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By John Iliffe

This background of Africa from the origins of mankind to the South African common election of 1994 refocuses African background at the peopling of an environmentally antagonistic continent. The social, monetary and political associations of the African continent have been designed to make sure survival and maximize numbers, yet within the context of scientific growth and different twentieth-century thoughts those associations have bred the main speedy inhabitants progress the realm has ever obvious. The background of the continent is hence a unmarried tale binding dwelling Africans to the earliest human ancestors.

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As they did so, some broke away inland through the forest to reach the middle Ogooue Valley by about 1600 bc and the upper river by 400 bc. Others penetrated to the River Congo, where some slowly colonised the tributaries leading into the inner Congo basin from about 400 bc, while others moved more quickly up the main waterways until, at about 1000 bc, they reached the eastern edge of the equatorial forest in the broad area of the great East African lakes. There they settled in well-watered valleys permitting cultivation of their forest crops.

Towards the end of the New Kingdom, they struck work several times and once organised a sit-in at the royal tomb when the administration failed to pay their food wages. The community usually contained between forty and sixty workers and employed up to sixteen female slaves who did the heavy housework for each family in turn. Several households also had domestic slaves who were sometimes buried in the family tomb, for Egyptians sought to acculturate the slaves amassed by New Kingdom conquests – Rameses III claimed to have given 81,322 to the temple of Thebes alone and there was an active market in slaves, although they were less important in relatively populous Egypt than elsewhere in the Ancient World.

The Phoenicians’ relations with their African hinterland, by contrast, developed slowly. Scarcely any Carthaginian records survive, but tradition says that the colonists confined themselves to the coast until the sixth century bc, when they extended the city’s territory nearly two hundred kilometres into the fertile plains of northern and eastern Tunisia, establishing an enduring pattern of foreign occupation in this region that left the rest of North Africa to Berbers. Carthaginians also established trade with the Garamantes, who supplied precious stones and a few black slaves from the south, although Carthaginians themselves seem not to have P1: RNK 0521864381 c03 CUNY780B-African 978 0 521 68297 8 May 15, 2007 Impact of metals 15:37 31 penetrated desert trade.

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