Africa in the Iron Age: C.500 BC-1400 AD

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 29, 1975 - History - 228 pages
Africa in the Iron Age is a comprehensive and authoritative introduction to African history between about 500 B.C. and A.D. 1400. The authors are not so much concerned with a particular technological revolution as the enormous changes - political, social and economic - that took place during the period 500 B.C.-A.D. 1400 all over the African continent. The book falls into three parts. Early chapters describe conditions about 500 B.C. when North Africa is already in the Bronze Age, Middle Africa is engaged in Stone Age farming and south of the Sahara most men live by hunting and gathering food. Between 500 B.C. and A.D. 1000 life in settled communities becomes normal throughout the continent. Finally, the Iron Age sees the rise of state systems, the development of long-distance trade and the spread of Islam and Monophysite Christianity. Any study of this period has to combine historical and archaeological methods in the search for evidence and in the subsequent interpretation of data. While literary evidence does exist for the period, Iron Age archaeology necessarily supplies most of the evidence examined. Roland Oliver is a leading African historian and the author of several standard books on the subject. Brian Fagan is an acknowledged expert on African Iron Age archaeology.

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Northern Africa at the end of the Bronze Age
Early food production in middle Africa
Late Stone Age huntergatherers in Africa south of the Equator
Northeast Africa and the Greekspeaking world
North Africa and its invaders from 500 BC till the Arab conquests
SubSaharan West Africa in the Early Iron Age 500 BC to AD 1000
Westcentral Africa around the first millennium AD
East Africa to about the eleventh century
Christianity and Islam in northeast Africa
The eastern Maghrib and the central Sudan during the early Muslim period
The western Maghrib and Sudan c 7001250
Mali and its neighbours c 12501450
West Africa south of Hausaland c 7001400
Eastern Africa and the outside world c 10001400
States and trading systems of central Africa c 10001400
Suggestions for further reading

Southcentral Africa to the eleventh century
South of the Limpopo and the Kalahari
Muslim Egypt and Christian Nubia

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About the author (1975)

Born in Srinagar, Kashmir, the son of a British army major and his wife, Roland Anthony Oliver has been recognized as the leading British historian of Africa. Educated at Stowe and King's College, Cambridge University, he served in the Foreign Office from 1942 to 1945, at which time he left to complete his graduate studies at Cambridge on a R. V. Smith research studentship. In 1948 he became lecturer at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, a position he held until 1958, when he became reader in African History. In 1964 he was appointed the first professor of the history of Africa at the University of London, where he remained until his retirement in 1986. Oliver's long tenure at the University of London and his numerous publications made him one of the leading academic protagonists for the study of the African past both in the United Kingdom and internationally. A whole generation of American, European, and African students passed through the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London under his tutelage, strongly influenced by him. Professionally very active and the principal academic spokesman for the study of African history, he received numerous honors, including Francqui professor at the University of Brussels and visiting professor at Northwestern and Harvard universities. Among his many publications is A Short History of Africa, which he co-authored with J.D. Fage in 1962 and which has probably been the most widely used text in schools and universities. His most massive contribution, however, was the general editorship of the eight-volume Cambridge History of Africa (1975-86). He shared the editorship with J. D. Fage, with whom he also edited for many years The Journal of African History, the leading journal in the field and by far the most influential in shaping African historiography.

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