How can we make premodern African history meaningful?

Premodern history is a topic that I believe to be wrongfully passed over. In school, we never learned about the history of Africa unless it tied in with different topics such as European history. How can we make African history more meaningful than just a side topic to other topics? I believe that if we talked about the amount of influence that Africa had in the past it could show that Africa was a bigger player in the past. An example of this is in the PBS video titled ‘The Shawii Coast: we learn that this coast provided Africa trading with many different civilizations when the video states “On this coast to exchange their wares with other merchants from Europe, from Persia, Arabia and even as far east as China, creating a cosmopolitan society as well connected as any in late medieval Europe”. If Africa was as connected as of late Europe or even more connected we should look at the different ways that African influence traveled with traders from other places. A second example of how we could show the impact of African history is the start of ironworking. In yet another PBS video simply titled “Ironworking” we learn that the discovery of iron may have actually have been in Africa. In the video, the narrator talks about how iron was used as a currency and for agriculture but was later used for tools. If Africa hadn't started the working of iron would we know as much about iron as we currently do now? Africa is a diverse and historically rich country and its a shame that we never learn about it unless it ties in with other topics which is why I belive that we need to show that Africa is more then just a side topic.


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