History of International Relations Textbook

Africa

The Bantu migration

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People speaking Bantu languages seem originally to have lived in today’s Nigeria and Cameron and it was from here that they started migrating sometime in the first millennium BCE. [Read more: The Bantu migration] There seem to have been two waves of migrants. In the first wave, people moved both across the continent to East Africa and down along the West African coast. Some time around 300 CE they may have reached today’s South Africa. The second wave, starting perhaps a thousand years later, spread the Bantu speakers from what today is Congo and into central and eastern Africa. These migrations seem to have been spontaneous movements but exactly why they took place is less clear and debated among scholars. Some suggest it was due to overpopulation while others cite disease or changes in the climate. Many Bantu speaking peoples took up cattle herding in their new locations and everywhere they went they pushed away the original inhabitants, such as the San bushmen of southwestern Africa, who were forced to leave their original lands and eke out a living in more inhospitable places.