North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present
Phillip C. Naylor
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North Africa has been a vital crossroads throughout history, serving as a connection between Africa, Asia, and Europe. Paradoxically, however, the region's historical significance has been chronically under-estimated. In a book that may lead scholars to re-imagine the concept of Western civilization, incorporating the role North African peoples played in shaping "the West," Phillip Naylor describes a locale whose trans-cultural heritage serves as a crucial hinge, politically, economically, and socially. Ideal for novices and specialists alike, North Africa begins with an acknowledgment that defining this area has presented challenges throughout history. Naylor's survey encompasses the Paleolithic period and early Egyptian cultures, leading readers through the Pharonic dynasties, the conflicts with Rome and Carthage, the rise of Islam, the growth of the Ottoman Empire, European incursions, and the postcolonial prospects for Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Western Sahara. Emphasizing the importance of encounters and interactions among civilizations, North Africa maps a prominent future for scholarship about this pivotal region.
"Naylor's approach is innovative, his research thorough and balanced and most importantly, he exhibits an exceptional empathy for the peoples and cultures of the region whose history remains little understood in the United States. This is a work of exceptional insight that deserves the widest circulation possible."
-John Entelis, Professor of Political Science and Director, Middle East Studies Program, Fordham University
especially during the expansive Middle and New kingdoms. Acquisitions ranged from the aforementioned military technology to musical instruments and clothing. Technologically, Egyptian agriculture benefited from the ancient water-hoist (known from the New 24 ||| n o r t h a f r i c a Kingdom), augmented by the saqia, an ox-driven water wheel believed to be of Persian invention, and later by the Archimedes screw from the Hellenistic period (Ritner 1998, 2–3). Furthermore, Asiatics and
purpose and thematic perspective. Nonetheless, there are other demarcating quandaries when circumscrib- ing North Africa. How far south into the Sahara does North Africa extend? This book principally presents North Africa as stretching from Western Sahara along the Atlantic Ocean, north to Morocco and then east to Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt; it also tangentially includes the Sahara and the Sahel.4 Since scholars often identify North Africa with the Maghrib,5 given my historical
Bejaia, and Constantine, offering some information about these cities.25 Hafsid Tunis, at that time a city of about 100,000 inhabitants, impressed him. He compared Alexandria, “a beautiful city . . . and a magnificent port,” with others such as Calicut in India and Zaytun in China (Ibn Battuta 1929, 46). In Alexandria, he met Burhan al-Din the Lame, a Sufi ascetic. He intuited Ibn Battuta’s love of travel and said that he should visit three Sufi companions, two of whom were in India and the other
identity since I am merely asking that the preservatives of defense, religion, language, art, and history be strengthened by the adoption of Western techniques and ideas. (McNeill and Waldman 1983, 421) Taha Husayn embodied a transcultural epitome. He believed that Egypt’s cultural heritage and character were a composite of three legacies—ancient Egypt, foreign influences (especially Greek), and the Arabs (especially their language) (see Hourani 1991a, 341–342). In addition, a nationalist and
Palestinian guerrillas from Egyptian-held Gaza, Israelis retaliated in a large-scale raid, which killed thirty-eight Egyptians. Relations with Great Britain and the United States concurrently deteriorat- The Decolonization of North Africa ||| 1 7 5 ed. Nasser refused to join the Baghdad Pact, a Middle Eastern treaty organization, supported by the United States. Its members included the United Kingdom, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan. Its aim was to contain possible Soviet threats.13