Unraveling Africa’s Rich History Through Genetics
A recent study in Science Advanced used DNA information from present-day African populations to shed light on pre-colonial African civilizations.
The study reveals the potential of genetic diversity analysis to uncover Africa’s rich and complex history by analyzing 1,300 genomes from 150 ethnic groups in five countries.
The study discovered evidence of migrations into Africa from the Arabian Peninsula, coinciding with the era of the Kingdom of Axum, which was once considered one of the world’s four great powers, alongside China, Persia, and Rome.
The Power and Legacy of The Kingdom Axum
The Kingdom of Axum, situated in present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea, was a powerful civilization that emerged around the 1st century CE.
Dominating Red Sea trade routes, Axum connected the Mediterranean world to the Indian Ocean and Arabian Peninsula, amassing wealth and influence that peaked between the 4th and 7th centuries CE.
Axumite society, rich in cultural diversity, adopted Christianity in the early 4th century CE under King Ezana. Impressive stone obelisks, or stelae, were constructed by Axumite rulers to mark their tombs and assert power.
The Kingdom’s territories stretched beyond the Ethiopian Highlands, encompassing parts of Sudan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, maintained through military prowess, skilled diplomacy, and strategic alliances.
The conquest of the Kingdom of Kush in the 4th century CE marked a significant moment in Axum’s expansion.
However, the rise of Islam, disruption of Red Sea trade routes, and environmental degradation contributed to the kingdom’s decline starting in the 7th century CE.