Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

African history

Great Zimbabwe

 Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe was a massive stone city in southeastern Africa that was a thriving trade center from the 11th to 15th centuries. See more »

The Amazons of Dahomey

 The Amazons of Dahomey

The kingdom of Dahomey may have had the world’s first full-time, all-female combat fighting force. How did these women rise to become some of history’s fiercest warriors, and what happened to them? See more »

Dahomey and the Royal Palaces of Abomey

 Dahomey and the Royal Palaces of Abomey

The Royal Palaces of Abomey are a series of earthen palaces in what is now Benin. The complex is culturally and historically important to West Africa, but the source of much of the wealth that built those palaces was the Atlantic slave trade. See more »

A Condensed History of Rhodesia

 A Condensed History of Rhodesia

In the 1888, Cecil Rhodes and John Smith Moffat duped the king of the Ndebele people into a treaty which led to the expansion of British territory in Africa. From then until the late 1900s, Rhodesia was governed by a white minority. See more »

King Djoser and Egypt's First Pyramid

 King Djoser and Egypt's First Pyramid

The pyramids at Giza are iconic Egyptian landmarks, but they weren't the first to appear. Djoser and his vizier Imhotep are credited with starting the pyramid trend. See more »

Cosmetics From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World

 Cosmetics From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World

Makeup has a rich and lengthy history that spans the globe and crosses cultures. From 10,000 B.C.E. to the 20th century, people have been using cosmetics to enhance their looks -- sometimes with unintended side effects. See more »

The Yaa Asantewaa War of Independence

 The Yaa Asantewaa War of Independence

The Asante-British war of 1900 capped about 100 years of war between Great Britain and the Asante Empire, which occupied part of what is now Ghana. See more »

Embalming and Mummification Rituals of Ancient Egypt

 Embalming and Mummification Rituals of Ancient Egypt

So how did Ancient Egyptians actually embalm their dead? Thanks in large part to Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, we have some great descriptions of what happened to the deceased. See more »

The Lions of Tsavo, Pt. 2

 The Lions of Tsavo, Pt. 2

Why did lions in the Tsavo region start to attack humans in the first place? Modern behavioral and scientific research has given us some surprising insights into the causes of the 1898 attacks as well as modern lion attacks in the same area. See more »

The Lions of Tsavo, Pt. 1

 The Lions of Tsavo, Pt. 1

In 1898, two male lions killed and ate dozens of people in Tsavo and shut down construction of the Uganda Railroad. Lt. Col. John H. Patterson, a civil engineer working on the project, made it his personal mission to stop the feline scourge. See more »