mark the evangelist

A brief history of Christianity in the African continent

*this post doesn’t touch on how was used in Christianity western colonialism there will be other posts made for that*
[I have tried to make the reading more accessible for people than and also as short as possible]

Christianity emerged in the Levant* around mid-1st century AD. Christianity in Africa began in Egypt around the 1st century, the Coptic Orthodox Church are believed to be the oldest sect of Christianity in Egypt and one the oldest in the continent along with Ethiopian (Christianity in Ethiopia emerged around the 4th century and existed in the country before that)  and many Copts* still practice it today. According to tradition Mark the Evangelist founded the Coptic founded the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt.                                                                                                                                                           The Kingdom of Nobatia which was established in the 3rd century was a Christian kingdom in what is now lower Nubia. Due to Islamization the Muslim population of Nobatia gradually started to rise but still remained Christian until the invasion of the Funj Sultanate of Sennar. The Kingdom of Makuria (what is now Southern Egypt and Northern Sudan) converted to Christianity near the end of the 6th century but after it was invaded by Muslim armies, the kingdom was cut off from other Christian kingdoms, states, christendom and eventually became a Muslim kingdom.With the addition of the Kingdom of Alwa, these three kingdoms are known as the Christian kingdoms of Nubia

The emergence of Christianity in North Africa’s Maghreb was around the 2nd century. Tertullian (who was born to a Roman father and an Amazigh mother – born in what is now Carthage, Tunisia)  is known as the founder of Western theology was on the prominent and influential figures of Christianity in North Africa. Even after his death, Christianity was spreading rapidly all over the Maghreb. 

Kingdom of Kongo (what is known northern Angola, Cabinda, southern republic of Congo and western Democratic Republic of Congo) became a Christian Kingdom in 1491 when King Nzinga converted to Christianity of his own free will. Despite of the conversion many Bakongo* still practiced their traditional religion, some alongside Christianity. Christianity also influenced traditional Kongo religion and neighbouring kingdoms and states around the Kongo kingdom. The Kongo Kingdom was the Christian only pre colonial kingdom and state in Central Africa


The Levant is a historical geographical term referring to an area in the eastern Mediterranean

Copts are ethno-religious group indigenous to Africa who live mostly in Egypt but also Libya and Sudan. 

Bakongo are a Bantu ethnic group who live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Angola and the Republic of Congo and are descended from the former Kongo Kingdom

Books:

  • Christianity in the Land of the Pharaohs: The Coptic Orthodox Church by Jill Kamil
  • Coptic Civilization: Two Thousand Years of Christianity in Egypt edited by Gawdat Gabra
  • The Kingdom of Alwa by Mohi El-Din Abdalla Zarroug
  • The Spreading of Christianity in Nubia by Michalowski
  • Medieval Christian Nubia and the Islamic World by Jay Sapulding
  • Tanscontinental Links in the History of Non-Western Christianity by Klaus Koschorke
  • Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo by Cecile Fromont
  • The Development of an African Catholic Church in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1491–1750 by John Thornton
  • The Cambridge History of Christianity Volume 2: Constantine to c.600
  • The Disappearance of Christianity from North Africa in the Wake of the Rise of Islam by C. J. Speel
  • Church History: Christianity in Ethiopia by Dale H. Moore