Africa Now And Then, What Changed In The Continent Since Ancient Times

Africa is a land that has fascinated everyone since ancient times. Once called The Dark Continent, this land of variegated cultures has come a long way.

Considered the cradle of human evolution, it is here in Africa that the modern humans began to evolve from our simian ancestors.

Since then, this continent has been both ruled and ravaged by multiple cultures of the world. In this article we are going to explore Africa’s journey from a land shrouded in mystery to the modern spectacle it is today.

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Before The Beginning

“From this ancestor, who was more ape than man, various intermediate species developed, culminating finally in Homo sapiens, the modern man.”

It is now widely accepted that the first crude humans, the hominids, evolved in Africa in prehistoric times. From this ancestor, who was more ape than man, various intermediate species developed, culminating finally in Homo sapiens, the modern man.

Ancient Africa saw many changes sweep the land, from the advent of agriculture, smelting of the first metals to the formation of the great Sahara Desert which influenced the life and livelihood of the ancient humans here. The earliest civilizations such as Sao and Wadai flourished.

The Rise Of Egypt

As the Sahara Desert spread across the continent, humans began to settle around the river Nile. From this grew the mighty Egyptian Empire, one of the cradles of modern civilization.

Since then, Africa has seen the rise and fall of many empires such as the Nubian, Assyrian and Persian, followed by the invasion by Alexander the Great, finally culminating in the Roman conquest.

“Slowly but surely, Africa began to open up to the world.”

The World Comes To Africa

Slowly but surely, Africa began to open up to the world. The arrival of Islam and Christianity influenced the lives of the people in this vast continent.

As European traders began to get a taste of the riches the land had to offer, skirmishes began for a share of the people and places of Africa.

By the 20th century most of Africa was divided among themselves by the European powers.

This led to the rise of the slave trade, one of the darkest histories of exploitation of man by man himself.

Two Wars An Awakening

As World Wars I and II ravaged the world, the people of this great land, influenced partly by modern education and ideas, began to demand their autonomy.

This period saw numerous uprisings for the freedom of the African countries. Eventually the European powers began to recede, starting with the decolonization of Libya in 1951.

Mention must be made of the apartheid laws in South Africa, which brought the exploitation of the African People to the forefront of human history. This ended in 1994 as apartheid was abolished, and Nelson Mandela was elected to power.

“The Africa of the present may be represented as a study in contrasts.”

21st Century And Beyond

The Africa of the present may be represented as a study in contrasts. One the one hand we have world-class cities such as Cape Town, Cairo and Addis Ababa which can give modern cities on other continents a good run for their money, while on the other we have a series of continuous conflicts such as the ongoing insurgencies and civil war in Egypt, Sudan, Libya and Tunisia, just to name a few.

In-spite of this, Africa has grown to be an attractive investment destination for countries the world over. Education and technology have enabled the youth of the country to come forward and overcome all barriers to take the continent to new heights


Africa can be described, in one word, as intriguing. With its long and varied history, contrasting geography, vast reserves of natural resources and an educated youth, it is certain that Africa is poised to become a reckoning force for the future.