Ancient West Africa

Apr 2015
6
America
#1
I know that some of the ancient west African empires were large and powerful, but how come the information isn't really taught in schools, etc. They did have some influence, maybe not much, but enough I feel that it should be included. They do teach about Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese. They seem to leave out central asia and the countries below north Africa.
 
Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
#2
Think about the Celts: they don't teach a lot about them in school either, yet that's the culture of most of Iron Age Europe. The problem with some groups is that they don't leave as much behind. They don't write as much (or sometimes not at all), so we don't know a lot of things that happened or what to look for.

Look at some of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time: look at when Troy was found, or when Sumeria was discovered. Troy was found because of Homer's writings, and the city of Ur was found by looking for the one mentioned in the Book of Daniel. From Africa, or from groups like the Africans - such as, say, the Celts - we have none of these writings. The only time anybody even knows where to look is when Roman or Arabic or some other literate explorers reported something, otherwise it's pure chance if some farmer stumbles across something.
 
Mar 2012
2,297
#4
I know that some of the ancient west African empires were large and powerful, but how come the information isn't really taught in schools, etc. They did have some influence, maybe not much, but enough I feel that it should be included. They do teach about Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Chinese. They seem to leave out central asia and the countries below north Africa.
The medieval West African empires...Ghana, Mali, Kanem-Bornu, Songhai...were large and powerful.

Little is known about West Africa in the ancient world. The Nok were making their renowned art, but little else was known about them. There were settlements in the Tagnant cliffs-Tichitt area, but again, besides the compound style housing, not much is known about the people who built them. There was a major city in Djenne-Djenno, but it had a different kind of evolution than cities in most of the rest of the world, and there does not appear to have been a central government structure.

As for those great empires, knowledge about them seems to be catching on. I imagine that as more is known about the Sahelian kingdoms more will be taught.
 
Nov 2010
2,088
...
#5
The medieval West African empires...Ghana, Mali, Kanem-Bornu, Songhai...were large and powerful.

Little is known about West Africa in the ancient world. The Nok were making their renowned art, but little else was known about them. There were settlements in the Tagnant cliffs-Tichitt area, but again, besides the compound style housing, not much is known about the people who built them. There was a major city in Djenne-Djenno, but it had a different kind of evolution than cities in most of the rest of the world, and there does not appear to have been a central government structure.

As for those great empires, knowledge about them seems to be catching on. I imagine that as more is known about the Sahelian kingdoms more will be taught.
Which is a shame. Punic records may have told us a lot more about ancient West Africa.
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
#9
They only taught about Ghana, Mali, and Songhai here.

I often read the history textbooks but a lot of the information was horribly simplified.
California history courses horribly simplify EVERYTHING. That's because they are expected to cover ALL civilisations within Ancient, Medieval and Modern periods within one year. So they have very little time for anything in particular. It's California's way of trying to be non-biased, but there's only so much time in a school year and California refuses to require more than 3 years of history.
 

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