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The relations the Carolingians might have had with Africa mainly lied in those they had with the "Kings of the Africans' as mentioned by the monk of St. Gall, or an earlier time with northern African refugees when the Arabs invaded there. It's likely too that due to trade interactions between Morocco, Tunisia and sub-Saharan Africa, or between the Middle East and eastern Africa, data about those regions might have been reported during contacts between the Carolingian, the Arabic Spain, Persia, or the Byzantine Empire. No mention however is found of that in any of the Carolingian sources

Early Beginnings and General Frame

As the Sahara desert had become a green fertile domain between 10,500 and 5000 BC, the desert became dry again leading to peoples move from the Sahara to the upper-Egypt. People with a parietal civilization of rock shelters and huts, the symbolic representation of such huts turned into the Egyptian mastabahs and eventually the pyramids. Some think that such migrations already took place as soon as during the habitable period, at about 8,000 years ago when a short dry period occurred during 1,000 years. That period, on a other hand, would have brought a cultural break in the area because returning people turned shepherds. That general drying of the Sahara might have varied causes like the progressive apparition of the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian seas from a large ocean 7 million years ago, or the cyclical change of the Earth's axis inclination every 26,000 years (the habitable period would have matched a sunnier southern hemisphere during summer, which strengthened West Africa monsoon and brought large rains up into the Sahara), or, at last, humans themselves would have contributed to desertification. The persistent rains meanwhile in Central and Eastern Africa lessened, leading to dry conditions in Eastern Africa. The Neolithic Revolution, in Africa, mostly began with cattle domestication, along hunter-gathering cultures as the first cases of domestication of plants occurred in the semi-arid, Sahel region about 5000 BC, with the sorghum and the African rice. A drier pace in the Sahara, about 4000 BC, eventually led peoples there to move to West Africa, triggering, about 3000 BC, a wave of independent agricultural revolutions in the region and in Ethiopia, with the domestication of plants, and the importation of already domesticated ones and cattle. As a more warrior-like societies -akin to the Beaker culture in Europe- developed, about 2300 B.C., in western North Africa, people from the Great Lakes Region moved into the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, becoming there the proto-Canaanites, the far ancestors to Phoenecians. Ironworking got into Northern Africa and Sahara by the 1st millenium B.C. It got in western Africa possibly by 500 B.C., maybe brought there by the people exploring by boat from Carthage. Metalworking spread, maybe through trade routes. The Garamantes, the likely ancestors to the Tuareg are to be found from 500 B.C. to 500 A.D as their decline was likely due to they having exhausted the available water in the desert. The Bantu, on the other hand, spread from Cameroon and southeastern Nigeria moved East and southeast during the 2nd millenium B.C. likely due to the movement of people out of the Sahara for cause of dryness, displacing the earlier people there. Their move kept on until 1000 A.D. when they reached South Africa and Zimbabwe, passing first to the rainforests (about 2000 B.C.), then more South and East (about 0). The last step of them, fromto Zambia (during the 1st millenium down to 1000 A.D.), was likely due to agricultural techniques and plants imported from the southeastern Asia, through Madagascar into Zambia. The Koishan people were the former inhabitants of the part of Africa where the Bantu moved in. The Koishan are the famed click consonants peoples which today are concentrated near the Kalahari and some pockets in Tanzania. Ethiopia, as far as it is concerned, seems an original culture, with mostly plants adapted to the highlands of the country and an unrelated language

The Various Civilizations in Africa During the Carolingian Times

Pre-colonial Africa eventually came to be populated by maybe as many as 10,000 different states, from small family groups of hunter-gatherers to family clan groupings, heavily-structured clan groups like in the Horn of Africa or the Sahelian Kingdoms, and to large autonomous city-states such as the Swahili coastal trading towns and large empire like the Sahelian ones. To get some general glimpse of what civilizations were dwelling on the continent at the Carolingian times, it's a good idea to part it into several regions, matching some realities

Website Manager: G. Guichard, site Learning and Knowledge In the Carolingian Times / Erudition et savoir à l'époque carolingienne, Page Editor: G. Guichard. last edited: 2/12/2019. contact us at
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