African Power Politics: A Historical Perspective

The coming of the Arabs and Arab Islam marked a great turning point in the history of the continent, while European imperialism and colonialism have had repercussions throughout the continent— both for good and ill—with which Africans will have to contend for centuries to come. Studying the history of Africa’s diplomatic system from the coming of the Arabs to the end of European colonialism—a span of some 1,300 years— permits us to better understand the interplay of international and interregional power politics. For in Africa, unlike in Europe, diplomatic actions over these centuries were not overtly guided by the alliance of coercion and capital.

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