Rise Of Civilization: The African Nile Valley Culture

According to Egyptologist Dr Yosef Ben-Jochannan and Historian Cheikh Anta Diop, the rise of Civilization has its origins in the East African Nile Valley  going back to at least 5000 BC.

The Great Lakes region of East Africa spawned what has been termed the African Nile Valley Culture which began with the introduction of Agriculture and Iron.

Historically, the earliest traces of modern Man coupled with Agriculture and Iron have been found in East Africa’s Great Lakes and Nile Valley Region.

Knowledge of Cereals, Animal Husbandry and Iron Smelting spread from this region into the African interior as people Migrated from this region all the way to the African Savannah.

Depending on the climatic conditions, either Crop Farming, Animal Husbandry or both were adopted by the African or Bantu Peoples that began the Nile Valley Civilization.

In the Rainforest Equatorial Regions root crops like Yams were predominant, with cereals being more common amongst East and Southern African Bantu Civilization Peoples and Nations.

This Mother Nile Valley Civilization would provide the Cultural and Technological foundations for the subsequent Great Ancient Empires of Africa like Mali, Asante and The Monomatapa of Great Zimbabwe.

The arrival of Farming coupled with the introduction of Iron Tools had completely transformed the peoples settled all the way from the Nile Valley into the African interior by around 1200 AD.

Population growth was also followed by larger more settled communities and greater food security.

This departure from a Nomadic lifestyle to a more settled lifestyle by the Bantu Peoples would have an impact on Social relationships, organisation and Culture.

Agriculture’s main effect was the emergence of specialization.

It was no longer necessary for people to allocate all the Labour within Society to Hunting and Gathering as people could be fed from the surplus produced from Farming.

New skills emerged amongst the Nile Valley Bantu Peoples such as Blacksmiths and Traditional Healing, coupled with the blossoming of an early Barter trade economy and Religion all of which would form the basis of a new Civilization which would culminate in the High Civilization of a Unified Upper and Lower Egypt.

The African group of Languages also emerged and flourished during this period, spreading from the Niger-Congo region all the way down to Southern Africa.

With the formation of a new Society built on Agriculture and Iron, accompanied by a distinct  language coupled with changing Social and Economic relations, Iron Age Man had stepped onto the scene.

Rise Of Civilization Nile Valley Bantu Culture

As the Iron Age and Agriculture flourished, relationships based on Kinship, Ethnic and Political identity would also coalesce and inform the Nile Valley African Consciousness with concepts of Extended Family, Tribe and Chiefdom that would form the bedrock of African Society across the entire African Continent.

In time, the foundations of African Society settled, and strong Political entities emerged in response to the need to negotiate Political Power in order to maintain access to the means of production like land within Iron Age Society.

The History of Africa is in some sense the story of the Political contests of these Iron Age Kingdoms such as the Zulu Kingdom, Nubia and Kush that were in essence a continuation of the earliest Civilization that had been birthed in the East Africa’s Nile Valley Region before it spread into the African interior and then out to the rest of the world beginning in Ancient Mesopotamia which was the region closest to the Nile Valley.

Dr Ben: The African Origins Of Civilization


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