How Does Africa Fit Into World History?

Africa’s place in world history is a topic of much debate and discussion. Some argue that the continent has been largely overlooked in the grand narrative of human history, while others point to the important contributions and influences that African societies have had on the wider world. In this article, we will explore the question of how Africa fits into world history, looking at both its past and present.

The Early History of Africa

The early history of Africa is shrouded in mystery, as written records are scarce and much of what we know comes from archaeological evidence. However, it is clear that ancient African societies were highly sophisticated and made significant contributions to human civilization.

For example, the ancient Egyptians developed a system of writing and mathematics that was among the most advanced in the world at the time. They also built monumental structures such as the pyramids, which continue to fascinate people today.

Africa’s Influence on World Religions

One area where Africa has had a significant impact on world history is in religion. Many major religions have their roots in Africa or were heavily influenced by African beliefs and practices.

For example, Christianity originated in the Middle East but was spread throughout Europe and beyond by African missionaries such as Augustine of Hippo. Islam also has deep roots in Africa, with many important Muslim scholars hailing from countries such as Mali and Nigeria.

The Impact of European Colonization

Of course, no discussion of Africa’s place in world history would be complete without considering the impact of European colonization. Beginning in the 19th century, European powers began carving up the continent for their own economic and political gain. This led to widespread exploitation of African resources and people, as well as a legacy of political instability that continues to this day.

Africa Today

Despite these challenges, modern-day Africa is a continent full of diversity, cultural richness, and economic potential. Many African countries are experiencing rapid economic growth and development, with sectors such as technology and agriculture leading the way. In addition, African music, art, and fashion are gaining global recognition and acclaim.

The Future of Africa

Looking ahead, it is clear that Africa will continue to play an important role in world history. As the continent’s economies grow and its people become more connected to the wider world, there is a tremendous opportunity for African societies to shape the course of global events in the 21st century.


In conclusion, Africa’s place in world history is complex and multifaceted. From its ancient past to its modern-day challenges and opportunities, Africa has played a significant role in shaping human civilization. By recognizing the contributions of African societies and working to address ongoing issues such as poverty and political instability, we can help ensure that Africa’s role in world history continues to be one of influence and inspiration.