Bantu Expansion

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The Bantu speakers were one of the earliest Africans, skilled at farming, hunting, and gathering, who probably began their migrations from the rain forest near what is now the Nigeria-Cameroon border. Bantu growth was carried out by small groups that made a series of short journies over time in response to economic or environmental circumstances. Some anthropologists believe that the Khoisan speakers were peacefully taken in rather than conquered by the Bantu. Others argue that the Khoisan, because of their passive personality, simply left the area and traveled south, away from the newcomers (Clark 262). The limited source that is available suggests that the earliest inhabitants of modern-day Angola were hunters and gatherers. Their descendants, called Bushmen by the Westerners, still reside in parts of southern Africa, and small numbers of them may still be found in southern Angola (Shillington 135). These Khoisan speakers lost their authority in southern Africa as an effect of the southward development of Bantu-speaking peoples during the first millennium. The transmission of agriculture and later of iron was accompanied by a great progress of the Bantu who may have possessed these skills. These inhabitants probably began in eastern Nigeria in West Africa. Their migration may have been set in action by a swell in population caused by a migration into their homelands by people fleeing the drought of the Sahara. They spoke a different tongue, proto-Bantu, which is the parent language of a large number of interconnected Bantu languages still spoken all through sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, about 90 percent of the languages south of the border from the Bight of Benin on the west coast to Somalia on the east coast are a branch of the Bantu family (Gordon 102). Why and how these inhabitants stretched out into central and southern Africa remains unknown, but historians believe that at some period their iron weaponry allowed them to overpower their...
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