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Mohammed Hassen Ali

Oromo king of the Gibe region, in southwestern Ethiopia, was crowned in 1878. A year after his accession to power, Abba Jifar invaded the neighboring Oromo state of Gera with around twenty thousand men. This attack on a flimsy pretext was a show of force for the neighboring Oromo leaders, demonstrating his determination to dominate the political landscape of the Gibe region through threat or use of military power, diplomacy, and marriage alliances. He was not destined to dominate the Gibe region as the king of Shewa soon occupied it. Though Abba Jifar could mobilize tens of thousands of men for war, his army suffered from major weaknesses and lack of modern firearms and training.

In fact Abba Jifar came to power at a time of dramatic change in modern Ethiopian history when the clouds of conquest and destruction were hanging thick and low over the future of all ...

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Mohammed Hassen Ali

last king of the kingdom of Jimma in Ethiopia, scholar, was born in Jiren, the political capital and commercial center of southwestern Ethiopia. As a young man Abba Jobir received the best Muslim education under several prominent Muslim scholars who settled in Jimma during the reign of his famous grandfather Abba Jifar II (r. 1878–1932).

His grandfather was the most famous, wealthiest, and most popular Oromo king throughout Ethiopia during the second half of the nineteenth century. He was a very foresighted politician who had an excellent grasp of the importance of firearms in warfare. He sent agents to the expanding kingdom of Shewa and realized that King Menilek had superiority in weapons; therefore, he peacefully submitted to Menilek. Although four other Oromo kings who resisted Menilek were destroyed, Abba Jifar II signed a peace treaty with the Christian king of Shewa in 1882 In exchange for local ...

Article

Holly Hanson

king of Buganda, an ancient polity that maintained a high degree of autonomy under British overrule in Uganda, was born on 8 August 1896 to Kabaka (king) Mwanga and Evelyn Kulabako. Daudi Chwa was placed on the throne of Buganda on 14 August 1897 when he was barely one year old after Mwanga fled the capital and began a rebellion that his leading chiefs refused to support Buganda had no tradition of regency but the only available adult prince Mbogo was Muslim and therefore unacceptable to the most powerful chiefs whose factions in the Ganda civil war had been aligned with Protestant and Catholic Christianity This civil war a result of the destabilizing effects of the slave trade had divided the kingdom during the reigns of Chwa s predecessors Mutesa and Mwanga The polity divided into factions made powerful through the exchange of people for new commodities and guns ...

Article

Faruq  

Matthew H. Ellis

king of Egypt and the Sudan (r. April 1936–July 1952), was born in Cairo on 11 February 1920, the only son of King Fuʾad I and his second wife, Nazli Sabri, notably an Egyptian commoner. After a reputedly solitary and unhappy childhood inside the palace, Faruq briefly attended the Woolwich Royal Military Academy in England, at his father’s insistence. His education there was cut short when Fuʾad died abruptly in 1936 and Faruq rushed back to Egypt to accede to the throne (though he would rule for more than a year under the stewardship of a regency council). Faruq was the tenth and final member of the Ottoman-Albanian Mehmed Ali dynasty to rule in Egypt.

For the first several years of his reign Faruq a charismatic and good looking young king who unlike his father could address his subjects directly in Arabic garnered widespread support and affection among Egyptians ...

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James Jankowski

king of Egypt, was born on 26 March 1868. He was the youngest son of Khedive Ismaʿil; his mother was of Circassian descent. Upon his father’s abdication in 1879, the family moved to Italy. Fuʾad received most of his formal education in Europe, first at the Tudicum Institute in Geneva and later at the Italian Military Academy in Turin. He subsequently joined the artillery corps of the Italian army. An Ottoman citizen, he spent two years as military attaché to the Ottoman Embassy in Vienna before returning to Egypt in 1892. Raised in an Ottoman family and having spent much of his youth in Italy, Fuʾad’s preferred languages were Turkish and Italian; throughout his life his competency in Arabic remained limited.

In Egypt, he served as aide-de-camp to Khedive ʿAbbas Hilmi II from 1892 to 1895 His first marriage to Princess Chivékiar produced two children but ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

king of Morocco, was born on 9 July 1929 to Mohammed V and Lalla Abla bint Tahar. Mohammed V ensured that his son received an advanced education by sending him to the Imperial College at Rabat and then to France. Hassan received a law degree from the University of Bordeaux.

When French colonial officials received approval from the French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault to remove Mohammed V from the throne of Morocco, Hassan was arrested and imprisoned on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica on 20 August 1953. Mohammed and Hassan were then banished to the French colony of Madagascar in January 1954. They returned to Morocco on 16 November 1955 after the French government in Paris ultimately chose to allow Morocco independence rather than have to fight anticolonial wars in Algeria and Morocco Hassan became a key advisor to his father after Morocco gained its independence ...

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Idris  

Ronald Bruce St John

king of Libya, Libyan religious and political leader, descendant of a distinguished North African family that traced its ancestry to the Prophet Muhammad, was the first head of state after Libya won independence in 1951. Born at Jaghbub in eastern Libya, Sayyid Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi al-Sanusi was the eldest son of Sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi al-Sanusi, in turn the eldest son and successor to Sayyid Muhammad bin ʿAli al-Sanusi, the founder of the Sanusi Order, a strictly orthodox order of Sufis established in Libya in 1842. Idris was schooled in traditional Islamic studies at the Kufrah Oasis, a Sanusi center in southeastern Libya, where he earned a reputation for piety and scholarship. After Italy invaded Libya in 1911, an occupation the Sanusi Order resisted with force, Idris assumed leadership of the order in 1916 Idris tried to reach a peaceful accommodation with the Italians but when his ...

Article

Eloi Ficquet

uncrowned ruler of the kingdom of Ethiopia, from 1911 (de facto) or 1913 (de jure) to his deposition in 1916, was born in 1898, in the northern region of Wello that was ruled by his father, Ras Mikael. The latter descended from a dynasty of Muslim rulers and had been a Muslim, under the name of Muhammad Ali, before his conversion to Christianity, when Wello was integrated into the Christian kingdom. His mother was Shawaragga, the daughter of Emperor Menilek. Lij (infant) or Abeto (prince) Iyasu, the only male descendent of Menilek II, was educated as a royal prince, in isolation from his family.

In 1909 Menilek who was severely weakened after a series of strokes prepared his succession and proclaimed Iyasu as the heir to the throne of the kingdom of Ethiopia Despite the official legitimacy that was conferred to him Iyasu s ability to reign ...

Article

monarch, was born in the Kasai Province (in present-day Democratic Republic of Congo) sometime around 1920. Very few details of his youth and childhood are available. His grandfather, Kalamba Mukenge, had made an alliance with the Belgian officer Van Weisman in the 1880s. In 1934 his father was exiled by the Belgian colonial administration. Kalamba attended mission schools in his youth, but the colonial government appointed him in 1946 as the representative of Lulua ethnic communities in the Lulua and Kasai districts Lulua ethnic identity had emerged in the late nineteenth century as Luba speaking clan member devastated by Cokwe and Swahili speaking slave raiders had fled into western Kasai where they were welcomed by indigenous Luba speakers who became known as Lulua in the colonial period Belgian companies and authorities favored the eastern Luba immigrants now known as Luba to distinguish them from the Lulua while ...

Article

Kaumba  

Jeremy Rich

monarch, was born in the Katanga Province of present-day Democratic Republic of Congo around 1880. He belonged to the royal family of the Lunda empire, a state occupied by the Independent State of the Congo headed by Leopold II of Belgium in the early twentieth century. Little is available regarding his early life or his views regarding the subjugation of the Lunda state by European colonizers. After the Belgian colonial administration installed Muteba as mwant yaav (king) of the Lunda state in 1912, Kaumba backed the new king against his rivals within the royal family. Muteba in turn appointed Kaumba as a high-ranking minister. In September 1920 Lunda court officials elected Kaumba as their new king after Muteba's death. Tshipao, an elderly son of the nineteenth-century Lunda king Mbumba, challenged this election just as he had rejected Muteba's appointment in 1912 Tshipao tried to convince Belgian ...

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Maitseo Bolaane

king of the Bangwaketse in Botswana, was born in Thaba Nchu, Lesotho, on 17 August 1933, the eldest son of Kgosi Bathoen II, paramount chief of the Bangwaketse ethnic group, and Mohumagadi Ester Mafane, a princess of the Barolong boo Seleka. Between 1946 and 1949, Seepapitso started his primary education at Rachele Primary School in Kanye, headquarters of GaNgwaketse District. He was later sent to Tiger Kloof Institution in Vryburg, South Africa, to complete his primary education and continue his secondary education. Seepapitso’s parents were staunch believers in education and Congregational Christianity, and Tiger Kloof Institution in Vryburg had been established by the London Missionary Society.

In 1956 the South African apartheid government began regulating education at Tiger Kloof with the introduction of Bantu education As a result Seepapitso left Tiger Kloof for Moeding College a school in Bechuanaland Protectorate now Botswana that was modeled on the ...

Article

Christopher Clapham

emperor of Ethiopia, was born 19 August 1844 in Ankober, Ethiopia, the grandson of Sahla-Silase, king of Shoa, southernmost of the major provinces of highland Ethiopia. The name “Menilek” referred to the legendary son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and prophesied for him a distinguished imperial future. At the age of 11, he was taken into captivity by the new emperor, Tewodros; but as the emperor’s power waned, he escaped and was received with joy in Shoa as its rightful king. Self-proclaimed king of Shoa, Menilek showed signs of imperial ambitions but lacked the military strength to challenge the ruler of Tigray, who became emperor Yohannes IV. When Yohannes advanced on Shoa, Menilek was obliged to submit, in March 1878. During the eleven-year period from 1878 until 1889 when Menilek was in effect the quasi independent ruler of Shoa he laid the foundations of his subsequent ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

king of Morocco, was born on 10 August 1909 in the Moroccan city of Fez. He was the youngest son of his father Yusuf, the sultan of Morocco in the Alaouite dynasty, who was placed on the throne by French colonial officials after Germany accepted a French protectorate over the kingdom in 1911. His mother was Lalla Yaqut.

Mohammed’s childhood was very sheltered and overseen by the French colonial administration. Yusuf’s low profile prior to the French takeover and his close collaboration with the colonial government made him extremely unpopular among most members of the Moroccan elite. Mohammed’s education was thus placed in the hands of an Algerian loyal to France, Si Mohammed Mammeri. On 11 November 1927 Yusuf died without naming an heir Different factions of the royal family the sultan s ministers and the colonial administration struggled with one another over Yusuf s succession Yusuf s ...

Article

Born in Mokhotlong, Lesotho, the eldest son of Paramount Chief Seeiso Griffith, Moshoeshoe II was a direct descendent of Moshoeshoe, the nineteenth-century founder of the Basotho nation. He studied politics, philosophy, economics, and law at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford. Moshoeshoe II returned home before completing his studies to be throned paramount chief of Basutoland in March 1960. When Basutoland became independent as Lesotho in 1966, he was declared king. After Chief Joseph Leabua Jonathan was elected prime minister in 1965, conflict developed over the extent of the king’s power. In 1967 Moshoeshoe agreed to abide by the constitution, which vested executive authority in the prime minister. In the January 1970 general elections Jonathan recognized his party would be voted out so he nullified the elections and suspended the constitution Moshoeshoe was arrested and then exiled in March After agreeing to avoid political activity Moshoeshoe ...

Article

Hannington Ochwada

also known as Nabongo (king) Mumia of Wanga (in present-day Kenya), was born around 1849 in the Wanga kingdom, in what is now Western Kenya.

Oral traditions claim that the first five children born to his mother Wamanya and his father Wamukoya Shiundu died during infancy. This caused some anxiety at the king’s court, because the Wanga believed that such deaths were abnormal and caused by evil spirits. To appease these evil spirits, the Wanga performed an elaborate ritual to protect the newborn child, who was left on the wayside and designated as “rubbish” (Makokha He would then be picked up by someone either by prearrangement or by a stranger while the mother of the child or her agent kept watch The mother or agent then emerged from the hideout to claim the child Wanga folklore claims that the child was picked up by a stranger known as ...

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Phillip A Cantrell

king of Rwanda from 1896 to 1931, and son of King Kigeri IV Rwabugiri, ruled during the periods of German and Belgian colonialism. In 1895 Rwabugiri died and the throne passed to one of his sons Rutarindwa In the following year one of Rwabugiri s wives Musinga s mother Kanjogera along with a number of Tutsi chiefs from her own clan plotted to overthrow Rutarindwa and place Musinga on the throne The plot was successful Surrounded by forces loyal to Musinga Rutarindwa and his supporters took their own lives at Rucunshu and Musinga was proclaimed king at the age of 13 He had no formal education apart from a course in Swahili which in later years equipped him with an ability to communicate directly with colonial administrators Owing in part to his young age and generally weak nature Musinga s reign was generally dominated by his powerful mother ...

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Jeremy Rich

king of Rwanda, was born in that kingdom in March of 1911. His father was King Musinga Yuhi V of Rwanda. His mother was Kankazi Nyiramavugo. His father’s decision not to convert from indigenous spiritual practices to Roman Catholicism alienated missionaries and many colonial officials, who began to search for a new king to replace Musinga by the end of the 1920s.

Kankazi a skillful politician lobbied for her son to become the royal heir However the Roman Catholic bishop of Rwanda Léon Classe initially deemed Rudahigwa to be too weak and possibly a threat to Christian missions The colonial administration had a more favorable view of Rudahigwa however and made him chief of the Marangara province against Musinga s wishes Rudahigwa thus gained control over 10 000 head of cattle and soon extorted more cattle from leading Tutsi aristocrats Affluent Tutsi in Marangara despised the young prince ...

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Kristopher Cote

thirty-fifth kabaka (king) of the Bugandan kingdom and first president of the Republic of Uganda, was born in Kampala on 19 November 1924. His full name when president was Major General Sir Edward Frederick William David Walugembe Mutebi Luwangula-Muteesa. He was the fifth son of Kabaka (King) Sir Daudi Chwa II, who reigned from 1897 to 1939. Muteesa II ruled through a council of regents from 1939 until 1942, when he turned 18 and received his official coronation. He was educated at King’s College Budo, Makerere University, and Magdalene College at Cambridge, graduating in 1948. While Muteesa II was initially an unpopular ruler, his subsequent deportation and exile have left him with a popular legacy.

The first decade of Muteesa II s rule was characterized by a lack of interest in his responsibilities and he later wrote that during his time as a student he was ...

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Eric Young

A heavy-drinking womanizer and a poorly educated monarch, King Mwambutsa, born Mwambutsa Bangiricenge, was described by the Belgian governor of colonial Burundi as leading a “dissolute life.” Many Burundians considered him to be a puppet of the Belgian colonial regime. He began his long reign at the age of two, at the time of his father’s unexpected and mysterious death. While his supporters came to see Mwambutsa as a “just king,” a victim of an unholy alliance between powerful members of his own clan and the colonial administration, other Burundians came to resent Mwambutsa’s unwillingness to enlist Belgian support for their own interclan political struggles. The king played little part in the nationalist movement of the 1950s, but the court retained its popular prestige, and many royal family members became nationalist leaders.

In 1962 Burundi became an independent constitutional monarchy granting the king official control over the military and ...

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Jean-Pierre Chrétien

king (mwami) of Burundi from 1915 to 1966, was born in Nyabiyogi, a royal enclosure situated in the northwest of Muramvya. He was the son of King Mutaga Mbikije, who reigned from 1908 to 1915, and Queen Ngezahayo, a Tutsi of the Banyagisaka clan. His grandfather was King Mwezi Gisabo. Second of the name in Burundian traditions, he was called Mwambutsa IV beginning in the 1930s according to a “long” chronological hypothesis from Rwandan historiography. First educated in familial aristocratic circles, between 1925 and 1929 he received primary education in a school created for him by the Belgians.

His early childhood took place under dramatic conditions. King Mutaga surprised Ngezahayo in an adulterous situation with his half-brother, Prince Bangura, in an enclosure close to Bukeye in 1915 A brawl ensued after which Mutaga and Bangura died The Germans who occupied the country at the ...