Even then there was considerable trade that could cover long distances. Archaeologists have found that evidence of trade in luxury items like precious metals and shells across the entirety of the continent. African economic history often focuses on explanations of poverty and obscures other aspects such as the achievements economic history of kenya pdf African farmers, traders and states, including improvements in food security, and episodes of economic growth.
Africa has the longest and oldest economic history. Earliest humans were hunter gatherers living in small, family groups. Agriculture supported large towns, and eventually large trade networks developed between the towns. 5200 BC was far more moist and densely populated than today. The Sahara at this time was like the Sahel today.
Its wide open fields made cultivation easy, but the poor soil and limited rain made intensive farming impossible. The local crops were also not ideal and produced fewer calories than those of other regions. These factors limited surpluses and kept populations sparse and scattered. The drying of the Sahara created a formidable barrier between the northern and southern portions of the continent. Especially from Nubia, ideas and technologies from the Middle East and Europe reached the rest of Africa.
Historians believe that iron working developed independently in Africa. Copper is quite rare in Africa while iron is quite common. In Nubia and Ethiopia, iron, trade, and agricultural surpluses lead to the establishment of cities and civilizations. Southern Cameroon around 4000 years ago. Bantu languages are spoken there today and there is archaeological evidence for incoming Neolithic farmers in Northern Gabon c. It is known that Bantu expansion was extremely rapid and massive, but its exact engine remains controversial. This period predated iron, which appears in the archaeological record by 2500 BP.
The difficulties of cutting down the equatorial forest for farming have led to the suggestion that the primary expansion was along river valleys, a hypothesis supported by studies of fish names. Linguistic reconstructions suggest that the only livestock possessed by the proto-Bantu was the goat. Their expansion only ended relatively recently. The importation Bantu pastoralism reshaped the continent’s economy. Southeast Asian languages, sometime between AD 300 and 800. From the island the crops crossed to African Great Lakes region.
While some level of trade had been ongoing, the rise of cities and empires made it far more central to the African economy. In this region a number of Greek trading cities that were established acted as a conduit for their civilization and learning. Mediterranean trade for many centuries. Well into the 19th century Egypt remained one of the most developed parts of the world.
Sudan likewise traded with interior African countries such as Chad and Libya, as well as with Egypt, China, India and the Arabian peninsula. Swahili cities were important trading ports for trade with the Middle East and Far East. In the interior of Africa, trade was far more limited. Low population densities made profitable commerce difficult. Sahara, blocking trade through the center of the continent.