As so much of history is written by white men, the history of heroic African kingdoms has been erased in an attempt to create a Eurocentric view of Africa. Moreover, it leads people to believe that Africa had no history without Europeans, which could not be further from the truth. African history is rich and impressive, and many kingdoms within Africa achieved great things.
The white-washing of history has been an issue for as long as history has been recorded, since it was only the white men who had the ability to write and record it. Furthermore, the history that we read about Africa or Black history entirely revolves around the enslavement of these people or their fight for freedom. This erases hundreds of years of history, which may not be recorded, but their ruins still remain. The issue with only highlighting these areas of their history is that it minimises their achievements and implies that Africa was barren pre-enslavement.
The Great Zimbabwe
This historical site was used during the late Iron Age and was said to have been able to have housed 18,000 people. It also housed their local monarch and included a religious site. From the artefacts that remain, we can infer that they had a thriving trade with lands as far as China. They built grand structures, one of them being the Great Enclosure, which is the largest ancient structure in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is believed that the site was only abandoned due to deforestation and the lack of resources due to a growing population, but was later overrun by the Portuguese.
The Kingdom of Aksum
The Kingdom of Aksum was thought to have been one of the four great powers of the world of its time. Unfortunately, so little is known about this kingdom still. Its location spanned between Ethiopia and Eritrea and was an important trading kingdom. Their trade network involved India and the Mediterranean, and exported ivory, gold and precious jewels in exchange for silks and spices. This civilisation was so advanced that they even created their own alphabet, the Ge’ez script.