People originated from Africa, but people's ancestors were not black, and oldest people in Africa were not black. But since 2000 years ago, Negroes have occupied all of Africa south of Sahara, and elderly Bushmen and Pygmies can only live in virgin forests and become rare tribes. Now, since then, number of African blacks has increased rapidly and they are listed as one of three main races along with yellow race and white race. So how did blackness spread in Africa?First, who created early iron culture in West Africa?
There were three centers of civilization in ancient Africa, namely North Africa, East Africa and West Africa. North Africa is represented by Egypt, East Africa is represented by Nubia, Kingdom of Kush and Aksum and West Africa is represented by Ghana, Mali and Songhai are representatives. Sub-Saharan Africans are mostly descended from West Africa.
The reason why West Africa was able to create ancient civilizations is closely related to its geographical location. Here you can establish trade links with North Africa by land, sea and land, as well as accept influence of North African civilization. There are large rivers here, such as Niger River, and water resources are relatively rich. It has a tropical grassland climate, with tropical desert to north and tropical rainforest to south, only tropical grasslands are more suitable for human habitation. In addition, rich gold reserves here effectively promoted economic development.
In 1930s, archaeologists discovered "Nok culture" in Nigeria, West Africa, which existed from 500 to 200 BC. e. A batch of pottery and iron products, very rough, was found in ruins, which indicates imperfection of iron smelting technology they mastered. Some scholars believe that West African ironwork technology originated locally, but I think that smelting technology of its own origin should go through stage of bronze smelting. West Africa has moved directly from pottery to iron smelting, which should be formed due to influence of spread of metalwork technology in Western Asia and North Africa.
A large number of figural statues have been discovered in Nok area. These statues are unique in Africa. They again occupy half of entire face.
Portrait of Nok culture
In 1936, French anthropologist Leboeuf discovered Sao culture on Lake Chad in West Africa. Many potteries, bronze and iron weapons, and several terracotta figurines have been found at this cultural site. The culture dates back to period from 425 BC. to 1700 BC Statues in Sao culture are characterized by a large bottom and a small top. The two sculptural styles of Nok culture and Sao culture laid foundation for West African sculptural art.
So what ethnic groups created Nok culture and Sao culture? The answer is Bantu people.Second, how were Bantu people discovered?
During colonial era, European anthropologists, linguists and archaeologists arrived on African continent, who identified African ethnic groups and basically clarified development of African nations. In 19th century, European linguists discovered that African indigenous languages of Central and South Africa had great similarities in terms of vocabulary and grammar, so linguists believed that languages of southern Africa had a common origin.
At that time, German linguist Blake first identified relationship between these languages and called this language word "Bantu". Since then, Europeans have referred to people who speak Bantu languages as "Bantu people". Later, British sociologist Seligman divided Bantu people into three parts: eastern, southern and western according to distribution of Bantu people.
Distribution of African language family (the Niger-Congo language family also belongs to Bantu languages)
Then linguists began to study birthplace of Bantu language to determine where Bantu people came from. Linguists have put forward many points of view, and there are two main ones. First, Bantu people originated in border area between Nigeria and Cameroon in West Africa, as suggested by linguist Greenberg. He extracted over 200 basic words from African languages and finally found that these basic words are close to West African languages and 42% of Bantu words are still in use in West Africa.
The second point of view is that Bantu people originated in Congo River region, which was proposed by linguist Guthrie. Since then, academia has analyzed three points of view and finally concluded that Congo theory is untenable, so academia generally agrees that Bantu people originated in West Africa. Black believes that Bantu people began migrating en masse to Central Africa around 300 BC, which was beginning of great migration of peoples of Africa.
Therefore, people can also judge that previous Nok culture and Sao culture were created by Bantu people. Precisely because Bantu people mastered technology of iron smelting, productivity quickly increased, and fighting ability of tribe also increased significantly. They used sharp iron weapons to take over sub-Saharan Africa and eventually became main ethnic group in sub-Saharan Africa.
Currently, linguists divide all languages of Africa into Afro-Asiatic (Semitic), Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, Austronesian, and Indo-European families. Among them, Afro-Asiatic language family is mainly Arabic spoken in North Africa, Nilo-Saharan language family is a Central African language, Austronesian language family is common in Madagascar, and Indo-European language family was introduced by Europeans. and American colonists. The Niger-Congo language family is a Bantu language which is indigenous language family of Black Africa. Among them, Swahili, spoken by 100 million people, is most widely used language in Black Africa.Third, how Bantu conquered Black Africa
About 200,000 years ago, late Homo sapiens formed in Africa and then migrated to different parts of world. However, in southern Africa, as in region where people first appeared, blacks do not predominate, but Khoisan and Pygmies live. Both species are most ancient people found so far, Khoisan haplogroup A, and Pygmies haplogroup B. They are only about 1.4 meters tall, their skin color is light brown, and they still remain in primitive society.
According to research in field of human genetics, all modern humans have a common gene mutation point - M168, and haplogroups A and B are people closest to this mutation point. Because Khoisans and Pygmies have lived in forest for 200,000 years, their genes have not been drastically mutated and they have always retained their ancient traits. This is also reason why they have become rare people. Currently, their total population is only over 100,000. Their languages also do not belong to main language families that existed in Africa.
However, due to rise of Bantu people, these ancient people were forced to live in a more closed environment. Why did Bantu people migrate on a large scale? Scholars have offered two explanations. One view is that as Bantu people entered a farming society, productivity increased and population grew rapidly. To solve problem of land resources caused by population growth, Bantu people can only continue to migrate abroad. According to research, Bantu started farming around 400 BC. e., that is, at about same time when they learned to make iron tools. Another view is that Bantu people mastered iron, so they continued to conquer other peoples and expand overseas, and finally blackened all of sub-Saharan Africa. There is some truth in both arguments.
The migration of Bantu people is divided into three main routes. One group moved south along West Africa, penetrated forests and pastures from Congo to Angola, and established kingdoms of Kongo, Lunda, Cuba, and Luba. The southern route is largest migration route, they entered Zambezi river basin, where climate is pleasant and more suitable for survival. Here they founded Kingdom of Zimbabwe and Zulu Tribal Confederation. The Eastern Front migrated to East Africa, and most of them merged here with Arabs and Indians, forming a new nation, one of which is Swahili. Of course, small number of Bantu who migrated to East Africa still retained their independence, forming Nyamwizi, Hehe, Endindo and Mbenga peoples.
Distribution of ancient civilizations in Africa
The Great Migration of Bantu people lasted 2000 years and did not stop until arrival of African colonists. Compared to Eurasian continent, Bantu society is very backward, but compared to southern Africa, it is very developed. The southward migration of Bantu people allowed agricultural civilization and iron-smelting technology to spread throughout Africa, accelerating progress of civilization throughout African continent. Before great journey, in addition to three ancient civilizations in West Africa, Bantu people also created Congo, Zimbabwe, Ife-Benin, Malawi, Mapungubwe, Zulu and other civilizations.
These days people mostly use not word "Bantu" to call them, but "Negro race", and we usually call them "Blacks". During Age of Discovery, European colonies sold large numbers of "black slaves" to Americas through "triangular trade", making America another gathering place for blacks. The triangular trade during era of great voyages can be seen as second great migration of Bantu people. The first migration is conqueror, second migration is conquered.