West Africa

West Africa is the westernmost sub region of Africa. West Africa has been defined as including 18 countries:

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cape Verde
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Island of Saint Helena
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • São Tomé
  • Togo

The history of West Africa can be divided into five major periods: first, its prehistory, in which the first human settlers arrived, developed agriculture, and made contact with peoples to the north; the second, the Iron Age empires that consolidated both intra – African, and extra-African trade, and developed centralized states; third, major polities flourished, which would undergo an extensive history of contact with non-Africans; fourth, the colonial period, in which Great Britain and France controlled nearly the entire region; and fifth, the post-independence era, in which the current nations were formed.