The African Americans

Search for Truth and Knowledge

By Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Jr.


Part Eleven: The Nile River

The Nile River Valley has played a unique role in Human history. Because of its special ecology, featuring the annual overflow of rich soil from the Great Lakes regions of Central Africa, the banks of the Nile were able to support intensive agricultural development. Food surpluses and the concentration of populations migrating from parts of Africa and Asia laid the foundation of Nile Valley Civilization. This special combination of African peoples, the Sun, the fertile land and the Nile River were blended together to produce the greatest civilization of the Ancient World. The enormous impact of this High Culture of the Nile Valley on Africa, Asia, and Europe has not been fully appreciated. The latest scientific discoveries have helped to reveal the significance of the value systems, the traditions and institutions that were produced in the Nile Valley and spread to various parts of Africa and the world.

Recent discoveries have established Africa as the site of the earliest domestication of grains and cattle, several thousand years before similar domestication took place in Western Asia around Mesopotamia. The African sites were Carbon 14 tested to be about 15,000 and 18,000 years old, respectively, whereas the Asian sites have traditionally been dated to be about 7,000 or 8,000 years old. A University of Chicago research team in the 1960's discovered thirty-three royal tombs in Nubia south of Egypt along the Nile River. Many of the thousands of objects in these tombs have been dated to be more than 5,300 years old, making this discovery the earliest evidence of an established monarchy in the history of the world. This new evidence along with older finds and the existing monuments, temples, tombs and pyramids have firmly established Egypt-Nubia-Ethiopia in the Nile Valley as the Cradle of Civilization. These developments of African peoples of the Nile Valley became the foundation for the cultural progress of various groups in Africa and provide the basis for the culture unity of Africa through its traditions and institutions. These developments can be seen through the existence of a Communal, Cooperative and Collective value system throughout the continent.

African social structure has functioned through the extended family system with a unique preservation of the spirit of the ancestors. It is this African value system that became the basis of Nile Valley Civilization and explains the monumental building of temples, tombs, and pyramids and the need to produce sacred writing and literature, medicine, and mathematics, art and architecture. All of these developments left a Golden Legacy for the Ancient World which not only nurtured Africa, but inspired the early Hebrews and Greeks who sojourned in the Nile Valley.

The Niger River system flows more than two thousand miles through West Africa from the highlands of the Republic of Guinea to Mali, Niger, Benin and finally empties into the Atlantic Ocean along the Nigerian Coast. The river actually splits the Republic of Nigeria, one of Africa's most important nations, into two halves and is the source of its name. During the Medieval Period from 1,000 A.D. to 1,600 A.D., the Niger River Valley was the center of African Islamic Civilization that produced the great Empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhay which were famous for their gold trade across the Sahara with the Mediterranean world. This Sudanic Civilization with its mixture of traditional African cultural systems and Islam was based on agricultural development combined with extensive commercial activity in several city-states, such as Kumbi-Kumbi, Gao, Mopti, Djene, Kano, Sokota, Zaire and Timbuctoo which was famous for its trading and its University of Sankore. Several Arab scholars visited these empires and wrote about their prosperity, the peace and safety throughout the land and the fairness of their systems of justice and administration. The Empire of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay rose to prominence during the period of the Middle Ages when Europe was suffering from the chaos and confusion of the Crusades, feudal wars and the Dark Ages.

The Congo River system is one of the World's greatest watersheds and rivals the Amazon River Valley. It is the center of the great rain forest or so-called jungle that is located in Central Africa. During the slave trading era the Africans of the Congo River Valley and adjacent areas were the victims of a double attack by slave raiders. They were initially victimized by the Arabs raiding from the North and East and later by the Europeans raiding from the West and South. These events triggered continuous warfare among Africans. On the international scale they triggered conflicts and wars among Europeans. This period represents a very sad chapter in African and World history.

The Zambezi River Valley is located in Southern Africa and has played a crucial role in colonial and contemporary developments. Because of the mineral wealth of the region, it has been subject to colonization and exploitation by European settler populations that have expropriated the best lands to themselves and taken over all the rich mineral concessions. In 1884–85 various European leaders met in Berlin and held an historic conference in which they divided up Africa among themselves. The Germans were particularly anxious to obtain territory to challenge the British, the French, the Portuguese and the Spanish who were all firmly entrenched in Africa. Since World War II African nationalist movements have fought for independence and destroyed the colonial systems in most of Africa. Southern Africa, however, is still the focal point of freedom and independence movements. [Their independence has been won, however, since the initial writing of this paper.] The Zambezi River Valley and the southern Africa region are so rich in vital mineral deposits that are absolutely necessary for the continued development of high technology in the Western World and Japan, it is clear the region will continue to be a source of conflict in the future.


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