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Africa History Timeline

African Timeline:

  • (5 - 2.5 million years ago) Ancient fossils, rocks and skeletal remains uncovered in the Rift Valley
  • (600,000 - 200,000 years ago) Homo Sapiens band together to form nomadic groups; use of fire develops
  • (6000 BC - 4000 BC) River People emerge along Nile, Niger and Congo Rivers; agriculture is spread south of Sahara Desert
  • (3118 BC) Upper and Lower kingdoms of Egypt united by King Menes
  • (2600 BC) First Egyptian pyramid constructed
  • (2500 BC) Civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt flourish
  • (1370 BC) Queen Nefertiti and Akhenaten reign over Egypt
  • (814 BC) City of Carthage founded in Tunisia
  • (500 BC) Colonies established by Greek along Red Sea
  • (247 BC - 183 BC) Hannibal rules Carthage
  • (196 BC) Rosetta Stone inscribed
  • (69 BC - 30 BC) Cleopatra rules Egypt
  • (30 BC) Egypt conquered by the Roman Empire
  • (350 AD) Bantu tribes arrive in Zambia
  • (642) Arabs conquer Egypt
  • (700) Islam sweeps across North Africa
  • (800) Trading towns established along eastern coast of Africa

1000 AD - 1700's

  • (1000) Ghana Empire reaches height of power
  • (1230) Mali Empire established; Ghanas declines
  • (1250) Zimbabwe constructed in southeastern Africa
  • (1390) Kongo Kingdom flourishes on Congo River
  • (1400) Swahili flourishes along eastern African coast
  • (1441) African slaves begin being transported across the Atlantic
  • (1488) Morocco invades Mali
  • (1550) Portuguese trade in Africa attracts Europeans
  • (1652) Dutch establish colony in South Africa at Cape of Good Hope
  • (1787) Freetown founded on west African coast
  • (1795) British seize control of Cape Colony
  • (1799) Rosetta Stone discovered

1800's

  • (1855) Victoria Falls discovered by David Livingstone
  • (1858) Lake Victoria discovered by John Speke
  • (1859-1869) The Suez Canal is built in Egypt
  • (1860s) End of Atlantic slave trade
  • (1867) Diamonds discovered at Hope Creek
  • (1870s) Zulu Wars fought against Great Britain
  • (1882) Egypt and Sudan occupied by Britain
  • (1884) Namibia, Tanzania, Togo and Cameroon taken over by Germany; Mahdi leads an uprising in Sudan against British
  • (1885) First railroad and telegraph line opened from Kimberley to Cape Town
  • (1886) Gold discovered in Transvaal; Kenya established as British colony

1900's

  • (1907) Gandhi organizes Indian civil disobedience against racism and injustice in South Africa
  • (1914-1918) World War I; entirety of Africa divided amongst Europe, African colonies are prepared for independence at wars end
  • (1933) First mass political party formed in Africa, The Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM)
  • (1935) Italy invades Ethiopia
  • (1939-1945) World War II
  • (1947) African's push for decolonization
  • (1956) Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia all receive independence; oil discovered in Nigeria
  • (1961) Zaire receives independence from Belgium
  • (1962) Algeria receives independence from France
  • (mid-1960s) European colonial era of Africa ends, most African nations gain independence
  • (1963) Organization of African Unity forms
  • (1964) Nelson Mandela imprisoned in South African prison for 25 years
  • (1967-1970) Nigerian civil war
  • (1973) Ethiopian famine kills hundreds of thousands
  • (1976) Ebola virus emerges in Sudan and Zaire
  • (1981) HIV epidemic begins
  • (1990) Nelson Mandela freed; violence erupts between South African black majority groups and white Nationalist groups
  • (1994) Nelson Mandela elected president of South Africa; Hutus massacre millions in Rwanda, millions more flee
  • (1996) Rwanda refugees migrate back to escape fighting in Zaire

2000's

  • (2001) Gabon and Congo experience Ebola epidemic
  • (2002) 2,000 killed when Senegalese ferry capsizes off Gambia coast; African Union forms after dissolution of OAU
  • (2003) Civil war begins in Darfur region of Sudan, several hundred thousand killed in conflict that lasted six years
  • (2006) War in Somalia involving Ethiopia and Somali Transitional Federal Government
  • (2007) Togo holds first democratic elections
  • (2010) Sudanese government and Darfuri rebels sign ceasefire agreement
  • (2011) South Sudan receives independence

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This page was last modified on September 19, 2016.