This is a radically revised version of The African Middle Ages 1400–1800, and the companion volume to the authors' well-known Africa since 1800. It follows the overall plan of the original, but now begins 150 years earlier, and considers recent literature in African historical studies. The earlier starting date enables a more distinctly African viewpoint. By about 1250 AD African societies were greatly expanding their political and economic scope. Islam was spreading south across the Sahara from Mediterranean Africa, and down the Indian Ocean coast. Medieval Africa continues into the period of European contacts from the 15th century onwards, with some emphasis on the growth of the trans-Saharan, Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trade. The book stresses both the strengths and weaknesses of African societies as the eighteenth century drew to a close. This volume will be an essential introduction to African history for students, as well as for the general reader. It is illustrated with a wealth of maps.