The Great Mosque of Kairouan

The mosque communicated that Kairouan would become a cosmopolitan metropolis under strong Muslim control, an important distinction at this time and place. A New City Seventh-century North Africa was not the easiest place to establish a new city. It required battling Byzantines; convincing Berbers, the indigenous people of North Africa, to accept centralized Muslim rule;[…]

Ancient DNA is Revealing the Origins of Livestock Herding in Africa

Pastoralism is a central part of many Africans’ identity. But how and when did this way of life get started on the continent? Ancient DNA can reveal how herding populations spread. Introduction Visitors to East Africa are often amazed by massive herds of cattle with a gorgeous array of horn, hump and coat patterns. Pastoralism[…]

The Template for the Holocaust – Germany’s African Genocide

Germany, which had only unified in 1870, was a latecomer to the colonial game. By David Carlin “Within the German borders every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot.” General Lothar von Trotha, Commander of German Forces in South West Africa, 1905 Hundreds of emaciated prisoners look out helplessly.[…]

North Africa’s Place in the Mediterranean Economy of Late Antiquity

The Mediterranean Sea was the economic focal point of the Roman Empire. By Michael GoodyearJ.D. CandidateUniversity of Michigan Law School Introduction The Mediterranean Sea was the economic focal point of the Roman Empire. Rome’s armies first established an empire across these waters beginning back in the times of the Roman Republic. In 200 CE, the Mediterranean[…]

A History of Language, Script, and Symbol in West Africa

West Africa is a place of great diversity – in language, in writing, in the hugely varied means of recording information and passing it on. By Dr. Marion Wallace (left) and Dr. Janet Topp Fargion (right)Wallace: Lead Curator, Africa CollectionsFargion: Lead Curator, World and Traditional MusicBritish Library Introduction West Africa is home to well over[…]

Migrants: When Europeans Once Flocked to North African Shores

When we think of migrants, we think of them crossing the Mediterranean to come to Europe. Yet 200 years ago, many did it the other way. “Praise be to God. To my master, may god preserve you. After our master scolded me and became angry with me, accusing me of having often acted without advising him, and of bringing my[…]