Africa in the Modern World
Notes
Jack Miller

2/6/17
Shillington Chapter 2
Pre-cursor to farming - Hunter-Gathering
Crop Cultivation and the origin of the process of wild crops to the farming of DOMESTICATED crops and animals. The process, from the cultivation of wild crops to the farming domesticated was a gradual one.
DOMESTICATION
It's the breeding of species in captivity and thereby modifying them from their wild ancestors in ways of making them more useful to humans who control their reproduction and (in the case of animals) its food supply. Domestication is thus distinct from mere taming of wild-born animals.
OBSTACLES TO DOMESTICATION
Among wild mammal species that were never domesticated, the six main obstacles include:
A diet not easily supplied by humans (hence no domestic anteaters),
Slow growth rate and long birth spacing (for example, elephants and gorillas)
Nasty disposition (grizzly bears and rhinoceroses)
Reluctance to breed in captivity (pandas and cheetahs)
Lack of follow-the-leader dominance hierarchies (bighorn sheep and antelope), and lastly
The tendency to panic in enclosures or when faced with predators (gazelles and deer, except reindeer)
DOMESTICATION AND CIVILIZATION
Plant and animal domestication is the most important development in the past 13,000 years of human history. It interests all of us, historians, physical, and social scientists and non-scientists alike, because it provides most of our food today, it was prerequisite to the rise of civilization/the modern world,
And it transformed global demography. Because domestication ultimately yielded agents of conquest (for example, guns, germs, and steel) but arose in only a few areas of the world, and in certain of those areas earlier than in others, the peoples who through bio-geographic luck first acquired domesticates acquired enormous advantages over other people and expanded.
THE AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION
The Agricultural Revolution that involves both plant food cultivation and raising animals (Pastoralism) has its advantages and disadvantages.
Farming was not suitable in every environment. For instance the menace from tsetse flies adversely affected pastoralism, cattle rising in tropical Africa.
Though farming could support large communities it also exposed them to famine caused by natural disasters such as drought, e.g. in the Sudan presently.
Sedentary life associated with agriculture exposes communities to possible attacks resulting in conflicts among groups of people
OTHER AGENDA ITEMS
Pastoralism in Sahara Region
Pastoralism in North-East Africa Region
Pastoralism by the Khoisan in Southern Africa
Egypt & Its Roles/Impact On Africa & The World.
2/13/17
Periodization of Human Prehistory
Human prehistory is broken into three consecutive time periods:
1. Stone Age
2. Bronze Age
3. Iron Age
Origin of Iron Technology and Its "Spread" to Africa
The oldest known iron workings anywhere in the world are to be found in Anatolia (modern turkey). Western Asian knowledge of iron working was taken to Egypt and it finally spread to other parts of Africa, but there is evidence of the Nok Culture in the Jos Plateau region of Nigeria where iron culture was prevalent. (UNESCO)
IRON IN AFRICA: REVISING THE HISTORY
Africa developed its own iron industry some 5,000 years ago, according to a formidable new scientific work from UNESCO Publishing that challenges a lot of conventional thinking on the subject. Iron technology did not come to Africa from western Asia via Carthage or Merowe as was long thought
The theory that iron was imported from somewhere else, which - the book points out- nicely fitted colonial prejudices, but doesn't stand up in the face of new scientific discoveries.
Doudou Dieine former head of UNESCO's Division of Intercultural Projects
But the facts speak for themselves. Tests on material excavated since the 1980s show that iron was worked at least as long ago as 1500 BC at Termit, in eastern Niger, while iron did not appear in Tunisia or Nubia before the 6th century BC. At Egaro, west of Termit, material has been dated earlier than 2500 BC, which makes African metalworking contemporary with that of the Middle East
The roots of metallurgy in Africa go very deep.
Only in Africa do you find such a range of practices in the process of direct reduction (a method in which metal is obtained in a single operation without smelting), and metal workers who were so inventive that could extract iron furnaces made out of the trunks of banana trees," says Hamady Bocoum, one of the authors
This