Kingdoms & ancient civilizations

African Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Dr. Gloria Emeagwali, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University, provides citations to books and links to web sites relating to the, "Background History of Africa, African Food Processing Techniques, African Textile Techniques, African Metallurgy, Colonialism and Africa's Technology, and Mathematics in pre-colonial Hausaland, West Africa.

African Mathematical Union. Commission on the History of Mathematics in Africa
Includes issues of their newsletter, articles on "The Ancients", pages on mathematics in Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, profiles of African mathematicians. The newsletter has bibliographies and web sites. Maintained by Scott W. Williams, Professor, Mathematics Dept., State Univ. of New York at Buffalo. [KF]

African Timelines
Chronology with descriptions for Ancient Africa, African Empires, African Slave Trade & European Imperialism, Anti-Colonialism, Post-Independence Africa, plus Sources for Further Study. Site by Cora Agatucci, Associate Professor of English, Central Oregon Community College, Bend, Oregon.

Afrique orale: Archives sonores et ressources documentaires de la tradition orale en Afrique
In French. Site on oral traditions, Amadou Hampâthé Bâ and Boubou Hama. Includes audio clips of 'L'histoire de l'Afrique racontée' par Boubou Hama, (Président de l'Assemblée nationale du Niger de 1960 à 1974), and 'L'explication d'un mythe' par Amadou Hampâté BA. Has a database of oral traditions holdings from Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Senegal and other countries. Has a French translation of a 1236 document from the Mali empire. Site maintained by the Centre d'études lingusitiques et historiques par tradition orale, CELHTO. Based in Niamey, Niger. [KF]

Afriques (Paris)
In French and English. E-journal published by Centre d’études des mondes africains, Paris, France. "une revue internationale d’histoire des mondes africains, qui privilégie les époques antérieures au XIXe siècle" Issue No. 1, Printemps 2010 has the theme Les chemins de l’identité en Afrique du XVe au XXe siècle. Indexes - author, keyword, geographic entity.

The Afrocentric Debate Resource Homepage
Contains messages sent to a discussion list set up by publisher, Harper Collins, on the Mary Lefkowitz book Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History. Page by Paul Kekai Manansala who wrote the purpose of this page was to "provide resources to those interested in learning about the Afrocentric argument concerning ancient Egypt, and the contribution of Africa to Western civilization through ancient Egypt.".

Ancient Africa: Lesson Plans and Activities
Links to curriculum units on Ancient Africa developed by schools around the U.S. Page by Lin and Don Donn.

Annenberg / Corporation for Public Broadcasting, CPB - Mali and Songhai
"The empire of Mali, which dated from the early thirteenth century to the late fifteenth century, rose out of what was once the empire of Ghana. Mali had been a state inside of the Ghanaian empire. After Ghana fell because of invading forces and internal disputes, Mali rose to greatness under the leadership of a legendary king named Sundiata, the "Lion King." As Mali declined, Songhai became the "largest and most powerful kingdom in medieval West Africa." Part of Annenberg's Collapse, Why do Civilizations Fall?

Anonymous Classics: African Literature: Epics and Assimilated (in pdf)
Draft of proposed uniform title headings for Anonymous Classics in African Literature. Compiled by Nadine Boddaert. Includes a bibliography of sources (for pre-colonial epics, oral literature). On the web site of the IFLA Cataloging Section.

Anti Slavery International - Breaking the Silence. Learning About the Transatlantic Slave Trade
For teachers, lesson plans. Organised by themes - Africa before the Transatlantic Slave Trade, through to Legacies in Africa, the Americas, Caribbean and Europe and Slavery Today. African kingdoms timeline. Racist views of Africa, etc. "a joint initiative between UNESCO, Anti-Slavery International, the British Council and the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD)." Based in London, England. [KF]

Asante, Molefi Kete
Professor Asante is the former Chair, Department of African American Studies at Temple University and the founder of the theory of Afrocentricity. Has excerpts from Prof. Asante's speeches and writings, his enstoolment as a traditional leader of Ghana in 1993, establishment of the Pan African Cultural Center at Tafo, Ghana, the Cheikh Anta Diop Conference, tours led by Prof. Asante to Egypt and Ghana, the Association for Nubian Kemetic Heritage (ANKH), a review of MS Encarta Africana, a talk "The Future of African Gods," links to related sites.

Asante Kingdom
The African Studies Center, Leiden, Library, Documentation and Information Department has a bibliography on the Asante Kingdom with citations to books, journal articles, web sites plus an introduction to Asante. Topics: History of the Asante Kingdom, Asante Kingship and Chieftaincy, European-Asante Relations. [KF]

Asanteman Today. The Official Website of Asanteman
"The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is the Head of the Ashanti Kingdom." His present-day activities, photographs." Site based in Ghana.

Ashanti Home Page
History of the Ashanti people and kingdom, photographs. Sources are not indicated. Maintained by Steve Garbrah, based in Australia.

Belcher, Stephen - African Epics Resource Page
"...a resource for the study of African epics. The core of the site is a listing of available published epic texts divided by language group and by performer, with brief performance data and bibliographic references." Has lists of sources and bibliographies for - the epic of Sunjata and the Mali empire; the history of the kingdoms of Segou and Kaarta; hunters' narratives ("hunters' songs often take the form of extended narratives which closely resemble the historical epic singing"); historical narratives, "in the times before and after Sunjata," which involve migrations and genealogies; Fulbe epic traditions (Futa Tooro and Massina and the East); Gambian Mandinka histories. Belcher has taught Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University (1991-1998). He is the author of Epic Traditions in Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999).

Belcher, Wendy - Medieval and Early Modern African Literature
"...information on the pre-nineteenth-century literatures of the African continent. Medieval (600s through 1400s approx.); early modern (1400s through 1700s approx.)" Wendy Belcher is a writer, editor.
See also her article - "Medieval African and European Texts about the Queen of Sheba: Some Speculations about the Early Circulation of Ethiopian Discourse."

British Broadcasting Company, The Story of Africa
"...the history of the continent from an African perspective." "from the origins of humankind to the end of South African apartheid" by major African historians (Jacob Ajayi, George Abungu, Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya and others). Includes audio of each segment of the BBC program. (Requires sound card, speaker or headphone). Each segment has a timeline, bibliography, useful links.

Bugaje, Usman Muhammad
Contains full text conference papers and other studies by Bugaje. Topics include Muslims and Islam in Nigeria, women and Islam, Islamic education in Katsina State, Usman Dan Fodio, the Sokoto Caliphate, governance, education, and the Hajj, the U.S. and the Middle East. [KF]

Caravans of Gold. Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa
Teacher resources for the Workshop May 28, 2020 arising from the exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Sponsored by Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Georgetown University, and Howard University.,-fragments-in-time-art,-culture,-and-exchange-across-medieval-saharan-africa.html?mc_cid=4e18f33082&mc_eid=79af6d0774

Civilizations in Africa - Washington State University
One page each on Mali, Songhay, Great Zimbabwe, Kush, Ghana, Islamic invasions, Swahili kingdoms, Hausa Kingdoms, Kanem-Bornu. "...designed as a learning module in the form of a "research textbook." Part of the Washington State University World Civilizations web site. Text by Richard Hooker. Some links are not accessible.

Des frontières en Afrique du XIIe au XXe siècle.
In French. Full text book. Paris: UNESCO, 2005. 313 pages, in PDF. Papers from a 1999 Bamako conference. Includes authors - Alpha Oumar Konaré, président de la République du Mali, Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Boubacar Barry, Anthony I. Asiwaju, Joseph Ki-Zerbo, Pierre Kipré, Patrick Harries, Thierno Bah, Martin Z. Njeuma, Sékéné Mody Cissokom and others. Topics include - quel avenir pour les frontières africaines ?, cas en Afrique australe et orientale, cas en Afrique centrale, l’exemple des chefferies Bamiléké et du royaume Bamum, la frontière entre le Cameroun et le Nigeria (1885-1992), cas en Afrique du Nord et du Nord-Ouest, les frontières du Songhaï à la fin du XVe et au XVIe siècle, le Soudan-Mali du XVIIe au XIXe siècle, le Burkina Faso et ses voisins aux XIXe et XXe siècles, etc.

Ending Stereotypes for America - African History
One of the goals of this site is to "Spread knowledge about advanced African kingdoms and black inventors and scientists who have helped shape and change our world." About African kingdoms and civilizations with citations to published sources. Maintained by Charles Six.

Fage, J. D. - A Guide to Original Sources for Precolonial Western Africa Published in European Languages : for the most part in book form
Madison : African Studies Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994. 200 p. AUniversity of Wisconsin Libraries Africana Digitization Project. See the Copyright notice for use.

Florida Geographic Alliance - African Maps
"The Florida Geographic Alliance is a professional organization affiliated with the National Geographic Society...and housed at the Florida State University within the Institute of Science and Public Affairs. It is comprised of Primary, Secondary, Community College, and University Geography Educators,..." Has maps in Adobe pdf format - African Continent with names, same map without names, Timbuktu with Mansa Musa's route, and other maps. [KF]

Howard University, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
The Library offers bibliographies such as "The Black Presence in Antiquity: a Selected Bibliography" by Leida I. Torres and Andrea Only.

Internet African History Sourcebook - Paul Halsall
Has full-text sources for African history arranged by topics. Includes the Black Athena Debate, human origins, Egypt, Nubia, Ethiopia, Islam in Africa, West African kingdoms, Great Zimbabwe, with topics up to the present. Maintained by Paul Halsall, Fordham University. [KF]

Journal of African History (Cambridge University Press)
Full text access to recent issues for subscribers only. Ask your librarian if your institution subscribes.

Kingdoms of the Medieval Sudan
An introduction to the history of Sudanic Africa (the states of Songhay, Kanem-Bornu, and Hausaland.) Discusses trade and Islam. Photographs by Lucy Johnson illustrate - Images of Islam (Grand Mosque at Jenne), River Scenes, Daily Life, The Dogon, Traditions and Beliefs, The Desert. Has multiple-choice tests. Project arises from a Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching (New Orleans, LA). Site by J. Rotondo-McCord. [KF]

Lefkowitz, Mary - Not Out of Africa
Excerpts from Lefkowitz's book Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History. On The History Place web site.

Libraries of Timbuktu
International project to preserve ancient Islamic manuscripts in Timbuktu. "There are an estimated sixty to eighty private collections of historical manuscripts in the city of Timbuktu alone." See also a Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) article (Feb. 17, 2002) on Timbuktu manuscripts.
Projects include:
"Scholars of Peace: The Islamic Tradition and Historical Conflict Resolution in Timbuktu" by Dr. Mahmoud Zouber, Abdoul Kader Haidara, Mamadou Diallo, Dr. Stephanie Diakité (5 p.) - full text, in Adobe PDF, of an account of 15th-18th century scholars in Timbuktu and the role of Islamic scholars and leaders in conflict resolution.

Library of Congress - Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu
"Dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, the ancient manuscripts... are indicative of the high level of civilization attained by West Africans during the Middle Ages." "The manuscripts...are from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha,..." Has images of the documents which concern Islamic knowledge of astronomy, law, the Songhai Empire, slavery, Sufi religion, mathematics, political governance, medical knowledge, attitude towards non-Muslims, trade. [KF]

Library of Congress - Islamic Manuscripts from Mali
"...twenty-two Islamic manuscripts [in Arabic script] containing important insights into the life and culture of West Africans during the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Era." Topics include astrology, commerce, Islamic law, health care, mysticism, slavery, and agriculture. A project of the Library of Congress and the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library of Timbuktu, Mali. photographs of Mali by Philip Harrington, as well as a selection of maps from the Library of Congress's Geography and Map Division.
Includes maps - Timbuktu in Space and Time, a history of Timbuktu as an Islamic cultural center, and Timbuktu architecture.

Lobban, Richard - Chronology of Ancient Nubia (Sudan)
Covers from 3-1.5 Million BP to 1504 AD. From the book, Historical dictionary of ancient and medieval Nubia, Scarecrow Press. To be pub. 2004.

Mali Interactive
Archaeological excavations and information on the people and culture of Jenn?. The project leaders include Profs. Rod and Susan McIntosh, archaeologists, from Rice University's Anthropology Dept. A goal is to save archaeological information from destruction by erosion. See "Jenne-jeno, an ancient African city." Jenn? is the earliest known urban settlement south of the Sahara and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photos, news, teaching resources, information on Mali and archaeology.

Masonen, Pekka - "Not Quite Venus from the Waves: The Almoravid Conquest of Ghana in the Modern Historiography of Western Africa"
Full text article, [co-authored with Humphrey J. Fisher], from History in Africa, Vol. 23, 1996, pp. 197-232. The article "focuses on the alleged Almoravid conquest of Ghana in 1076 AD and the spread of Islam in the Sudanic Africa." "This version is not identical to the printed version of 1996. Several printing errors are corrected and there are a few additions, including subtitles. The arguments are, however, unchanged." "...there is no direct evidence for any conquest, still less a violent and destructive conquest, of Ghana by the Almoravids. The conquest hypothesis is a European creation." On Dr. Masonen's web site.

The Meanings of Timbuktu - Edited by Shamil Jeppie and Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Full text of the book is online. 416 pages. HSRC Press, 2008. Topics include Arabic calligraphy, Arabic literature, Ajami, Muslim women scholars, Mali manuscripts, Arabic material in Zanzibar, etc. [KF]

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Timeline of Art History
The African Art section covers different regions (Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Guinea Coast, Southern Africa, Western & Central Sudan, Archaeology & Rock Art). Maps, bibliographies, timeline for the continent. Explanations of features in the works depicted. Covers pre-colonial African empires & kingdoms, Islam in Africa, Christianity in Ethiopia and the Kongo Kingdom, African leadership, women, Trade among European and African precolonial nations, etc.

History of Nubia the area partly in southern Egypt and partly in northern Sudan. Articles such as "How Much Can We Trust the Writen Record?" and "Where does Nubia fit in the Context of Nile Valley Civilization and the Ancient World?" Section for kids. Links to related sites. Conceived by Northeastern Univ. Professor Ron Bailey and Marcia Baynes. Produced by Education Development Center, Newton Massachusetts. [KF]

The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
Nubia Salvage Project. The Institute participated in the 1960s UNESCO effort to rescue archaeological sites from the rising waters of the Aswan High Dam. Artifacts recovered from that effort were presented in two exhibitions: Nubia, Its Glory and Its People, 1987 Exhibition. Description and history by Bruce Williams and Vanished Kingdoms of the Nile, The Rediscovery of Ancient Nubia, 1992 Exhibition. Includes an image of a Nubian princess ca. 1320 B.C. Nubia Slavage Project:
Photographic Archives. Seven historical photographs from the Sudan (Nubia). A sample of photographs taken by Institute expeditions in the early 20th century.
Sudan page:
Photographic Archives main page:

Oriental Institiute. The 1905-1907 Breasted Expeditions to Egypt and the Sudan: A Photographic Study
"This document is a revised catalog of the 1,055 photographs [taken by Professor James Henry Breasted and his colleagues] contained in an Oriental Institute text/microfiche publication entitled THE 1905-1907 BREASTED EXPEDITIONS TO EGYPT AND THE SUDAN: A PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDY." Based at the University of Chicago.

Schmidt, Nancy - "Africana Resources for Undergraduates: A Bibliographic Essay"
An annotated guide by Dr. Schmidt (former Africana Librarian, Indiana University) to print and electronic database resources. In Phyllis M. Martin and Patrick O'Meara (eds.), Africa. Third edition. ( Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995, pp. 413-434.)  " The author would like to point out that this essay, published in 1995 and written a year before, does not reflect some more recent publications and web resources."

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - African Voices
Site for a permanent exhibit at the Museum in Washington, D.C. Attractive site featuring master sculptors (Lamidi Fakeye), an interactive timeline (from pre-history, West African empires, to the present), society, metalworking, clay pottery and a master potter, an annotated bibliography. Uses Flash software; some captions are difficult to read. [KF]

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art - Mali Empire and Djenne Figures
Has photos of two terracotta figures, a short history, map, timeline, suggested classroom activities, readings, links to further web resources.

Sudan, Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile
This Macromedia Flash-dependent site describes a cd-rom sold by Sindibad Multimedia produced in association with the Institut du Monde Arab (Paris) and Editions Flammarion on the Sudan's history, culture, and society. Has English or Arabic versions. Follow the CD-ROM link at the bottom of the page. ttp://

Sundiata and Mansa Musa on the Web
An annotated directory of "resources about Sondiata and Mansa Musa, kings of the Empire of Mali in the 13th and 14th centuries. It also covers some aspects of later history, including the oral poetry that have preserved Sundiata's deeds for hundreds of years." Includes histories, books, primary sources, teacher materials. Maintained by Tim Spalding. Presented in Association with Amazon.

Torres, Leida I - "The Black Presence in Antiquity: a Selected Bibliography" by Leida I. Torres and Andrea Only
Bibliography of books, chapters in books, journal articles from Howard University's, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. [KF]

UNESCO World Heritage Sites
"The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage... agreement, signed to date by more than 150 States Parties, was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. Its primary mission is to define and conserve the world's heritage, by drawing up a list of sites whose outstanding values should be preserved for all humanity and to ensure their protection through a closer co-operation among nations." Africa sites are in Benin (Royal Palaces of Abomey), Egypt, Ethiopia (Lalibela, Aksum), Ghana (forts, castles), Mali (Djenne, Timbuktu), Mauritania (11-12th c. trading centres), Tanzania (Kilwa), Zimbabwe (Great Zimbabwe, Khami):
World Heritage page:

Unfolding the Mystery of Timbuktu - Ginny White
"In this historical geography unit, students follow the changes in the ancient African city of Timbuktu from its founding to today." For Grade 6. Part of the Geographic Education and Technology Program, of the the "Florida Geographic Alliance, a professional organization affiliated with the National Geographic Society...and housed at the Florida State University within the Institute of Science and Public Affairs."

United Kingdom. National Archives
Has online exhibitions such as the Black Presence: Asian and Black History in Britain, 1500-1850, which includes Black Romans and West Africa before the Europeans(with amap of West Africa in 1600).

University of Calgary - The Islamic World to 1600
"From the introduction to the first millennium of Islamic history" Includes under Regional Dynasties, a section on West Africa. Developed by the Applied History Research Group, University of Calgary. also in his religion.

Walker, Robin - When we ruled : the ancient and medioeval history of Black civilisations
Site for the book (London: Every Generation Media, 2006). Profiles of important figures in African history. Audio interview by Walker. Walker has taught in U.K. schools. Site based in London.

West Africa Historical and Contemporary Maps
Four maps showing ancient empires and contemporary maps of West Africa, Africa, Ghana; source of maps not given. On C. K. Ladzekpo's African Music and Dance web site.

West African Arabic Manuscript Database
A bi-lingual union catalog of records for over 20,000 Arabic manuscripts from West Africa. Find citations by authors, nicknames, titles, subjects. Includes manuscripts from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Northern Nigeria and from collections in Paris and Northwestern Univ. The documents represent "the literary activity of Muslim literati in the Sahel region during the approximately 150 years prior to colonial conquest." Charles C. Stewart, Professor, Department of History, University of Illinois, Champaign is General Editor. [KF]

Wide Horizon Education Resources - Ancient Civilization of Kush
Lesson plans on Kush (from a newsletter, Wide Horizon, Nov. 1999) produced by Wide-Horizon Education Resources, San Diego, Calif. WER, headed by Dr. David Mollet. Uses the Waldorf approach to education. Has an article about the lesson plan from Social Studies Review.

Wonders of the African World - Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Site for the Public Broadcasting Service TV series. Covers Black Pharaohs, Nubia / Kush, Meroe, Gedi, the Swahili People, Zanzibar, the Ashanti and Dahomey (Benin) Kingdoms, Aksum, Gondar, the Churches of Lalibela, the Dogon, Grand Mosque of Djenne, Empires of Mali & Ghana, the Tuareg, Great Zimbabwe, a 1,000 year old South African city - Mapangubwe, the Shona People, etc. Site based on the TV programs hosted by Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Harvard Univ.) Includes a kids' activity page, teachers' lesson plans, audio clips. [KF]
For comments on H-Africa about the TV series, see: In the Film section, page down to "Wonders of the African World".
A Preliminary Critique from Prof. Ali Mazrui and Black Orientalism.
Africa Update (Central Connecticut State University) Vol. 7, No. 1, Winter 2000 on the debate.
New York Times book review (October 24, 1999) by William Langewiesche
New York Times review of the TV program (October 25, 1999) by Walter Goodman
West Africa Review, Special issues of the e-journal on the TV series.
Vol. 1, No. 2, Jan. 2000.
Vol. 1, No. 2a, March 2000.