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African History Timeline
KEY: West Africa|| South Africa||North Africa||East/Central Africa
Dates are B.C.E. unless noted * mya=million years ago
4.4 myaEarliest evidence of pre-human hominid species
4-2 myaHominid species-(australopithecus afarensis) in Ethiopia
1.8 mya Nutcracker Man discovered in Tanzania by Mary Leakey
1.8 mya Homo habilis or tool-making man
1.7 mya Homo erectus or erect man
~1 mya Homo erectus begins to migrate to Europe and Asia
100,000-40,000Neanderthal Man, in Africa and Europe
100,000+Homo sapiens, or wise man
10,000-6,000 Shift from Hunter Gatherer to food producer in some areas (West Asia initially, Egypt by 6,000)
3200 Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt
3100 Egyptian hieroglyphic writing
3000 Egyptians develop weaving from plant fibers (flax)
2770-2200Old Kingdom in Egypt
2650 Construction of first pyramid in Egypt, first monumental columnar forms
~2500 Basic forms for furniture, wind instruments in Egypt
~2000 Solar Calendar in Egypt
~2000 Terra-cotta pottery in Egypt
2050-1786Middle Kingdom in Egypt
1800Egyptian belief in personal immortality
1560-1087New Kingdom in Egypt
~1580-1090 Temple building in Egypt
~1375Akhenaton introduces monotheism in Egypt
~1375 Naturalistic art in Egypt
~1300 Transparent glass invented in Egypt
~1300 Use of Papyrus, pen, and ink for writing in Egypt
~1300-1100 Increasing use of iron in Western Asia
c.700Earliest Greek settlement in Egypt's Nile delta
525Cambyses, the Persian ruler, conquers Egypt
334-323Conquests of Alexander the Great
323Death of Alexander, division of his empire
264-146Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage
c.200Use of iron in Sub-saharan Africa
146Destruction of Carthage by Rome
47Fire destroys the great library at Alexandria
61Treaty of Samos between Rome and Kush
c.200-900Expansion of Bantu speakers in Africa
c.200Camels first used for trans-Saharan transport
c.250Kingdom of Axum (Ethiopia) controls Red Sea trade
c.251-356Anthony of Egypt reputed father of hermit monasticism
c.300Kingdom of Axum (Ethiopia) accepts Christianity
c.340Pachomius draws up code of monastic behavior in Luxor, Egypt
c.450Rise of Ghana in West Africa
c.600-1500Extensive slave trade from sub-Saharan Africa to Mediterranean
636-651Muslims conquer Syria, Persia and Egypt
641Muslim conquest of Egypt
c.1000-1500Consolidation of states
c.1100-1500Bantu, Arab, and Indian cultures blend in Swahili civilization along eastern coast
c.1100-1897Kingdom of Benin
c.1224Decline of the Kingdom of Ghana
1270-1478Imperial revival in Ethiopia
c.1300-1500Mali empire in middle Niger region
c.1325Ibn Battuta, famous North African traveler, begins 29-year, 75,000 mile world tour
c.1330University of Tmbuktu
c.1493-1582Expansion of Songhay
c.1591Decline of Songhay afer defeat by Moroccans

W.W. Norton
REFERENCE: World Civilizations
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Last revised January 30, 1997
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