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The Modern World, Volume 1: Civilizations of Africa


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Designed to meet the curriculum needs for students from grades 7 to 12, this five-volume encyclopedia explores world history from approximately 5000 C.E. to the present. Organized alphabetically within geographical volumes on Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and Asia and the Pacific, entries cover the social, political, scientific and technological, economic, and cultural events and developments that shaped the modern world.


Each volume includes articles on history, government, and warfare; the development of ideas and the growth of art and architecture; religion and philosophy; music; science and technology; and daily life in the civilizations covered. Boxed features include "Turning Point," "Great Lives," "Into the Twenty-First Century," and "Modern Weapons". Maps, timelines, and illustrations illuminate the text, and a glossary, a selected bibliography, and an index in each volume round out the set.

Africa is a vast continent. The United States could easily fit into the Sahara, and there would still be room on the continent for China, India, New Zealand, Argentina, and half of Europe. It is a place of great ethnic and linguistic diversity. The land is home to several thousand different ethnic groups, and more than 800 languages are spoken there, including Arabic, native languages such as Swahili, Zulu, and Hausa, and European languages such as English, French, Portuguese, and German.

Africa’s history is as complicated and varied as its geography and people. Two of the world’s first great civilizations—the Egyptian and the Kush—arose in Africa thousands of years ago. Parts of North Africa and Ethiopia were among the earliest lands to convert to Christianity, and large parts of northern Africa were conquered by Muslim invaders, leading many Africans to convert to Islam. In the Middle Ages, several large empires—such as Mali, Songhai, and Ghana—rose and fell.

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