Friday, October 07, 2016


Most of the history I learned at school about Africa was from a European perspective. I later learnt the Age of European Discovery and the Renaissance wasn't the birth of culture, but the introduction of North West Europe to the rest of the world. The Arabs had their turn before that group of Europeans, discovering the contributions of Persia and Greece, amongst others, before them. Africa's history with Islam stretches well before the European enlightenment. Amongst other flavours, migrations of Bantu  speakers from the West (1700 - 2300 years ago) and Cushtic speakers from the North mixed with influences of the connections to the wider Afroasiatic world in the area that is now Tanzania. Colonial competition between Omani Arabs and the Portuguese saw control of Zanzibar since 1699. Imperial Germany took control of Tanganyika after the late C19th Scramble for Africa and before WWII. Its independence from Britain came in 1961 and then in 1964, Tanganyika and the island of Zanzibar merged after a revolution overthrew the Arab dynasty. Power changes. Learning lives on.

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