Afrocentric American History
April 16, 2021
Critical Essay Rough Draft
The Ethiopian victory over the Italians is one of the significant Revolutionary moments in the History of the African continent having little attention and recognition. Majorly the European invasion took over other vital parts of Africa, falling into the disguise of religion and civilization from the European imperialists. Under the rule of Menelik II, Ethiopia was one of the world’s most great monarchies with solid military formation. Ethiopia, unlike other African empires, drew clear lines between trade and social values. Menelik II was a great military strategist against the Italian invasion in Ethiopia by extending the Ethiopian army and uniting autonomous empires under the Ethiopian empire (Libertarianism, 14). The Italians tricked the Emperor into signing treaties for privileges such as trade routes, power in the Italian government, and arms. Such was a trick to take over Ethiopia as their official colony. On realizing the intention of the Italians, Menelik repudiated the treaties and prepared for war. Following his strong arsenal with modern-grade weapons from Britain, France, and Italy, the emperor had a significant military prowess. The Ethiopians were also well acquainted with the European army tactics, having served in the British Proxy armies against the Sudanese Mahdists (Libertarianism, 17). The Italian march of 1895 into Ethiopia resulted in significant hostilities and clashes (Libertarianism, 18). The Italians were incredibly hit, forcing the Italians to retreat and wait for reinforcements from Crispi. Crispi back in Italy faced political difficulties and other European exploitation of their protectorates. Majorly Menelik took advantage of the Italian lack of information network and lured them into giving a battle in an open space. He deployed spies to trick the Italian troops that the Ethiopians were starving and were already retreating. Such information made Crispi order his men to attack, resulting in the significant Italian loss at the Battle of Adwa (Libertarianism, 19). The Ethiopian victory spread across the world, inspiring excellent resistance to colonial rule around the globe. However, the tremendous Ethiopian revolution against the Italian invasion is overlooked and given little attention by White nationalists citing that the Italians were inexperienced, fragile, and were a new state nation. Such is the tendency of the white supremacists to disregard the African content’s outstanding achievements throughout History, especially in freeing themselves from colonial rule.
Kemet meaning the black land, was used in the African-centered approach to describe Egypt. Such is still used by the individuals integrating an African-centered approach to establish that Egypt is an African civilization. Although ancient Egypt had more interactions with other societies, Egyptian culture and geographic placement indicate that it is an African civilization (Fitzwilliam Museum, 6). In the contemporary world, other civilizations tend to incorporate the controversy that Egypt is part of the Middle East and not Africa, however, the statute figures and work of art indicate that the ancient and current Egyptian civilizations are of Africa descent. The origin of the Kemet civilization traces back to the predynastic era, whereby the region had a single king. The first rulers of Kemmet lived in 3000 BC that is 5000 years ago, making it one of the oldest civilizations (Fitzwilliam Museum, 8). The Kemet’s early culture was imminent in their objects and items such as stone vases and other trade items with foreign lands. In comparison to Roman and Greek civilizations, Kemet is older and developed in ideas of monumental architecture.
The Kingdom of Kush was also one of the earliest civilizations in Northern Africa. Kush was part of Nubia and described as the region between the Cataracts of Nile and six whitewater rapids. The first cataract was found in the area around Aswan, Egypt, and the sixth North of Khartoum, Sudan. Majorly the early Nubian cultures were cosmopolitan and sophisticated as it was the central trading point for goods from the Arabian Desert and the Mediterranean. Kush was the most famous of all the Nubian civilizations dominating Nubia for almost 3,000 years (SAHO, 2). The kingdom of Kush had its capital in Napata, Kerma, and Meroe. Egyptian civilization grew for thousand years, facilitated by the Nile River, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Such water bodies kept the foreign invasion off the early kingdoms of Egypt. Majorly the Nile River was essential in providing trade routes and communication across ancient Egypt’s semi-arid land. The Nile floods were the primary water source to the surrounding farms making the inhabitants change from nomadism to settled farming (SAHO, 2).
Additionally, the inhabitants of ancient Egypt also built towns, cities, and homes along the Nile banks. The Nile was a significant figure in the ancient Egyptian civilization providing water and rich alluvial soil to the inhabitants from the harsh desert climate. The Nile also provided clay for building sun-dried bricks, and Egypt was the first region in the Middle East to establish and advance in monumental stone architecture (SAHO, 4). The Egyptian civilizations were embedded in their socio-political organization under the powerful pharaoh who played God, king, and high priest. The groups from the royal family had more privileges and advanced in Mathematical studies. They also contributed to the development of writing.
African spirituality is the acknowledgment that the beliefs and practices inform and dictate the everyday facet of life. Regarding the earliest practices in Kemmet, the ancient African spirituality revolved around the cults and worships of gods. During the Kushites’ reign in Kemmet as their twenty-fifth dynasty, Kemmet realized a renaissance and a resumption of their ancient culture (Carl, n.p). The early spirituality was marked with the veneration of God Amun and the construction of statutes. Amin and Ra were later worshiped together as Amun-Ra and gained great reverence across the ancient land of Egypt. Ra was the chief God of Egypt who created the other gods and other key figures like the Nile (Haikal, 3). Majorly the African spirituality reflecting on the Egyptian creation stories likens to Catholicism which acknowledges one supreme God and the trinity. From Ra, also referred to as Amun Ra, other gods like Isis and Horus had distinctive features and roles in Egyptian mythology. The deity in African spirituality had kinship relationships like the Catholicism religion, which included God the Father and Jesus Christ as the son. Such is similar to the biographical relationship that Isis had with Horus as a son. Moreover, the from the story of Ra, Isis. The death and resurrection of Osiris, the God of resurrection, marked the cycle of life, which is also recorded in the accounts of Catholicism whereby God the son dies for humanity, resurrects, and ascends to rule the saints in heaven.
African music refers to the musical practices and sounds that indigenous African people engaged in other than the European settlers’ music. Majorly, African music relates to the specific ethnic groups’ musical practices during the pre-colonial period. The African-American music refers to the musicals that the African slaves brought along with from their ethnic groups, bringing on board their knowledge. The controversies that align African-American music included the notion that they were majorly to ease their lives’ drudgery and pass messages to other slaves. The development of African-American music traces back to the lyrical cries of the street vendors in eighteenth-century Philadelphia. After the great American civil war, the slaves were free, but the reconstruction left the Southern states destitute, leading to a new genre, the blues. In 1916, the first Blues show was in Jacksonville place to deal with the depression and poverty (James Robinson, 3). Subsequently, there were the Barbershop quartets with exuberant tunes and Cappella. Jazz originated from New Orleans with an instrumental equivalent to the Barbershop quartet during World war I (James Robinson, 5). Played from coast to coast and exported to Europe by the soldiers. The spirituals and gospels were also black-dominated as a means of passing messages, countering slavery and poverty. African-American music is seen as the foundation of American music. The Raps and hip hop originated in the 1980s when African-Americans were faced with poverty, crime, drugs, and violence (James Robinson, 8). The controversies that the African American Hip Hop and other music genres are epitomes of violence, crime, and vulgarism are unfair debates. Majorly, African Americans use music in different genres in response to their tribulations in rural and urban settings. The African Americans’ environment and the life they led are the significant influencers of their music.
Fitzwilliam Museum. “Egypt: Kemet.” Ancient world. (n.d) Retrieved from https://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/dept/ant/egypt/kemet/virtualkemet/faq/index.html
Graves, Carl. Egyptian imperialism in Nubia c. 2009–1191 BC. Diss. University of Birmingham, 2011.
Haikal F. “Ra The Creator God of Ancient Egypt.” American Research Center in Egypt. The American University in Cairo. 2021 Retrieved from https://www.arce.org/resource/ra-creator-god-ancient-egypt
Libertarianism. “Ethiopian Victory over the Italians inspired resistance to empire for generations, across the globe.” Religion and Resistance: Ethiopia Anti-Imperialism, Part 2. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/religion-resistance-ethiopian-anti-imperialism-part-2
South African History Online (SAHO). “Early African Civilizations: Ancient Egypt, Nubia and Swahili.” (n.d). Retrieved from https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/early-african-civilisations-ancient-egypt-nubia-and-swahili
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