Module Fifteen

Introduction to Module Fifteen: Africa and the World

This module is comprised of four learning activities. Teachers may choose to teach the entire module or to select among the learning activities.

Overview: In Module Fifteen: Africa and the World, you will learn about the African diaspora, the dispersal and movement of peoples of African descent to other parts of the world. You will learn about Africans living in Mexico, India, Brazil, Canada and England. You will also study the movement of people back to Africa to the West African country of Sierra Leone.

PURPOSE: Module Fifteen: Africa and the World is intended to explore the movement and dispersion of peoples of African descent throughout the world. In the study of the African diaspora, the focus often tends to be on slavery, the trade in peoples that transported millions of Africans to different parts of the world. Here, we have tried to offer a more detailed sketch of the diaspora, describing the movement of Africans before and after slavery. We work from a more nuanced understanding of what the diaspora represents. According to Ruth Simms Hamilton, the African diaspora can be defined as follows:

"The African diaspora represents a type of social grouping characterized by a historical patterning of particular social relationships and experiences. As a social formation, it is conceptualized as a global aggregate of actors and subpopulations, differentiated in social and geographical space, yet exhibiting a commonality based on historical factors, conditioned by and within the world ordering system." (Simms Hamilton 1990, p.18)

In other words, the African diaspora is composed of all people of African descent who live outside of the continent, whether in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, North America, or South America. The importance of the diaspora to the future of the Africa was officially recognized by the African Union in 2013, when it decreed that the African diaspora would be recognized as the sixth region of the continent along with Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, South Africa and West Africa.  The diaspora has become an importance advocacy voice for Africa, particularly in the U.S., the U.K. and France.  And, the economic potential of the diaspora is reflected in their involvement in the continent:  in 2012, seventeen percent of the direct foreign investment in Africa was by individuals and firms controlled by members of the African diaspora.  There is great potential for these involvements to grow and expand throughout the continent.

In this module, we study five locations in which peoples of African descent live: Mexico, India, Brazil, Canada and England.

The movement of peoples between Africa and the rest of the world is not unidirectional. Very briefly, this module describes the return of peoples of African descent to the West African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia.


After completing this module, students will have learned about

  • When, why and how Africans and peoples of African descent were transported, or moved freely, from Africa to other countries.
  • The conditions in which peoples of African origin lived in the new countries.
  • The contributions that Africans have made to world history.
  • The movement of people back to Africa.

Students will also have the option of using the Internet to find sources and information that will enrich their understanding of Africa and the World and assist them in the development of their Internet skills. These activities are optional, and the teacher who does not want, or have the technology, to include them can elect to skip them.


  • What is the African diaspora? How did it occur?
  • What are some of the ways and reasons that Africans left Africa and settled in other parts of the world?
  • What are the names of some of the countries in which Africans came to live?
  • What was life like for Africans and people of African descent living in these places?
  • What contributions did Africans and people of African descent make to world history?

Begin Module Fifteen with Activity One or choose from one of the other activities