Repost from the old site. Deals with the crazy White nationalist notion that African Blacks were “Paleolithic Stone Age hunter-gatherers” on contact. In truth, there are very few hunter-gatherers left not only now, but there were few left even in the last century.
Some commenters on the old site, reacting to the The Development of Agriculture in Africa post, have continued to insist that most modern Black Africans were hunter-gatherers upon contact. Examples are here:
While you are correct in some senses to say that agriculture existed among SOME Black African tribes, MOST Black Africans were not at all agriculturists but remained hunter-gatherers and scavengers well in to modern times.
Only in the past few decades have most Black Africans been FORCED in to adopting agriculture because there are now too many people to feed there and not enough space left in the most populated parts of Africa for hunting/gathering/scavenging…
…There was certainly some agriculture being practiced in Sub-Saharan Africa, I don’t dispute that…however, it was limited and, as I wrote, the majority of Black Africa still got most of their food by hunting/gathering/foraging and not through systematic forms of agriculture.
Because of its tropicality, many parts of Africa were/are lush and full of food which is easy to find and eat, fruits and berries and nuts and such, or easy to hunt game — thus why would they waste their time with intensive, work-heavy agriculture when much was already available to just grab and eat?
Also, as is the case elsewhere, some tribes were more agricultural than others — you cannot make a blanket statement saying “ALL Black Africans practiced agriculture” when the fact is that many/most were still nomads, or herders, or hunters, or foragers, or some combination thereof.
This is just so wrong, but it’s standard White nationalist tripe. This nonsense needs to be combated head-on.
I am doing some research on this right now. The sequence of civilization follows this pattern:
Paleolithic: Hunter-gatherers, Stone Age.
Neolithic: Agriculture and/or animal husbandry Agriculture + animal husbandry is called “full array” agriculture, stone tools.
Copper Age: Metallurgy involving copper.
Bronze Age: More advanced metallurgy involving bronze.
Iron Age: Even more advanced metallurgy involving iron.
That’s about where it ends.
Modern Paleolithic hunter-gatherers included many of the tribes of the Americas, especially in North America and the Amazon.
There are not a lot of hunter-gatherers in the modern era.
Of course there were many in North America. And all of the Aborigines were hunter-gatherers.
Many of the Siberian tribes were said to be hunter-gatherers. Eskimos like the Yupik were hunter-gatherers, as were the Chukchi.
In Siberia, the Itelmen, the Khanty, the Nganasan, the Evenki, the Ket, the Yukaghir and the Nivkhi were all said to be hunter-gatherers.
In Japan, the Ainu were hunter-gatherers.
There are two groups of modern African hunter-gatherers:
The Mikea of Southwestern Madagascar. In fact, they are not pure Africans – they are Africans mixed with Indonesian. Mikea gathering. Mikea hunting. Mikea fishing . Hunter-gatherers were discovered in Madagascar by the first Europeans who went there.
There were a few hunter-gatherers in India, including the Chenchu, the Birhor, the Nyaka, the Paliyan and the Andaman Islanders. The Andaman Islanders are still hunter-gatherers.
In SE Asia, there were the Aeta, the Batek, the Batak, the Jahai and the Dulong/Drung/Derung.
The Aeta are the Negritos of the Philippines.
The Batek, the Batak and the Jahai are Negrito groups in Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula. Collectively, they are known as Semang in Malaysia and Mani in Thailand.
The last one, the Drung, is a very interesting group living in Yunnan where China, Burma and Tibet all come together.
The Drung are probably the only known hunter-gatherer group from China.
Drung women participating in some ceremony. They are pretty acculturated now and practice farming, read, write, trade, etc. These women just look Chinese to me, but this picture does not have good resolution and I’m not very good at parsing out Asian types.
Getting back to Africa, Africa in the Iron Age: c.500 BC-1400 AD, Chapter 3, Late Stone Age Hunter-Gatherers in Africa South of the Equator, quotes Malcolm Guthrie, the great Africanist linguist, on the subject.
It’s true that agriculture came to this region (Africa south of the Equator) later, but it did come in the past 2,000 years. The proto-Bantus expanded out from the Cameroon-Nigeria border region and rapidly colonized all of Southern Africa. The Paleolithics they displaced were mostly or all Khoisan types – archaic Africans, not modern Africans.
This is known as the Bantu expansion. It was driven by agriculture and in particular iron technology. We can reconstruct many terms for agricultural crops in proto-Bantu, but not many for hunting. This was clearly primarily an agricultural-based culture. We can also reconstruct terms for iron implements and tools. Yes, Bantus were smelting iron 2,000 years ago. Some primitives.
White nationalists really need to dump this “Africans are/were primitives” crap. It’s true that they did not reach a very high level of civilization, but they definitely had settled agriculture, animal husbandry and metalworking. Those are some profound cultural achievements in their own right.
It also doesn’t have a lot to do with IQ. Hunter-gatherers in Siberia and Japan probably have IQ’s around 95-100 or so, but not much research has been done. Eskimo hunter-gatherers have IQ’s around 91. True Stone Age hunter-gatherers in the Americas have IQ’s around 87. Metalworking, herding African agriculturalists have IQ’s around 67.
- Lee, Richard B. and Daly, Richard Heywood. 1999. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Oliver, Roland and Fagan, Brian M. 1975. Brian M. Africa in the Iron Age: c.500 BC-1400 AD. Chapter 3: Late Stone Age Hunter-Gatherers in Africa South of the Equator, pp.22-33. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.