Wednesday 3 April 2024

Origins of the Gbe Speakers Based on Dna, Linguistic and Archaeological Studies

In the distant past, a group of ancient nomads roamed the vast expanse of the West Sahara, their footsteps echoing across the desert sands. Among them were carriers of Y-DNA haplogroups A3-M13, E-M2, E-M78, and R-V88, ancestors of the Proto-Niger-Congo speakers and Proto-Afroasiatic speakers. As the climate shifted and the Sahara dried, some migrated southward, seeking greener pastures, while some  east into the Nile valley.

We know Proto-Afroasiatic speakers were present in the Wet Sahara due to the discovery of Nabta Playa by Fred Wendorf's joint African-European expedition. Nabta Playa, located in southern Egypt, provides evidence of early human activity dating back to the 10th millennium BCE, including evidence of a complex society engaged in agriculture and ritual practices. This discovery suggests that Proto-Afroasiatic speakers were present in the region during ancient times, contributing to the cultural and linguistic landscape of the area.

Around 11,000 years ago, these intrepid travelers ventured into the fertile lands of what is now modern-day Benin and Togo. They brought with them not just their genetic legacy but also their language, laying the foundation for the emergence of the Aja, Ewe, Phla Phera, Gen, and Fon peoples.

By the time proto-Niger Congo speakers began to split into the Gbe language subgroup, these already possessed many abilities - how to create pottery vessels, practice time-keeping through calendars, fish, engage in symbolic communication, carve stone, craft jewelry items, create figurines, craft basic laws (cooperation ideas for settlements), establish trade networks, make clothing, weave textiles, use beads, develop early weapons, build architectural structures, engage in mathematical thought (addition, subtraction, basic multiplication, division, halving and doubling), establish social networks, use rock engravings, create artifacts with inscriptions, utilize pottery kilns, how to fashion stone tools, create burial artifacts, use ritual objects, exhibit algorithmic thinking, create beds, carve wooden items, align stars in monuments, how to practice, pastoralism, practice religion, display social stratification, engage in limited sea-faring activities, and eventually work with metal tools.

Over the millennia, these early settlers thrived in their new homeland, adapting to the diverse environments and forging connections with neighboring communities. Linguistic research suggests that around 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, their language, Proto-Niger-Congo, began to diverge, giving rise to distinct branches like the Gbe subgroup.

The Aja, Ewe, Phla Phera, Gen, and Fon peoples evolved alongside their language, each carving out their own unique identity and culture. From the bustling markets of Allada to the majestic palaces of Abomey, they built thriving civilizations, leaving their mark on the landscape and the hearts of future generations.

As centuries passed, these communities flourished, engaging in trade, diplomacy, and warfare. They navigated the complexities of regional politics and forged alliances that shaped the course of history. By the time of the founding of Allada, Abomey, Save, and Porto Novo, they had already established themselves as vibrant and resilient societies, testament to the enduring spirit of the Proto-Niger-Congo pioneers who first set foot on these fertile shores. #africa

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