According to paleontology, the early hominids' skull anatomy was similar to that of the gorilla and the chimpanzee, great apes that also evolved in Africa, but the hominids had adopted a bipedal locomotion which freed their hands.This gave them a crucial advantage, enabling them to live in both forested areas and on the open savanna at a time when Africa was drying up and the savanna was encroaching on forested areas.A wet climatic phase in Africa turned the Ethiopian Highlands into a mountain forest.
The history of Africa begins with the emergence of hominids, archaic humans and—at least 200,000 years ago—anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens), in East Africa, and continues unbroken into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states.
The earliest known recorded history arose in the Kingdom of Kush, and later in Ancient Egypt, the Sahel, the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa.
Subsequently, European colonization of Africa developed rapidly from around 10% (1870) to over 90% (1914) in the Scramble for Africa (1881–1914).
However following struggles for independence in many parts of the continent, as well as a weakened Europe after the Second World War , decolonization took place across the continent, culminating in the 1960 Year of Africa.
Following the desertification of the Sahara, North African history became entwined with the Middle East and Southern Europe while the Bantu expansion swept from modern day Cameroon (Central Africa) across much of the sub-Saharan continent in waves between around 1000 BC and 0 AD, creating a linguistic commonality across much of the central and Southern continent.
During the Middle Ages, Islam spread west from Arabia to Egypt, crossing the Maghreb and the Sahel.From the mid-7th century, the Arab slave trade saw Muslim Arabs enslave Africans.Following an armistice between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Kingdom of Makuria after the Second Battle of Dongola in 652 AD, they were transported, along with Asians and Europeans, across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara Desert.In the steppes and savannahs of the Sahara and Sahel in Northern West Africa, the Nilo-Saharan speakers and Mandé peoples started to collect and domesticate wild millet, African rice and sorghum between 80 BC.Later, gourds, watermelons, castor beans, and cotton were also collected and domesticated.georgicus to be an early and primitive member of the H. The fossil record shows Homo sapiens living in Southern and Eastern Africa at least 200,000 to 150,000 years ago.Around 40,000 years ago, the species' expansion out of Africa launched the colonization of the planet by modern human beings.From Homo ergaster, Homo erectus evolved 1.5 million years ago. erectus eventually developed a more complex stone tool technology called the Acheulean. erectus mastered the art of making fire and was the first hominid to leave Africa, colonizing most of Afro-Eurasia and perhaps later giving rise to Homo floresiensis.Some of the earlier representatives of this species were still fairly small-brained and used primitive stone tools, much like H. Although some recent writers have suggested that Homo georgicus was the first and primary hominid ever to live outside Africa, many scientists consider H.Disciplines such as recording of oral history, historical linguistics, archaeology and genetics have been vital in rediscovering the great African civilizations of antiquity.Further information: Prehistoric North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa § Prehistory, History of West Africa § Prehistory, Central Africa § Prehistory, East Africa § Prehistory, Horn of Africa § Prehistory, and African archaeology The first known hominids evolved in Africa.