africa defined in 1939 yearafrica - Africa;
africa - Africa: its lands, peoples, and history.
By Evans Lewis, Author of A Geography of Africa
This general article is introductory to others on separate aspects of the. continent, e. g. Abyssinia, Congo, Egypt, Nile, Rhodesia, Sahara, South Africa, Zambezi. For African campaigns in the Second Great War see East Africa Campaign, North Africa Campaign, and articles on particular regions and towns
This great continent of the eastern hemisphere forms a S. W-extension of Asia, to which it is attached by the isthmus of Suez. It is of irregular triangular shape, with its base resting upon the Mediterranean and Red Sea and its apex at the junction of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans at Cape Agulhas, Capo Province of South Africa. From the northern point of Tunisia (Cape Blanco) to Cape Aguihas it stretches southwards about 5. 000 m., and is divided into two almost equal parts by the Equator. The extreme W. and E. points are Cape Verde, in Senegal, and Cape Guardafui, on the coast of Somaliland at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, about 4, 000 m. apart. The total area of the continent is about 11, 500. 000 sq. m., and the estimated pop. is some 18O, 000, 000.
general characteristicsWith the exception of Australia, Africa is the most regularly shaped of the continents. With few exceptions there are no deep indentations into the coasts, and there are comparatively few bold headlands. The principal capes are Bon and Blanco (Tunisia). Spaftel (Morocco). Verde (Senegal). Lopez (Gabun), Cape of Good Hope and Agulhas, and Guar dafui: and the chief natural harbours are the Gambia estuary. Freetown (Sierra Leone), the Cameroons estuary, the mouth of the Congo, Lobito Bay (Angola), Walvis Bay (South-VVest Africa), Table Bay and Simon's Bay (False Bay); Delagoa, Mokambo, Memba. and Pemba Bays, in Portuguese East Africa; Kilwa, Dares-Salaam, and Tanga, in the former German colony of East Africa (Tanganyika), and Mombasa and Kilindini harbours, in Kenya. Long stretches of the coast have no natural openings, e. g. the greater part of South-West Africa, and others are provided only with indifferent anchorages, e. g. Morocco to Cape Verde and the coast of Somaliland. Although about three times the size of Europe, the littoral is about 1, 000 m. shorter.
The whole of Africa may be regarded as a vast plateau or inverted plate, at an average elevation of 1, 300 ft. in the northern half and from 3, 000 ft. to 3, 500 ft. in the southern portion. Despite a certain general uniformity, the northern and southern portions of Africa present sufficient contrasts in their main physical conditions, ethnographical features, historical evolution, and general culture, to constitute two practically distinct regions. But there is no rigid partition between the two divisions, which are joined together, roughly speaking, by the Tibesti route across the Sahara, the low-lying valley of the Nile, and the Abyssinian massif, and divided by the great land-mass of the Sahara, the Sudd regions of the Nile, and the desert-like country S. of Abyssinia. The mean elevation of the continent is considerably less than that of Asia, and its highest elevation is much inferior. The area of land above 10, 000 ft. in height is insignificant, although about one-fifth of the continent, lies 3, 000 ft. above sea level. Orographically it may be divided into four regions: (1) the coastal plains, commencing with extensive mangrove swamps, or lagoons, as on the Gulf of Guinea, the coasts of Mozambique and old German East Africa, or sandy regions, as along the coasts of N. W. Africa from Mogador to Sierra Leone, . the coasts of W. Africa from Benguela to Saldanha Bay, and the coasts of E. Africa from Mombasa to Suez, rising, generally gently, to the interior highlands; and the more abrupt coastlands of Algeria, Morocco, and S. E. Africa, with their backgrounds of considerable mountain groups; (2) the Atlas region of N. Africa; (3) the north and west African plains, including the Sahara; and (4) the great southern and eastern tablelands.
The Atlas region is a mountainous tract of land lying north of a valley-like depression which, extends from the Gulf of Gabes, roughly, to the Rio de Oro. The north and west African plains may be considered to embrace the comparatively low-lying area south of the Atlas, and, stretching southwards across the continent, to include the basin of the Congo. This area includes three great desert regions. It is crossed from N. W. to S. E. by a series of elevated plateaux and mountain groups, including the Hoggar or Ahaggar massif.
In Western Africa the area is broken by elevated regions consisting of the Futa Jalon highlands and their offshoots, forming the hinterland of the West African colonies and extending, with breaks, through N Nigeria to the mountainous region of Adamawa.
The fourth great division, consisting of the south-pastern table-land, has a greater mean elevation than any other portion of Africa. It stretches in a widening area from the Abyssinian highlands southwards, through the Great Lakes district, into southern Angola, on the one side and Mozambique on the other, to the extremities of the Cape Province and Natal. The eastern portion has been modified by great rift valleys, starting from Lake Nyasa and branching east and west at a point north of the Abercorn portion of the Tanganyika - plateau. The first of these depressions, the Eastern trough or rift valley, runs northward across old German East Africa and British East Africa to Lake Rudolf, and then turns N. E. to the Red Sea, which in reality itself forms a still larger nft valley and owes the straightness of its shores to this fact. The second, the Central African or Albertine rift valley, includes Lake Tanganyika, with its comparatively straight and high shores, and Lakes Kivu, Edward, and Albert, and terminates N. of the last lake and S. of the Nile. Volcanic action has been associated with the formation of these rifts.
Associated with these valleys are peaks E. of the Eastern trough, such as Kilima-Njaro and Kenya, and the great ranges of Mfuinluro and Huwenzori. the latter with heights of 16, 800 ft., lying E. of the Albertine rift valley. Many of these mountains are still active volcanoes, especially those in the Mfumbiro range between Lakes Kivu and Edward. In the centre, between the two volleys, lies Lake Victoria. The descent from the central tablelands to the North African plains is abrupt, the Somerset Nile descending in about 90 m., over the Ripon and Mur-chison Falls, from 3, 800 ft. to 2, 400 ft. Southwards the central tableland becomes highest in its southern and south-eastern regions, where it culminates in the Orakensberg Mountains, which form a N. E. extension of the mountains rising behind Cape Town. This South African tableland slopes gently to the west, but more abruptly on the eastern side, especially in Natal. There are heights of 10, 3(50 ft. (Mont-aux-Sources).
The main mountain buttress in South Africa runs, like the coast, in a semicircle. At the N. W. end of the Cape province it is called the Kamiesberg and rises to over 5, 000 ft. It is then continued in a S. E. direction as the Langeberg, Kamiskow and Bokkeveld Mts. This system then turns and runs E. as the Roggeveld, Komsberg, and Nieuwveid Mts.. and then bearing N. E. continues as the Sneeuwberg and Stormberg ranges until it merges in the Drakensberg Mountains.
rivers and lakesAfrica is mainly drained to the west and north, or towards the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Eliminating the Sahara Desert, about two-thirds of the continent drains towards the Atlantic. The rivers may be divided into four main systems, as follows:
(1) Those that flow into the Mediterranean. With the exception of the Nile, all these rivers are short and unnavigable, the principal being the rapid Medjerda, which drains Tunisia. Certain other rivers, such as the Igharghar, which at one time Howed from the Hoggarregion of the Sahara, have either dried up or remain as intermittent streams. The Nile (3, 500 m. long) issues from Lake Victoria and forms the main drainage system of the Ruanda, Uganda, and Abyssinian regions. The Blue Nilerises in the Abyssinian highlands.
(2) Rivers flowing into the Atlantic. Many extensive rivers, north and west of the Niger delta flow into the Atlantic, including the Gambia and the Senegal. The Niger forms the great drainage system of Western Africa, and, receiving many tributaries, such as the Kaduna and Benue, enters the Gulf of Guinea in Southern Nigeria, after a circuitous course of some 2, 000 m. from the highlands of Futa Jalon. The Congo, the principal river of Africa, with a drainage area of about 1, 425, 000 sq. m., only inferior to that of the Amazon, drains, with its great tributaries the Ubangi, Kasai, Lomami, etc., the greater part of Central Africa, including Lake Tanganyika ond the regions E. thereof as far as Tabora, and Lakes Mweru and Bangweulu. Other rivers flowing into the Atlantic S. of the Congo are the Kwanza, Kunene, and Orange river (receiving the Vaal and other rivers draining from the Drakensberg), and N. of the Congo, the Sanaga, Nyong, Ogowe, Nyanga, and Kuilu.
(3) Rivers flowing into the Indian Ocean. The principal rivers draining into the Indian Ocean are the Limpopo, Sabi, Zambezi, Rovuma, Rufiji, Tana, and Juba. Of these by far the most important is the Zambezi, which drains the greater part of Rhodesia and portions of southern Angola, and the Nyasa region by the Shire effluent of Lake Nyasa.
(4) Inland drainage. In addition to the rivers entering the sea there are others either (a) draining into lakes or (b) losing themselves in the sand, such as the Gash river in the Kassala district of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Of the former the principal are the Shari with its tributary the Logone, which flows into Lake Chad; and certain rivers flowing into Lake Ngami. In the case of rivers with no exits, underground water-supplies are formed, which by means of artesian wells are brought to the surface, as in the Wad Rhir region of Algeria. It is probable that vast underground supplies of water exist in many parts.
The interior lake system is only inferior to the North American system. In addition to the great lakes, such as Victoria, Albert, Edward, Kivu, Tanganyika, and Nyasa, of East Central Africa, there are numerous other lakes, with fresh or brackish water, such as Bangweulu and Mweru in northeastern Rhodesia, Rukwa in old German East Africa, Leopold II and Tumba in the Belgian Congo, Rudolf and Stephanie, and the so-called Lake Magadi, with extensive soda deposits, in British East Africa, and Lakes Chad and Ngami, the last being now mainly an immense swamp. In addition there are extensive depressions, such as the Lorian swamp in British East, Africa, the Okavango swamps, the Lake No and Sudd regions of the Nile, which after rains become great swamps.
desertsIn historical times great portions of Northern Africa, which were capable of producing vast quantities of cereals in the Phoenician and Roman periods, have dried up. This is especially the case where Semitic invasions have swept over the country, entailing the destruction of forests. Where the original population (Berber) has largely survived, as in Morocco, the process of destruction has been arrested in part. In South Africa, even during the past century, there has been a distinct increase of arid country, such as in the Ngami region, which in Livingstone's time was well watered. The Zambezi itself has probably a less volume of water than when it was first discovered by the Portuguese. The level of certain rivers, such as the Shire, has fallen, and it is probable that the level of some of the great lakes, e. g. Nyasa, has been affected within historical times. The principal deserts are the Sahara, Libyan, and Nubian, in reality one great system, and in the south the Kalahari, the remains of a great inland sea, with a desert area of some 275, 000 sq. m.
floraIn the north the Mediterranean flora predominates. In many respects the Atlas regions form part of the South European botanical zone. Plants which can obtain moisture at a great depth, e. g. the vine, karoo bush, and alfa or esparto to, flourish. The last is exported in great quantities from Algeria. The olive, laurel, citron, orange, almond, fig-tree, white poplar, lime, myrtle, aloe, oleander, cork, and varieties of the oak are characteristic; but there is also an intermingling of tropical and subtropical forms. In the southern oases the date-palm attains its greatest perfection, especially in the Tafilet region, and tropical elements predominate south of the Atlas. Forest vegetation has largely disappeared from Algeria and Tunisia, but there still are extensive forests in Morocco, where the trees have a close affinity with the Iberian flora and include evergreen oaks, the sanobar, carob, cedar, and acacia. Farther south the mimosa flourishes. Cereals of all kinds can be grown. Beyond the northern botanical zone occurs the highly specialised flora of the Sahara, with mimosa, acacias, and tamarisks along -the wadia (river beds) where moisture lingers, and tamarinds on the slopes of the Hoggar and other mountains. In the extreme south of Nubia the baobab begins to appear.
West Africa is the habitat of the various rubber-yielding lianas, ground-nuts, and other economic plants. The oil-Balm (Elaeis guineensis) flourishes in the tipper coastal regions, and mahogany and ebonies in the coastal forests, as well as the bamboo-palm (Raphia vinfera), the bombax or silk-cotton tree, and teak. Farther north the grass and scrub lands of the Sudan afford pasturage for flocks and herds, as they do in the drier regions of southern Africa. Tropical forests cover the coastal belts of tropical Africa and much of the basin of the Congo. The trees are evergreen and often form an impenetrable cover. The great Ituri forests, west of the Semliki river, cover an immense area in the Belgian Congo. Uganda, British East Africa, Cameroons, etc.. also have great forests, where cedar (Juniperus procera) and the Ibean camphor (Ocotea usambarensis) grow to an enormous size.
Woods and Flowering PlantsSouth Africa is largely destitute of forest, although extensive areas of various yellow-woods and stink-wood occur. The tropical flora of the central regions gives place in the semi-desert districts to fleshy leafless mesembryanthemums, aloes, and other succulent plants, and to the curious tree-euphorbias. On the veld there is a great variety of beautiful flowering plants. In Portuguese East Africa and Angola the vegetation is extremely prolific. In Angola landolphias the mafureira (Trichilia emetica), and other economic trees and plants flourish. Sisal and many other fibres do extremely well in eastern Africa generally. In addition to the usual economic plants of Africa, such as cotton, tobacco, coffee (which flourishes in Abyssinia, British East Africa, and Nyasaland), bananas, and most other tropical plants known to commerce, there is an alpine vegetation on the higher peaks of East Africa, Abyssinia, and Cameroons, where some of the plants resemble those of the higher slopes of the Swiss Alps.
faunaNorth of the Sahara the fauna is largely common with that of Europe and northern Asia. South of it is the African fauna proper. Here the open plains are the home of the antelope, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, wild ass, rhinoceros, and lion, leopard, and hyaena; although some of these also occur in the north of Africa. The African elephant wanders in both savannahs and forest regions. In the south it is still found in the Knysna and Addo districts of the Cape Province, where it is protected, but it is practically extinct south of the Zambezi. Bears, wolves, and foxes are confined to North Africa.
Introduction of Game LawsThe chimpanzi and gorilla occur in the forests of Western Equatorial Africa. Baboons are, with a few exceptions, peculiar to Africa, and the single-humped came) is for. nd in the northern deserts and steppes. The okapi and giraffe are indigenous. The former exists in the Semliki forests, and the latter is most common in the southern Sudan, Somaliland, and British East Africa, although it is also found in the Kalahari Desert and in the north of the Transvaal and Matabelcland. The hippopotamus and crocodile abound in the tropical rivers. Until recently the former was found in the rivers of South Africa. (Same laws have been enacted, and extensive game preserves prevent the extermination of the rarer species.
mineralsApart from native manufacture, iron ore is chiefly worked in Algeria, where there is a large export from the Mokta-el-Hadid mines. Gold is found over extiemcly wide districts, ranging from the Gold Coast and Ashanti to the great gold deposits of the Witwatersrand, in the Transvaal, where extensive coalfields also occur. In addition there are many important deposits in other. parts of Africa, notably in the Kilo and Moto areas in the. N, E. of the Belgian Congo and in the goldflelds of Mashonaland and Manicaland. Diamonds are found chiefly around Kimberley, E. of Pretoria, in the Orange Free State, and in South-West Africa around Angra Pequena (Luderitz Bay).
Copper and Coal WorkingsImmense deposits of copper occur in the Katanga regions of the Belgian Congo, and it is also worked in Namoqualand near Port Nolloth, in the north of the South-West Africa Protectorate at the Otavi mines, in the north of the Transvaal at Messina, in the Victoria district of Rhodesia, and many other places. Coal is worked in Natal, in the Transvaal,: at Wankie in Rhodesia, and at the Udi coalfields in Nigeria, and large deposits have been located in Katanga and elsewhere. Phosphates are exported extensively from Tunisia and Algeria. Abyssinia is highly mineralised.
communicationsUntil comparatively recent times communications in Africa have been mainly by means oÂ£ caravans of porters from inland places to settlements on the coasts and vice versa, and by navigation along the great interior waterways. Caravans are still necessary in pardala developed regions in order to bring produce to the nearest railway centre (e. g. Cameroons, Belgian Congo, etc. ). Railways were first established in Egypt (1856), Algeria (1857) and Cape Colony (1859). There are three main gauges on the African railways - the Cape gauge (3 ft. 6 ins. ) of the South African, Sudan. Nigerian, Benguella, and other railways; the metre gauge (3 ft. 3⅓ ins. ) of the. French colonial railways, the Uganda Railway, etc.; and the standard European gauge (4 ft. 8½ ins. ) of many of the Algerian and some of the Egyptian railways. After the year 1880 very extensive developments took place in railway construction. The new era of communication was heralded by the commencement of the Kayes-Niger Railway in 188], and the construction of the Lower Congo Railway (1890), joining the navigable sections of the lower and middle Congo river and providing an outlet for the immense territories of the Congo basin. There were in 1939 at least twenty main lines of railway communication: (1) Cape Town to Bukama, in the Belgian Congo, 2, 598 miles, via Kirnberley and Bulawayo, (2) Bulawayo to Beira, 676 miles; (3) Kiniberley to Lourenco Marques, via Johannesburg, 703 miles; (4) Johannesburg to Durban, 482miles; (5) Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and East London, 712 and 665 miles respectively; (6) Dar-es-Salaam to Kigoma, on Lake Tanganyika, 780 miles; (7) Mombasa to Kisumu, on Lake Victoria, 584 miles; (8) Jibuti to Addis Ababa, in Abyssinia, 490 miles; (9) Port Sudan to Atbara Junction, 299 miles; (10) Wadi Haifa to El Obeid, via Khartoum and Sennar, 1, 618 miles; (11) Alexandria to Shellal, via Cairo, 555 miles; (12) Tunis to the Moroccan frontier, 1, 312 miles: (13) Philippeville to Touggourt, via Constantine, 337 miles; (14) Oral) to Colomb Beehar, 465 miles; (15) Casablanca to Fez, via Rabat, 208 miles; (16) Dakar to Kayes, on the Senegal river, to run over 468 miles; (17) Kaves to Kolikoro, 011 the Niger, 343 miles; (18) Kouakiy to Kankan, 411 miles; (19)Lagos to Kano. 704 miles; (20)Walvis Bay to Cape Town, via De Aar, 1, 635 miles.
Other railways have been constructed in Sierra Leone, Ivorv Coast, Gold Coast, Togoland, Dahome, Cameroons, Belgian Congo, Portuguese West Africa. Portuguese East Africa. Nyasa-land. Tanganyika, and Uganda, while the important railway from Lobito Bay to Katanga provides a rail and water route across Africa from West to East, and also links with the Cape-Congo railway at Tenke, 1, 122 miles from Lobito Bay, 176 miles N. of Elizabethville, and 2, 481 miles from Cape Town. This line is of great importance in the development of Katanga. A railway from Bene to Lake Nyasa crosses the Zambesi at Sena. Numerous other railways have been planned, the most important being (1) a Trans-Saharan railway from the coast of Algeria towards Konakry and Dakar in the one direction, and Lake Chad and the Congo regions in the other; (2) from Kafue to Salisbury in Rhodesia, shortening the route from Katanga to Beira by 587 miles; (3) from Porto Amelia to Lake Nyasa; (4) from Stanleyville to Lake Albert, giving direct communication between the Congo and the Nile. The so-called Cape to Cairo route, suggested by Cecil Rhodes, runs from south to north across Africa, but through railway connexion has: not been completed.
Linking Waterways and RailwaysAn important problem of the future is the provision of adequate inter-communication between the navigable waterways and the railways. Many of the larger rivers of Africa are navigable for small steamers and launches over hundreds of miles (e. g. the Nile, Niger, Congo, Zambezi), but are which impede traffic. There is steam navigation on the larger lakes, such as Victoria, Albert, Tanganyika, Nyasa and Mweru. Telegraphic communication from north to south is maintained via the Transcontinental line.
Africa is traversed by air routes from Cairo to South Africa and others in Western and Southern Africa. There is an important air route from Lisbon to Leopoldville, in the Belgian Congo, and thence to Cape Town.
languagesThe languages of Africa may be grouped in the main under four heads: Bantu, Sudanie, Hamitic, and Semitic. The Bushmen and perhaps the pygmies have their own languages, of which little is known. Bantu and Sudanie are both negro language-groups. Phonetically the former is distinguished by the simplicity and melodiousness of its vowels, syntactically by its use of prefixes to indicate concords; the latter feature it shares with the semi-Bantu groups of Sudanie languages. Phonetically negro languages are usually distinguished by the importance of the tone (musical pitch) of a word.
The characteristics of Bantu and Sudanic languages can best be illustrated by a series of sentences translating our (1) good (2) woman (3) is working (4).
Bantu: umfazi (3) wetu (1) omuhle (2) sebenza (4).
time: wunibom osu ofino o yo mpant.
Ibo: nwunye ainy' oma na lu olu.
Wolof: sunu (1) d'igen (3) d'u bax (2) legel na.
Hausa: tagarim (2) matshe (3) mu (1) (yi)aiki.
The italicised portions of words in Bantu and Timne (semi-Bantu) are prefixes or pronouns and show the concords. Ibo has no concord of any sort; Wolof has an article u preceded by a variable consonant: Hausa inflects the adjective for gender.
Broadly speaking, Bantu and semi-Bantu languages form a group in which each class of nouns has a corresponding pronoun, usually identical with or similar to the prefix; the classes may have been arranged on some simple principle, but now almost the only ones limited to a certain class of beings are the two Bantu classes which refer to human beings. The Bantu concord system is clear if the example above is compared with the plural form: abafazi betu abahle bayasebenza.
Wolof belongs to a second order of language, which has classes but no prefixes, and indicates the relations of words by the consonant prefixed to the u or other vowel of the particle, which is d' in tht above instance in assonance with d'igen. The only change in the plural would be yu instead of d'u. Ibo has no concords and virtually no plural forms; the sentence can be made plural by inserting otutu (many) or fa (they). Hausa. which is perhaps an Hamitic language, has feminine forms, many plurals, but no classes.
Some Sudanic languages are almost monosyllabic, like Boko: or if not monosyllabic, the words are made up of other words, each of which has its own meaning. At a stage beyond this - agglutinating - words are made up of roots and affixes: the latter cannot now be used alone, but may still be traced at times to originally independent words. Both in Bantu and Hamitic languages inflexions and internal changes are used to modify the meaning.
A third mode of classifying languages, applicable more especially to Sudanic tongues, is by their vocabulary. These languages may be grouped or classified according as they are, like Kru, now evolving classes, or, like Timne. have them fully developed, or, like Ibo, have had them and lost them. This gives us, geographically, fifteen or more groups, and formally, six or seven classes.
Ranging these geographical groups according to their syntax and vocabularies, we get (a) the West Sudanese, including Kru, Mandingo, Kwa, and Niger-Chad; (b) semi-Bantu, including the Atlantic coast tribes, peoples of the Volta river, Benue and Togoland; (c) Old semi-Bantu, in Adamawa and on the Ubangi river: and (d) the middle Sudan group, which in the east includes Nilotic tribes closely allied in language to the Hamites. This system, however, disregards the history of the languages, and must be regarded as provisional.
The main characteristic of Hamitic languages is the use of gender in a sense nearly the same as in Indo-European languages. In negro and Bantu it is common to distinguish human and non-human, great and small, living and non-living, but the Hamites commonly make sex the basis of distinction, though in Masai we find long grass is masculine, short grass feminine. It has been suggested that our notion of gender was originally based on the distinction of large (male) and small (female), and that Masai is a transitional language. Other features of the Hamitic languages axe the use of suffixes, also found in negro languages, and inflexions proper, also in Bantu. They share with Bantu and some negro languages the use of- many verbal forms, causative, inchoative, etc., distinguished by suffixes, and of tense distinctions dependent less on past, present, or future than on the completeness or incompleteness of the action. Owing to the influence of neighbouring tongues a language may pass from one group or one family to another, and in the transition stage its real position cannot be discovered.
The Bushmen of South Africa have their own languages, remarkable for the use of "clicks, " sounds produced by the tongue; but their relations to other African languages are not determined. The pygmies of the equatorial zone speak Bantu or Sudanic languages.
The Fula language is spoken by a fair-skinned non-negro people that in a recent past conquered a large area in Central Africa. They were pagans for a long period, and are spread over the Sudan from the Atlantic coast nearly to the Nile. It has been maintained that they are immigrants from Asia, perhaps Syria, who acquired a negro tongue; and some see in their language one of the elements from which Bantu developed, and find in their syntax the origin of grammatical gender. But these hypotheses are at present not proved. The distinguishing characteristic of Fula and some other negro languages is that they have a well-developed system of noun classes and class pronouns, but are in the main suffix, not prefix, languages. In Fula the plural of Pulo (a Fula man) is Fulbe; - o - be are the regular suffixes, singular and plural, of the human class; in addition p is changed to f, according to the rule that a plosive consonant (or stop) becomes a fricative. The language is syntactically very difficult and far from being well understood after thirty or more years of study by French, German, and English students. There are id all some 800 Sudanic, 370 Bantu, and perhaps 50 Hamitic languages. The Semitic languages are intrusive and belong rather to Asia.
ethnologyAt a date which is not even to be called remote when the whole length of the existence of the human species is compared with it, a land-bridge or an archipelago of closely approximated Islands still connected Tunis with Sicily, Malta, and Italy. Across this land-bridge several African races of man migrated northwards into West and Central Europe, and many tribes of conquerors fled southwards before the severity of the last Glacial period into the genial climate of North Africa.
The Cro-magnon race, which dominated much of Europe 30, 000 years ago or so, not only seems to have had a North African habitat, though perhaps a West Asiatic origin, but to have sent tribes of adventurers down through Eastern or Central Africa to the very extremity of the continent. The Bushman and the Negro sub-species of man may have arisen in Asia, if not within the limits of the Mediterranean basin. From some focus in Southern Asia they migrated through Syria into "Egypt and North Africa, and in another direction overspread India, Indo-China, Malaysia, and Oceania, even in a generalised form penetrating through Australia into Tasmania. To some extent the negroid or negro type pervaded Southern Europe, and it certainly inhabited at one time the delta of the Nile. But with many fluctuations the Northern types of man could never leave Africa alone.
By about 20, 000 to 10, 000 years ago they had become the dominant race in North Africa, and had even penetrated to the Canary Islands. They must have pushed down either along the Atlantic coast of the Sahara Desert or across the Tibesti plateau-bridge into tropical Africa, and there have laid the foundations of the remarkable Fula cattle-keeping aristocracy. The Fuias invaded Egypt from the west, drove out, enslaved, or exterminated the dwarfish negro tribes, mingled in Ethiopia with those negroes and Bushmen whom they could not conquer, and produced an amalgam, with contributions from Arabia, which we now know as the Hamitic race.
The white man from the north, again, colonised Asia Minor, Syria, Arabia, Persia, and Northern India. In Syria and Arabia, no doubt, he absorbed many preexisting tribes of darker skin-colour and inferior physique. From Arabia, however, came across the Red Sea army after army of more or less Semitic people, seeking for a new home with a sufficiently abundant water supply. They first fused with the Hamites in the north of Abyssinia and the Red Sea coastlands, then took possession of the valley of the Nile, and by degrees extended their sway to its delta, and became what we know as the Ancient Egyptians, fusing to a great extent with the prior Libyan or Berber settlers from the west.
Foundation of Ancient EgyptThe civilized Egypt that was thus founded between 10, 000 and 7, 000 years ago had an immense effect on the subsequent history of Negro Africa, From Egypt there penetrated by degrees many of the inventions and the improvements of Neolithic Man. These included the domestic animals and cultivated plants of Asia which could take root in tropical Africa, ideas on religion, ideas as to the use of metals, musical instruments, games, legends, the arts of weaving and dyeing, well-nigh all the elements of such civilization as was found among the negroes when the Arabs came in the full tide of Mahomedan propaganda, or as the Portuguese discovered them in the 15th and 16ih centuries. No doubt, also, there were many influences spreading into Africa from prehistoric Greece and Italy, and certainly by way of Carthage and through the empire of Rome.
It would seem, indeed, as though 3, 000 to 4, 000 years ago there had been a distinct push southwards from the Mediterranean (distinct from Egyptian influence) which carried some great wave of North African influence into Central Africa. One of the earliest of such movements as these seems to have created a series of remarkable languages in Nigeria: first, the great languages of prefix, suffix, and concord, such as the Fula, the Bantu, and the semi-Bantu, and, at a later date, the sex-denoting languages of Hamitic aspect, such as Hansa and Musgu, or the Nilotic and Bongo languages of the Eastern Sudan and Equatorial East Africa. When the enterprise of Carthage declined and Egypt fell under the sway of Europe or Asia, a fresh enterprise arose, as to which in its earliest form we have only vague surmises and deductions. This was the direct influence of Arabia on East Africa, perhaps the outcome of Phoenician voyages.
The races of Africa range from the well-proportioned and comparatively fair Hamitic peoples of the Eastern Sudan, with regular European features, and the black populations of the Western Sudan and the White Nile valley, to the Bushmen and Hottentots, and dwarfish races of certain portions of the Congo regions. There is great variety of races even in the same district. Tall, dark peoples, such as those of the Ubangi, Aruwimi, Sernliki, and Kasai basins, dwell in close contact with tribes who have a mean height of not more than 51 ins.; and in many parts differing races are inextricably mixed.
In the north occur the Hamitic Berbers, Egyptians, and ' Ethiopians, who are predominatingly Mahomedan, the Semitic Arab's and Abyssinians. The former arc Mahomedans, while the latter profess a barbaric form of Christianity derived from Christian missionaries before the advent of Mahomedanism in North Africa.
The Negroids of Western AfricaThe negroid peoples of Western Africa are divided into hundreds of groups, speaking distinct languages with little affinity to each other, and comprise the Fulas. who are more Hamitic in their characteristics than their immediate neighbours. Linguistically the negroids of Western Africa are roughly divided from the so-called Bantu peoples by a line running from Cameroons (Rio-del-Rey) to Lake Albert. North of this line are the Negroas proper and south of it races speaking one or other of the Bantu languages. With the exception of the Hereros of South-West Africa, they are mainly agriculturists. In addition, the Bushmen, who are nomad hunters, occur in scattered groups in the south-west portions of Africa, having been driven there from the far north of Tanganyika. They are a feeble and disunited people, and are closely allied to the Hottentots, a Negroid-Hamitic race who have retired before the Kaffir incursions into South Africa. The chief and most powerful Kaffir group are the Zulus of southeastern Africa.
ancient historyAs stated above, the continent of Africa was not isolated from Europe or Asia in past ages, as it was imagined to be, before the Arabs, the Norman French, the Catalans, and the Portuguese explored its interior beyond the Sahara Desert, or revealed the outline of its coasts to the astonished and greedy world of the Italian Renaissance. Northern Africa, N. of the Sahara Desert, was in almost all times of human existence more mixed up with Europe and Western Asia in its human history and migrations of the human species and varieties than tropical Africa across the-Sahara Desert.
Although traces of ancient civilization have been found in the S. of Africa, e. g. the remarkable ruins at Zimbabwe in Rhodesia, the early history of Africa is mainly concerned with the various states in the N. part of the continent. The earliest recorded history is that of the Egyptians. Later the Phoenicians made settlements along the littoral, founding the city of Carthage about 800 years b. c. The ancient Greeks, to whom Africa was known as Libya, founded the city of Cyrene c. 630 b. c., and in 332 b. c. Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria on the site of an Egyptian town. When Carthage fell in 146 b. c. the Romans erected the territory into an imperial province under the name of Africa, and to this day the Arabs call Tunisia Afrikiyah or Ifriqiyah. Later the Romans absorbed N. Africa into their empire and applied the name Africa to the whole of the continent as then known. (See Egypt, Ethiopia, Carthage, Cyrene, Alexandria, Nubia, Rome, Greece, etc. )
Before the Christian era opened, the sailing-ships of South-West and South Arabia seem to have passed cautiously from one port and island to another down the East African coast, until at last they discovered and colonised the north end of Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. Thence it appears likely that these pre-Islamic Arabs reached the mouth of the Zambezi and discovered the alluvia] gold in South-East Africa.
modern historyAfter the first commotion created by the teaching and preaching of Mahomet, the Mahomedan Arabs recommenced their voyages to East Africa, this time more for the purpose of the slave trade and the procuring of ivory or the search for gold. By the 10th century they were already established in little sultanates at points like Kilwa on the east coast, and had seemingly reopened the communications with the gold-bearing regions of Southern Zambezia through Sofala, which was situated close to the modern Beira.
Reinforced by Mahomedan Persians from Shiraz on the coast of the Persian Gulf, they established some remarkable city states on the equatorial east coast between the mouth of the Juba river and Mombasa. Their predecessors, as early as the 6th century after Christ, had already penetrated East Africa in this direction and gained some knowledge of the existence of the mighty snow-crowned volcanoes of Kilima Niaro and Kenya. The Islamic Arabs, however, between the 8th and 18th centuries, directed their East African explorations rather in the direction of the Zambezi and Lake Nyasa. For some reason they fought shy of penetrating Eastern Equatorial Africa.
The renaissance of Europe after the Crusades began the tremendous movement, which reached its culmination in our own day, of the European exploration of the Dark Continent. The Crusades directed the attention of English, French, German, and Italian adventurers to the coasts of Morocco, Tunis, Tripoli, and Egypt, and as early even as the 11th century strange stories began to reach France, England, and Italy concerning the wonders of tropical Africa, stories picked up from contact with Arabs, Berbers, and Egyptians. When the ardours of the Crusades abated, there was a Europeanised Mediterranean which was regaining over the world of Islam something of the ascendancy that Rome won over Carthage.
In the 13th century there were bold Catalan and Genoese navigators with greatly improved and more seaworthy ships, who not only found their way through the Straits of Gibraltar to the Portugal that was now Christian, and to England and Ireland under the Plantagenets, but discovered, or rediscovered, the Azores and the Canary Islands, and found their way past the Atlantic coast of Morocco, probably right round Guinea, into the vast bight of West Africa. As early as the 14th century it seems as if Norman sailing-ships from Dieppe had reached the Gold Coast. Mahomedan adventurers and missionaries from Egypt and North Africa had in the meantime penetrated through the basin of the Niger from Lake Chad to Senegambia, and had not only discovered the gold of Bambarra, but had come to hear of the gold to be found in Ashanti, a region known vaguely as Wangara. In their intercourse with the Normans, Catalans, and Portuguese, they spoke of these gold-bearing regions in West Africa. But it seems to have been a desire for ivory and pepper as much as for gold which attracted to the Gold Coast the ships of Dieppe.
In the 15th century the Portuguese outdid all predecessors by their African discoveries. The royal family of Portugal had not only reconquered all Portugal from the Moors, but had now commenced to wage war on the Moors in Morocco, and in the early part of the 15th century conquered the promontory of Ceuta. They next seized other ports on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, and sent their vessels to reach the lands of flowing rivers and abundant forests south of the Sahara Desert.
Early Portuguese ExplorersBy about 1484 the Portuguese, greatly assisted by Venetian and other Italian sea-captains and pilots, had discovered the whole coast of West and South-West Africa. By 1487 they had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and at the very termination of the 15th century had passed round South-East and East Africa to Arabia and India. During the 16th century Portugal made acquaintance with Somaliland, Abyssinia, and the Red Sea, conquered more or less and explored Western Congoland, revealed to European knowledge the great Congo river so far as it was navigable from the sea, the Cameroons Mountains, South Africa and the land of the Hottentots and Bushmen, Zululaud and the stalwart Bantu Kaffirs, Sofala and the gold mines, the Lower Zambezi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zanzibar, and Mombasa. They discovered the Negro kingdom of Mosi north of the Gold Coast and had even, it is believed, penetrated to Timbuktu.
In the 17th century Italians - encouraged by the popes - English and French traders or sea-captains, and Dutch soldiers, merchants, and colonists had taken up the romance of African exploration. In the 18th century the British had as explorers distanced all other European nations. They put much of Lower Egypt on the reap. They rediscovered, under Bruce, the sources of the Blue Nile, and set forth the geography of Abyssinia. They explored Scnegambia and the Niger delta, and finally, through Mungo Park, discovered the Upper Niger. Acting for the Dutch Company in the south, they revealed the existence of the Orange river and some important features of South African geography.
As soon as the J9th century opened, British explorers again distanced all other competitors. Mungo Park followed the Niger from its upper waters to the falls of Busa; and a succession of other English explorers not only traversed the Sahara Desert from Tripoli and discovered Lake Chad, but also revealed the river Benue and the Middle Niger, and traced the Niger to its outlets into the sea. During the 19th century the British had revealed the whole course of. the Congo, the sources of the Nile, and the great tributaries of the Bahr-el-Ghazal. They had finally surveyed Abyssinia and much of Somaliland, and discovered Lake Tanganyika, the Victoria and Albert Nyanzas, Lakes Bang-weulu and Mweru, and the whole course of the Zambezi from its source to its mouth, as well as the course of the Limpopo river and all the other great and small streams of South Africa, the snowy range of Ruwenzori and the high mountains of North and South Nyasaland. In the discovery of South-Central Africa the missionary explorer David Livingstone (q. v. ) played a great part.
Discoveries in the 19th CenturyThe Germans and the French likewise played a considerable part in the revelation of African geography during the 19th century. The Italians also took a hand, and the Portuguese interest in African geography was revived and filled up many of the smaller blank spaces on the maps of their possessions. The Americans, of. the United States, founded the freed slave republic of Liberia, and they discovered the gorilla in the Gabun and the remarkable Fang people of that region. In the latter part of the 19th century they assisted to lay bare the geography of the great British Protectorate of Uganda.
In the opening years of the 20th century the French completed the map of the Sahara, so far, at any rate, as all important geographical features are concerned. The Germans, who had cooperated with Stanley and Grenfell, with Belgians and with Frenchmen, in mapping the Congo basin, devoted themselves, with very remarkable results from a scientific point of view, to the survey of their large colonies and protectorates in South -West Africa, in East Africa, and in Western Equatorial Africa.
The first European nation to take political possession of any part of Africa was naturally the Portuguese. Beginning with Morocco, Portugal, by the close of the 16th century, had erected many forts at different points along the coast of Africa. So far as the rest of Europe was concerned, she virtually claimed a monopoly of the African coasts from the Senegal right round to Cape Guardafui. But the Dutch seized Portuguese islands off the coast of Senegal, took possession of all the Portuguese forts on the Gold Coast, and all but conquered Angola, whence they were subsequently expelled by a return of Portuguese power. They founded under the Dutch East India Company the colony of the Cape of Good Hope, and made determined efforts - eventually defeated - to replace the Portuguese in Mozambique.
The French founded trading settlements in the 17th century at the mouth of the Senegal; the British established themselves at the mouth of the Gambia, and the Brandenburgers for a time in West Africa. Taking advantage of the war with Holland in Charles II's reign, the English seized some of the Gold Coast possessions of Holland and retained them, though the Dutch remained a colonial power on the Gold Coast until the middle of the 19th century. The French also, in the 17th century, laid claim to Madagascar and occupied the Mascarene Islands abandoned by the Dutch. The British as a counterpoise took possession of St. Helena and Ascension. In the 18th century the French tried intermittently to replace the Portuguese in Abyssinia and on the Lower Congo, but their efforts were balked by British influence. The French similarly aspired to take over Cape Colony from the Dutch, and balked the British from similar ambitions. Their, most amazing effort to found an African empire was the conquest of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte. In the course of the Napoleonic wars the French were compelled to abandon Egypt, and although that country reverted to the Turks, the future British protectorate was more or less founded at the beginning of the 19th century. The British took possession, once and for all, of Dutch South Africa, and step by step extended the small Dutch colony of the Cape, until their flag waved at last over the whole of Trans-Zambezian Africa, save the Portuguese possessions on the east coast. The French, however, invaded and conquered Algeria, In the last half of the 19th century they added Tunis as a protectorate, and their small trading colony of Senegal grew into their gigantic empire over Western and North-Western Africa, which now includes the greater part of Morocco, the whole of Algeria and Tunis, and extends to Lake Chad and Cameroons, to the middle Niger and to Dahome, to the Ivory Coast and Guinea. At the end of the 19th century they had conquered Madagascar and had entered, explored, and annexed the Gabun and the N. Congo basin.
German explorers came to Africa at first more or less in the pay of the British government, or as missionaries affiliated to British missionary societies. They crossed the Sahara Desert and added greatly to our knowledge of Nigeria. They explored the Congo basin and South Africa. German missionaries discovered the snowy mountains of Kenya and Kilima-Njaro, and played a considerable part in the opening up of the Nile valley. By the eighties of the 19th century the colonial movement for founding German possessions in Africa grew too strong for the German government to resist, and there were brought into existence between 1884 and 1890 a small protectorate over Western Dahome (Togoland), a large protectorate between Lake Chad and Cameroons, and the huge colonies of South-West Africa and East Africa.
The Treaty of Versailles, 1919, deprived Germany of all her African possessions. Great Britain, France, and Belgium were appointed to act as mandatories of the League of Nations. Togoland was apportioned between Great Britain and France. About four-fifths of Cameroons were allotted to France, the remainder to Great Britain. S. W. Africa was placed under the administration of the Union of S. Africa, and German East Africa was divided between Great Britain and Belgium.
Italian AdventureBoth before and after German movements Italy's aspirations for an Italian Africa began. She commenced to take a definite interest in Tripoli when she was disappointed of Tunis, and in the opening years of the 20th century took the first excuse that Turkey gave her and conquered Tri-politania. When the British had established their virtual protectorate over Egypt, Italy secured from the crumbling Khedival empire the south-west coasts of the Red Sea and the frontier lands of Abyssinia and the eastern portion of Somaliland. To these were subsequently added the whole of Abyssinia (q. v. ).
Portugal between 1884 and 1914 extended her possessions with the consent of other Powers, and thus became the mistress over about 900, 000 sq. m. in West, East, and Central Africa.
Spain, owing to her unsettled government, has procured a very meagre portion. The. Canary Islands she had had since the 15th century; in the following centuries she obtained from Portugal the port of Ceuta in Morocco, which has since been extended into the Spanish zone in Northern Morocco, the island of Fernando Po in the Bight of Biafra, and Corisco Bay to the north of the Gabun. But when the great partition of Africa began she managed to secure a protectorate over the Rio de Oro coastlands of the Western Sahara, which at any rate secured for her control over some of the most valuable fisheries in the world, and a desert region which is not without its importance in various directions. Simultaneously Corisco Bay was enlarged into the valuable little colony of "Spanish Guinea" or the Muni territory.
Holland and BelgiumAfter the Napoleonic wars Holland directed her colonising energies to the Malay Archipelago, and in order to make herself mistress of her Asiatic empire had to eliminate British claims. For this purpose she bargained away her forts and protectorates on the Gold Coast of West Africa and acquiesced in the Britannicising of South Africa. Dutch African commerce, however, found some consolation in the loss of the Dutch African colonies by flinging itself into the development of Congo trade.
Sir H. M. Stanley (g. v. ) was the main agent in laying bare the geography of this wonderful region, but, at the time he did so, the British government had no desire to take advantage of his exploits, France was exceedingly jealous of this being done, and Germany intervened obscurely and put obstacles in the British path. Great Britain had to choose, in short, in 1884, between a Niger protectorate and a Congo claim, and she chose the Niger. But while the fate of the Congo was being secretly disputed between Britain, Portugal, France, and Germany, a rival, absolutely unanticipated hitherto, stepped in and secured the splendid prize. Leopold II of Belgium wished to make Belgium a colonial power and finally settled on Congoland as his goal. The Congo Free State was annexed by Belgium in 1910.
Bibliography. Among the more important books on Africa for English readers are Tropical Africa, H. Drummond, 1889; The Development of Africa, A. S. White, 1892; History of the Colonisation of Africa by Alien Races, Sir H. H. Johnston, 1913; The Partition of Africa, Sir J. S. Keltie, 1895; Great Britain in Modern Africa, E. Sanderson. 1907; Map of Africa by Treaty, Hertslet, 1909; The Oxford Survey of the British Empire, vol. 3, Africa, 1914; The, Dual Mandate, Lord Lugard, 1926; The Native Problem in Africa, A. L. Buell, 1928; Africa, a Geography, W. Fitzgerald, 1934. An African Survey, Lord Hailey, 1938; The Germans and Africa, E. Lewin, 1938; For discovery and exploration, see works by E. G. Ravenstein, T. E. Bowdich, James Bruce, Sir H. H. Johnston, Mungo Park, R. Caillie, f). Livingstone, Sir H. Stanley, Sir R. F. Burton, J. L. Krapf, " J. H. Speke, Sir S. W. Baker, G. Schwoinfurth, J. Thomson, W. Junker, M. Perham, and Robert Brown's Story of Africa and Its Explorers, 1892-5.
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