Religion In Sub- Saharan Africa Essay

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Religion in Sub- Saharan Africa Religion in Sub-Saharan Africa has changed and evolved over the last two to three thousand years in many different ways. Religions were affected by the expansion of European colonialism in the 19th century, Christianity, and in some cases before the Muslim expansion from the Arabian Peninsula. Islam entered Sub-Saharan Africa in the eighth century from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, making its presence felt among the indigenous peoples who inhabited this expanse. Other transplanted religions have had almost no impact upon Sub-Saharan traditions. With the exception of Judaism, the religions did not make any permanent incursion into the region until the 19th or 20th centuries. Each ethnic group located in a particular territory developed its own religion, usually associated with places of origin, with particular myths, with different ways of understanding God's role in its localized societies, and with the role of the spiritual world in its communal and social life. Over the centuries, groups moved to other areas looking for natural resources needed for their subsistence. Consequently, African indigenous traditions became linked with places of origin, and narratives of migration and cultural and religious adaptation came to be related to communally perceived sacred places. Ethnic groups were sometimes absorbed by other groups or, as in the case of the Chamba, individuals within groups were assimilated into other groups. This all points to the presence of religion in pre-colonial Africa and also the syncretic and evolutionary character of indigenous African religion as religious practices changed, were adopted by others, and provided cultural ways of explaining origins and human life in the present and in the future. While Islam expanded through the trade caravans, making a particular impact in West Africa and the Sudan before the

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