Africa: 1000–2010

Bill Freund

in The Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199589531
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Africa: 1000–2010

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Africa is the continent least associated with cities and it is the least urbanized today. The maps of early modern Europe reflect this bias, with elephants and other beasts featured in place of towns to fill in unknown spaces. However, towns have a long history in parts of Africa. This article begins by discussing the early cities in Africa. It then considers the colonial era, and suggests that the layered nature of urbanization over time sees decline in some urban networks but a rapid growth in cities along the lines of new economic forces, reflecting the power of both capitalist-inclined and racist ideas. In the challenges they began to raise to the forms put into play, the African masses began the process of urban reconstruction. The final sections cover the last half century, more or less, since the end of colonialism.

Keywords: African cities; urban development; colonial era; colonialism; urbanization

Article.  9299 words. 

Subjects: History ; African History

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