The history of Africa begins with the emergence of Homo sapiens in East Africa, and continues into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states. The recorded history of early civilization arose in Egypt (originally as a part of the Kingdom of Kush pre-dating well recorded history), and later in Nubia, the Sahel, the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa. During the Middle Ages, Islam spread west from Arabia to Egypt, crossing the Maghreb and the Sahel. Some notable pre-colonial states and societies in Africa include the Nok culture, Mali Empire, Songhai Empire, Ashanti Empire, Mossi Kingdoms, Kingdom of Mapungubwe, Kingdom of Sine, Kingdom of Sennar, Kingdom of Saloum, Kingdom of Baol, Kingdom of Cayor, Kingdom of Zimbabwe, Kingdom of Kongo, Empire of Kaabu, Ancient Carthage, Numidia, Mauretania, the Aksumite Empire, the Ajuran Sultanate, and the Adal Sultanate.
From the mid 7th century, the Arab slave trade saw Muslim Arabs enslave Africans following an armistice between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Kingdom of Makuria at the Second Battle of Dongola in 652. They were transported along with Asians and Europeans across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara desert.