The blank political map of Africa continent landscape has undergone so many changes that can be traced back to centuries ago. There have been the rise and fall of many great kingdoms and empires that once held sway over different parts of the continent. The arrival of the Europeans in the 15th century changed the narrative and redirected Africa in the current direction that our political structure has taken.


Political Map Of Africa Continent With Capitals And Flags



Precolonial Africa was characterized by the rise of empires and dynasties. Around 100,000 BC, humans began to migrate from Africa to other lands. The Stone age started in the Sahara region around 8500-6500 BC. The Neolithic people were versed in the use of tools and pottery. The continent of Africa was hit by a period of dryness around 5000 BC that dried up the then wet Sahara region and forced the population settled there to seek pastures new.

Around 3500 BC, the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were merged into a single Kingdom and in 3100 BC, Egypt was consolidated as a single political entity under the Pharoah, Narmer. At around 3100 BC also, Ta- Seti, a Nubian Civilization was invaded and destroyed by Egypt. Around 3000 BC, the earliest form of literacy in the world was developed.


Blank Political Map Of Africa

The hieroglyphic writings of ancient Egypt were invented. Several wars were fought and several dynasties were formed and destroyed in Egypt. Around 1580 BC to about 1080 BC, a new kingdom was formed in Egypt putting an end to the second intermediate period and bringing in one of the nation’s most powerful pre-modern phases.

Egypt gains control of Palestine and Nubia and also wielded much political influence on the Mediterranean and Libya. Around 1000 BC, the Bantu people of West Africa began to spread out to other parts of Africa. In the same period, the Nok culture, a highly centralized community of people were established in central Nigeria. By 500 BC, the Nol people had mastered iron smelting and produced art in the form of life-like animal and human figures.

The Nok are believed to have disappeared by 200 BC but their evidence can be seen in the Yoruba and Benin Kingdoms. In 814 BC, the city of Carthage is established by Phoenicians from Tyre. The region became a powerhouse and trading entity in the Mediterranean. In 760 BC, the Nubian Empire started. The Kingdom of Kush, which possibly arose out of the Kingdom of Kerma (which rebelled for centuries after being absorbed into the Egyptian Empire), invaded Egypt and took over Thebes. The Kushites later were forced out from Nubia by the forces of Assyria.

In 525 BC, the Persian waged war on Egypt under Cambyses II. Cambyses defeats the Egyptians in battle at Pelsium in the Nile Delta. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquers and takes over Egypt. His general, Ptolemy, becomes king and starts a dynasty. In 300 BC, Djenne-Djenno, a town in modern-day Mali, is established. This town is one of the oldest urbanized centers known to man. The town was associated with thriving markets and agriculture, most notably the domestication of African rice. The town was also known to be one of the earliest sites of iron production in sub-Saharan Africa.

Between 100CE- 200 CE, Swahili culture began to take shape due to the interaction between the local Bantu speaking people and the Persian and Arab merchants. The culture eventually spread to areas in Modern day Tanzania, Kenya, and Mozambique. In the 4th century CE, King Ezana of Aksum is converted to Christianity by two Christian traders. This served as the establishment of Ethiopian Christianity. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church gave the institutional support needed for the monarchy. This period also, the area of Great Zimbabwe is settled. Great Zimbabwe later became the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe and served as the first city in Southern Africa. Around this period also, Ghana, the oldest Sudanic empire, is founded. This great empire prospered because of the tax revenues from the trans-Saharan trade. In the period of 300 CE, the state of Aksum in Eritrea and Ethiopia began minting its own silver and gold coins as their own Aksumite currency.

420 CE saw the invasion of vandals into North Africa reliving Rome of her territories in the area. This led to the Berber Kingdom’s regained independence. In 711 CE, Arab Muslims conquered entire North Africa and Islam became the dominant religion in the area by the 19tg century. In 969 CE, Fatimid Rulers seize Egypt and the Egyptian city Al-Qahirah (present-day Cairo), is founded. The 12th century CE, the first state in Southern Africa, the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, arises. The kingdom of Zimbabwe was established in 1220 CE.

The empire of Ghana came to an end when its capital is seized by Takrur, in northern Senegal. Thus in 1235 CE, the empire of Mali was established. This empire had a huge cultural and historical influence on most of western Africa, including the construction of the Great Mosque of Djenné.  Between 1300 CE and 1400 CE existed the Luba people near Lake Kisale in Central Africa who were unified under the leadership of Kongolo Mwamba (Nkongolo) of the Balowe clan.

The Luba political system, which later spread to other parts of Central Africa, Western Congo, also Southern Uganda, as well as areas now known as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mali, Burundi, and Rwanda was based on a system of spiritual kings with direct spiritual access to ancestral spirits. Large southeast African states such as Karagwe and Buganda emerged in Tanzania and Uganda. The Buganda Kingdom was created by the Baganda or Ganda people whose ancestors are believed to have migrated northwest of Lake Victoria 400 years before. These are just some of the important dynasties and Kingdoms that shaped the history of Africa politically over time.

Still On The Political Map Of Africa Continent


In 1483 CE, Portuguese explorers landed in what was then known as the Kingdom of Kongo. The King of the Kingdom converted to Christianity. The arrival of the Portuguese led to the beginning of the slave trade that would span centuries in the region. Also, in the late 15th century, Europeans joined the slave trade and changed everything, there were no more rules. The Portuguese were a part of it all but in partnership with other Europeans. This led to the establishment of the triangular trade with the Portuguese initially acquiring slaves through trade and later by force as part of the Atlantic slave trade. The slave merchants transported enslaved West, Central, and Southern Africans overseas through ships.

The arrival of the Europeans didn’t immediately lead to the end of inter-tribal wars and the establishment and destruction of empires and kingdoms. Several Kingdoms and Empires were established between the 15th century and the 19th century when the whole of Africa came entirely under European rule except for Ethiopia which was not colonized.

Slave trade led to the establishment and growth of European colonization of Africa which grew rapidly from around 10% in 1870 to over 90% in 1914 in the Scramble for Africa between 1881 and 1914. It is interesting to know that prior to this there were not the many African States in existence. Africans lived in clusters as tribal units and were constantly at war with rival tribes. The current division of Africa into states is a fabrication of the Europeans.

Colonization also effectively took power away from the monarchs and led to the establishment of democracy which is now the favored political system over Africa. Although, some African states are still under the Autocratic rule. Between 1914 and 1918, what is known as the Great War, breaks out in Europe. European powers had to conscript large numbers of soldiers from their colonies in Africa. Thus the returning soldiers who were trained in combat became confident in their abilities to gain independence.

The end of the Great War in Europe marked the beginning of many liberation movements on the African continent. A second world war breaks out in Europe in 1939 -1945 and with it came an increased demand for African independence. In 1948, the National Party in South Africa rose to power and paved way for the Apartheid regime and its legislation to be implemented in South Africa.

In 1951, the first African state to be decolonized, Libya gains independence. Egypt followed in 1952 through a revolution by the Free Officers Movement. November 1st, 1954 saw the start of the Algerian War for Independence from France. In 1956, Sudan and Tunisia gained independence. 1960 popularly dubbed the year of Africa saw the many African States gain independence from colonial masters. Mali, Senegal, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Gabon, Mauritania, and Togo all got independence from colonial masters that year.

In 1961, Tanganyika, now known as Tanzania, and Sierra Leone gained independence from the British Empire. Algeria eventually gained independence from France in 1962 after a brutal war.  Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda also gained independence from Belgium and Britain in this year. Kenya and Uganda gained Independence from Britain in 1963.

In the year 1963, The Organization of African Unity was formed as a weapon by African states to fight against colonialism, keep the territorial integrity and better the lives of Africans in general. The organization was also created to foster broader unity within the African continent. Between 1964 and 1968, Malawi, Botswana, Mauritius, Lesotho, Swaziland, Gambia, Zanzibar, and Zambia all gained their independence from Britain. Portugal was the first of European colonial nations to arrive and one of the last to leave Africa.

In 1975, after several lengthy wars, Mozambique, Sao Tome, and Principe, Cape Verde all gained independence. Namibia is the last of African States to gain independence from colonial powers on the 21st of March 1990. In 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections ending white minority rule and become the last African nation to shake off its colonial shackles. In 2001, the Organisation of African Unity was disbanded in favor of the African Union which was launched in 2002. In 2011, South Sudan broke off from Sudan and became an independent state after a long and bloody civil war.


  • Democracy is the most popular system of government in Africa.
  • African politics is dominated by Big Men. There are lots of authoritarian leaders who have maintained an iron grip on power in parts of Africa, either by amending laws to extend their terms of office, hosting rubber-stamp elections or repressing opposition and civil societies.
  • The passing of power in Africa is often violent.
  • High voter turns out in Africa usually indicates corruption.
  • Africa has some of the Oldest Presidents in the world. Some of them have been in power for over 10 years.
  • There have been cases of military coming into power in some parts of Africa.

Brief Facts about conflicts and wars in Africa

  • Most of Africa’s wars have been triggered by ethnicity and ethnic intolerance.
  • The Great African war was fought by 9 countries and 25 armed groups. Over 6 million lives were lost.
  • African wars can be attributed to poor leadership and lack of political integration.
  • Some of Africa’s wars and conflicts are results of colonization.



The political history of Africa is quite an interesting read for anyone who has an interest in the African continent. The continent has gone through series of metamorphosis to arrive at its present political structure.

Tag: Political Map Of Africa Continent With Capitals And Flags

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