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Roland Oliver was born in Kashmir in 1923. In 1948 he took up the post of Lecturer in the Tribal History of East Africa at SOAS, University of London, and was subsequently appointed the first ever Professor of African History in the University of London. From his base at SOAS, Professor Oliver pioneered the new discipline of African History. He was the founder-editor in 1960 of the Journal of African History and general editor of the eight-volume Cambridge History of Africa. His book (with John Fage), A Short History of Africa has been translated into fourteen languages.