By John Iliffe

This background of Africa from the origins of mankind to the South African basic election of 1994 refocuses African heritage at the peopling of an environmentally adverse continent. The social, monetary and political associations of the African continent have been designed to make sure survival and maximize numbers, yet within the context of scientific growth and different twentieth-century concepts those associations have bred the main speedy inhabitants development the realm has ever visible. The background of the continent is therefore a unmarried tale binding dwelling Africans to the earliest human ancestors.

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Extra info for Africans: The History of a Continent (African Studies)

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This was too negative a picture, for it was P1: RNK 0521864381 c03 CUNY780B-African 978 0 521 68297 8 May 15, 2007 15:37 Impact of metals 21 also a time of provincial vitality, greater private wealth, and increased social concern, but it enabled the restored Middle Kingdom (1991 –1785 bc) to represent itself in a newly self-conscious way as the embodiment of social order and collective welfare. This regime temporarily collapsed during the Second Intermediate Period (1785–1540 bc), only to give birth in turn to the New Kingdom (1540–1070 bc), the most mature and expansive period of Egyptian civilisation.

Kerma was victim of the last and most potent phase of Egyptian expansion, which sought not only gold but military glory and administrative power. The reunification that created the New Kingdom first permitted the reoccupation of Lower Nubia and then enabled Tuthmosis III to destroy Kerma in about 1450 bc and to penetrate to the Fifth Cataract or beyond. During the next 400 years, the Egyptian impact was on a new scale. Egyptian temples and noblemen acquired estates in Lower Nubia, whose C-Group people mostly became tenants P1: RNK 0521864381 c03 CUNY780B-African 28 978 0 521 68297 8 May 15, 2007 15:37 africans: the history of a continent or labourers and were so fully assimilated as to be indistinguishable from Egyptians in the archaeological record.

Yet significant religious change did take place. Among the many gods of the Egyptian pantheon, the sun god was chiefly responsible for the maintenance of cosmological order and gradually gained preeminence. Early in the New Kingdom, the sun god became associated with an invisible and ubiquitous deity, Amun, around whom the priests at the great temple at Thebes began to construct a theology. Both drawing on this and reacting against it, the Pharaoh Akhenaten (1364–1347 bc) instituted a monotheistic state cult of the sun-disc (Aten), a worship of light to be approached only by sharing the king’s vision.

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