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The Gulf Coast lowlands form one of Mesoamerica's richest and most diverse regions. The equally rich and distinctive precolumbian societies that occupied the region played a crucial role in the development of the Mesoamerican cultural tradition. The outstanding cultural developments of the region's cultures and the desires of its neighbors to control its wealth are not surprising, and these two recurrent themes account for the area's tremendous importance in precolumbian times. This chapter looks at the archaeological record of precolumbian cultures and traditions. It focuses on the cultural and linguistic groups observed by Europeans after the Conquest. The chapter employs the generalized Mesoamerican chronological framework used by most investigators, with the caveat that many placements depend more on faith and accepted wisdom than on archaeologically verified information. This generalized cultural sequence is divided into eight time periods: the Paleoindian and Archaic, Early Formative, Middle Formative, Late Formative, Early-Middle Classic, Late Classic, Early Postclassic, and Late Postclassic.
Islam was still a new faith when it was carried across North Africa and down the East African coast. The particular adaptations of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa were typical of the variety of Muslim communities on other frontiers of the Islamic world. Islam had spread along trade routes into the West African rain forest, as in Asante, and in south-western Nigeria it was well established by 1905 in several Yoruba towns. On the eastern fringes of Ethiopia, Islam had long been dominant, and there was another string of Islamic communities along the East African coast, from the Horn to the Portuguese colony of Mozambique. Appeal to jihad against backsliders and infidels was frequently synonymous with reform and expansion in Islamic polities during the nineteenth century in Africa. The four regions in which militant Muslim resistance to colonial rule proved to be the most determined, the Sudan, Somaliland, Libya and Morocco, were Islamic states flourished at the time of European conquest.
African history has been too much dominated by blanket terms, generalisations which prompt comparisons rather than contrasts. African authorities lost the race for power and, as they did so, became increasingly divided. Europeans accumulated power, but were not much less divided over how to convert it into authority. In the mid-1880s the first scramble for Africa took up a number of threads of African history. Western Africa was divided between two contrasted frontiers of trade and belief. The savanna states of the Sudan, recently revolutionised by Islam, were orientated to internal trade and the northern outlets over the Sahara. An examination of these frontiers of change can help to illuminate the wide variety of the African experience of colonial conquest. Robinson and Gallagher's earlier explanation was continental in scale and attracted attention because they took changes in Europe and in Africa equally seriously. The mass of Africans were still more unwilling to play their part in the scheme of reconstruction.
This bibliography presents a list of titles that help the reader to understand the archaeology and ethnohistory of Mesoamerica and the north of Mexico, from 1514 to 1960. Religion and world view in Mesoamerica have been better approached during the two last decades through the analysis of the indigenous manuscripts and the findings of archaeology. Several of the major sixteenth-century European chroniclers of Spanish exploration and settlement in the New World provide primary material concerning the native customs of the Greater Antilles, northern Venezuela, the northern half of Colombia, and lower Central America. Architects have recently made major advances in the description, measurement and interpretation of Andean urbanism. A special feature of Andean historiography is the search for explanations of the rapid collapse of the Inka state after 1532. The social anthropology of the tribes before the European conquest should be deduced by reference to studies of modern tribes.
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