Heinok asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Was Africa civilized before the slave trade?

Was Africa civilized before the slave trade?

Were there any African ones which contributed to the advancement of the world at that time?


22 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Africa was on its way to become civilized, however they were lacking several essential things which prevented them from improving...both socially, financially and economically. Lower than standard if compared to western societies.

    • Mercy4 years agoReport

      do not believe if you read of historical books of Africans

  • 1 decade ago

    "Civilized" is a loaded word to use when talking about the complexity of a society or a culture.

    The short answer to your first question is "yes;" the societies in Egypt, Kush/Nubia, North African coast (including Carthage, which was started as a Phoenician colony) and Jenne-Jeno along the Niger River were highly sophisticated. The medieval societies in Ghana, Mali, Great Zimbabwe and the Swahili coast were also sophisticated and were in close contact with the Eurasian "civilizations" of the time.

    Your first question makes some huge assumptions, though. First, what we can call "slavery" was almost always a feature of these, and other, ancient societies. Second, it suggests that the Transatlantic slave trade that depopulated Africa to supply slave markets in the Americas and in European and Asian kingdoms was somehow a "civilizing" influence, which the historical record shows is not the case.

    Your second question is easier. Egypt, 'nuff said.

    Some good sources:

    John Reader, _Africa: A Biography of the Continent_. This book is thick and might be intimidating but is well worth the time spent reading it.

    Thomas Pakenham's _The Scramble For Africa_ is another thick book but a good demonstration about just how UNcivilized the 'civilized' Western Europeans were to Africans in the late 1800s and early 20th century.

    Henry Louis Gates documentary series on the "Wonders of the African World" is controversial, but it provides an American perspective on modern African countries and their historical legacy.

    Time-Life video's "Lost Civilizations" series has an episode on African cultures and how many Western Europeans and others have tried to suppress or, frankly, lie about Africans' histories.

  • CAL
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    How about ancient Egypt. I would say they contributed to the advancement of the world at the time. Oops they participate in the slave trade.

    If you mean sub-Saharan West Africa, TImbuktu was a center of trade and learning before the Europeans came on the scene.

  • 4 years ago

    No. Pre European contact, sub saharan africans had not evolved further than the stone age. They had no economies other than selling each other to neighboring tribesmen. They were Hunter gathers following game, digging for roots and eating other africans. They never learned to domesticate animals invent the wheel, written language, metallurgy, industry etc. The first europeans to explore Africa reported these findings to the world. It has of course become fashionable in certain black American circles to create fiction and myth regarding pre euro contact. I can understand black Americas need for an ethnic ego boost and embarrassment about their lack of historical achievements but making it up just won't make it true. I recommend reading CANNIBALISM IN THE CONGO this will give the reader a good idea of the primitive world of sub saharan africa prior to the European attempt at civilizing the Africans.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Of course they were civilised - but by their own standards - not the Eurocentric standards by which they were judged. Because of this and because the west did not understand or even attempt to understand their culture, they were deemed to be uncivilised and treated as inferior people - hence the beginning of racism.

    For example their history was not written down, it was an oral history. They decorated their bodies to make them look more attractive or fearsome, guess what, this staining of the skin with designs -tattooing - was imitated by the west. Implants of bone and ivory were also used either to look more attractive or fearsome to their enemies by the indigenous population, another aspect that has been coied from these uncivilised people by the west. Their religion was ignored and supplanted by a western religion (usually methodism); nudity was an unacceptable face that the west did not understand, again by Eurocentric standards this was deemed to be uncivilised.

    Other parts of Africa were extremely civilised and advanced. Egypt for example were a million light years away from the west - we were still running around dressed in animal skins and faces painted with woad - when they built their pyramids and irrigated their land.

    I could go on with other examples, but it might become boring.


    • Stay consistent please. If we do take ancient Egypt as a standard of being high, and what was going on in Europe as low, than west Africa during the slave trade days would be considered low. 3,800 bc high Egypt civilization, low civ in Europe 3,800 bc and low civ in west Africa just 500 years ago

  • 4 years ago

    Yes, there were a number of highly-developed civilizations in Africa before the colonial era. Look up "African civilizations" for information. I can't say much more without knowing what years are meant by "at that time." For example, would ancient Egypt count?

  • 1 decade ago

    Civilized? Civilized????? Are you kidding?

    Think about your ethnocentric wording before you ask a question next time.

    Wrong word. Re-phrase i.e., "What kind of economy did Africa have pre-slave trade?" or "What were African politics like pre-slave trade?"

    They aren't Barbarians! They are human beings! This is NO way to treat nor discuss another fellow culture!

    Source(s): Anthro Major
  • 1 decade ago

    Hey Heinok trying to get help for the essay? XD

    btw give me best answer pleaseeeeeeeee

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, during the Roman Empire era, Ancient Egypt and Ethiopia were.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Egypt was very civilized during the reigns of the Pharaohs.

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