Watch Africa's Great Civilizations
- 1 Season
Africa's Great Civilizations is a 6-episode documentary series that premiered on PBS on February 27, 2017. The show was hosted and presented by renowned scholar and historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr. The series explores the rich and diverse history of the African continent, from ancient times to the present day, through a combination of breathtaking visuals and detailed analysis. In each episode, Gates takes viewers on a journey through Africa's great civilizations, starting with prehistoric times and moving all the way up to the present day. He explores the ancient kingdoms of Nubia, Ethiopia, and Mali, among others, and delves into the powerful empires of Egypt, Carthage, and the Kingdom of Kush. Throughout the series, Gates emphasizes the incredible diversity and complexity of African cultures and societies, challenging long-held misconceptions and stereotypes about the continent. He also provides insights into African contributions to world civilization, including innovations in art, architecture, science, and technology. Along the way, Gates enlists the expertise of a variety of scholars and experts, including archaeologists, historians, and cultural commentators. He also introduces viewers to a range of African voices and perspectives, from traditional griots and village elders to contemporary artists and entrepreneurs. The first episode of the series, "Origins," sets the stage by exploring the deep roots of African civilization, from the earliest human settlements to the rise of Egypt and the spread of Bantu-speaking peoples across the continent. Gates also examines the role of climate change and environmental factors in shaping African history. In subsequent episodes, Gates explores the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires, including the powerful civilizations of Axum, Great Zimbabwe, and the Kingdom of Benin. He also looks at the impact of external forces such as the transatlantic slave trade and European colonization on African societies and cultures. Despite the often difficult and painful aspects of African history, Gates maintains an optimistic and celebratory tone throughout the series. He highlights the resilience and creativity of African peoples, and celebrates the vibrant diversity and richness of African cultures past and present. Overall, Africa's Great Civilizations is a compelling and insightful exploration of one of the world's most diverse and fascinating regions. Through Gates' masterful storytelling and the stunning visuals, viewers gain a new appreciation for the richness and complexity of African history and culture.