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Because there is way too much ignorance and a bunch of awesome civilizations, I'm starting an African history thread. First up, the OG cool culture that wasn't Egypt (although they also were, sort of): Nubia. Nubia is actually more of a place (the civilizations there had names like Wawat, Irthet and Kush), located beyond the second cataract of the nile. After being conquered by the Hyksos and then absorbing them China-style, a newly-invigorated Egypt conquered most of this region and turned it into a colony. After a long while (about 500 years), the Egyptian state became all crusted up and useless (a periodic thing for Egypt), splintered into the upper and lower kingdoms and was finally taken over wholesale by the Kushites. Thereafter Kushite Egypt found itself at war with the Assyrians (who were mean SOBs of the first order, and were the first major users of iron tools), held them off and eventually fell to a former Assyrian satrapy coming out of Sais. The Kushites withdrew and Egypt returned to business as usual: repeatedly being invaded, absorbing successive foreign dynasties, brother-sibling incest and necromancy, in pretty much that order. The Kushites struggled on after this, before seeing a second flowering in the form of an institutional move to the city of Meroe - which was located further South than the previous capital. This movement produced something of a renaissance, and for a time Meroitic civilization flourished as a trade empire (especially in iron) distinct from Egypt both culturally and technologically. In the process it fended off some of the bigger powers in the region, including the Romans. In due time, however, Meroe itself succumbed to age, changing climate and trade, and the intrusions of neighbouring Axum. From a military perspective, the Nubian area is interesting because of the strong emphasis on the bow. Nubian archers were prized as mercenaries, and came armed with longbows (and later composite bows and thumb rings). They showed remarkable consistency in this and could be found shooting fools full of arrows in armies ranging from bronze-age Egypt to late-period Persia. This picture is both full of shit and the only decent image I could find. So it goes.