The study presents various cases of demographic and health impacts of major crises, economic, political, epidemiological and climatic, that occurred in sub-Saharan Africa since 1960. The parameters studied were: child mortality, women's fertility, urbanization, level of education of adults, age at first marriage, and height of adult women. Data were derived mainly from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). The approach is a historical perspective, and African trends were analyzed in comparison with corresponding changes in Europe in the 19th and 20th century. The peculiar African crises have induced trend reversals of the parameters: unexpected increase in mortality (11 country), unexpected decline in fertility (2 countries), disturbances in urbanization (2 countries), decreasing level of education (2 countries), and decreasing in age at marriage (2 countries). Some countries in severe crisis combined several handicaps, in particular Madagascar, Rwanda, and Zambia. Regarding anthropometry, a majority of countries were affected by the declining height of adults, with the exception of richer countries in southern Africa and of Sahelian countries less vulnerable to this risk. Regarding marriage, one should add the enormous changes that occurred in recent decades in Southern Africa, due to a deep social crisis.