Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bantu Expansion: Prehistory to 1400: Africa
Khonsura A. Wilson
The Bantu migration was one of the greatest cultural migrations in African history because it aided in the spreading of language. It established a shared linguistic base for much of central, eastern, and southern Africa's 600 languages. It distributed ancestral traditions and initiated an agricultural revolution with the spread of new crops. It also introduced farming techniques and diffused new ideas of iron-smelting, pottery making, and cooking to central and southern Africa. The major sources of evidence for the expansion are oral, archeological, and linguistic, and they corroborate with each other. Each one has strengths and limitations. The oral evidence is highly dependent on human memory, thus beyond three or four centuries it is not very reliable alone. Archeology is dependent upon material evidence, which may corrode and disappear over time, making carbon-14 dating impossible. In the absence of such evidence, sometimes research concludes a change from one particular form ...