Old Students Association

Africa & World Facts

Africa History and Events

Date: August 20, 2014 Author: busari Categories: Africa & World Facts

Defining dates in African history, 5000 B.C-2000 A.D

5000 B.C The people of northern Africa began practicing farming.

4000 The vast area stretching across northern Africa and down to central Africa began drying up, turning into what is today the Sahara desert.

3100 Upper and lower Egypt were united by King Menes to become Egypt of antiquity, one of the greatest of world civilizations. Menes also founded the first Egyptian dynasty.

2686 Construction work on the pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Egypt began.

2650 The first great pyramid, called the Step Pyramid, was built for the king Zoser and it stood at about 60 metres high.

3000The Third Pharaoh of the First Egyptian Dynasty conquered the Nubian people of the Upper Sudan area. The future Kushite empire grew out of this conquest.

2000 To the south of Egypt, the kingdom of Kush began to rise to greatness.

1991King Amenemhet founded Dynasty XII, a dynasty that would greatly increase the power of the already increasingly powerful kingdom of Egypt.

1670 Immigrant leaders known as Hyskos rulers, founded a dynasty that would rule Egypt for 100 years.

1490 A new king named Thutmose III ascended the Egyptian throne. Under his reign, which lasted until 1436, Egypt reached the peak of its power, greatness, and splendor. At an almost yearly interval for 20 years, Thutmose led military invasions into the southwestern Asian territories of Syria and Palestine and annexed them to the Egyptian empire.

1367Amenhotep IV came to the throne, changed his name to Akhenaton, and changed Egypt’s history in a dramatic way. He was a worshipper of the a sun god called Aton, represented as the disk of the sun. He urged Egyptians to worship Aton, and moved the capital to a new city called Akhetaton, about 280 kilometres north of the city of Thebes. The arts flourished during his reign.

1070 The Dynasty XX of Egypt came to an end, and with it began the decline of Egypt as a great nation as power struggles between priests and royals divided Egypt into small, weak states.

663The Kushites were expelled from Egypt by the Assyrians and moved to the south, where they established their new capital at Meroe, in present-day Sudan.

332 The Macedonian ruler, Alexander the Great, conquered Egypt and added it to his great empire. In that year, he also founded the Egyptian city of Alexandria, named in his honour.

323 Alexander died and his empire was divided between his generals.

305 One of them, Ptolemy, took control of Egypt and founded a dynasty called the Ptolemies. The Ptolemies advanced Greek culture and learning in Egypt, built elaborate temples in honour of the Egyptian gods, exploited Egypt’s natural resources and expanded trade with other nations. Alexandria was made Egypt’s capital, a city that would become one of the most famous of the ancient world, most famous in particular for its library and museum.

51 Cleopatra VII (69-30 B.C), the legendary 18 year-old second daughter of Ptolemy XII, succeeded her father upon his death that year. Although widely believed to have been Egyptian, Cleopatra was actually a Greco-Macedonian, but was the only one in her family to learn the Egyptian language. She co-ruled with her 15-year-old brother Ptolemy XIII, who also doubled as her husband. The historian Plutarch recorded thus: “For her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so remarkable that none compared with her, or that no one could see her without being struck by it, but the contract of her presence, if you lived with her, was irresistable; the attraction of her person…and the character that attended all she said or did, was something bewitching.”

37 Cleopatra married the Roman general Mark Anthony, a joint ruler of Rome.

30 The Roman general Ocatvian entered Alexandria city. Cleopatra’s alliance with the renegade Mark Anthony had enraged Rome, causing Octavian to turn his anger on Egypt. Realizing that the odds were against her, Cleopatra took her own life, legend having it that she held a snake in her hand and made it strike her dead.

300 A.D The first settlers of Zimbabwe arrived in the area.

350 The kingdom of Kush, which had been dominant for more than 2000 years, was defeated by the eastern African kingdom of Axum, and dwindled to its final decline. To the west of Africa, the future, great empire of Ghana began to take shape.

639 Bands of Muslim Arabs from Syria invaded Egypt, planting the seeds of Islam in Africa and radically changing Egypt from a Coptic Christian society, to a predominantly Muslim nation.

642 The Arab invaders captured the then capital of Egypt, Alexandria.

700 At about this time, Muslim Arab traders began to migrate and settle along the Indian Ocean coast of eastern Africa, in present-day Somalia, Kenya, Zanzibar, and mainland Tanzania, and Mozambique. A flourishing trade and Muslim- influenced culture arose and with it, the Kiswahili language, a hybrid of Arabic and Bantu languages.

710 The Arabs completed their conquest of North Africa, also spreading Islamic culture to West Africa.

969Rulers known as the Fatimid (who claimed direct descent from Fatima, one of the two daughters of Islam’s founder the prophet Muhammad), took control of Egypt and founded the city of Cairo (Al-Qahirah), making it Egypt’s capital in 973, a city that would grow and eventually become the largest in Africa by the early 21st century.

1100 Ancient Zimbabwe began to rise to greatness as a farming and trading empire in central Africa.

1235 Sundiata, the ruler of the Kangaba, began his five-year conquest of the nearby areas of Sosso.

1240 The Ghana empire was defeated by Sundiata, king of Mali. As a child, Sundiata could neither walk nor talk, but he overcame this handicap and transformed Mali into a great power.

1307 The legendary ruler of Mali, Mansa Musa (1312-1337) ascended the throne of Mali. History would record him as Africa’s wealthiest-ever king.

1324 Mansa Musa made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. Accompanied by more than 500 people with him, each of them carrying a staff of solid gold, Mansa Musa passed through Cairo, giving away so much gold that the price of the precious metal fell and the economy was effected for more than twenty years after that. As a result of his pilgrimage, Mali started to appear in the maps of Europe and the Near East.

1433 Portuguese explorers, on their way back to Europe from a voyage to West Africa, took two Negroes with them as slaves.

1434Zar’a Ya’cob (1434-1468) ascended the throne of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Under his reign, the first contact between Ethiopia and the western nations was established. He sent Ethiopian Coptic monks to study in Europe.

1446 The Portuguese sailed past the present nation of Cape Verde in West Africa, on the first of several voyages that would later result in the establishment of European colonial rule across Africa.

1450 Work began on the building of the Great Enclosure, a complex brick wall fortress that would come to be regarded in latter centuries as one of the greatest ancient African monuments.

1493 Askia Muhammad (1493-1528) came to the throne of Songhai.

1495In a pilgrimage to Mecca reminiscent of that made by Mansa Musa in 1324, Askia Muhammad visited Mecca, in a trip remembered for its extravagance and pomp. Upon his return, he determined to transform Songhai into a staunchly Muslim kingdom. He would not succeed, but under his reign, the legendary city of Timbuktu would reach its peak as a centre of Muslim learning and commerce, including being host to the university of Timbuktu, a centre to which he brought scholars from Europe and Arabia.

1498 The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, having traveled round the cape of southern Africa, reached Malindi, in present-day Kenya, en route to India.

1517Bartolome de las Casas, the Bishop of Ciapas, appealed to the Spanish king, Charles V, to send Negroes as slaves to the Spanish colonies in the Americas. His request was approved, thus sparking off what would eventually become the trans- Atlantic slave trade, in which more than 30,000,000 Africans over a period of more than 400 years, were taken to the western world, forever changing the history of Africa.

1591 Bands of Moroccan invaders conquered and overrun the kingdom of Songhai.

1595 The Dutch started settling on the west coast of Africa, near present-day Guinea.

1619 The Dutch began importing African slaves into their colony of Virginia in the United States.

1626 The French started settling along the mouth of the river Senegal in West Africa.

1652Dutch-born settlers, led by Jan Van Reibeeck of the Dutch East India Company, established a new home, Cape Town, in southern Africa, having taken over Portuguese trading posts on the west coast of Africa.

1657 The Dutch East India Company allowed some of its employees to leave the company and start their own businesses. They were called Boers (Dutch for farmers), and would go on to play a major role in the unfolding history of Southern Africa.

1671 An English preacher named George Fox, the founder of the pacifist Quaker Christian movement, began denouncing slavery as an evil and calling for its abolition.

1679 The Dutch East India Company began inviting other non-Dutch Europeans to come and settle in the Cape Colony, setting off a European immigration ¨that would profoundly alter the history of southern Africa.

1713 The British government was granted the right by Spain to ship slaves to the Spanish-American colonies.

1783 The Quakers in England created an anti-slavery society, whose goal was to rally public and political opinion against the slave trade.

1795France defeated the Netherlands at war and Britain took control of the Cape Colony to keep it out of French control.

1798 The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte attacked Egypt and defeated the Mamelukes rulers in the Battle of the Pyramids. Napoleon brought with him French scholars who helped revive the study of the Egyptian writings of antiquity.

1801The Ottomans of Turkey, with British assistance, expelled the French from Egypt and control of the country fell to a Turkish army officer named Muhammad Ali, who set in motion a drastic programme of modernization in Egypt, and introduced western education to the country, sending educational delegations to Europe and bringing European teachers to Egypt, in much the fashion that Ataturk would later westernize Turkey.

1806 Britain re-possessed the Cape Colony, after having first returned it to the Dutch in 1803.

1807An act in the British parliament called for the abolition of “all manner of dealing and trading in slaves”. in all of Britain’s territories.

1814The Netherlands formally handed the Cape Colony to the British.

1816 An organisation in the upper south of the United States, called the American Colonization Society, was formed to demand for the abolition of slavery.

1820 This American Colonization Society, with some grants from the federal government, began shipping some freed slaves back to West Africa. In that year, too, the first British settlers began to arrive in the Cape Colony of South Africa.

1822 The American Colonization Society helped found a new nation, Liberia, composed largely of freed American slaves.

Jan. 1, 1831 An American named William Lloyd Garrison published the first issue of a newspaper called the Liberator, in which he demanded the immediate abolition of slavery, without compensation to the slave owners.

1833 The British parliament passed a bill outlawing slave trade throughout the British empire, with compensation to the slave owners.

1836 The Boers of South Africa, in order to get away from the British-controlled Cape Colony, began one of the most famous journeys in African history, called the Great Trek, in which they loaded all their belongings onto ox-drawn, canvas-covered wagons, and re-located to the interior of the country.

1838 The Boers clashed with and defeated the Bantu-speaking Zulu people who tried to oppose their migration into the interior, and thereafter established the Orange Free State.

1843 Britain annexed the Natal area of South Africa.

1848 France formally abolished the slave trade throughout its territories.

1849 Muhammad Ali of Egypt died, leaving most of the modern institutions he had helped found, in a state of near collapse.

1851 Britain took control of the port of Lagos in Nigeria and from this base was laid the foundation of British colonial rule over Nigeria.

1852 Britain recognized the independence of Transvaal of South Africa.

1854 Britain recognized the independence of the Orange Free State of South Africa. In Egypt, the successor to Muhammad Ali, his son Said Pasha, granted a French company the contract to build a canal through the Isthmus of Suez.

1858 Portugal abolished the slave trade throughout its territories.

1863 The Netherlands abolished the slave trade throughout all its territories.

1865The United States, after adopting the 13th Amendment, abolished the slave trade.

1869 The Suez canal was opened, creating for the first time, a link between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and greatly shortening the travel time it took to sail from Europe to Asia and by that, stimulated commerce between Europe and the Far East.

1870An area rich in diamonds was discovered in the present-day Kimberley, in South Africa, setting off one of the most dynamic economic booms in African history, as well as a descent on the area by fortune seekers similar to the California gold rush in the United States.

1871Britain annexed the Kimberley area.

1873 Ismail, Said Pasha’s nephew, became Khedive (ruler) of Egypt, and launched a major public works programme that included the building of railways, roads, canals, and boosted the export of cotton.

1877 Britain annexed the Transvaal.

1879The British defeated the Zulu forces led by Shaka Zulu.

1880The Boers rose in a rebellion against British control of Transvaal, in the first of two Boer wars with Britain.

1881 The Boers defeated the British.

1886An area called Witwatersrand was discovered to be rich in gold, in what is the present-day city of Johannesburg. It set off a gold rush to Transvaal and started the future nation of South Africa onto the path of becoming by far the richest and most powerful country in Africa, producing more than 45 percent of the entire continent’s industrial output by the turn of the 21st century. The sudden prosperity of Transvaal also resulted in a law restricting the political rights of foreigners, most of whom were British, and out of which grew British-Boer tensions.

1888 Brazil abolished the slave trade.

1891 The first excavations of the ruins of the Great Zimbabwe were made by the British archaeologist J. Theodore Bent, hired by Cecil Rhodes.

1896The British South Africa Company defeated the Black Africans, resulting in a takeover of the land, which was re-named Rhodesia.

1899The Boers of Transvaal and Orange Free State declared war on Britain and the second Boer war got underway.

1902 The Boers, who had fought fiercely, were defeated by the British and surrendered, leaving these two Boer republics under the control of the British.

Major assassinations and political killings in African history, 1950-2003

Source: Africa Almanac.com research
March 29, 1959 — Barthelemy Boganda (Central African Republic); President; killed by bomb planted on plane.
July 24, 1959Mwami Rudahigwa ( Rwanda), Tutsi tribal king; circumstances of death unclear.
January 17, 1961 — Patrice Lumumba (Congo), nationalist leader; reportedly killed in American CIA-backed action.
January 13, 1963 — Sylvanius Olympio (Togo), President; killed by coup makers.
January 15, 1966 – Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (Nigeria) Prime Minister, Nigeria; killed by coup makers.
January 15, 1966 — Ahmadu Bello (Nigeria), provincial Prime Minister; killed by coup makers.
July 29, 1966 — Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi (Nigeria ), military head of state; killed by coup makers.
September 6, 1966– Hendrik Verwoerd (South Africa), Prime Minister; shot by gunman in parliament.
February 3, 1969 – Eduardo Mondlane ( Mozambique), guerrilla leader; killed by letter bomb.
October 15, 1969 — Abdirashid Shermarke (Somalia), President; assassination.
July 5,1969 — Tom Mboya (Kenya), foreign minister; assassination by lone gunman.
September 28, 1972 — Benedicto Kiwanuka (Uganda), former Prime Minister; killed in army barracks.
November 23, 1974 — Aman Michael Andom (Ethiopia), Head of state; executed by firing squad.
March 2, 1975 — Josiah Mwangi Kariuki (Kenya), independence struggle leader; murdered in forest.
April 13, 1975 — François Tombalbaye (Chad), President; killed by coup makers.
August 27, 1975 — Haile Selassie (Ethiopia), head of state; forcefully suffocated during detention.
February 13, 1976 — Murtala Mohammed (Nigeria), military head of state; assassination.
February 3, 1977 — Tefere Bante (Ethiopia), Head of state; executed by firing squad.
February 17, 1977 — Janani Luwum ( Uganda), Anglican archbishop; killed in staged car accident.
February 17, 1977 — Wilson Erinayo Oryema (Uganda), cabinet minister; killed in staged car accident.
February 17, 1977 — Charles Oboth-Ofumbi (Uganda), cabinet minister; killed in staged car accident.
March 19, 1977 — Mariem Ngouabi (Republic of Congo), President; killed by coup makers.
May 1977 — Ali Sohili (Comoros), President; killed by coup makers.
September 12, 1977 — Steve Biko (South Africa), anti-apartheid campaigner; murdered during detention.
October 28, 1977 — Ali Sohili (Comoros), President; killed by coup makers
June 16, 1979 — Akwasi Afrifa (Ghana), former Military head of state; executed by firing squad.
June 16, 1979 — Frederick Akuffo (Ghana ), former Military head of state; executed by firing squad.
June 16, 1979 — Ignatius Acheampong (Ghana), former Military head of state; executed by firing squad.
August 3, 1979 — Francisco Macias Nguema (Equatorial Guinea), President; killed by coup makers.
April 12, 1980 — William Tolbert (Liberia), President; killed by coup makers.
October 6, 1981 — Anwar Sadat ( Egypt), President; shot dead by militant Muslim soldiers.
December 2, 1983 — David Oyite-Ojok (Uganda), army chief of staff; killed by bomb on helicopter.
October 19, 1986 – Samora Machel (Mozambique), President; killed in plane crash when pilot was misdirected by false radio beacon.
March 7, 1987 — Andrew Kayiira (Uganda ), former rebel leader; killed by unknown gunmen.
October 15, 1987– Thomas Sankara (BurkinaFaso), military head of state; killed by coup makers.
November 27, 1989 – Ahmed Abdallah ( Comoros), president; killed by coup makers.
February 12, 1990– Robert Ouko (Kenya), foreign minister; allegedly murdered by top political rivals.
September 5,1990 — Samuel Doe (Liberia ), President; mutilated, killed by rebel leader Prince Johnson.
October 3, 1990 – Fred Rwigyema (Uganda/Rwanda), rebel leader; shot by fellow rebel commanders.
June 29, 1992 — Muhammad Boudiaf ( Algeria), President; killed by assassin.
April 14, 1993 – Chris Hani (South Africa), ANC secretary general; shot dead by right-wing gunman.
October 21, 1993 — Melchior Ndadaye ( Burundi), President; killed by Tutsi army paratroopers.
April 6, 1994 — Juvenal Habriarimana (Rwanda), President; killed by missile attack on incoming plane.
April 6, 1994 — Cyprien Ntaryamira (Burundi), President; killed by missile attack on incoming plane.
April 7, 1994 – Agathe Uwilingiyimana (Rwanda), Woman Prime minister; killed by Hutu militiamen.
April 21, 1994 — Rosalia Gicanda ( Rwanda), last Tutsi queen; killed by Hutu militiamen during genocide.
August 1, 1996 — Mohammad Farrah Aideed (Somalia), warlord; killed in firefight with rival rebel faction.
January 28, 1998 — Firmin Sinzoyiheba (Burundi), Defence minister; killed by bomb on helicopter.
May 16, 1998 — Seth Sendashonga (Rwanda), former cabinet minister; allegedly shot by state agents.
June 27, 1998 — Matoub-Lounes (Algeria), Berber singer; killed by renegade Islamic group.
April 9, 1999 — Ibrahim Bare Mainassara (Niger ), President; shot dead during attempted army coup.
January 16, 2000– Laurent Kabila (Democratic Republic of Congo), President; shot by bodyguard.
May 12, 2001 — Kinfe Gebremedhin (Ethiopia), head of intelligence services; shot by army Major.
February 22, 2002 — Jonas Savimbi (Angola), rebel leader; killed in battle action with government army.

African leaders who died of natural causes or in accidents

Source: Africa Almanac research

Leader Country Office Date of Death
Queen Cleoptra Egypt Monarch August 12, 30 B.C
Emperor Menelik II Ethiopia Monarch 13th December 1913
Queen Zawditu Ethiopia Monarch 2nd April 1930
King Muhammad V Morocco Monarch 26th February 1961
Sir Milton Margai Sierra Leone Prime Minister 28th April 1964
Leon Mba Gabon President 28th November 1967
Gamel Nasser Egypt President 28th September 1970
William Tubman Liberia President 23rd July 1971
Jomo Kenyatta Kenya President 22nd August 1978
Houari Boumedienne Algeria President 27th December 1978
António Agostinho Neto Angola President 10th September 1979
Sir Seretse Khama Botswana President 13th July 1980
King Sobhuza II Swaziland Constitutional Monarch 21st August 1982
Ahmed Sekou Toure Guinea President 26th March 1984
Edward Moringe Sokoine Tanzania Prime Minister 12th April 1984
Seyni Kountché Niger President 23rd November 1987
Félix Houphouët-Boigny Ivory Coast President 7th December 1993
General Sani Abacha Nigeria Military Head of State 8th June 1998
Joshua Nkomo Zimbabwe Vice President 1 July 1999
King Hassan Morocco Monarch 23rd July 1999
Enoch H. Dogolea Liberia Vice President 23rd June 2000
Dr. Omar Ali Juma Tanzania Vice President 4th July 2001
Mohamed Ibrahim Egal Somaliland Interim President 3rd May 2002

African Countries’ Tribes

Ethnic groups & the ethnic origins of well-known Africans


Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%

Well-known Algerians

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Arab)


Ovimbundu 37%, Mbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mestico (mixed European and native African) 2%, European 1%, other 22%

Well-known Angolans

Jonas Savimbi, late guerrilla leader (Ovimbundu); José Eduardo dos Santos (mixed race mestico Angolan/Portuguese); first leader of MPLA party Mário de Andrade (Mestico);


99% Black African (54% of the population are Fon, Adja, Bariba and Yoruba), Europeans 5,500


Batswana 95%, Kalanga, Basarwa, and Kgalagadi 4%, white 1%

Burkina Faso

Mossi (about 24%), Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani


Hutu (Bantu) 85%, Tutsi (Hamitic) 14%, Twa (Pygmy) 1%

Well-known Burundians

Former president Pierre Buyoya (Tutsi); former president Jean-Baptiste Bagaza (Tutsi); assassinated president Melcior Ndadaye (Hutu); singer Khadja Nin (Tutsi)


Cameroon Highlanders 31%, Equatorial Bantu 19%, Kirdi 11%, Fulani 10%, Northwest Bantu 8%, Eastern Negritic 7%, other African 13%, non-African less than 1%

Well-known Cameroonians

President Paul Biya (Beti)

Cape Verde

Creole (mixed race European and native African) 71%, African 28%, European 1%

Central African Republic

Baya 34%, Banda 27%, Sara 10%, Mandjia 21%, Mboum 4%, M’Baka 4%, Yakoma, Ubangi, Europeans 6,500 (including 3,600 French)

Well-known Central Africans

Former president Andre Kolingba (Yakoma)


North and center: Muslims (Arabs, Toubou, Hadjerai, Fulbe, Kotoko, Kanembou, Baguirmi, Boulala, Zaghawa, and Maba); South: non-Muslims (Sara [the largest ethnic group, 25% of the population], Ngambaye, Mbaye, Goulaye, Moundang, Moussei, Massa)

Well-known Chadians

Former President Hissène Habré (Gorane)


Antalote, Cafre, Makoa, Oimatsaha, Sakalava

Congo, Republic of

Kongo 48%; north: Sangha 20%, M’Bochi 12%; center: Teke 17%, Europeans 8,500 (mostly French)

Congo, Democratic Republic

The four largest tribes- Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic)- make up about 45% of the population

Well-known Congolese

Former President Mobutu Sese Seko (Ngbande); late president Laurent Kabila (Baluba); President Joseph Kabila (Banyamulenge Tutsi); late political leader Patrice Lumumba (Batetela)

Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Baoule 23%, Bete 18%, Senoufou 15%, Malinke 11%, Agni, foreign Africans (mostly Burkinabe and Malians, about 3 million)

Well-known Ivorians

Former president Felix Houphouët-Boigny (Baoulé), former president Henri Konan Bedie (Baoulé), OAU-AU secretary general Amara Essy (Akan)


Somali 60%, Afar 35%, French, Arab, Ethiopian, and Italian 5%


Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) 99%, Greek, Nubian, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%

Well-known Egyptians

Legendary queen Cleopatra (Greek-Macedonian); President Hosni Mubarak (Arab); First Lady Suzanne Mubarak (Arab); assassinated President Anwar Sadat (Arab/Sudanese Arab)

Equatorial Guinea

Bioko (primarily Bubi, some Fernandinos), Río Muni (primarily Fang), Europeans less than 1,000, mostly Spanish

Well-known Equatorial Guineans


Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (dwellers of Red Sea coast area) 3%

Well-known Eritreans

President Issias Afeworki (Tigrinya/Ethiopian Tigrean)


Oromo 40%, Amhara 25%, Tigrean 12%, Sidama 9%, Shankella 6%, Somali 6%, Afar 4%, Gurage 2%, other 1%

Well-known Ethiopians

Late Emperor Haile Selassie (Oromo/Amhara/Gurage); Emperor Menelik II (Amhara); former military leader Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam (Shankalla); 1992/2000 Olympic 10,000 metres champion Derartu Tulu (Oromo); 5,000m, 10,000m world record holder Haile Gebreselassie (Oromo); Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (Tigrean/Eritrean Tigrinya); two-time Olympic marathon champion Abebe Bikila (Oromo)


Fang 25%, Punu 23%, Nzeiby 13%, Mbede (Obamba/Bateke) 9%, Kota 7%, and Myene 5%; Pygmies 0.7%, naturalized population 0.3%, foreigners 15%

Well-known Gabonese

President Omar Bongo (Bateke)

Gambia, The

Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%, non-Gambian others 1%


Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%, European and other 0.2%

Well-known Ghanaians

Founding President Kwame Nkrumah (Akan), UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (Akan), former president Jerry Rawlings (Scottish/Ewe); film maker Kofi Boateng (Ashanti)


Peuhl 40%, Malinke 30%, Susu 20%, smaller tribes 10%

Well-known Guineans

Founding president Ahmed Sékou Touré (Malinke)


Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%, European and mixed European and native African less than 1%


Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, Asian, European, and Arab 1%, other 15%

Well-known Kenyans

Founding president Jomo Kenyatta (Kikuyu); former president Daniel arap Moi (Kalenjin);President Mwai Kibaki (Kikuyu); former Olympic champion Kipchoge Keino (Kalenjin); murdered minister Tom Mboya (Luo), former world marathon record holder Tegla Loroupe (Pokot); world 800 metres record holder Wilson Kipketer (Kalenjin); former Vice President George Saitoti (Kikuyu)


Sotho 99.7%, Europeans 1,600, Asians 800

Well-known Basotho


Indigenous African tribes 95% (including major groups Kpelle, Bassa, Gio, Kru, Grebo, Mano, Krahn, Gola, Gbandi, Loma, Kissi, Vai, and Bella), Americo-Liberians 5% (descendants of former American slaves)

Well-known Liberians

President Charles Taylor (Gio); former president Samuel Doe (Krahn), former rebel leader Roosevelt Johnson (Krahn); former president William Tubman (Americo-Liberian); assassinated president William Tolbert Jr. (Americo-Liberian)


Berber and Arab 97%, Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, Tunisians


Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry-Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran

Well-known Madagascans

Independence leader Philibert Tsiranana (Merina); former head of state General Gabriel Ramanantsoa (Merina); former President Didier Ratsiraka (Betsimisaraka); President Marc Ravalomanana (Merina); former President Albert Zafy (Tsimihety)


Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuko, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European


Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Sarakole), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%

Well-known Malians

Legendary king Mansa Musa (Mandinka); Rokia Traore (Bamana); former president Mousa Traore (Bamana); singer Salif Keita (Mandinka)


Mixed Maur/Black African 40%, Maur 30%, black 30%


Indo-Mauritian 68%, Creole (mixed European and Black African) 27%, Sino-Mauritian 3%, Franco-Mauritian 2%

Well-known Mauritian

Prime Minister Aneerood Jugnauth (Hindu); politician Paul Berenger (Franco-Mauritian); political leader Jooneed Jeerooburkhan (Indo-Muslim);


Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%


Indigenous tribal groups 99.6% (main tribes: Shangaan, Chokwe, Manyika, Sena, Makua, and others), Europeans 0.06%, Euro-Africans 0.2%, Indians 0.08%

Well-known Mozambicans

Founding president Samora Machel (Shangana)


Ovambo 50%, Kavangos 9%, mixed European and native African 7.4%, Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Whites 6.6%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5% Of the Whites: Afrikaaners 60%, of German descent 30%, Anglo-Saxons 10%

Well-known Namibians

President Sam Nujoma (Ovambo)


Hausa 56%, Djerma 22%, Fula 8.5%, Tuareg 8%, Beri Beri (Kanouri) 4.3%, Arab, Toubou, and Gourmantche 1.2%, about 4,000 French expatriates


Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo 71% of population, others Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, Ijaw

Well-known Nigerians

President Olusegun Obasanjo (Yoruba); former president Ibrahim Babangida (Hausa); Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka (Yoruba); Pop singer Sade, (Yoruba/English); late singer Fela Kuti (Yoruba)


Hutu 80%, Tutsi 19%, Twa (Pygmoid) 1%

Well-known Rwandans

President Paul Kagame (Tutsi); late president Juvenal Habyarimana (Hutu); former president Pasteur Bizimungu (Hutu)

São Tomé and Príncipe

Mestico (mixed European and native African) Angolares (descendants of Angolan slaves), Forros (descendants of freed slaves), Servicais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde), Tongas (children of Servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese)


Wolof 36%, Fulani 17%, Séréré 17%, Toucouleur 9%, Diola 9%, Mandingo 9%, European and Lebanese 1%, other 2%

Well-known Senegalese

President Abdoulaye Wade (Wolof); former president Leopold Senghor (Séréré); musician Mansour Seck (Fula); Baaba Maal (Fulani);


Seychellois (mixture of Asians, Africans, Europeans)

Sierra Leone

Temne 30%, Mende 30%, other indigenous 39%, Creole, European, Lebanese, and Asian 1%


Somali 85%, rest are Somali Bantu (sometimes called Mushunguli), Arabs

Well-known Somalis

Former fashion model Iman (Somali); former president Siad Barre (Somali); late rebel leader General Mohamed Farah Aideed (Somali)

South Africa

Blacks 75.2%, White 13.6%, Coloured 8.6%, Indian 2.6%

Well-known South Africans

Former president Nelson Mandela (Tembu); former president P.W. Botha (Afrikaaner); legendary entrepreneur Sammy Marks (Lithuanian-born Jew); Shaka Zulu (Zulu); President Thabo Mbeki (Xhosa); singer Miriam Makeba (Xhosa); Jazz guitarist Jonathan Butler (coloured); Nobel Prize laureate Nadine Gordimer (Jewish); freedom fighter Walter Sisulu (Xhosa); Winnie Mandela (Tembu); Reggae singer Lucky Dube (Zulu)


Arab 39%, Dinka 12%, Beja 6%, Beja 6%, West Africans 6%, other foreigners 2%

Well-known Sudanese

Rebel leader John Garang (Dinka); President Omar al-Bashir (Arab); fashion model Alek Wek (Dinka/Nuer)


African 97%, European 3%


Mainland: Sukuma-Nyamwezi 13 %, others Haya, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, and Chaga, Asian, European, and Arab 1%. Zanzibar: 90% Arab, mixed Arab and native African, native African

Well-known Tanzanians

Founding president Julius Nyerere (Wazanaki), President Benjamin Mkapa (Ngoni), First Lady Anna Mkapa (Chagga), opposition leader Augustine Mrema (Chagga)


Ewe, Mina, and Kabre) 99%, European and Syrian-Lebanese less than 1%

Well-known Togolese

President Gnassingbé Eyadéma (Kabré), opposition leader Léopold Gnininvi (Ewé)


Arab-Berber 98%, European 1%, Jewish less than 1%


Baganda 17%, Karamojong 12%, Basoga 8%, Iteso 8%, Langi 6%, Banyarwanda 6%, Bagisu 5%, Acholi 4%, Lugbara 4%, Banyoro 3%, Batoro 3%, European, Asian, Arab 1%, other 23%

Well-known Ugandans

Former president Idi Amin (Kakwa/Lugbara); President Yoweri Museveni (Balenge Tutsi/Banyankole); former president Milton Obote (Langi); 1972 Olympic 400m hurdles champion John Akii-Bua (Langi), Princess Elizabeth Bagaya (Batooro); singer Lou Bega (Muganda/German); singer Geoffrey Oryema (Acholi)


Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi, Tonga, Ngoni, Lunda, Kaonde, Luvale African 98.7%, European 1.1%, other 0.2%

Well-known Zambians

Founding President Kenneth Kaunda (Malawian Bemba); President Levy Mwanawasa (Bemba); Pop singer Samantha Mumba (Zambian/Irish); former president Frederick Chiluba (Bemba); former Vice President Christon Tembo (Tumbuka)


Shona 71%, Ndebele 16%, other 11%, White 1%, mixed and Asian 1%

Well-known Zimbabweans

President Robert Mugabe (Zezuru); late political leader Joshua Nkomo (Ndebele); musician Oliver Mtukudzi (Shona); former Prime Minister Ian Smith (Scottish)