The Geographic Landscape Of The African Continent

1594 Words Oct 19th, 2015 7 Pages
When it comes to discussing the geographic landscape of the African continent people are quick to overlook the important role that soil has played in the development of cultures and civilizations in Africa because it can be so easily overshadowed by Africa’s other geographic features such as its rivers, mountains, deserts and grasslands. However, to ignore soil is undoubtedly a mistake because “African soils cannot be separated from African history” (Showers 118). Soils are literally the foundation of life, used for farming, building houses, making pottery, and mined for their mineral deposits. They are “in themselves, historical bodies and they have interacted with human history since its beginning.” (Showers 118). While looking for information on the soil of Africa it is not uncommon to find descriptions such as “African soils are indeed poor” (Bohannan 23) while being presented with the seemingly paradoxical fact that “By far the greatest number of Africans are farmers.” (Bohannan 43). This paper will examine how it is possible for Africa to be a continent consisting of such “poor soil” yet be full of such a rich history of farming that persists into present day. It will explore the general characteristics of African soil, how humans have historically interacted with soil, and the way that outsiders have used generalizations about Africa’s soil to perpetuate Western misconceptions.
When attempting to gain insight into the general characteristics of African soil it is…
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