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A history of Sub-Saharan Africa

A history of Sub-Saharan Africa

Collins, Robert O., 1933-; Burns, James McDonald

In a trawl through the entire sweep of sub-Saharan history, the authors have written an accessible introduction for students and general readers. The opening chapter on geography and climate frames the discussion, demonstrating how the environment has shaped the societies and cultures of those living in the region. Thereafter they describe the rise of states and empires in the classical period, the slave trade within Africa and beyond to the Americas, and the European conquest. The concluding section focuses on Africa in the twentieth century as it gains independence and searches for a new identity beyond colonialism. While the authors mull over the debates which have shaped the study of African history, at the centre of this story are the tragedies, triumphs and the resilience of the African people. The book is illustrated with photographs, maps, and sidebars which feature the salient points on either side of the debates

Paperback, Hardback, Book. English.
Published Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007

Available at O'Reilly Library.

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Statement of responsibility: Robert O. Collins and James M. Burns
ISBN: 052168708X, 0521867460, 9780521687089, 9780521867467
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: xii, 406 p. : ill., maps ; 26 cm.
Subject: Africa, Sub-Saharan History.


  1. Introduction
  2. 1. The historical geography of Africa
  3. 2. Kingdoms on the Nile
  4. 3. The peoples of sub-Saharan Africa: society, culture and language
  5. 4. Crops, cows and iron
  6. 5. North-East Africa in the age of Aksum
  7. 6. Empires of the plains
  8. 7. East Africa and the Indian Ocean world
  9. 8. The lake plateau of East Africa
  10. 9. Societies and states of the West African forest
  11. 10. Kingdoms and trade in Central Africa
  12. 11.The peoples and states of Southern Africa
  13. 12. The arrival of the Europeans in sub-Saharan Africa
  14. 13. Diseases and crops: old and new
  15. 14. Slavery in Africa
  16. 15. The Atlantic slave trade
  17. 16. The Asian slave trade
  18. 17. Prelude to the European conquest of Africa
  19. 18. The European conquest of Africa
  20. 19. Africans, Dutch and the British in South Africa, 1480-1910
  21. 20. European colonial rule in Africa
  22. 21. The colonial legacy
  23. 22. Nationalism and the independence of colonial Africa
  24. 23. The union of South Africa and the apartheid state
  25. 24. A decade of hope
  26. 25. Cold War Africa
  27. 26. Africa at the beginning of the twenty-first century.


'The clear writing and strong narrative drive in this text will be attractive to instructors looking for a one volume history of Africa that students will read. Supplemented with other texts, it will work well in the classroom as it gives a solid academic presentation of key issues and themes in African history, such as the slave trade and slavery over the long term. This history will also appeal to a more general audience, as it offers them a lively discussion of African geography and environment, a history that includes named individuals and politics, and a clear narrative. Substantive issues are treated in a clear way that will engage students and a wider audience.' James Searing, University of Illinois, Chicago