What did people eat in sub-Saharan Africa?
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Millet and yams

Field of Millet
A field of millet

South of the Sahara Desert, in the Sudan, the weather also got drier about 10000 BC, so people also needed to begin farming. But wheat and barley wouldn't grow so close to the equator.

Raw millet
Raw millet grains

So the people of West Africa gradually domesticated local grasses that were similar, especially millet. Millet is a lot like barley and could also be made into bread or mush (like a thick oatmeal).

Cooked millet
Cooked millet

In the rain forests south of the Sudan, you couldn't grow any kind of grasses, because it was too wet and jungly. Here people began to farm root vegetables, especially yams, and so they lived mainly on yams and a lot of dried fish. One kind of food cooked with yams was eto.

YamsCooked yams
Raw and cooked yams

More African food

Bibliography and Further Reading

Food and Recipes of Africa (Kids in the Kitchen.) by Theresa M. Beatty
The People of Africa and Their Food (Multicultural Cookbooks) by Ann Burckhardt
A Taste of West Africa (Food Around the World) by Colin Harris

African Food
Africa Crafts and Projects
Ancient Egyptian Food
Islamic Food
Indian Food
Ancient Africa
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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