This article exploits variation between and within countries to examine the legacy of recorded conflicts in Africa in the precolonial period between 1400 and 1700. There are three main findings. First, we show that historical conflict is correlated with a greater prevalence of postcolonial conflict. Second, historical conflict is correlated with lower levels of trust, a stronger sense of ethnic identity, and a weaker sense of national identity across countries. Third, historical conflict is negatively correlated with subsequent patterns of development looking at the pattern across grid cells within countries.
Published on《 American Political Science Review》 in May, 2014.