Conceptual Clarification Of East And Central Africa


In order to have a clear understanding of Bantu migration and subsequent expansion, there is need to have a clarification of the East of Central Africa geographically. It is also important to know the difference ethinic composition in the region.

The East African plateau-land lies within the division of the African continent which is known to geographers as High Africa. It comprises of series of plateaus, mostly over 4,000 feet above sea-level, extending over the southern and Eastern part of the continent. Be that as it may, the term east Africa is usually understood to refere to the three countries of Kenya, Tanganyika and Zanzibar (later merged together as Tanzania) and Uganda. However, for historical purposes, it is worth giving the region a somewhat larger extent to include Burundi, Rwanda and Northern Mozambique. By and large, the estern Africa region possesses certain obvious geographical boundaries; the Somali deserts and the mountains of Ethiopia to the north, the great of chain of great lakes – Altert, Kivu, Tanganyika, Nyasa – to the west, the lower Zambezi to the south, the Indian Ocean to the east. But these boundaries should not be considered as natural frontiers limiting movement. Thus, East Africa history has been profoundly influenced by people coming from adjoining regions of Africa and from across the Indian Ocean.

Looking at East Africa geographically, the region is a little less than one million square miles in area. This is however, a striking contrast; a coast of easy access and inviting aspect, backed by an arid and desolate hinterland that rises gradually to a plateau, part of which the highland of Kenya, Southern Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and the border of Lake Victoria – contain some of the richest and most delectable landscape of the whole continent. As rightly asserted by Robin Hallett, the way of visualizing East Africa is to think of the region as made up of island of fertility, with good soil and regular rainfall, separated or bounded by harsher lands of the desert scrub as in Northern Kenya or Tse Tse infected bush as in Central Tanzania.

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