Arab and European missionaries, merchants, and mercenaries
African history comprises one general African tradition and two principal invasions. Overlays of European Christian traditions and Arab Islamic traditions have given Africa a complex cultural array of ideas. Each in its own way has impacted the life of the continent. One came early and stayed late; the other came late and stayed late. Nevertheless the Christian and Islamic influences changed the structure of African behavior and created new institutions that often competed with or replaced the ancient traditions. Only one country, Benin, remained predominantly dedicated to an African way of thinking. Other nations, some too quickly, gave way to the two invasions, becoming little more than appendages to the cultural and religious traditions of other people.