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African Culture History

The political boundaries of the countries in Africa do not always match the older cultural groups. Here is a selection of the important inter-national cultural groups known for the continent of Africa.

African Iron Age
In Africa, unlike the Europe and Asia, the Iron Age is not prefaced by a Bronze or Copper Age, but rather all the metals came at once.

Axumite Civilization
The Axumite civilization is a Coptic pre-Christian state in Ethiopia, from about AD 100-800.

Bachwezi Dynasty
The Chwezi Dynasty (also called Bachwezi or Kitara Dynasty) is the possibly mythical, certainly legendary, kingdom of Uganda, who are said to have ruled between 1300 and 1500 AD.

Ballana Culture
The Ballana (or X-Culture) is the name given to a pre-Christian, post-meroitic culture of Egypt and Nubia, dominant in Lower Egypt and Nubia between about A.D. 250-550.

The Berbers are a modern ethnic group in north Africa and Europe, with a deep history.

The Bushmen is a collective term for a modern cultural group in subsaharan Africa, primarily the Kalahari Desert.

Chifumbaze Complex
The Chifumbaze complex is a widespread Iron Age culture, covering much of southern and eastern Africa.

Kush Civilization
After classical Egypt, the first civilization in Africa was called Kush or Kushite, located on the third cataract of the Nile River in what is now the Sudan.

Coptic Christianity
The Coptic church is a form of Christianity developed in Egypt, said to have been started by one of Christ's apostles, Mark, in the 1st century AD

Nok Art
Nok art describes the sculpted ceramic art of northern Nigeria between 500 BC and AD 200.

Nri Kingdom (Igbo)
The Nri kingdom (also called Igbo) was a cultural group in Nigeria during the 10th century AD.

Oldowan Tradition
The Oldowan Tradition is the name given to a pattern of stone-tool making by our hominid ancestors, some 2.5 million years ago.

Oranjemund Shipwreck (Namibia)
The Oranjemund shipwreck is a 17th century Portuguese trading ship discovered off the Atlantic coast of Namibia by diamond miners.

Shona Chiefdoms
The chiefdoms of the Shona were located between the Limpopo and Zambezi rivers in southern Africa between 1100 and 1500 AD, where they built Great Zimbabwe.

Sirikwa Holes
The term Sirikwa Holes is the local name for depressions found throughout the western highlands of Kenya and in northern Tanzania; they represent late Iron Age hut locations.

Songhai Empire
The Songhai Empire was established in western subsaharan Africa by Sonni 'Ali Ber in AD 1464.

Soninke Society
The Soninké were (and are) traders of west Africa with an oral history tradition dating back nearly 1000 years.

Takrur Empire
The Takrur empire was an early kingdom of west Africa, including much of Ghana and the western Sahara desert.

Tana Tradition
The Tana tradition pottery (also known as 'Triangular Incised Ware'), is found in archaeological sites along the east coast of Africa between the 8th and 11th centuries AD.

Toutswe Tradition
The Toutswe Tradition is the name given to an African iron age cultural group in the Limpopo River valley of Botswana from about AD 700 and 1300.

Urewe Culture
The Urewe Culture is the name given to the first group of iron producers in the Lake Victoria region of eastern and central Africa.

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