidence and the reinterpretation of old evidence. But one thing that has stood the test of time is the conclusion that Africa was the continent in which early forms of humans and fully modern humans, with brains just like ours, first evolved. And it was from Africa that they finally spread to inhabit the rest of the world.
Kevin Shillington

Early Iron Age

Frontmatter

4. The impact of iron in north and west Africa

Abstract
Metal provided early human societies with a superior raw material for making their tools, weapons and decorative ornaments. Metal could be shaped, joined, sharpened and decorated in a far wider range of ways than stone. One of the first metals to be mined and worked was copper. It is relatively ‘soft’ and is sometimes found in pure metallic form. It would not, therefore, have been too difficult for Stone Age craftsmen to develop the techniques for heating, hammering and shaping it into their desired tools or ornaments. Most metals, however, including copper, are normally mined as ore, that is, metal-bearing rock. In due course, early craftsmen learned how to extract their metals from this ore through heating. By a process known as ‘smelting’, copper or tin was, in effect, ‘melted’ from the rock. It was soon discovered that smelting copper and tin together produced a harder metal, an alloy we know as bronze. Bronze was used for making a wide variety of effective tools and weapons.
Kevin Shillington

5. The Early Iron Age in central, eastern and southern Africa

Abstract
By the fifth century ce, the knowledge and skills of ironworking and crop cultivation had been established right across the more favourable regions of central, eastern and southern Africa. The relatively rapid spread of ironworking to this vast region is generally believed to have been the work of small farming communities who spoke early forms of the Bantu family of languages. Historians have reached these conclusions by marrying the evidence of linguists with that of archaeologists. Little, however, remains definite. Ongoing research continually reveals new evidence about the possible origins, nature, timing, direction and impact of ‘Early Iron Age’ farming. Thus, as old theories are refined or new theories proposed, the spread of the Early Iron Age by Bantu-speaking farmers remains one of the great debates of African prehistory.
Kevin Shillington

Religion and Empire in Northern and Western Africa

Frontmatter

6. North Africa to 1000 ce

Abstract
We saw in Chapter 2 that the Greek army of Alexander conquered Egypt in 332 bce and that his general Ptolemy founded a dynasty of Greek-speaking pharaohs who ruled Egypt for the next 300 years. The Greeks viewed their new conquest as a crucial, pivotal point in a vast trading network. Egypt linked the northern world of Mediterranean Europe with the riches of the African interior and the Indian Ocean. The valley of the Nile also had the agricultural potential to support a large and wealthy merchant class. One of the first actions of the new Greek rulers was to found the great trading city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast of the Nile Delta. From there, the ancient Egyptian trading system was developed and expanded – northwards into Mediterranean Europe and southwards through the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. We have already seen how the expansion of Red Sea trade at this time probably stimulated the growth of the Kingdom of Meroe in the African interior of the Upper Nile. By 250 bce, the Greek rulers of Egypt had built up a trading fleet of some 4,000 ships there.
Kevin Shillington

7. Trans-Saharan trade and the Kingdom of Ancient Ghana

Abstract
We saw in Chapter 3 that long-distance trade across the Sahara had gone on for many centuries before the introduction of the camel. Originally, desert dwellers sold Saharan salt in exchange for food grown by people living north or south of the desert. The earliest trade goods were probably carried strapped to the backs of cattle, known as pack oxen. Evidence for this is found in the Saharan rock paintings described in Chapter 2 (Figure 2.3). Cattle that were acclimatised to desert conditions could travel several days without water as they moved from the grazing and water of one oasis to another.
Kevin Shillington

8. Islam and the Sudanic states of west Africa

Abstract
We saw in Chapter 6 that by the end of the ninth century, the Berbers of the western Sahara had largely converted to Islam. It was they who first brought Islam to the western Sudan. Islam provided Berber pastoralists and traders with a certain shared sense of ‘brotherhood’. It also gave additional purpose to their territorial rivalry with the Sudanese farmers of the Sahel. In the forefront of this rivalry were the Lamtuna branch of the Sanhaja Berbers and the Soninke of Ghana. Early in the eleventh century, the Soninke of Ghana extended their control over the Muslim town of Awdaghust and the Lamtuna Sanhaja of the surrounding region. Some Sanhaja leaders viewed this territorial rivalry in terms of a religious war, but they were unable to inspire their followers with the fervour of a jihad (a holy war).
Kevin Shillington

Religion, Trade & Chieftaincy in Eastern, Central & Southern Africa

9. Eastern Africa to the sixteenth century

Abstract
we saw in chapter 3 that by 800 ce the capital of ethiopia had moved further south from aksum to the central highlands of the interior. external trade had declined with the rise of muslim baghdad and the subsequent diversion of indian ocean trade away from the red sea. by the early ninth century, ethiopia had become an isolated outpost of christianity, a largely agricultural economy, controlled by a landed aristocracy. further expansion southwards had, for the time being, been halted by fierce resistance from the indigenous agew communities of the shoan plateau.
Kevin Shillington

10. Later Iron Age states and societies of central and southern Africa to the sixteenth century

Abstract
The cultural and economic changes that were observed in eastern Africa after about 1000 ce (Chapter 8) also occurred in central and southern Africa around the same time. And as with eastern Africa, the transition was associated with a change in the style of pottery recovered from Iron Age settlement sites. It was now made of finer clay, decorated more elaborately and fired to a harder finish. Detailed study of this pottery and other archaeological artefacts has revealed a certain level of continuity between Early and Later periods. It appears that, in some areas, the development of Later Iron Age practices was gradual and evolved locally. In others, the changes were fairly swift, suggesting the arrival of ideas or small numbers of influential people from outside that particular locality. The timing of the transition was equally variable, occurring sometime between the ninth and fourteenth centuries.
Kevin Shillington

11. Trading towns of the east African coast to the sixteenth century

Abstract
There have been periodic references to Indian Ocean trade in earlier chapters of this book. Most of these have concerned trading contacts between Egypt, the Red Sea coast and Aksum/Ethiopia on the one hand, and the states of the Persian Gulf and western India on the other. This chapter is concerned with the origins and growth of Swahili trading towns along much of the east African coastline and their contribution to the further development of Indian Ocean trade.
Kevin Shillington

West Africa in the Era of the Slave Trade

Frontmatter

12. The Atlantic slave trade, sixteenth to eighteenth century

Abstract
Slavery, and the trading in captives for sale into slavery, has a long history in Africa, as well as in Europe and Asia. In ancient pharaonic times, captives from Nubia were transported down the Nile to Egypt. Some were also transported across the Sahara from western to northern Africa in Roman times, while others were sent out of northeast Africa to labour in the states of the Persian Gulf and India. The Atlantic trade of later centuries, however, was to surpass all these in sheer scale and systematic organisation.
Kevin Shillington

13. West African states and societies, to the eighteenth century

Abstract
The Empire of Songhay (see Chapter 7) had reached the height of its power in the early sixteenth century under the rule of Muhammad Ture. During his reign, Islam became more widely entrenched, trans-Saharan trade flourished and the Saharan salt mines of Taghaza were brought within the boundaries of the empire. During the course of the sixteenth century, however, this position of strength gradually declined. The power of the Askiya was weakened by a succession of short reigns and dynastic disputes, which erupted into full-blown civil war in the 1580s. At the same time, the general population and agricultural basis of the economy were weakened by drought and disease. There was a loosening of Songhay’s control over long-distance trading networks. In the east, the growth of Hausa states, Borno and the Tuareg Sultanate of Aïr, was drawing trans-Saharan trade away from Songhay and the western routes. And from the south, the supply of gold declined as the chiefdoms of the Akan forest diverted some of their trade to the newly arrived European traders on the coast.
Kevin Shillington

State Renewal & Formation in North, East, Central & Southern Africa

14. North and northeast Africa to the eighteenth century

Abstract
From the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, large numbers of Arab pastoral nomads, known as Bedouin (from the Arabic badawin, ‘desert dwellers’), moved gradually out of Arabia and into northern Africa. Migration from the deserts of Arabia was nothing new (see Chapter 5). These were highly mobile communities, living in tented dwellings made from camel skin that they could easily dismantle and re-erect (Figure 13.1). They were frequently on the move as they herded their camels and goats from one source of pasture and water to the next. In general, they travelled in small, family-based clans and there was little overarching unity among them. At times, they disrupted settled agricultural communities, but they were probably blamed for more chaos and disturbance than they actually caused. Although Muslim, they were generally nonliterate. This may partly account for the prejudice felt towards them by literate Arab scholars who accused them of widespread rural destruction in the Maghrib. Nevertheless, they spread the Islamic faith and the Arabic language and culture.
Kevin Shillington

15. Central and eastern Africa to the eighteenth century

Abstract
As we saw in Chapter 8, our knowledge of east African history is very limited, there being no contemporary written sources for the history of the interior until the nineteenth century. The area about which most is known for the period up to 1800 is the inter-lake region, which saw the rise of the kingdoms of Bunyoro and Buganda.
Kevin Shillington

16. Southern Africa to the eighteenth century

Abstract
As we saw in Chapter 9, by the seventeenth century, southern Africa had for some centuries been witnessing the development of Later Iron Age states and societies. In the northwest, Ovambo farmers and Herero cattle herders already occupied the northern half of present-day Namibia. The central highveld to the east of the Kalahari Desert was dominated by the distinctive ancestral Sotho-Tswana lineage groups, which were to spread and develop into the nineteenthcentury states of Tswana, northern Sotho and southern Sotho (see Map 9.3). To the east of the Drakensberg, the Nguni-speaking people were organised into many small, clan-based chiefdoms in the valleys and foothills of the southeastern lowveld. The clans and chiefdoms of Khoesan pastoralists were to be found in southern Namibia and all over the southwestern Cape, interspersed with hunter-gatherers. The latter were also still to be found in small familysized groups among the Sotho-Tswana of the southern highveld and the Nguni east of the Drakensberg. The southernmost Nguni, the Xhosa, in particular were mingling with Khoesan sheep and cattle herders in the Fish River region to form new Khoe/Xhosa chiefdoms such as the Gona and Gqunukhwebe (see Map 15.1).
Kevin Shillington

The Nineteenth Century Before the European ‘Scramble for Africa’

Frontmatter

17. West Africa in the nineteenth century

Abstract
in the early nineteenth century, the political map of western africa was dramatically changed as a succession of wars swept the savannah lands of the region. the political leaders of these military uprisings justified their wars in the name of islam, claiming that they were waging jihad. this implied that they were waging war against ‘the unbeliever’, and yet, in many cases, these wars pitched muslim against muslim. in reality, these were wars over the political control of an existing state or the creation of a new state out of the remnants of several former states. the muslim leaders who formed the spearhead of this movement were drawn largely from people of fulbe origin.
Kevin Shillington

18. The ending of the Atlantic slave trade

Abstract
During the course of the eighteenth century, Britain overtook all other European nations as the single largest exporter of Africans from Africa. By the end of the century, more than half the captives transported from west Africa were carried across the Atlantic in British ships. It was only after a vigorous campaign by anti-slave trade campaigners that Britain finally banned British ships from engaging in the trade. In fact, there had been a wide international movement against the trade and slavery itself since at least the 1780s. Northern US states had been banning the institution of slavery from that time. In France, the revolutionary government imposed a partial ban – the emancipation of second-generation slaves in the colonies – in 1791, which sparked the Haitian Revolution, although Napoleon reversed the ban in 1802. Denmark banned its citizens from engaging in the trade from 1803. Although Britain had, hitherto, been far from taking the lead in the anti-slavery movement, in the 1800s, Britain was emerging as the leading world power and its ban of 1807 was an important step in the abolition of the institution of slavery itself. The newly independent United States of America officially banned its subjects from engaging in the trade in 1808, although the institution of slavery remained in the USA and became a pretext for civil war in that country in the 1860s. Holland and France banned the trade in 1814 and 1817 respectively.
Kevin Shillington

19. Christian missions, new states and precolonial ‘nationalism’

Abstract
Roman Catholic Christian missionaries from Portugal had followed closely on the heels of Portuguese coastal penetration of tropical Africa. In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, Catholic missionaries were sent to Africa to convert a number of African rulers, who, it was hoped, would become useful allies of the Portuguese. But once African rulers realised the strong political motivation behind their presence, the missionaries’ initiative was doomed to failure. In one African state after another, Portuguese missionaries were expelled or even killed. This was largely because they and their handful of converts offered a direct challenge to the established religious and political order. African rulers were interested in contact with Europeans, but they wanted new trading openings, technical assistance and firearms. They did not want new ideas that threatened to undermine the traditional religious basis of their authority.
Kevin Shillington

20. Central and east Africa in the nineteenth century

Abstract
Ever since the late sixteenth century, much of the economic life of western-central Africa had been dominated by the European demand for captives for the transatlantic slave trade. Initially, European declarations of abolition applied only to the north Atlantic, which allowed the export of captives from Angola to Brazil to continue freely for most of the first half of the nineteenth century. But, as elsewhere in west Africa, even the ending of the transatlantic trade did not bring an end to slavery in the central African interior. Indeed, in some respects, internal slavery increased as captive labour was redirected to local production. This was partly to meet the need for more food to feed the growing population.
Kevin Shillington

21. Preindustrial southern Africa in the nineteenth century

Abstract
The early decades of the nineteenth century witnessed a demographic upheaval that accompanied a dramatic and violent realignment of African states in the interior of southern Africa. In colonial historiography (and in South African state schools until the end of the twentieth century), this was depicted as a period of ‘savage tribal warfare’, initiated by the rapid rise of Shaka’s Zulu Kingdom. In this historiography, Shaka was the unbridled tyrant at the centre of the mayhem. This view was heavily influenced by the published evidence of two British traders at Port Natal Henry Francis Fynn and Nathaniel Isaacs despite the latter freely admitting that he had exaggerated his account for dramatic effect. In what became known as the mfecane (the ‘crushing’), it was claimed that Shaka’s regiments devastated the region driving people to starvation and cannibalism to the extent that the territory south of the Tugela River became an ‘empty land’, and thus (conveniently) available for white settlement. In due course, this historiography became a justification for what became, in the 1840s, the colony of Natal. It was further related that the total and ‘constant warfare’ of the Zulu Kingdom drove refugees and raiders across the Drakensburg onto the highveld, where they set in motion a difaqane (‘scattering’) that caused similar levels of starvation and cannibalism and making ‘empty land’ available for subsequent occupation by emigrants Boers from the eastern Cape Colony.
Kevin Shillington

22. North and northeast Africa in the nineteenth century

Abstract
The whole of the north African coastal region, apart from the western kingdom of Morocco, was still nominally part of the Ottoman Empire in the early nineteenth century. But the Turkish regents of the north African provinces ruled their territories with no direct reference to the sultan at Istanbul. Even within the territories themselves, regency authority did not extend far beyond a narrow coastal fringe. Algeria was typical in this respect. Here, the ruler, the dey, was drawn from the ranks of the Turkish officers of the coastal and garrison towns. Beyond the towns, the Arab and Berber clans remained virtually independent, especially in the mountains. The dey periodically intervened in disputes between rival clans, but otherwise had little effective influence in the rural areas. Nominal Ottoman rule in Algeria was ended by the French in 1830 when they occupied the coastal towns of Algiers and Oran and sent the dey into exile.
Kevin Shillington

The Challenge of Cultural and Political Imperialism, Late Nineteenth Century

Frontmatter

23. Colonial conquest and African resistance in east, north-central and west Africa

Abstract
In 1768, an eccentric Scottish nobleman named James Bruce set off on a lengthy journey to Ethiopia to see for himself the source of the Blue Nile (see Map 22.1). On his return to Europe in 1783, Bruce found that few would believe his stories of the splendours of Ethiopia and, in particular, its royal court at Gondar (see Figure 22.1). Bruce’s revelations did not fit the prejudiced European view of Africa as a mass of primitive and disorganised societies, little more than a source of slaves. Despite centuries of coastal trading contact, Europeans were still remarkably ignorant of Africa, its peoples and their history. European interest in Africa, however, was about to be awoken.
Kevin Shillington

24. Industrialisation, colonial conquest and African resistance in south-central and southern Africa

Abstract
The year 1870 was a turning point in southern Africa’s history. It ushered in an era of dramatic change prompted by the discovery of first diamonds and then gold in the southern African interior. The industrial mining cities that developed to exploit these valuable minerals transformed the social, economic and political life of the subcontinent. This transformation is known to historians as the southern African ‘mineral revolution’. It began with the discovery of huge quantities of diamonds in the region of modern Kimberley in the period 1869–71.
Kevin Shillington

The Impact and Nature of Colonial Rule, 1890–1945

Frontmatter

25. Consolidation of empire: the early period of colonial rule

Abstract
We saw in Chapter 21 that the prime economic and financial reasons for the European quest for empire in Africa were the need for new investment opportunities for financial capital, new markets for manufactured goods, and the search for raw materials for European industry. In theory, the three should have gone hand in hand, and at times they did. Africans themselves produced the raw materials and sold them for cash, much of which they spent on imported manufactured goods. Too often, however, European governments, merchants and colonists abused the power that went with recent conquest and looked to their own short-term gain. Land was seized and raw materials extracted from the continent with little or nothing given in exchange.
Kevin Shillington

26. Africa between the wars: the high tide of colonial rule

Abstract
The most prominent colonies of white settlement in tropical Africa were Kenya and Southern Rhodesia. It used to be assumed that these were the only ones ‘chosen’ for extensive white settlement because of their favourable highland climate. The implication of this notion of choice was that the lowland west and central African zones were deliberately avoided by white settlers because of their uncomfortable heat and humidity and the prevalence of tropical disease. In fact, Europeans did try to establish white settlement in most tropical African colonies. Where European settlement failed to become the dominant economic force, it had more to do with African initiative than with European discomfort.
Kevin Shillington

27. The Second World War and Africa

Abstract
When Britain and France declared war on Hitler’s Nazi Germany in September 1939, their African colonies were once more drawn into a European conflict that was not of their making. Fascist dictatorships had been established in Italy, Germany, Portugal and Spain in the 1920s and 30s. Fascist political parties believed in the seizure of power by force, the denial of democratic freedoms and the racial inferiority of subject peoples (all reminiscent of certain aspects of European colonial rule in Africa). Fascists were particularly dedicated to the destruction of all aspects of socialism and communism. In May 1940, German armies overran Holland and Belgium, invaded France and drove the British army out of northern France. With German victory in sight, Mussolini, the fascist dictator of Italy, brought his country into the war on the side of Germany on 10 June 1940. By then, the militarist government of Japan had already joined the so-called ‘Axis powers’. By the end of June, the German army had occupied northern France and installed a puppet government at Vichy in southern France. Charles de Gaulle, a French colonel, formed a ‘Free French’ government in exile. This division into ‘Vichy’ government in France and ‘Free French’ government in exile was to have an important impact on France’s African colonies, as we shall see below.
Kevin Shillington

The Overthrow of Colonialism

Frontmatter

28. The winning of independence (1)

Abstract
As we saw in Chapter 26, Europe’s dependence on Africa during the Second World War helped change the attitude of Britain and France, the main colonial powers, towards their African colonies. The economic value of the French and British colonies had been clearly revealed and this was reflected in the development strategies for the colonies in the postwar period. A new factor entered the scene from 1945 and this was the United Nations (UN). From its inception in San Francisco in 1945, the UN adopted an anti-colonial stance, under pressure from the new superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union, who were now shaping ‘world opinion’. To this was added the voice of the newly decolonising states, notably India (independent from 1947). It soon became apparent to Britain and France, the major colonial powers, that a loosening of external control would be necessary in Africa. In contrast, Belgium and Portugal, the ‘minor’ colonial powers, tried to ignore the trend and had no plans at this stage for any significant changes. The Belgian attempt to catch up in a hurry in 1959 was to have dire consequences for the people of the Belgian Congo.
Kevin Shillington

29. The winning of independence (2)

Abstract
British East Africa was a region of contrasts so far as the route to independence was concerned. The lead was taken in Tanganyika. The event that spurred Tanganyikan nationalists into mass political activity was the eviction in 1951 of thousands of Meru farmers to make way for a handful of white settlers. Following protests against this action by the Tanganyikan African Association, Julius Nyerere led Tanganyikan nationalists in forming the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in 1954.
Kevin Shillington

30. The winning of independence (3)

Abstract
British Central Africa faced the obstacle of a resident white settler population. Most of the white people lived in Southern Rhodesia (150,000 in 1950, rising to 200,000 by 1960). There, they dominated the African majority with South African-style segregationist legislation. A third of the territory – the best land – was reserved for white ownership, while most of the country’s 4–5 million Africans were restricted to the poorest third of the country. Rigid ‘pass laws’ restricted the movement of workers in the towns and other racist laws reserved all the better paid jobs for whites. Since the 1920s, the white settlers of Southern Rhodesia had ruled the colony through their own system of elected parliamentary government. Africans only ever had very limited representation. African political parties were quickly suppressed as soon as they were formed.
Kevin Shillington

Africa Since Independence

Frontmatter

31. African responses to the colonial legacy

Abstract
The problems that Africans and their governments had to face in the early decades after independence were, very largely, the product of their history. This is not to suggest that the mistakes, corruption or incompetence of some African leaders, or even ecological factors beyond any leader’s control, were not partly to blame for Africa’s continuing underdevelopment. But the roots of many of Africa’s intractable problems in the early decades of independence were to be found in the period of colonial rule. In spite of this, however, Africans’ determination to better themselves led to major social and education advances, especially in the first decade of independence.
Kevin Shillington

32. The challenges and dilemmas of development: debt and international aid

Abstract
Historians of the future, looking back on the early decades of African independence, are likely to highlight its achievements. They will be able to contrast its levels of health, education, economic, social and political development very favourably with the neglect, oppression and exploitation of the previous 100 years. Nevertheless, there is no denying that Africa faces very grave problems in the early decades of the twenty-first century. Two major factors stifling African development have been international debt and, perversely as it may seem, international aid.
Kevin Shillington

33. Contemporary Africa

Abstract
To outward appearances, most of Africa was politically transformed in the early 1990s, as military dictatorships and one-party states almost universally gave way to multiparty systems of democracy. A number of factors, both internal and external, combined to bring this about. The most important external factor was the ending of the Cold War between capitalist West and communist East, as most dramatically symbolised by the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Africa was no longer a tropical playing field for global strategic power games. Corrupt and ineffective governments or longstanding dictators, such as Siad Barre of Somalia (1969–91) or Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (1965–97) were no longer supported with external funds or arms supplies simply because they declared themselves to be anti-communist or anti-capitalist.
Kevin Shillington
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