This invaluable reference work provides an account of the development of African society from 175 million years ago, through the first appearance of humans to the complex polity of the twentieth century. Colin McEvedy tracks the development of modern man, the differentiation and spread of languages, the first crossings of the Sahara, the exploration of the Niger, and the search for the 'fountains of the Nile'. Gold and ivory lure traders from far away; Christendom and Islam compete for African attention. Names from the distant past become nation-states with aspirations appropriate to the modern world. With sixty maps and a clear, concise text, this synthesis is especially useful to African studies and history teachers, but is also a fascinating guide for the general reader.