Before Europe colonised Africa, Why was Africa so underdeveloped and behind on technology, education, literature, etc.?
I was looking for this question for a long time.
I have travelled across the Europe and other parts of the world quite extensively and concluded the following regarding the desire of Europeans colonising other parts of the world.
Europe has been divided among many small countries since many thousand years and these countries were fighting among each other to have a bigger piece of land. More land means more farming and thus more food and other natural products.
Now Africa or maybe other parts of world like India, Latin America were always rich in natural resources and never looked outside to have them. May be food grains or cotton or milk etc, any thing.
European countries have to support their large populations but with very limited resources. Fighting among each other have evolved them with better arms and transportation strategies along with superior warfare tools.
It was very easy for them to conquer farming based civilisations who never fought for food and had plenty of it.
Hope it helps to understand.
Here we go. You see,it wasn't underdeveloped. Africa was divided not in countries but in kingdoms and "tribes"(the "" are because I say it not as an sign of lack of organization,but as a kind of society),those kingdoms had great amount of civilization with architecture,knowledge and wealth,Mansa Musa Mali II,the king of Mali,was actually theoretically the wealthiest man in mankind history,surpassing Rockfellers,Gates,Rotschields and inspiring Black Panther,being told to once in a travel to India,since they had a good navy,wearing clothes fully on gems and gold and giving what it's told to be between 300 and 1000 kg of gold as a gift. Nzinga Mbandi,a queen of Ndongo(Angola today),as they were way more socially advanced than Europe at the time,studied in Portugal and in a quite Game of thrones-ish way rose to power and ruled for more than 40 years,winning the title of "incapturable" for resisting several invasions and to insisting as to be called King,not queen(fun fact,it's quoted that during a diplomatic meeting european man didn't give her a chair because she was a woman,so she ordered a slave to knee on the ground as a chair and sit on his back). As mentioned by others,they had the biggest libraries and pretty much domained world knowledge at the middle age in the islamic north,had a literature of their own as well,plus let's not forget Egypt was in Africa so that will give you a good idea. It's sad to see misconceptions and specially what Africa has become after domination and the Berlin Treaty,that divided the continent as Europe pleased.
Mansa Musa has already been mentioned.
Egypt is well known to have been pretty advanced.
Zimbabwe was named after the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, ruins of an unknown kingdom.
Ethiopia was pretty prosperous a while ago.
Last year they discovered pretty ancient mathematical text in an African country I can't currently recall the name of.
There were pretty developed civilizations here, some of which declined for unknown reasons.