The prehistory of African trypanosomiasis indicates that the disease may have been an important selective factor in the evolution of hominids. Ancient history and medieval history reveal that African trypanosomiasis affected the lives of people living in sub-Saharan African at all times. Modern history of African trypanosomiasis revolves around the identification of the causative agents and the mode of transmission of the infection, and the development of drugs for treatment and methods for control of the disease. From the recent history of sleeping sickness we can learn that the disease can be controlled but probably not be eradicated. Current history of human African trypanosomiasis has shown that the production of anti-sleeping sickness drugs is not always guaranteed, and therefore, new, better and cheaper drugs are urgently required.