Before the colonial era people in Africa were divided into a
multitude of different nationalities, ethnic and linguistic groups.
These societies co-existed either in independent multi-ethnic
states, and independent political or social units. Although it is
difficult to categorize all these different groups, most peoples
identify themselves with their native language.
After the colonial partition of Africa many of these groups
were lumped together to form one nation. An example of this is Chad
where two very different regions and peoples united to form one
nation. Another example of the effects of these divisions is
Somalia in which the Somali peoples were divided into 5 different
regions. Situations like these have been the cause of numerous
internal problems as well as border conflicts. But some of these
countries have been successful at blending various groups to share
Ethnic groups in Africa have often been referred to as tribes
which is a bias and loosely defined term. There are ethnic groups
that are in the millions but are called tribes, and small villages
that are also called tribes. It is best to identify a people with
the language they speak.
There are a wide diversity of peoples in Africa. Over the
centuries many of these peoples have spread or mixed with other