Bibliographic data

Mveng, Engelbert: Histoire du Cameroun. Centre d'Édition et de Production pour l'Enseignement et de la Recherche, 1984, 28–29.

The First Men in Cameroon

[p. 28]


Today the opinion of the scholars is, thus, more unanimously: from Father Teilhard de Chardin a to Abbé Breuil, b from Professor Leakey c from East Africa to M. Raymond Mauny d mankind was born in Africa . (1)

At the third Pan-African Congress of Prehistory which was held in Livingstone from 22 to 29 July 1953 Professor Henri Vallois e declared – in presence of Professor Leakey – that probably the first man came from Africa. In the same year Dr. M. D. Jeffreys, professor at the University of Witwatesrand dared to affirm in front of his students:

“The Whites are only pale specimens of primitive men whose skin was strongly pigmented. When the first men lived, as it seemed to be certain today,

[p. 29]

in Central Africa they must have had black skin, if they wanted to survive. Primitive white men would inevitably have been disappeared.

The First Man in Cameroon

As we have seen, the prehistoric Africa was, thus, studied thoroughly. Nevertheless, when we open general works and the big histories of Africa we are surprised to see that Cameroon remains completely unknown. Neither in Baumann f and Westermann, g nor in Delafosse, h Frobenius, i Seligman, j Hardy, k Julien, l Labouret m and recently Cornevin n we find a real study of our country. Even the specialists of prehistory had the same lack of knowledge until recently. Abbé Breuil as well as R. Mauny and Leaky seem to hardly have known Cameroon.


[a] Editor's note: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a French Jesuit priest and natural scientist, who tried to find a consensus between religion and science. The Catholic church regarded his works as a threat for traditional theology and censored most of them. Most of his writings were circulated and translated into different languages only after his death. See Wikipedia, (29.06.2016).

[b] Editor's note: Henri Édouard Prosper Breuil (1877-1961) was a French prehistorian and catholic priest who was specialized in Paleolithic art and cave painting. This field of interest often brought him to Africa in the 1940ies and 1950ies. See Wikipedia, (29.06.2016). The French term Abbé means abbot .

[c] Editor's note: Louis Seymour Bazett Leaky (1903-1972) was a Kenian paleoanthropologist and archaeologist who demonstrated – with the help of his wife – that men evolved in Africa. See Wikipedia, (29.06.2016).

[d] Editor's note: Raymond Mauny was a French historian who was specialized in the pre- and early history of Africa. See Wikipedia, (29.06.2016).

[e] Editor’s note: Henri-Victor Vallois (1889-1981) was a French anthropologist and paleontologist. He was the director of the Musée de l’homme in Paris, the Laboratoire d’Ethnologie des Hommes actuels et des Hommes fossils and a professor at the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle. See Wikipedia, (29.06.2016).

[f] Editor's note: The German ethnologist, Africanist and culure historian Hermann Baumann (1902-1972) was the author of one of the most comprehensive German works of Africanistic, Die Völker Afrikas und ihre traditionellen Kulturen (The peoples of Africa and their traditional cultures). See wikipedia, (06.07.2016).

[g] Editor's note: The German Africanist und ethnologist Diedrich Hermann Westermann (1875-1956) was one of the founders of modern African linguistics. See Wikipedia, (06.07.2016).

[h] Editor's note: Maurice Delafosse (1870-1926) was a French colonial offical and ethnographer who was the first European who studied the pre-colonial African history. See Wikipedia, (06.07.2016).

[i] Editor's note: The German ethnologist Leo Frobenius (1873-1938) founded the „Afrika-Archive“ in 1989 in Munich, which was later renamed into Institut für Kulturmorphologie (Institute for Cultural Morphology). During his lifetime he traveled to Africa for several research expeditions and he published a collection of African folk tales. SeeWikipedia, (06.07.2016).

[j] Editor's note: The British physician and ethnologist Charles Gabriel Seligman (1873-1940) published in 1930 the ethnographic work Races of Africa. SeeWikipedia, (27.07.2016).

[k] Editor's note: The French historian Georges Hardy (1884-1972) was engaged in a reform of the school system in French West Africa where he was a director of a colonial school in the 1920es. See Wikipedia, (06.07.2016).

[l] Editor's note: The French journalist and historian Charles-André Julien (1891-1991) was specialized in the history of the Maghreb. One of his most famous works was the Histoire de l’Afrique du Nord (History of North Africa) which was published in 1931. SeeWikipedia, (06.07.2016).

[m] Editor's note: The French soldier and colonial officer Henri Labouret (1878-1959) was together with Diedrich Hermann Westerman the head of the International African Institute in London and published several books on the African history and languaes. See Anthropophagie et Histoire, (06.07.2016); Wikipedia, (06.07.2016).

[n] Editor's note: Robert Conrevin (1919-1988) was a French colonial administrator and historian of Africa. SeeWikipedia, (06.07.2016).


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