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The Cambridge History of Africa: Vols. I-VIII
: J. Desmond Clark, J. D. Fage, Richard Gray, John E. Flint, Roland Oliver , G. N. Sanderson, A. D. Roberts, Michael Crowder
: The Cambridge History of Africa: Vols. I-VIII
: Cambridge University Press
: 1982-1986
: English
: pdf
: 644,4 mb

Volume 1: From the Earliest Times to c.500 BC

Volume I of The Cambridge History of Africa provides the first relatively complete and authoritative survey of African prehistory from the time of the first hominids in the Plio-Pleistone up to the spread of iron technology after c.500 BC. The volume therefore sets the stage for the history of the continent contained in the subsequent volumes. The material remains of past human life recovered by excavation are described and interpreted in the light of palaeo-ecological evidence, primate studies and ethnographic observation, to provide a record of the evolving skills and adaptive behaviour of the prehistoric populations. The unique discoveries in East and South Africa of early hominid fossils, stone tools and other surviving evidence are discussed with full documentation, leading on to the coming of Modern Man and the beginning of regional patterning. The volume provides a survey of the now considerable material showing the different ways of life in the forests, savannas and arid zones during the 'Later Stone Age'.

Volume 2: From c.500 BC to AD 1050

After the prehistory of Volume I, Volume II of The Cambridge History of Africa deals with the beginnings of history. It is about 500 BC that historical sources begin to embrace all Africa north of the Sahara and, by the end of the period, documentation is also beginning to appear for parts of sub-Saharan Africa. North of the Sahara, this situation arises since Africans were sharing in the major civilizations of the Mediterranean world. It is shown that these northern Africans were not simply passive recipients of Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Arab influences, or of the great religions and cultures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam coming from the Semitic world. They adapted these things to their own particular needs and purposes, and sometimes too contributed to their general development. But the North African civilization failed to make headway south of the Sahara.

Volume 3: From c.1050 to c.1600

The five and a half centuries described in this volume were those in which Iron Age cultures passed from their early and experimental phases into stages of maturity characterized by long-distance trade and complex, many-tiered political systems. In Egypt and North Africa it was a period of religious and cultural consolidation when the Arabic language and the faith of Islam were adopted by the majority of the indigenous Copts and Berbers. In the sub-Saharan Savanna it was a period rather of penetration when Muslim merchants and clerics built up small but significant minorities of Negro African converts. Muslim migrants conquered the Nilotic Sudan, encircled Christian Ethiopia and settled the coastline of eastern Africa. But throughout the period African states, large and small, were strong enough, relatively, to control their visitors from the outside world. The main significance of the outsiders, whether Muslim or Christian, was as literate observers of the African scene.

Volume 4: From c.1600 to c.1790

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Africa were a period of transition, with the trade in slaves and firearms on the Atlantic coast laying some of the foundations for European colonialism. But for most of the continent, external forces were still of marginal significance. African initiative remained supreme and produced a rich variety of political, social and intellectual innovations. In eight regional chapters the contributors to this volume, all established experts in their field, bring together for the first time these developments as they affected the whole of Africa. A concluding chapter surveys Africa in Europe and the Americas during this period.

Volume 5: From c.1790 to c.1870

The period covered in this volume is one which begins with the emergence of anti-slave trade attitudes in Europe, and ends on the eve of European colonial conquest. But except for white conquests in Algeria and South Africa, and colonies of free Blacks on the west coast, the theme is that of African independence, initiative and adaptation in the last phase of its pre-colonial history. Under greater external pressures than ever before, from European trade, exploration, missionary and political activity, African history in this period moved with greater momentum and larger scale than in past ages, with rapid changes in economic and political life. In general the approach in this volume is through chapters focusing on regions of Africa, each written by an established authority in his field. Concluding chapters survey the activities of Europeans in Africa, and those of Africans and their descendants overseas.

Volume 6: From 1870 to 1905

Volume VI of The Cambridge History of Africa covers the period 18701905, when the European powers (Britain, France, Germany, Portugal and Italy) divided the continent into colonial territories and vied with each other for control over vast tracts of land and valuable mineral resources. At the same time, it was a period during which much of Africa still had a history of its own. Colonial governments were very weak and could exist only by playing a large part both in opening up the continent to outside influences and in building larger political unities. The volume begins with a survey of the whole of Africa on the eve of the paper partition, and continues with nine regional surveys of events as they occured on the ground. Only in northern and southern Africa did these develop into classical colonial forms, with basis of outright conquest. Elsewhere, compromises emerged and most Africans were able to pursue the politics of survival. Partition was a process, not an event. The process was essentially one of modernisation in the face of outside challenge.

Volume 7: From 1905 to 1940

By 1905 most of Africa had been subjected to European rule; in the 1940s, the colonial regimes faced widespread and mounting opposition. Yet the period surveyed in this volume was no mere interlude of enforced quiescence. The cash nexus expanded hugely, as Africans came to depend for access to household necessities upon the export overseas of primary products. The impact of white rule on African health and welfare was extremely uneven, and African lives were stunted by the labour requirements of capitalist enterprise. Many Africans suffered greatly in the First World War and in the world depression of the 1930s. By 1940 a majority of Africans were either Muslim or Christian. Literate Africans developed new solidarities: tribal, territorial, regional and Pan-African. Meanwhile, the colonial powers were themselves improving their understanding of Africa and trying to frame policies accordingly. Co-operation with indigenous rulers often seemed the best way to retain control at minimum cost, but the search for revenue entailed disruptive economic change.

Volume 8: From c.1940 to c.1975

The eighth and final volume of The Cambridge History of Africa covers the period 194075. It begins with a discussion of the role of the Second World War in the political decolonisation of Africa. Its terminal date of 1975 coincides with the retreat of Portugal, the last European colonial power in Africa, from its possessions and their accession to independence. The fifteen chapters which make up this volume examine on both a continental and regional scale the extent to which formal transfer of political power by the European colonial rulers also involved economic, social and cultural decolonisation. A major theme of the volume is the way the African successors to the colonial rulers dealt with their inheritance and how far they benefited particular economic groups and disadvantaged others. The contributors to this volume represent different disciplinary traditions and do not share a single theoretical perspective on the recent history of the continent, a subject that is still the occasion for passionate debate.







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