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The Catalan Atlas (detail) by Abraham Cresques, 1375.

Africa has been global for millennia, but its history is too often eclipsed by narratives that focus on slavery and its abolition.

The shortest war in history began (and ended) on 27 August 1896.

Pulled Apart by the Great Powers, from ‘L’Assiette au Beurre’, 1903.

The North African country before and after Islam. 

Prester John enthroned on a map of East Africa. Detail from 16th century atlas.

For five centuries the legend of a Christian priest king, in Asia or in Africa, sustained the hopes of Europeans in their struggle with Islam. Those who joined the search for Prester John were looking for a man who was not there. 

The peoples of Germany's African colonies recovered from the conflict against all the odds.

Fiercely independent, highly skilled sailors, the Kroomen of Sierra Leone forged an alliance with the Royal Navy to rid the African coasts of slavers.

The civil war that resulted from the division of Nigeria was a major human disaster that should not be forgotten. 

At war: French soldiers in Madagascar, May 1947 Ⓒ AFP/Getty Images

Anglo-French relations, often fraught, came to a head in the crucible of the Indian Ocean.

Since gaining independence Botswana’s history has not not been without turmoil, but the country has emerged as a model African state.

Snatched: Mehdi Ben Barka photographed in the early 1960s

After the kidnapping of Moroccan revolutionary Mehdi Ben Barka in 1965, the fingers of blame pointed in several directions. The details of what happened are still not known.