There were several different African societies that developed between 800 and 1500 C.E. This essay will compare and contrast these civilizations. It will also discuss the differences between these societies to determine why they developed differently from each other. This examination of African history will demonstrate that although many civilizations and empires appeared during this period, it can be characterized by three major developments.
- The spread of Muslim society in northern Africa in approximately 800;
- Traditional Bantu migrations in southern Africa that lasted for the duration of this period
- The entry of Europeans into Africa at the beginning of the fifteenth century.
Hrbek notes that one problem with examining African history is the lack of chronological evidence. Hrbek acknowledges the importance of Arab civilizations in Northern Africa, but believes he process of migrations by Bantu and other African people to be the primary factor in the development African societies during the first millennium. However, there is a great deal known about many Arab civilizations that were formed in northern Africa, primarily because the dry climate preserved items that were buried in soil, while central and south Africa have humid weather that destroys most artifacts.
By 800 C.E., Muslims began to spread their influence from Egypt across North Africa. The Ibadites created the largest and most stable state in Tahert, which was located in the central highlands of Algeria. Between 760 and 900 C.E. the Ibadites established a kingdom that was ruled by a combination of organized Muslim government and Berber tribalism. Although the Ibadites did not expand their empire, they played a significant role in the spread of Islam throughout Africa, due to their location on trans-Sahara trade routes. In fact, it was the extensive use of trade routes that was largely responsible for the spread of Islam in northern Africa.
Africa and the Fatamid Empire
Toward the end of the ninth century, Shiites arrived in Maghrib and convinced the Berbers that existing Muslim regimes were illegitimate. This Fatamid kingdom extended west, destroying the Kharijite empire before mounting a victorious battle against Egypt in 969. By the middle of the eleventh century, the Fatamid Empire had fallen to Saljuk Turks, which created a Ayyubid rule that was based on its 12,0000 Mamluk slave warriors. By 1250, the Ayyubids were removed from power in Egypt, and the Malmuks created their own military oligarchy that remained in control of Egypt until its conquest by Ottoman Turks in 1516.
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