The eternal question within economic history is why some societies have grown rich while others have stayed poor. For us to understand where we have ended up today, we need to know where we come from and what has influenced various pathways of development. This is why historical knowledge is so important. In this free, open access source we compile chapters from various scholars with expertise in African socio-economic or political history who are committed to spreading knowledge and communicating academic research. The textbook is aimed for both students and a wider public audience, in Africa and elsewhere. Our hope is that we in this way can give scholarly support to whoever is interested in engaging with Africa’s major development challenges.