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The Development and Recording of Early African History

Decent Essays
The development and recording of early African history has always been a difficult task. Historians have spent a vast amount of time searching for sources. They have had to compile various ideas, beliefs and traditional accounts of happenings throughout Africa and their struggle was aided by the lack of written sources. It can be said the archaeology and oral tradition played a very important role in the reconstruction of early African history. It was a common belief that the history of Africa was non-existent. The Europeans believed that the African society was backward and considered it to be "Darkest Africa" because very little was known of the Pre-European Africa. All of the knowledge about Africa, dating to 1965, suggested that there was no history in Africa. This lead to the Europeans opinion of African societies to be barbaric and backward. The independence of Ghana in 1957 marked the need to develop an African identity and with it, look into the history of Africa itself. For the first time African history came to light. The start of this was brought forward by Jan Vansina, a Belgian historian, who wrote a book "De la Tradition Orale" or "Oral Tradition" in English. This emphasized that African oral tradition was just as important as written sources because it could be studied and analyzed to build a larger picture for African history. The idea of using oral traditions in reconstructing early African history was revolutionary in its own way. All nationalities have
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