General History of Africa

© UNESCO

In 1964, UNESCO launched an unprecedented task: to tell the history of Africa from the African perspective. Showing the world, for instance, that many techniques and technologies used nowadays are originated in the continent, as well as proving that the region was constituted by organized societies and not by tribes, as one may think.

Almost 30 years later, 350 scientists coordinated by a committee of 39 experts, two thirds of them Africans, met the challenge of rebuilding African historiography free of foreign perspectives and stereotypes. The nearly ten thousand pages comprising the eight volumes of the General History of Africa Collection, published in English, French and Arabic, were completed between the 1980s and the 1990s.

Besides providing a perspective from the continent, the work fulfils the role of showing to society that African history is not confined to the slave trade and poverty. In order to disseminate this new look on the continent among the Brazilian population, UNESCO in Brazil, in partnership with the Department of Continuing Education, Literacy and Diversity of the Ministry of Education (Secad/MEC) and the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCAR), has made possible the complete edition of the Collection in Portuguese, today still considered the major reference work on the matter.

The initiative aims at filling a gap in the Brazilian educational development concerning the legacy of the continent for the national identity.

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