Pyramids from an ancient civilization in Egypt. | "Africa's Great Civilizations: The Cross and the Crescent"

Beginning with Africa's ancient history as the cradle of mankind, this documentary series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. brings to life the epic stories of both little-known and celebrated African kingdoms and cultures.

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Journey with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Kenya, Egypt and beyond as he discovers the origins of man, the formation of early human societies and the creation of significant cultural and scientific achievements on the African continent.

  • 2020-07-06T05:00:00-07:00

The Cross and the Crescent

Gates charts the rise of Christianity and Islam, whose economic and cultural influence stretched from Egypt to Ethiopia. Learn of African religious figures like King Lalibela, an Ethiopian saint, and Menelik, bringer of the Ark of the Covenant.

  • 2020-07-06T06:00:00-07:00

Empires of Gold

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uncovers the complex trade networks and advanced educational institutions that transformed early north and west Africa from deserted lands into the continent's wealthiest kingdoms and learning centers.

  • 2020-07-07T05:00:04-07:00


Gates explores the power of Africa's greatest ancient cities, including Kilwa, Great Zimbabwe and Benin City, whose wealth, art and industry successes attracted new European interest and interaction along the continent's east and west coasts.

  • 2020-07-07T06:00:00-07:00

The Atlantic Age

Gates explores the impact of the Atlantic trading world, giving rise to powerful new kingdoms, but also transatlantic slave trade. Learn of the revolutionary movements of the 18th-early 19th centuries, including the advent of the Sokoto Caliphate.

  • 2020-07-08T05:00:00-07:00

Commerce and the Clash of Civilizations

Gates explores the dynamism of 19th-century Africa, the "scramble" by European powers for its riches, and the defiant and successful stand of uncolonized Ethiopia.

  • 2020-07-08T06:00:00-07:00