Chapter 3 - Early African Societies and the Bantu Migrations


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Cultivation and domestication of animals transformed African cultures, like cultures in southwest Asia, into distinctive societies with more formal states, specialized labor, and more elaborate cultural traditions. The region around the Nile River, Egypt to the north and Nubia to the south, supported the fastest growing and most complex societies in Africa.

At the same time that Egypt and Nubia were becoming increasingly complex societies, the Bantu-speaking peoples to the south were undertaking gradual migrations from their homeland in west central Africa and displacing or intermingling with the foraging peoples of the forests. These migrations, and others, helped to spread both agricultural technology and, after 1000 B.C.E., iron metallurgy throughout sub-Saharan Africa.