Profiles: People


Before the colonial era people in Africa were divided into a multitude of different nationalities, ethnic and linguistic groups. These societies co-existed either in independent multi-ethnic states, and independent political or social units. Although it is difficult to categorize all these different groups, most peoples identify themselves with their native language.

After the colonial partition of Africa many of these groups were lumped together to form one nation. An example of this is Chad where two very different regions and peoples united to form one nation. Another example of the effects of these divisions is Somalia in which the Somali peoples were divided into 5 different regions. Situations like these have been the cause of numerous internal problems as well as border conflicts. But some of these countries have been successful at blending various groups to share one identity.

Ethnic groups in Africa have often been referred to as tribes which is a bias and loosely defined term. There are ethnic groups that are in the millions but are called tribes, and small villages that are also called tribes. It is best to identify a people with the language they speak.

There are a wide diversity of peoples in Africa. Over the centuries many of these peoples have spread or mixed with other groups.


 Africa in History
 Human Evolution

 North Africa  

 Kingdoms of the South
 Trading Empires
 West Africa

Slave Trade