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AFRICA
AFRICA
182

earth without shade. These deserts, which are not lacking in grandeur and attraction, mark, north and south, the true boundaries of Africa. Beyond them, north and south—to the north, Mauretania, Algeria, Egypt; to the south, the region of Cape Colony—the soil, the climate, the fauna and flora, the inhabitants are no longer characteristically African, but European.

II. The Inhabitants.—The most recent statistics give the population of Africa as from 160,000,000 to 200,000,000 souls. Of these, 128,000,000 represent the black element very unevenly distributed over the 12,000,000 square miles of surface. In some parts it is very dense, as in the valleys of the Nile and of the Niger; in Algeria, Morocco, and Abyssinia; in certain States of the Sudan; near the lakes of the interior, and in the region of Cape Colony; while it is very sparse in great spaces like the Sahara and the Kalahari desert, or the swamps where the tributaries of the Nile and of the Zambesi pour their sluggish currents. The occupation of the continent by the European nations, which put an end to local wars, slave-raids, and, to some extent, to poisonings, infanticide, and human sacrifices, might well lead men to hope for the repeopling of Africa. These advantages, however, seem, in modern times, sadly outweighed by the spread of the dread sleeping-sickness and other contagious diseases, drunkenness, and the breaking up of native family life, due to contact with our civilization. African ethnography presents a very complicated problem. Five thousand years before Christ the valley of the Nile was inhabited by a population already possessing a remarkable civilization. Traces of its occupation even prior to that period, during the Age of Stone, have been found from the Atlas to the Cape, from Somaliland to the Guinea Coast. The question, then, arises, whether these primitive populations may not now be represented by the Negritos, or Pygmies, of Africa, mentioned by ancient authors and once more discovered in modern times. Under the various names of "Akka", "Ba-twa", "A-kwa", "Be-kü", etc., they are met with in scanty groups throughout Equatorial Africa, from the banks of the Tuba to the valley of the Ogowai (French Congo) and that of the Congo. Near the Cunene they come in contact with another population of similar stature (4 ft. to 4 ft. 2 in.), manners, and physical qualities: the "Sân", called "Bosjesmannen" by the Dutch, and "Bushmen" in English. There are two types: one black, the other yellowish; but they undoubtedly constitute distinct races, with well marked ethnic characteristics. There are valid reasons for thinking that these tribes formerly lived in Ethiopia and in the Nile basin. Traces of similar populations are found in Europe; and, at the present day a parallel race represented by the Negritos of the Andamans, Moluccas, and the islands in the vicinity of Indo-China. These little men would therefore seem to have occupied the whole of the ancient continent, scattering from a central point, which, if we may trust certain indications, was the valley of the Euphrates. That which is certain, however, is that the Negritos appear in Africa as a primitive population, which was scattered by the stronger and better organized tribes who came after them. This, moreover, is exactly the notion they have formed concerning themselves, and which has been formed of them by the blacks; they look on themselves, and are looked on by their neighbours, as the first owners of the Earth. It is to them that the forest belongs, with all that it contains, animals and fruits; and it is they who possess the secrets of African nature. Their life is everywhere the same; they are nomads, who make no settled encampments, have no trade, commerce, or farming, neither flocks nor domestic animals of any kind, except a small dog, also found all over Africa, whose life is on a level with the wretched life of his master. These people live by hunting, by what they can pick up or beg from the agricultural or pastoral tribes among whom they live, and whom they supply with meat, ivory, and rubber. Their language as a rule resembles that of the people among whom they have stayed longest. It is, however, among the Sân (Bushmen) that we must look for the race which, it would seem, grew up shortly afterwards by mingling their blood, and possibly their speech, with that of the Negritos (dwarfs). These are the Namas, Nama-kwa, Grikwa (Griqua), etc., known to Europeans by the generic name of Hottentots (a name derived from a Dutch word meaning "brute"). Somewhat taller, of a darker colour, with longer hair, equally prone to obesity, they have fixed villages and lead a pastoral life. Their language, which is agglutinative, with pronominal suffixes, is characterized by the use of four different kinds of "clicks", also used by the San, and which have no equivalent in our alphabet. In the opinion of many scholars—among them, Deniker—the primitive Hottentots before their fusion with the San were the original Bantu. This word (from mu-ntu, "man", "a being endowed with reason", plural, ba-ntu) has been used to designate an important family of languages which stretches from one ocean to the other, from the basin of the Congo and the Victoria Nyanza in the north, to the Orange River and the Limpopo, deducting the Hottentot tribes. Although every tribe in this vast region has its own language, the basis of vocabulary and grammar is common to them all. They are agglutinative in structure, and characterized by pronominal prefixes which not only determine the number and category of the noun, but extend to the adjective and the verb by very rational rules, which are always applied. The Bantu, who include, among other better known tribes, the Zulus, Basutos, Matabele, Makua, Wa-swahili, Wa-nyamwezi, Ba-ganda, Ba-congo, Uepongwé, Fang, etc., present a great variety of types, due, no doubt, to divers mixtures of race, which, as a rule, it is difficult to trace very far back. Their manner of life seems to depend chiefly on the country they live in; they are farmers, shepherds, and fishermen. Certain tribes, such as the Ba-ganda, have formed, and still form, large communities with regular institutions, generally in the form of an autocratic government. Most of them, however, have maintained their patriarchal life, and are scattered in little villages, practically independent of each other. Moreover, litigation and war, slavery, polygamy, the practice of a degrading fetishism, with their train of legal infanticide, trials by poison and by fire, arbitrary condemnations, poisonings, human sacrifices, and even cannibalism, prevail more or less extensively, and to a greater or less degree among all these interesting peoples. Besides the lands occupied by the Bantu, there are to be found in the valleys of Senegal, Gambia, of the Niger, Lake Tchad, and Bénué, strong and numerous tribes of a more markedly negro type, of great stature, strongly dolichocephalous, with very black skins, rounded foreheads, thick lips, and frequent prognathism. These tribes, sufficiently varied in appearance, are often known under the generic name of Nigritians, and are divided into four principal groups: the Nilotic negroes, such as the Mittu, the Bari, the Bongo, the Sandé, etc.; the negroes of the central Sudan, such as the natives of Bornu, Baghirmi, Wadaï, Darfur, Kordofan, etc.; the negroes of the western Sudan, such as the Sonrhaï, the Mossi, the Mandinké, and their kinsmen (Malinké, Bambara, Soninké); and, finally, the coast, or Guinea, negroes, such as the Volof, the Sener, the Susu, the Aku, the Ashanti, the Fanti, the people of Dahomey, the Egbas, the Yoruba, the Mina, the Ibo, etc. These tribes