About How Long Ago Did The Bantu Migration Occur

About How Long Ago Did The Bantu Migration Occur?

During a wave of expansion that began 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, Bantu-speaking populations – today some 310 million people – gradually left their original homeland of West-Central Africa and traveled to the eastern and southern regions of the continent.

Using data from a vast genomic analysis of more than 2,000 samples taken from individuals in 57 populations throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS, together with a broad international consortium, have retraced the migratory routes of these populations, previously a source of debate.

Their research reveals that the admixture that occurred as a result of successive encounters with local populations enabled the Bantus to acquire genetic mutations that helped them adapt to their new environments.

Finally, by analyzing the genomes of more than 5,000 African Americans, the scientists have identified the genetic origins of African populations deported as slaves, and confirmed that the Bight of Benin and West-Central Africa were the main ports used for the slave trade to North America. This research was published on May 5 in the journal Science.

What Bantu Expansion?

The Bantu expansion is a hypothesis about the history of the major series of migrations of the original Proto-Bantu-speaking group, which spread from an original nucleus around Central Africa.

In the process, the Proto-Bantu-speaking settlers displaced, eliminated, or absorbed pre-existing hunter-gatherer and pastoralist groups that they encountered.

The primary evidence for this expansion is linguistic – many languages spoken across sub-Equatorial Africa are remarkably similar to each other, suggesting the common cultural origin of their original speakers.

The linguistic core of the Bantu languages, which comprise a branch of the Atlantic-Congo language family, was located in the southern regions of Cameroon.

However, attempts to trace the exact route of the expansion and correlate it with archaeological evidence and genetic evidence have not been conclusive; thus, although the expansion is widely accepted as having taken place, many aspects remain in doubt or are highly contested.

The expansion is believed to have occurred in at least two waves, between about 4,000 and 2,000 years ago (approximately 2,000 BC to AD 1). Linguistic analysis suggests that the expansion proceeded in two directions:

The first went across or along the Northern border of the Congo forest region (towards East Africa), and the second – and possibly others – went south along Africa’s Atlantic coast into what is now the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola, or inland along the many south-to-north flowing rivers of the Congo River system. The expansion reached South Africa, probably as early as AD 300.

What are 3 major effects of the Bantu migration?

The effects of the Bantu Migration were the spread of the Bantu language, culture, agricultural practices, and metalworking skills all across sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately 90 percent of sub-Saharan African languages are related to Bantu in some way.

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