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Richard Watts

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was born to Congolese parents on a plantation in Saint-Domingue (as Haiti was known prior to independence). He was given the name of the plantation owner, Duclos, before adopting the name of the freed black landowner, Dessalines, who purchased his services as a slave. Unlike his future comrade-in-arms, François Dominique Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines was treated harshly as a slave and joined the ranks of maroons (runaway slaves) at a young age. In 1792 he became a partisan of the slave uprising led by Boukman, a slave of Jamaican origin, and impressed his compatriots with his courage. Yet Dessalines committed acts of cruelty that frightened some in the rebellion. His capacity for violence would contribute in equal measure to his precipitous rise and fall.

Following the abolition of slavery in Saint-Domingue in 1793 Toussaint Louverture allied himself with the French Dessalines joined him eventually becoming Toussaint ...

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 ...

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 ...

Article

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

Nathaniel Mathews

Belgian monarch, son of Leopold I (1790–1865) and Louise-Marie of Orleans (1812–1850), was born Leopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor on 9 April 1835. His father was the first ruler of an independent Belgium after the Belgian revolt of 1830. Leopold II became, in 1865 at the age of thirty, the Belgian monarch, inheriting the title from his father. With his wife, Marie Henriette, he had four daughters.

The new king combined remarkable ambition with an uncanny ability to hide his true motives He also felt a strong unease about Belgium s place in European affairs The country was divided by class and language between the impoverished Flemish north and richer French speaking south Leopold II felt its divisions and diminutive size could be only overcome by possessing a colony From an early age he embarked on a long quest using research advocacy and stealth diplomacy in order to ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

Son of Leopold I, the first king of independent Belgium, Leopold II ascended the throne in 1865 intent on finding opportunities abroad to increase his power and personal wealth. He looked at first to the Far East but was soon enticed by the stories of Sir Henry Morton Stanley, an Anglo-American explorer. Stanley’s stories told of potential for wealth in the Congo basin of Central Africa. In 1876 Leopold organized an association to develop Central Africa. He hired Stanley to lead an expedition to the Congo River and establish contacts with the peoples around the river. By 1884 Stanley had made 450 treaties with local chieftains on behalf of Leopold and had constructed roads and railroads in the basin. Consequently, the Berlin West Africa Conference (1884–1885 recognized Leopold as sovereign of the Congo Free State Leopold promised other European powers that his exclusive mission is to introduce civilization ...

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

Betty Sibongile Dlamini

Ingwenyama (king) of Swaziland, was born on 19 April 1968 to King Sobhuza II and Inkhosikati (queen) Ntombi Tfwala. His name at birth was Makhosetive (king of all nations). His mother lived at Etjeni Royal Residence. He danced Incwala (first fruit) at the age of 2, and four years later he began to perform the traditional sibhaca dance. His sibhaca team competed at many festivals and other events. As a boy, he engaged in traditional agricultural work, during plowing, weeding, and harvesting. He also went to hunt with emabutfo and shot birds with a sling and later with a gun. In 1973, at five years old, he joined the Umbutfo Defence Force, becoming the first young cadet to join the force. Three years later, he attended the Masundvwini Royal School and was noted for his dedication to excellence in his studies.

When his father King Sobhuza II died in ...

Article

Holly Hanson

kabaka (king) of Buganda, was born on 13 April 1955 at Mulago Hospital in Kampala. His full name is Ronald Frederick Muwenda Mutebi II. The son of Kabaka Edward Muteesa II and Kabejja Sarah Nalule Kisosonkole, Mutebi was raised amidst the turbulent politics that swirled around Twekobe, the Ganda palace in Mengo, as its leaders attempted to preserve a privileged place for the kingdom in the new nation of Uganda. The British colonial strategy of indirect rule had created a twentieth-century version of Buganda inside of Uganda, in which a small elite with chieftain titles held authority, but took care to act in ways that would please the Protectorate officers and thus maintain the advantages they experienced as chiefs. Buganda’s people, the Baganda, had expressed deep dissatisfaction with the kingdom’s government through large-scale violent protests in 1949 Mutebi s father Edward Muteesa II actually wielded very little power and ...

Article

Joyce Tyldesley

third king of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty. His name is also spelled as “Ramses” and “Rameses.” His grandfather, Ramesses I, had been adopted as heir by Horemheb, last king of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Ramesses II, born before his family became royal, was the son of Ramesses’s son Seti I and his consort, Mut-Tuya. At approximately ten years of age he was given the rank of “first king’s son.” Later he was installed as coregent to assist Seti in his rule. After no more than four years of coregency, Seti I died and Ramesses inherited his throne. He was to rule Egypt for sixty-six years.

As crown prince Ramesses had successfully defended northern Egypt against the Sherden seaborne invaders and pirates who hailed from Ionia modern southwest Turkey Following his victory with many of the Sherden now recruited as mercenaries in the Egyptian army he established a defensive line of forts along ...

Article

Betty Sibongile Dlamini

King of Swaziland, was born to the reigning Swazi monarch, Bhunu (Ngwane V) and Lomawa Ndwandwe on 22 July 1899. His birth names were Nkhotfotjeni (a small beautifully marked lizard) and Mona (jealousy). A few months after Sobhuza II was born, he was selected as crown prince. He had the privilege of getting a formal education at the Zombodze School that Labotsibeni, Bhunu’s mother and the Queen Regent, had established. Labotsibeni got the best tutors from Natal to tutor the crown prince. In 1916, after Sobhuza II had completed his elementary education, his grandmother adamantly stood against the royal counselors of the time and sent him to South Africa for higher education at Lovedale Missionary Institution.

In 1919 there was pressure for the king to take his position as ruler and he was recalled from Lovedale He subsequently got his public ritualization and private preparation for his ...

Article

Joyce Tyldesley

Egyptian pharaoh (r. c. 1336–1327 BCE), ruled New Kingdom Egypt during the late 18th Dynasty. He is also known as Nebkheperure Tutankhamen. Born during the Amarna Period, a time when the traditional pantheon was abandoned as the royal family dedicated itself to the divine solar disk known as the Aten, Tutankhamen’s brief reign saw the restoration of conventional royal values, including the reinstatement of the old gods and the abandonment of the city of Amarna (ancient Akhetaten) which had been built specifically to celebrate the cult of the Aten. Although he ruled Egypt for nine years, little is known of Tutankhamen’s rule, and he is today best known for his almost intact tomb, discovered in the Valley of the Kings, Thebes, in 1922 CE.

Tutankhamen’s FamilyTutankhamen s route to the throne is undocumented and the names of his parents and the identity of his immediate predecessor are unrecorded However ...