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African History

An Account of the Ancient African Songhai Empire That Existed In the 15th & 16th Century

Brief History Of The Ancient African Songhai Empire That Thrived In the 15th & 16th Century

Ancient Songhai Empire, Africa: The West African region is home to some of Africa’s oldest kingdoms, some of which played critical roles in the growth and development of trade and economies of the region. After the toppling of old kingdoms and their replacement with newer, albeit, smaller ones, changes were inevitable.

These transformations were mostly influenced by warfare, and conquests, and often along the pattern of trade. Thus, the West African societies were largely shaped by the struggle for wealth, and the search for political independence from more powerful empires.

It is on record that the earliest African civilizations south of the Sahara were located in West Africa. Their development came at a time when Europe was undergoing the Dark Age, after the collapse of the Western half of the Roman Empire in around 476 AD.

The people that inhabited West Africa at that period already knew how to smelt iron to make a variety of tools for warfare and help cultivate the land. Farm tools crafted out of iron made agricultural cultivation much easier and more efficient.

The result was an improvement in agriculture and higher yields from the land, leading to prosperity for all and an expanded population. Towns grew larger in size and broad rivers linked up people in these newly built towns through the use of canoe travels.

During this same time, kingdoms sprang up around this region. One of the earlier kingdoms that rose up during this period was ancient Ghana located in the far west. By 300 AD, it has been ruled by no less than 40 kings, a testament to its robust political system that allowed for transition of power without conflict or rancor. The economy was based on iron and gold mining, and supported by agriculture. The products were then traded with Berber societies north of the Sahara.

It was during this same time (1230-1300) that the Mail kingdom of the Mande people steadily rose in prominence. Its ascendancy brought the two kingdoms to loggerheads, leading to a conflict in which the Ghana kingdom was defeated and taken over by the Mali kingdom. The Mali kingdom then established its influence across the region due to the surrounding savannah terrain.

The Mali kingdom collapsed in the 16th century after quarrels over who should succeed the throne, plus rebellion from the Fulani people in Senegambia and the Songhai people. In the end, Songhai became independent of Mali, rivaling it as the leading powerhouse in the West African region.

Culture, Religion, and Monarchy Of The Songhai

The Songhai chose to settle along the banks of the middle Niger River, establishing a nation-state during the 15th century which led to the unification of a large area of western Sudan. It developed into a great civilization, ruled by the dynasty of Sonni from the 13th century up to the late 15th century. Its capital is located in Gao, a city fortified by a wall and cosmopolitan in nature.

By this time, Islam had already been introduced to the royal court of Songhai way back in 1019, although evidence indicates most people remained staunch adherents of traditional religion.

As ruler of the fledging empire, Sonni Ali reorganized the army, equipping it with fleets on the Niger River, with a commander known as the ‘Master of the Water’. Infantrymen captured the best men from conquered territories and enlisted them into the army, swelling its ranks.

The soldiers were well armed with spears, arrows, bows, and leather or copper shields. The full strength of the army was around 30,000 infantrymen and another 10,000 men on horseback. Thus, the defense system in the Songhai kingdom was considered one of the largest and most well-organized forces in western Sudan. It served not only as a political instrument but also as an economic weapon by way of the booty and spoils of war it brought in through the conquering of such cities as Timbuktu and Jenne.

Absolute and centralized power resided with the new monarch based in Gao. One could only approach him in a prostrate position, as he sat on a raised platform surrounded by 700 or so eunuchs. His subjects paid taxes to the king in return for internal and external security, and the royal court was in charge of both the government and the army. A large swathe of estates was owned by the nobility, while the slave subclass worked the fields and cultivated the land.

The Songhai kingdom happened to be the last major empire within the region. Its fall, however, did not indicate an end to kingdoms in West Africa. On the contrary, kingdoms such as Guinea, Benin, and Ashanti in present-day Ghana as well as Dahomey in the north of Benin survived.

This Article Was Culled From Liberty Writers Africa.

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African History

The Great Queen of Nubia, Amani Rina – Kingdom of Kush

The Great Queen of Nubia, Amani Rina – Kingdom of Kush

The Kingdom of Nubia, centered in Sudan and the Southern Egyptian Nile valley, was indeed the ancient Kingdom of Kush. The Kushite period of rule was established in Nubia after the end of the Late Bronze Age and the breakdown of the New Kingdom of Egypt. Throughout its early stage, the Kush kingdom was based around the city of Napata.

Who was a “Kandaka” and where was the name from?
Many people may ask about the title of Kandaka. The name emerged a long time ago, specifically during the era of the Kingdom of Kush, which ruled Sudan more than four thousand years ago. At that time the queens were referred to as the “Kandaka” which means, “The Great Queen.”

A number of historians say that the word “Kandaka” gave birth to feminine European name “Candice”. History also accounts that the name “Kush Kingdom” which is also known as the Nubian civilization or Ethiopia is mentioned in the Bible in the Old and New Testaments in the story of the guardian of the treasures referring to Kandaka as the Queen of Ethiopia.

The word “Ethiopia” was mentioned in the Old and New Testaments, and it referred to the present land of Sudan, not to present-day Ethiopia.

The First Kandaka

The first person to hold the title of Kandaka in the history of Sudan is the first queen, Kandaka Amani Rinas.

According to historians, Amani Rinas was born in the year 40 BC and died in the year 10 BC. She was the wife of the Meroitic King Tretakas and succeeded him on the throne after his death.

Amani Rinas was the first wife of the king, and she was called the Kandaka according to the usual practice, but the title during her reign took on a new meaning: “The Great Queen”.

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Global Black History

The 3,298 Years Old Mummified Face Of Egyptian Pharaoh Seti I

The 3,298 Years Old Mummified Face Of Egyptian Pharaoh Seti I

Ever since the Europeans and Arabs invaded Kemet/Africa, over a thousand years ago, they have been fascinated and obsessed with the vast knowledge and heritage that the African continent houses.

For centuries, they have dug up the ancient graves of notable Africans from various empires, kingdoms, and cultures, in a bid to understand how Africa got to be so magnificent in civilization, technology, and culture.

The more they searched, the more they found undeniable evidence which points to the fact that Africa’s civilization predated European and Western civilizations. This led many Egyptologists and historians to find ways to discredit the Black/African origin of ancient Egypt (Kemet).

For hundreds of years, they have tried to explain that Egypt was built by aliens, whites, or even giants. But all of these lies meet a water-low when pieces of evidence such as the mummified face of Pharaoh Menmaatre Seti I are put on display.

Archaeologists, Egyptologists, and researchers on ancient Kemet (Egypt) were astonished to see the well-preserved face of Seti I. To date, he is renowned as the most well preserved in all of Ancient Egyptian history, and the world at large.

He died 3,298 years ago and ruled when Egypt was at one of its most affluent peaks – precisely 1290 to 1279 BCE. He was the father of Ramesses II – The greatest pharaoh of all time. When he died, Egyptian Mummification was at its absolute peak of perfection.

Although it is disrespectful to exhume the dead in Africa, the opening of his tomb, by the rebellious researcher Giovanni Battista Belzoni on October 16, 1817, contributed to reducing the arguments which claimed ancient Kemet was white.

Seti I was buried at the Valley of Kings. His tomb is known to be the longest in the ancient cemetery of Noble people of Kemet. His tomb was an astonishing 137 meters (449 ft.). Despite being covered with a yellow garment, tomb raiders desecrated his tomb and dismembered his body, messing up the bandages used in mummification and smashing his abdomen open.

They separated his head from the rest of his body. Fortunately, the raiders did not scar his face. Well, that is what we have been made to know. What is left of his mummified body, is today resting among other Egyptian royal mummies in the Cairo museum.

The Life And Achievements Of Seti I

Seti is known to be the second Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, and many consider him the greatest Pharaoh of the New Kingdom of Kemet.

He was a renowned military man, who followed in the footsteps of his father Ramses I who was married to Queen Sitre. He was very powerful, earning multiple titles, such as troop commander, vizier, and head archer.

He commanded the Egyptian army and went on multiple campaigns and battles, during the reign of his father and subsequently during his own reign.

After his father Ramses I died, he ascended the throne and took the name Menmaatre Seti I, as his official pharaoh name. The name meant “Established is the Justice of Re.”

He would later marry the daughter of one of his military lieutenants, named Tuya. Their marriage produced 4 offspring. Their 3rd child, Ramses II would later become Pharaoh in around 1279 BC.

It is not fully clear how long Seti I ruled Egypt. The various translations and accounts put it between 5 to 55 years.

Menmaatre Seti I was the Pharoah who returned Egypt to its lost glory of the 18th dynasty. He led military campaigns into Syria and Libya and expanded the Egyptian empire. He battled the Hittites and kept them from invading Egypt. His army was the first to battle the Hittites.

Before he became Pharaoh, his father, and others before him, had started the restoration of Egypt, from the damages it incurred during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Egyptians knew Seti I as the “Repeater of Births,” because he focused on bringing the relics of Egypt back to life.

Seti I continued the construction of the great hypostyle hall at Karnak, which was started by his father. The hall at Karnak, to date, remains one of the most impressive monuments of the ancient architecture of Kemet.

He went ahead to also build a memorial temple at Abydos, which he dedicated to Osiris, and six other deities. The original colors of this temple still remain today.

He is often regarded as the most preserved mummy in the world. It really shows.

And let this sink in – HE WAS BLACK – AFRICAN TO THE BONE. Not Caucasian. Not alien. BLACK TO THE BONE.

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African History

Archaeologists Discover Eredo, A 9th Century Yoruba City with Incredible Architecture & History

Archaeologists Discover Eredo A 9th Century Yoruba City With Marvellous Architecture

Just off the highway in this nondescript town, in a dirt path that meanders through the dense vegetation and trees of the heavy Nigerian rainforest lies the relics of what is arguably one of the most impressive monuments in sub-Saharan Africa: an extensive, 100-mile-long wall and moat which was constructed some 1,000 years ago.

Known as Sungbo Eredo, the ancient monument was built around a little-known kingdom of the Yoruba, which is one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, and encircles towns and villages. At this site, the Eredo earthen bank goes up to around 70 feet from the belly of a wide ditch, it crimson vertical wall shining with bits of moss.

Very few Nigerians have ever heard of the name, and much fewer have even dared to pay it a visit. Much of the ancient relic lies in ruins, or enveloped in the thick, almost impenetrable jungle forest, totally left to decay by both locals and the government.

However, over the past couple of years, a combined team of Nigerian and British archaeologists and nature preservationists have managed to succeed in mapping the structure following the pioneering work of an earlier archaeologist raised the interest and curiosity of Patrick Darling, an archaeologist at the Bournemouth University of Britain.

Following carbon mapping of the remains of the rampart, it has been established at it dates back to at least the 10th century and is also suggestive of a highly organized kingdom that existed in the deep rain forest at least for 300 years than earlier thought.

Due to the fact that diverse ethnic groups and peoples have lived in what is considered Nigeria over the centuries, and because very few archaeological works have been carried out in the territory over the years compared to other counties in the region, Nigeria is considered a treasure trove of archaeological discoveries.

”What else lies in the rest of the rainforest in Nigeria?” said Mr. Darling, leader of the mapping team. ”There is so much in Nigeria that’s not known.”

Covering an area of approximately 25 miles from south to north and 22 miles from west to east, the Eredo is located in the northeast of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. But, just as it is the case with most historical antiquity in Nigeria, the need to preserve and maintain its historical relevance has attracted very little government interest. This is according to Willie Nwokedi, president of Legacy, a private conservation group based in Lagos.

Under the military, which ruled the country for the most part of its post-independence history since 1960, much of the nation’s historical sites were left in ruins and deterioration. For instance, one could see people walking atop the remains of the walls in Nigeria’s ancient city of Kano.

To compound to the antiquity crisis, many of the country’s museums have been looted, and when artifacts are unearthed, they often end up being sold illegally to collectors overs.

In the words of Beatrice Fisher, an official at Legacy, ”When you are a developing country, the primary goal is to survive. Important issues like preservation of history tend to take a back seat in times of turmoil.”’

The conservation group is preparing to release a map listing 129 historical sites, comprising mosques in old Muslim cities of the north, as well as shrines in the southwest, and British consular houses in the southeast. With Nigeria now firmly practicing democracy, it’s easier for tourists to enter the country and visit some of these historical sites.

Local legend has it that Eredo was built by Sungbo, a rich but childless widow who wanted to leave a legacy by erecting the giant monument. The gigantic edifice, which was probably built over 300 years, served much less as a physical fortification than a spiritual one, according to Mr. Darling.

At its foot were shrines where the local inhabitants left offerings and victuals for the goods to protect them from invading outsiders. ”It’s like a double yellow line for not passing,” Mr. Darling said.

Another traditional practice that has survived to this day within the precinct of the monument is where women come to pray at the foot of the structure in the belief that it will help them with having children. Another interpretation of this practice, according to Mr. Darling, is that they actually came to pray for Sungbo to allow their children to survive and not join the nether world.

In a half-hearted attempt to preserve the site, the Nigerian government built a wall around the burial site back in the 70s, but it has since been overrun by thick bushes and vegetation.

History has it that the Eredo has brought together and unified several villages and communities within the kingdom, although when asked, the current local inhabitants seemed largely unaware of the importance, or historical relevance of the monument.

This Article Was Originally Published On Liberty Writers Africa

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