What Is Africa’s Relationship to World History?

Africa’s relationship to world history has been a topic of debate for many years. Despite being the second-largest continent and home to diverse cultures, languages, and religions, Africa’s contributions to world history have often been overlooked or undervalued. In this article, we will explore Africa’s rich history and its impact on the world.

Ancient Civilizations in Africa

Africa is home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world. The Ancient Egyptians, for example, were one of the most advanced civilizations of their time.

They developed a system of hieroglyphic writing that is still studied today and built impressive structures such as the pyramids. Additionally, they were skilled in mathematics and astronomy.

Another notable civilization was the Kingdom of Axum in Ethiopia. This kingdom was an important trading hub between Africa and other parts of the world such as India and Rome. They also developed their own written language called Ge’ez.

Colonialism in Africa

Unfortunately, much of Africa’s history has been shaped by colonialism. European powers such as Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal, and Germany colonized various parts of Africa from the 19th century until the mid-20th century. The consequences of colonialism are still felt today with many African countries struggling with poverty, corruption, and political instability.

However, it is important to note that Africans fought against colonialism through various means such as armed resistance movements and non-violent protests. One notable figure was Nelson Mandela who fought against apartheid in South Africa and became a symbol for human rights around the world.

African Culture

African culture is diverse and rich with traditions that have influenced music, art, literature, fashion, cuisine and more around the world. For example, African music has influenced genres such as jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. African fashion designers have also gained recognition worldwide for their unique designs and use of traditional African fabrics.

Additionally, African literature has produced some of the world’s greatest writers such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Their works explore themes such as colonialism, identity, and cultural traditions.

African Contributions to Science and Medicine

Africa has also made significant contributions to science and medicine. For example, Dr. Thomas Mensah, a Ghanaian-American chemical engineer, invented fiber optics which has revolutionized telecommunications and the internet. Additionally, Zimbabwean surgeon Dr. Tererai Trent has made significant contributions to women’s health in Africa.


In conclusion, Africa’s relationship to world history is complex and multifaceted. Despite being overlooked in the past, it is important to recognize Africa’s rich history and its impact on the world.

From ancient civilizations to modern-day innovations, Africa has contributed greatly to various aspects of human civilization. It is our responsibility to continue learning about Africa’s history and promoting its cultural heritage for future generations.