African History: A Very Short Introduction looks at Africa's past and reflects on the changing ways it has been imagined and represented by examining the unity and diversity of African cultures, slavery, religion, colonial conquest, the diaspora, and the importance of history in understanding contemporary Africa. Africa has been known as ‘the cradle of mankind’, and its recoverable history stretches back to the Pharaohs. But the idea of study of ‘African history’ itself is new. Why is it still contested and controversial? Who invented the idea of ‘Africa’? How is African history pieced together, given such a lack of documentary evidence? How did Africa interact with the world 1,000 years ago?