Africa 200 BCE

Trade routes across the Sahara desert are being pioneered, while, to the south, Bantu farmers continue their swift expansion across the continent.

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What is happening in Africa in 200BCE

North Africa

In the wake of Alexander the Great’s conquests, a line of Greek-speaking kings, the Ptolemies, now rule Egypt. To its south, the civilization of Nubia continues to develop in its own distinctive way.

In North Africa, the great city of Carthage has been defeated in two great wars with the Romans, but remains a thriving commercial center. Indeed, its commercial position is being boosted by the new trade routes across the western Sahara desert being pioneered by local Berber tribes.

The Bantu

By this date Bantu tribes occupy a huge stretch of territory, from the west African and Congo rain forests and the grasslands to their north, right across to the Great Lakes region. The Bantu have mastered both savannah and forest agriculture, and keep sheep, goats and possibly cattle. This mix of food producing capabilities gives them a distinct advantage over the other peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, and the spreading use of iron gives them a further superiority. Their population is beginning to grow rapidly, and continues to push further south.

Next map, Africa 30 BCE

Dig Deeper

History and civilization of Carthage

More about Ancient Egypt

History and civilization of Kush and Nubia

The Nok culture

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The rise of the Roman Empire

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