In contrast to copper and tin, iron is very widely spread as the great archaeologist Gordon Childe put it “cheap iron democratized agriculture and industry and warfare too”. So the jump to Iron Age technology may have impeded the development of states in Africa by making it more difficult for elite to concentrate and monopolize power.

Africa never experienced the nascent period of political centralization that Europe did during the Bronze Age, perhaps also with a path dependent legacy.

– Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Africa lacked Centralized States – The Role of the Bronze Age

(via davidmcdougall)

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