The Races of Africa
This article is all about the Races of Africa and other information about Africa you might not know yet.
The Berbers of the Mediterranean coastlands and the Negroes of equatorial Africa were the two main ethnic groups that inhabited Africa in the past. The Berbers (as well as the ancient Egyptians) were of Hamitic ancestry; they were Caucasian in race and possessed “European” face features. The short-tailed Pygmies were among the Negroes.
Before the Negroes drove them from the most productive territories, the Pygmies and a third race—the somewhat yellow-skinned Bushmen—may have been extensively distributed over central and southern Africa.
The Pygmies’ descendants now live in the woodlands of central Africa. Bushmen are now only found in small numbers, mostly in the southern Kalahari desert.
The Sahara desert lies between northern coastal regions and equatorial Africa. The Sahara was a lush grassland up until the end of the last Ice Age (about 8000 B.C.).
After thereafter, it began to dry up, however a sizable portion remained inhabited until around 2000 B.C. Early Saharan settlers were presumably a hybrid of Berbers and Africans.
In what seems to have been a calm life, cow tending was a significant occupation, as shown by recently found rock paintings. The artwork also demonstrates how essential music and dancing were to these ancient Africans, just as they are to contemporary Black people.
As the desert grew between around 4000 and 2000 BC, the Saharan peoples slowly left, some of them stayed and learned to survive without much water; today’s Berber Tuareg inhabit the desert as a result (whose men wear veils).
Southward migrants established themselves in western and central Sudan. (The word “Sudan” refers to the extensive grassland region that runs the length of Africa, south of the Sahara and Egypt. An extensive forest belt separates the western Sudan from the southern coast.) The immigrants in the Sudan intermarried with other Negro tribes to establish the Bantu-speaking peoples, who gradually migrated throughout central, eastern, and southern Africa.
In the eastern Sudan, south of Egypt, another civilisation arose, starting about 1000
B.C. – that of the Kushites, probably a mixture of Hamitic and Negro stock. Further
east is Ethiopia.
The Ethiopians were probably of Hamitic origin, mixed later with Arabs from Arabia. Historical times, that is when history is known with reasonable accuracy and some detail, started on widely different dates in the different regions of Africa, very roughly as follows:-
Egypt – about 3000 B.C.
Nush – about 1000 B.C.
Berber North Africa – about 1000 B.C.
Ethiopia – about A.D. 0
Western and Central Sudan – about A.D. 300.
East Africa – about A.D. 700.
The Forest lands south of the Western Sudan – about A.D. 1000.
As mentioned in the foreword, Egypt and Ethiopia (and modern Dutch and British
South Africa) are the subjects of separate histories. The following chapters deal with
the early histories of the peoples in the other five regions