Tag Archives: Africa

The Mfecane 1816-28

The Mfecane 1816-28


The rise of the Zulu empire under its warlike king Shaka (r.1816 -28) sent shock waves throughout southern Africa, triggering mass migrations of refugee peoples. Known as the Mfecane (`to be weak from hunger’), these upheavals completely rearranged the pattern of settlement in southern Africa and left vast areas depopulated. The Zulu belong to the Nguni, the most southerly branch of the Bantu-speaking peoples. As a result of the Mfecane the Nguni are now widespread throughout southern Africa, inhabiting  Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa.

The emergence of states in Africa, 1000 – 1500

The emergence of states in Africa, 1000 – 1500

The period from 1000 – 1500 saw the emergence of states over much of Africa, crucially assisted by the need to control and secure trading routes and by the wealth which flowed from them. The spread of trade often went hand with the dissemination of Islam. By 1500, sub-Saharan Africa states had made their first contact with European explorers.