Most histories seek to understand modern Africa as a troubled outcome of nineteenth century European colonialism, but that is only a small part of the story. In this celebrated book, beautifully translated from the French edition, the history of Africa in the nineteenth century unfolds from the perspective of Africans themselves rather than the European powers.It was above all a time of tremendous internal change on the African continent. Great jihads of Muslim conquest and conversion swept over West Africa. In the interior, warlords competed to control the internal slave trade. In the east, the sultanate of Zanzibar extended its reach via coastal and interior trade routes. In the north, Egypt began to modernize while Algeria was colonized. In the south, a series of forced migrations accelerated, spurred by the progression of white settlement.Through much of the century African societies assimilated and adapted to the changes generated by these diverse forces. In the end, the West's technological advantage prevailed and most of Africa fell under European control and lost its independence. Yet only by taking into account the rich complexity of this tumultuous past can we fully understand modern Africa from the colonial period to independence and the difficulties of today.
List of Tables, Figures, and Maps; Preface; Introduction; Note on the Transcription of Proper Nouns; 1. People and Their Environment: Africa's Climate and Demography; 2. Political and Warlike Islam: The Maghreb and West Africa Before the Colonial Conquest; 3. Political and Merchant Islam: East Africa; 4. Animism's Resistance. Openness and Introversion: Central-Western Africa; 5. The Meeting of Cultures: Southern Africa; 6. Colonial Intervention; 7. The Century's Innovations; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Chronology; Index; About the Author.