This paper exploits variation between and within countries to examine the legacy of recorded conflicts in Africa in the pre-colonial period between 1400 and 1700. There are three main findings. First, we show that historical conflict is correlated with a greater prevalence of post-colonial con.ict. 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 within countries.