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nearest agricultural tribe. They are of a dark brown complexion, with very

broad noses, lips but slightly everted, and small but usually sturdy

physique, though often considerably emaciated owing to insufficiency of

food. Another peculiar tribe, also of short stature, are the Vaalpens of

the steppe region of the north Transvaal. Practically nothing is known of

them except that they are said to be very dark in colour and live in holes

in the ground, and under rock shelters.

Principal ethnological zones.

Having indicated the chief races of which in various degrees of purity

and intermixture the population of Africa is formed, it remains to consider

them in greater detail, particularly from the cultural standpoint. This is

hardly possible without drawing attention to the main physical characters

of the continent, as far as they affect the inhabitants. For ethnological

purposes three principal zones may be distinguished; the first two are

respectively a large region of steppes and desert in the north, and a

smaller region of steppes and desert in the south. These two zones are

connected by a vertical strip of grassy highland lying mainly to the east

of the chain of great lakes. The third zone is a vast region of forest and

rivers in the west centre, comprising the greater part of the basin of the

Congo and the Guinea coast. The rainfall, which also has an important

bearing upon the culture of peoples, will be found on the whole to be

greatest in the third zone and also in the eastern highlands, and of course

least in the desert, the steppes and savannas standing midway between the

two. As might be expected these variations are accompanied by certain

variations in culture. In the best-watered districts agriculture is

naturally of the greatest importance, except where the density of the

forest renders the work of clearing too arduous. The main portion therefore

of the inhabitants of the forest zone are agriculturists, save only the

nomad Pygmies, who live in the inmost recesses of the forest and support

themselves by hunting the game with which it abounds. Agriculture, too,

flourishes in the eastern highlands, and throughout the greater part of the

steppe and savanna region of the northern and southern zones, especially

the latter. In fact the only Bantu tribes who are not agriculturists are

the Ova-Herero of German South-West Africa, whose purely pastoral habits

are the natural outcome of the barren country they inhabit. But the wide

open plains and slopes surrounding the forest area are eminently suited to

cattle-breeding, and there are few tribes who do not take advantage of the

fact. At the same time a natural check is imposed upon the desire for

cattle, which is so characteristic of the Bantu peoples. This is

constituted by the tsetse fly, which renders a pastoral life absolutely

impossible throughout large tracts in central and southern Africa. In the

northern zone this check is absent, and the number of more essentially

pastoral peoples, such as the eastern Hamites, Masai, Dinka, Fula, &c.,

correspondingly greater. The desert regions yield support only to nomadic

peoples, such as the Tuareg, Tibbu, Bedouins and Bushmen, though the

presence of numerous oases in the north renders the condition of life

easier for the inhabitants. Upon geographical conditions likewise depend to

a large extent the political conditions prevailing among the various

tribes. Thus among the wandering tribes of the desert and of the heart of

the forests, where large communities are impossible, a patriarchal system

prevails with the family as the unit. Where the forest is less dense and

small agricultural communities begin to make their appearance, the unit

expands to the village with its headman. Where the forest thins to the

savanna and steppe, and communication is easier, are found the larger

kingdoms and ``empires'' such as, in the north those established by the

Songhai, Hausa, Fula, Bagirmi, Ba-Hima, &c., and in the south the states of

Lunda, Kazembe, the Ba-Rotse, &c.

But if ease of communication is favourable to the rise of large states

and the cultural progress that usually accompanies it, it is, nevertheless,

often fatal to the very culture which, at first, it fostered, in so far as

the absence of natural boundaries renders invasion easy. A good example of

this is furnished by the history of the western Sudan and particularly of

East and South-East Africa. From its geographical position Africa looks

naturally to the east, and it is on this side that it has been most

affected by external culture both by land (across the Sinaitic peninsula)

and by sea. Though a certain amount of Indonesian and even aboriginal

Indian influence has been traced in African ethnography, the people who

have produced the most serious ethnic disturbances (apart from modern

Europeans) are the Arabs. This is particularly the case in East Africa,

where the systematic slave raids organized by them and carried out with the

assistance of various warlike tribes reduced vast regions to a state of

desolation. In the north and west of Africa, however, the Arab has had a

less destructive but more extensive and permanent influence in spreading

the Mahommedan religion throughout the whole of the Sudan.

The characteristic African culture.

The fact that the physical geography of Africa affords fewer natural

obstacles to racial movements on the side most exposed to foreign

influence, renders it obvious that the culture most characteristically

African must be sought on the other side. It is therefore in the forests of

the Congo, and among the lagoons and estuaries of the Guinea coast, that

this earlier culture will most probably be found. That there is a culture

distinctive of this area, irrespective of the linguistic line dividing the

Bantu from the Negro proper, has now been recognized. Its main features may

be summed as follows:—-a purely agricultural life, with the plantain, yam

and manioc (the last two of American origin) as the staple food;

cannibalism common; rectangular houses with ridged roofs; scar-tattooing;

clothing of bark-cloth or palm-fibre; occasional chipping or extraction of

upper incisors; bows with strings of cane, as the, principal weapons,

shields of wood or wickerwork; religion, a primitive form of fetishism with

the belief that death is due to witchcraft; ordeals, secret societies, the

use of masks and anthropomorphic figures, and wooden gongs. With this may

be contrasted the culture of the Bantu peoples to the south and east, also

agriculturists, but in addition, where possible, great cattle-breeders,

whose staple food is millet and milk. These are distinguished by circular

huts with domed or conical roofs; clothing of skin or leather; occasional

chipping or extraction of lower incisors; spears as the principal weapons,

bows, where found, with a sinew cord, shields of hide or leather; religion,

ancestor-worship with belief in the power of the magicians as rain-makers.

Though this difference in culture may well be explained on the supposition

that the first is the older and more representative of Africa, this theory

must not be pushed too far. Many of the distinguishing characteristics of

the two regions are doubtless due simply to environment, even the

difference in religion. Ancestor-worship occurs most naturally among a

people where tribal organization has reached a fairly advanced stage, and

is the natural outcome of patriotic reverence for a successful chief and

his councillors. Rain-making, too, is of little importance in a well-

watered region, but a matter of vital interest to an agricultural people

where the rainfall is slight and irregular.

Within the eastern and southern Bantu area certain cultural variations

occur; beehive huts are found among the Zulu-Xosa and Herero, giving place

among the Bechuana to the cylindrical variety with conical roof, a type

which, with few exceptions, extends north to Abyssinia. The tanged

spearhead characteristic of the south is replaced by the socketed variety

towards the north. Circumcision, characteristic of the Zulu-Xosa and

Bechuana, is not practised by many tribes farther north; tooth-mutilation,

on the contrary, is absent among the more southern tribes. The lip-plug is

found in the eastern area, especially among the Nyasa tribes, but not in

the south. The head-rest common in the south-east and the southern fringe

of the forest area is not found far north of Tanganyika until the Horn of

Africa is reached.

In the regions outside the western area occupied by the Negro proper,

exclusive of the upper Nile, the similarities of culture outweigh the

differences. Here the cylindrical type of hut prevails; clothing is of skin

or leather but is very scanty; iron ornaments are worn in profusion; arrows

are not feathered; shields of hide, spears with leather sheaths are found

and also fighting bracelets. Certain small differences appear between the

eastern and western portions, the dividing line being formed by the

boundary between Bornu and Hausaland. Characteristic of the east are the

harp and the throwing-club and throwing-knife, the last of which has

penetrated into the forest area. Typical of the west are the bow and the

dagger with the ring hilt. The tribes of the upper Nile are somewhat

specialized, though here, too, are found the cylindrical hut, iron

ornaments, fighting bracelets, &c., characteristic of the Sudanese tribes.

Here the removal of the lower incisors is common, and circumcision entirely

absent. Throughout the rest of the Sudan is found Semitic culture

introduced by the Arabized Libyan. Circumcision, as is usual among

Mahommedan tribes, is universal, and tooth-mutilation absent; of other

characteristics, the use of the sword has penetrated to the northern

portion of the forest area. The culture prevailing in the Horn of Africa

is, naturally, mainly Hamito-Semitic; here are found both cyhnddcal and bee-

hive huts, the sword (which has been adopted by the Masai to the south),

the lyre (which has found its way to some of the Nilotic tribes) and the

head-rest. Circumcision is practically universal.

As has been said earlier, the history of Africa reaches back but a short

distance, except, of course, as far as the lower Nile valley and Roman

Africa is concerned; elsewhere no records exist, save tribal traditions,

and these only relate to very recent events. Even archaeology, which can

often sketch the main outlines of a people's history, is here practically

powerless, owing to the insufficiency of data. It is true that stone imple.

ments of palaeolithic and neolithic types are found sporadically in the

Nile valley, Somaliland, on the Zambezi, in Cape Colony and the northern

portions of the Congo Free State, as well as in Algeria and Tunisia; but

the localities are far too few and too widely separated to warrant the

inference that they are to be in any way connected. Moreover, where stone

implements are found they are, as a rule, very near, even actually on, the

surface of the earth; nothing occurs resembling the regular stratification

of Europe, and consequently no argument based on geological grounds is


The lower Nile valley, however, forms an exception; flint implements of a

palaeolithic type have been found near Thebes. not only on the surface of

the ground, which for several thousand years has been desert owing to the

contraction of the river-bed, but also in stratified gravel of an older

date. References to a number of papers bearing on the discussion to which

then discovery has given rise may be found in an article by Mr H. R. Hall

in Man, 1905, No. 19. The Egyptian and also the Somali land finds appear to

be true palaeoliths in type and remarkably similar to those found in

Europe. But evidence bearing on the Stone age in Africa, if the latter

existed apart from the localities mentioned, is so slight that little can

be said save that from the available evidence the palaeoliths of the Nile

valley alone can with any degree of certainty be assigned to a remote

period of antiquity, and that the chips scattered over Mashonaland and the

regions occupied within historic times by Bushmen are the most recent;

since it has been shown that the stone flakes were used by the medieval

Makalanga to engrave their hard pottery and the Bushmen were still using

stone implements in the 19th century. Other early remains, but of equally

uncertain date, are the stone circles of Algeria, the Cross river and the

Gambia. The large system of ruined forts and ``cities'' in Mashonaland, at

Zimbabwe and elsewhere, concerning which so many ingenious theories have

been woven, have been proved to date from medieval times.

Origin and spread of the racial stocks.

Thus while in Europe there is a Stone age. divided into periods according

to various types of implement disposed in geological strata, and followed

in orderly succession by the ages of Bronze and Iron, in Africa can be

found no true Stone age and practically no Bronze at all. The reason is not

far to seek; Africa is a country of iron, which is found distributed widely

throughout the continent in ores so rich that the metal can be extracted

with very little trouble and by the simplest methods. Iron has been worked

from time immemorial by the Negroid peoples, and whole tribes are found

whose chief industry is the smelting and forging of the metal. Under such

conditions, questions relating to the origin and spread of the racial

stocks which form the population of Africa cannot be answered with any

certainty; at best only a certain amount of probability can be attained.

Five of these racial stocks have been mentioned: Bushman, Negro, Hamite,

Semite, Libyan, the last three probably related through some common

ancestor. Of these the honour of being considered the most truly African

belongs to the two first. It is true that people of Negroid type are found

elsewhere, principally in Melanesia, but as yet their possible connexion

with the African Negro is little more than theoretical, and for the present

purposes it need not be considered.

The origin of the Bushman is lost in obscurity, but he may be conceived

as the original inhabitant of the southern portion of the continent. The

original home of the Negro, at first an agriculturist, is most probably to

be found in the neighbourhood of the great lakes, whence he penetrated

along the fringe of the Sahara to the west and across the eastern highlands

southward. Northerly expansion was prevented by the early occupation of the

Nile valley, the only easy route to the Mediterranean, but there seems no

doubt that the population of ancient Egypt contained a distinct Negroid

element. The question as to the ethnic affinities of the pre-dynastic

Egyptians is still unsolved; but they may be regarded as, in the main,

Hamitic, though it is a question how far it is just to apply a name which

implies a definite specialization in what may be comparatively modern times

to a people of such antiquity.

The Horn of Africa appears to have been the centre from which the Hamites

spread, and the pressure they seem to have applied to the Negro tribes,

themselves also in process of expansion, sent forth larger waves of

emigrants from the latter. These emigrants, already affected by the Hamitic

pastoral culture, and with a strain of Hamitic blood in their veins, passed

rapidly down the open tract in the east, doubtless exterminating their

predecessors, except such few as took refuge in the mountains and swamps.

The advance-guard of this wave of pastoral Negroids, in fact primitive

Bantu, mingled with the Bushmen and produced the Hottentots. The

penetration of the forest area must certainly have taken longer and was

probably accomplished as much from the south-east, up the Zambezi valley,

as from any other quarter. It was a more peaceful process, since natural

obstacles are unfavourable to rapid movements of large bodies of

immigrants, though not so serious as to prevent the spread of language and

culture. A modern parallel to the spread of Bantu speech is found in the

rise of the Hausa language, which is gradually enlarging its sphere of

influence in the western and central Sudan. Thus those qualities, physical

and otherwise, in which the Bantu approach the Hamites gradually fade as we

proceed westward through the Congo basin, while in the east, among the

tribes to the west of Tanganyika and on the upper Zambezi, ``transitional''

forms of culture are found. In later times this gradual pressure from the

south-east became greater, and resulted, at a comparatively recent date, in

the irruption of the Fang into the Gabun.

The earlier stages of the southern movement must have been accompanied by

a similar movement westward between the Sahara and the forest; and,

probably, at the same time, or even earlier, the Libyans crossing the

desert had begun to press upon the primitive Negroes from the north. In

this way were produced the Fula, who mingled further with the Negro to give

birth to the Mandingo, Wolof and Tukulor. It would appear that either

Libyan (Fula) or, less probably, Hamitic, blood enters into the composition

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