This course is a survey of major events and social changes that occurred on the continent of Africa before 1800, with an emphasis on those that took place after 500. As the continent encompasses hundreds of different societies, each with its own history, this survey is necessarily far from comprehensive, instead focusing on select cases in various regions that illustrate larger trends and issues. Among the main topics are smaller-scale societies, kingdoms that arose in different parts of Africa, the spread of Islam, the arrival of European traders, and the impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Recurring themes in the course will include state formation, religion, geographic diversity, cultural exchange, and the role of archaeology, linguistics, and oral histories in the reconstruction of Africa's early history. This course fulfills the premodern requirement for the major and minor.