Routledge is proud to be re-issuing this landmark series in association with the International African Institute. The series, published between 1950 and 1977, brings together a wealth of previously un-co-ordinated material on the ethnic groupings and social conditions of African peoples.

Concise, critical and (for its time) accurate, the Ethnographic Survey contains sections as follows:

  • Physical Environment
  • Linguistic Data
  • Demography
  • History & Traditions of Origin
  • Nomenclature
  • Grouping
  • Cultural Features: Religion, Witchcraft, Birth, Initiation, Burial
  • Social & Political Organization: Kinship, Marriage, Inheritance, Slavery, Land Tenure, Warfare & Justice
  • Economy & Trade
  • Domestic Architecture

Each of the 50 volumes will be available to buy individually, and these are organized into regional sub-groups: East Central Africa, North-Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, West Central Africa, Western Africa, and Central Africa Belgian Congo.

The volumes are supplemented with maps, available to view on routledge.com or available as a pdf from the publishers.


chapter |2 pages


chapter |1 pages


chapter |1 pages


chapter |1 pages

Territorial Groupings

chapter |10 pages


chapter |4 pages

Physical Type

chapter |1 pages

Language and Literature

chapter |3 pages

Physical Environment

chapter |9 pages


chapter |1 pages

Settlement Patterns

chapter |2 pages

Main Cultural Features

chapter |6 pages

Major Phases of the Life Cycle

chapter |4 pages

Religion and Magic