From the mid-18th century, Africa was a thriving continent.
The continent was teeming with gold, cotton, and sugar and had abundant supplies of grain.
The colonial powers saw Africa as a strategic place to secure their trade routes, and in 1803 the United States established a new military base in Cape Town, South Africa.
But the continent wasn’t always a paradise.
Here’s what you need to know about the history of Africa and the world it still lives in.
Africa: The Past, Present, and Future of Africa By: Elizabeth Wysocki, National Geographic cover Illustration: Adam Boulton-Baum, National Press Club