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HIST 3395 & 4386: Pre- Colonial African History

Resource Guide for Pre-Colonial African History, HIST 3395 & HIST 4386

Background and Research Tips


As you begin your research, keep in mind these handy tips:  

  • First, search place names/kingdoms for the period of interest.
  • Example:  The capital city of Mozambique is known today as Maputo. During the colonial period, it was named Lourenço Marques, and before colonization, the trading post was known as Delagoa Bay.
  • Other examples of early place names: Gold Coast, Monomatapa
  • Spelling variations:  the names of people, places, etc., may vary in spelling.  xample: Tuareg  vs.  Touareg
  • Many search interfaces allow you to narrow your results by year/decade. Be sure to use this when searching for primary resources.
  • In many cases, written records of pre-colonial Africa are few and far between. Therefore, to be as comprehensive as possible in one's research, it may be necessary to tap into various disciplines, such as Geography, Sociology, etc.