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Bantu Kingdoms

Bantu Kingdoms


This term, which originally meant men (singular muntu) and consists of the definite Ba-ntu and the noun class "people" indicating the human essence (Kiaziku, 2007, pp. 167-170), it is customary to designate currently is the largest language family of its own people in Africa Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, and the people who speak the same languages ??(over 600) in this family (Vansina, 1995, pp. 173-195). The onset of Bantu kingdoms which dates roughly from the end of the Iron Age is a striking phenomenon in the history of these peoples. In reality, it reveals the beginning of the settlement of different groups, with the advent of matriarchal agricultural civilizations.


The southern half of Africa was inhabited by the Khoisan speaking people before the arrival of Bantu people (Goodman, 2003, pp. 206-207). Today they are referred to the arid regions of Kalahari and also around few of isolated regions of Tanzania (Oliver, 1966, pp. 361-376). The African Pygmies inhabited the central while others who used to spoke Asian languages replaced the north and northeast Africa. The origin of Bantu is explained by two theories. Malcolm Guthrie (1967) suggested in his publication “The Classification of the Bantu Languages” that though the Nigeria-Cameroon border region is the basis of the oldest Bantu language but after that a small group of Bantu-speakers migrated to the lengths of the rivers of Congo basin until they got to the upper Congo region (Lulaba) in the region of Lake Kisale on the southern border of the forest. Guthrie argued that from this point the chief dispersal happened towards north, east, west and south. He found that much of those stereotypical languages were spoken in the Democratic Republic of Southern Congo (DRC) and Zambia. This theory was soon challenged by Joseph Greenberg in 1963. He compared and analysed many African languages and came to know that a set of languages that were spoken in south-eastern Nigeria were closely linked to the Bantu language. According to his theory Bantu language was one of the other which extended itself to the east and south over the course of more than hundred years. This theory was soon challenged by Malcolm Guthrie who also studied and analysed the Bantu languages (Greenberg, 1972, pp. 189-216). Today the truth about the origin of Bantu people is a fusion of both the theories. It suggests that the Bantu speaking people first originated from the area near the Benue River which is located in south-eastern Nigeria and then extended over the Zambia.

Roots of Bantu

The Bantu speaking people migration changed the history of Africa by dispersing the ironworking technology to south and east parts of the equator almost half of the continent (Holloway, 2005, pp. 43). By the year of 1500 B.C, the Bantu languages were only spoken in the area between Cameroon and the Niger River. However, by 500 A.D. these languages were spoken in almost every part of the 10th parallel north of the Africa south. This change in language patterns occurred after the ...
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