Civilization is used to refer to the cultures of humankind as they flow in history since life began on earth. This is best described in terms of the activities carried out by man as from the past to the present such as in the field of science, technology, politics, and also in the division of labor in the society. Africa is known to be the cradle land of human kind hence revealing that civilization began there. Africa is mostly dominated by the black people hence getting the name the land of the dark. During the 15th century, the African interacted with individuals in the other parts of the world getting crops, ideas, and materials that made them develop their technology.
The dominant civilizations of Africa included language that is indicated by the archeological evidence. The Afro-Asiantic languages must have originated from the Berbers and Tuaregs of North Africa. The other civilization in Africa was Agriculture and Iron by the Bantu people of Africa that led to the civilization in the Mediterranean and Near East. The crops that they grew were, millet, and sorghum and they were also domesticated (Kihumbu 89). Metallurgy period also started then with the use of Iron in smelting. Technology developed in Africa due to the knowledge of using iron in smelting by blacksmith who made tools and weapons. Iron was used as a symbolic metal for political power and also for ritual purposes. Politics had then spread out allover Africa due to the symbolic importance of iron that motivated many people. Another important civilization of Africa was the development towns. Cities developed where roads passed and also at the centers of exchanging goods by traders like the long-distance traders. An example of such towns is the Hadrumetan and Lepcis Minor found to the east coast of Tunisia.
Civilization in Africa was marked by various features that included African dances that had a significant value to society. They were used motivate people as they worked, praise a person, criticize a member of the community and also reveal social patterns of a community. Peace was another feature demonstrated by the Kikuyu who prayed to their god Ngai. The political structure in the 15th century was a prominent feature of civilization in Africa. The Songhai Empire had expanded its roots to the west leading to the disappearance of Tombouuctou a significant trading centre. Slave trade and art were other salient features of civilization in Africa (Jackson 89).
Africa’s greatest leaders in the 15th century included Osei Tutu of Kumasi region, Denkyira rulers, and Opoku Ware who were leaders of the Asante. They all fought amongst each other to expand their gold fields. The king of Ife and Oyo were the leaders of the Yoruba people. Nkongolo and Kulala Ilunga also lead the Luba and Kuba people in their struggle to expand the salt and Iron fields (Kihumbu 151).
The city of Timbuktu is a significant historical site found in the Northern area of Mali. It is located in the southern part of Sahara Desert near river Niger. The city was a centre of trade by the trans Saharan traders during in the 15th centuries. Traders exchanged salt and gold here for other goods from out of Africa. Timbuktu was also a cultural and learning centre with many mosques where these activities were carried out. It is currently a historic, and tourist attraction site due to its beautiful gardens, water towers and also the presence of a museum. Through all these, civilization played a pivotal role to the economical, political, and social patterns of Africa as a whole (Jackson 369).
Kihumbu, Thairu. The African civilization. Kenya Literature Bureau, 1985
Jackson, John. Introduction to African civilizations, Volume 1970, Part 2. Citadel Press, 1970