Location: Central Africa, Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa
Time Period: 3000 BC to Present; term Bantu wasn't introduce until 1862
Language: Bantu, which is where they receive their name
The Bantu people are located on the continent of Africa and make up over 60 percent of the population of Africa. Unlike other groups of the human race who are grouped by their ethnicity, the Bantu people share a common language. In fact there are actually over 400 different ethnicities within the Bantu people yet only one common language.
The Bantu people actually have different languages with Swahili being the most common among the Bantus. However the languages have such similar characteristics that researchers and anthropologists refer to the languages as Bantu, which is where the name of the people comes from.
The majority of Bantu are located in the central region of Africa along the equator. However due to a major migration, one of the largest in the history of the human race, the Bantu can also be found in parts of southern Africa.
The Bantus are believed to have originated from Cameroon but begin migrating around 1000 B.C. Many anthropologists and researchers speculate this occurred due to an overpopulation that resulted in a shortage of food. The banana had just been introduced by Asia to the southern parts of Africa, which created an additional food source. In addition, many believe that the Bantus found land in southern parts of Africa that was more suitable for agriculture.
Also contributing to the migration of the Bantu people were conflicts and splits within their group, as the Bantus people split into Eastern Bantus and Western Bantus. The eastern people moved to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique, while the western Bantus relocated to Angola, Botswana and Namibia.
Regardless of their reason for migration, the Bantus impacted the areas they migrated to. Those that relocated to southern parts of Africa in search of more fertile land found it. They actually introduced crops into the area such as millet and sorghum. It is also believed that they introduced the use of iron tools to aid individuals in their work and daily tasks.