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.

Preserved Sites Of North Africa That Would Make A Great Tourism Destination

North Africa has a long and rich history that has seen a number of different cultures and people rule over the land, including the Romans, Phoenicians, Islamic Caliphates, Egyptians and French colonists. Because of this amazing diversity, the area features a wide variety of different preserved sites that show off its history and the people who once ruled the land.

Some of these landmarks, such as the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, are widely known and extremely popular with tourists.

However, there are many more sites that are just as incredible, yet, somehow less known. Here we’ll take a look at some of the sites that would make great tourism destinations.

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The Old Towns Of DjennĂŠ

Located in central Mali, the Old Towns date back to 200BC.

Constructed from mud bricks that baked under the sun, the adobe buildings that make up the area is described by UNESCO as one of the most breath-taking cities in North Africa.

In ancient times, the area was a key stopover for traveling merchants who were traded in gold, salt, and slaves.

Leptis Magna

If you’re a fan of ancient Rome, then this is a must-see. Located in Libya, the Leptis Magna is considered one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world.

Rome conquered the area during the Punic Wars and became it a very wealthy city toward the end of the 2nd century AD.

The emperor Septimus Severus used the money to build beautiful structures, including the basilica, forum, amphitheater and the arch of Septimus Severus, all of which still stand today.


Egypt may be known for its famous Great Pyramids, but the Karnak temple at Luxor is truly spectacular to behold.

The temple emerged over a period of over 1000 years with more than 30 Pharaohs continuously adding to it.

You’ll find large columns, temples, frescos, pylons, and even statues of Pharaohs and gods still standing today.

El Djem

Everyone knows about the Coliseum in Rome, but did you know that next largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire is located in the small town of El Djem, Tunisia.

It is believed to have held almost 35,000 people.

Much of it is still intact, including the passages in which the men and wild beast were held.


North Africa has a long history that has affected every culture and civilization in the world today.

Although there are many popular sites that tell the story of its history, there are also some sites that are usually overlooked by tourists.

Don’t be afraid to take the road less travelled and experience some really incredible destinations.

Cultural Relatedness Between The Middle East And North Africa

North Africa and the Middle East are not divided naturally. This political division includes Arab countries which are located geographically in a certain region

The strange case is Egypt, which belongs to the North African geographical region but is part of what we know now as the Middle East.

“The two main things that keep the MENA (this is how the sum of the regions is usually called) together are religion and language.”

Religion And Language

The two main things that keep the MENA (this is how the sum of the regions is usually called) together are religion and language. On one hand, the Arab is what most people speak, and to defeat a common myth, Arabic is not a religion, but a language and a bloodline that can be inherited.

The true strongest religion among them is Islam, although, the region was created politically and it would be unfair not to recognize the huge amount of minorities that live there. As an example of this, the territory that was given to the Jewish people after WWII known as Israel today bears a huge amount of very orthodox and enthusiastic people who don´t practice Islam, but their own religion.

“According to a recent study by the Oil & Gas Journal, more than half of the world´s oil and gas reserves is found in this region.”

The World’s Reserve

According to a recent study by the Oil & Gas Journal, more than half of the world´s oil and gas reserves is found in this region. The importance of this economic fact is that the flourishing society in these countries has a strong impact on both, cultural and social growth. It´s estimated that the investments being made in education, arts and culture will make the region even more powerful bringing most ethnical differences to an end. An example of this effort is the action being carried on by the information network On the Move who are financing entrepreneurs to develop cultural actions within the MENA territory and Europe with the aim of fostering collaborative actions in the field of cultural management. Another aim of the program called EUNIC is to develop skills through coaching that might be necessary for participants to reach a new understanding on several areas like mapping out and professionalizing the cultural and creative sectors as well as managing cultural projects.


Political stability and economic wealth will turn directly into a new cultural paradigm for the entire region. Both Middle East and North Africa are composed of countries that have a lot in common as well as a great future ahead of them through collaboration.

The strong historical legacy might lead into a bright cultural future if collaboration occurs.

The Amazing Cultures That Are Exclusive To Middle East

Well, for starters, we have to say that the Middle East is not a geographical denomination.

The borders that make the region are not based on natural phenomenon or continent distinction, they are continuously shifting and reshaping as is human culture and religion.

That being said, the strong links between the different people of the region are rooted deeply. Here are some of the most important and amazing cultures to be found in the region.

“Jordan is mostly an Arab-country and as such, it remains a very friendly and warm environment very hospitable for foreigners.”

Jordanian As An Example

Jordan is mostly an Arab-country and as such, it remains a very friendly and warm environment very hospitable for foreigners. Breaking the rules of etiquette is usually forgiven easily and the effort made to respect them is always very welcome. Although arranged marriages are still very common, women play a significant role in society, they are entitled to a full education, can drive and vote.

When it comes to beliefs and religion, the borders of Jordan contain a mix that´s incredibly varied and complex. There are Bedouins who claim to be the first and only real Arabs living in the same place with Muslims, Christians, and Dom-gypsies.

“The cultural divergence between the city and the country-side is very notorious.”

The cultural divergence between the city and the country-side is very notorious. For Bedouins, the only modern civilization artifact in their lives might be a motorized vehicle to move faster while the more modern Jordanians favor a full-on city life which involves theatre, music, and cinema from abroad. The strongest legacy and cultural interaction among Jordanians are still oral but after WWII there has been a great number of authors who have gained recognition for their prose or like Mustafa Whabi Al-Tal who is one of the most important Arab poets of the 20th century. There´s a filming institute in the country backed by Steven Spielberg that has given formed directors and cinematographers who are world-class.

Another very interesting fact is that Jordanians are very young, more than a third of the country is currently under fifteen years old and education is very strong.


We selected Jordan for the simple reason that it is very much the way life is lived in the whole of Middle East. The cultural and religious clash within the same political territory is something very common as well as the mix between antique customs being practiced for thousands of years with very modern state-of-the-art education and arts.

The countries that form the Middle East are developing into a better way to include all elements into the same mix.

Cultures In North Africa That Have Been Lost To Civilization

“The Berber People”

The Berber People

Named this way, the history of this nomadic civilization that was present in the west side of the Nile Valley is very extensive and also diverse. They are non-Arabic tribes related only by culture and language but with no fixed territory. They inhabited the region for such a huge amount of time that was even referenced by the Egyptians under the name of Temehu (3,000 BC). There has never been a political unity among them, we can´t speak even today about a Berber Empire, but many that have lived along with each other for thousands of years.

The Berber lands have always been very important since they were crossroads for all the people trading between Africa. The Middle East and the South of Europe.

Because of this and their nomadic kind, the Berbers have mixed with many ethnic groups and hence can be recognized because of the language they speak rather than the distinct facial features among them. Actually, the language they share is one of the oldest known to man.

“The Kingdom Of Aksum”

The Kingdom Of Aksum

Have you ever heard of the Rastafari movement? Well, they are not just a group of reggae listeners, they worship their messiah named Haile Selassie I, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, the only country in the whole of Africa that wasn´t dominated by Europe. They have created their own version of the Christian faith and claim that their royalty is the product of an affair between the Queen of Sheba and none other than King Solomon, meaning that they descend directly from the Biblical House of David.

Now, it´s well-known among historians that in the 13th Century, an Amhara noble who claimed to be descendent from the Iron Age dynasty called Aksum founded the Solomonic dynasty. This noble, named Yekuno, was the one who gave birth to the legend that the bastard son of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba founded Aksum. Haile Selassie, the Messiah, was a member of the Solomonic dynasty

Much like the Ethiopians do nowadays, the inhabitants of the Aksum kingdom, the Aksumites spoke a Semitic language. The kingdom is also widely connected with modern Israel and features a very large population of Jews from an indigenous kind (also known as the Beta Israel).

The olden Kings of Aksum had brought much of what we now know as Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia under their control around 3rd and 4th centuries AD as well as smaller percentages of Saudi Arabia and Egypt and was one of the four greatest empires humankind has ever gotten to know along with ancient China, Roman, and Persian.

Jewish queen Yodit overthrew Aksum in the 10th Century. Regardless of this, the legacy in terms of politics and culture survived more than a millennium to the present date. Institutions such as the Amhara people, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the line connecting the Solomonic dynasty to the ancient Judea come from the memories of a huge empire.

Foods That Can Only Be Found In the Middle East

As we all know, the globalized world we live in every day has blended all cultures and found new market niches to commercialize foreign food in virtually every country in the world.

Globalized Mutations

Since migration is so common nowadays, it´s fairly easy for any global citizen to find pairs and a restaurant to go eat and have fun, regardless of the city in the world they are currently at. One very interesting phenomenon is that the lack of some specific ingredients to prepare certain recipes makes the imagination of chefs and cooks go wild and give birth to brand new combinations based on ancient knowledge: the famous globalized mutations. This being said, we can´t assure you these would be something that can´t be found anywhere outside the country of origin but are things you should definitely try if you come across with them.


This particular dish takes the name from the recipient (pot) it is cooked in. It is a North African traditional tribal dish found in several countries like Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Vegetables and meat are cooked together in the same container only in the liquids each ingredient releases during the cooking. No extra water is added and the entire vapor generated within the pot is condensed in its conical hat ‘raining’ over and adding up to the natural juices. This delight is often served with some couscous, which is very similar to rice.


It might sound familiar because of the utterly known kofta that the Indian cuisine has made famous around the world. The kefta is previous, a predecessor that comes in a simpler but equally tasteful presentation: simple ground meat (it can be lamb or cow) seasoned only mildly with parsley and paprika. Once it is prepared, It is grilled like a kebab and served (just with no gravy).


If you like cumin, you´re going to love this dish, it uses heavy doses in its preparation. It is an ideal meal for a cold winter evening made of rice and lentils, which are cooked together along with a huge combination of spices including cumin. This is only the bottom part of this dish which is artistically topped with some crispy fried onions that make that ideal contrast of crunchy and soft, stewed, heavily spiced lentils and rice.


Historically, the Turkish cuisine has not received the attention it deserves. This phyllo dough snack can be filled with an endless variety of fillings including heavily seasoned meat, spinach with cheese and as many others as the imagination can go. These savory pastries do make a great snack but also, in larger quantities, can turn into a lunch or a dinner.


Did anyone say dessert? Well, this is a pastry that can work as a snack for some middle-of-the-night trip to the fridge or a great after-dinner delight. It features a wheat covering, an astonishing amount of pistachios and is completely drenched in treacle. As a snack or as a desert, this is an awesome sweet thing to have around.

The Left Outs

We haven´t included the most popular ones like Shawarma, tabbouleh, hummus, baklava, and falafels because that´s something anyone can buy and try almost anywhere in the world.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try these suggestions and you won´t go wrong.