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Article

Stephen Cory

chief of the West African Lamtuna, one of the Sanhaja Berber peoples, and leader of the Almoravid movement that eventually conquered Morocco, western Algeria, and Islamic Spain in the north and Mauritania and portions of Mali in the south. Although he became leader of the Almoravids following the death of the movement’s founder, ʿAbdallah ibn Yasin, in 1059, his notoriety was surpassed by that of his cousin, Yusuf ibn Tashfin. Yusuf would lead the Almoravids to multiple conquests in the north, while Abu Bakr remained with his Sanhaja warriors in the south, where he continued to lead jihad against the infidels of sub-Saharan West Africa. His accomplishments included defeating the kingdom of Ghana, but he was never able to establish full Almoravid control in the region. Abu Bakr ibn ʿUmar was killed in battle in 1087, after which Almoravid authority in the south rapidly disintegrated.

The Almoravid movement ...

Article

Anton  

Jean Mutaba Rahier

In 1553 Anton and twenty-two other slaves embarked from Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, as part of merchandise bound for the Peruvian port of Callao. The ship wrecked off the coast of Esmeraldas, and the twenty-three slaves killed their Spanish captors and escaped into the forest.

At that time various small indigenous groups inhabited central Esmeraldas: the Niguas, Yumbos, Campaces, Lachas, and Malabas. The first contact of the maroons was with the Niguas and the Yumbos. As the groups clashed, the maroons enjoyed an advantage in combat, owing to the surprise provoked by their arrival and the firearms they had liberated from the shipwreck. Anton was nicknamed “the big sorcerer,” and his witchcraft skills were also a decisive factor in instilling fear into the Niguas and gaining their respect.

Through Anton's leadership the maroons increasingly dominated the indigenous communities. Sebastian Alonso de Illescas gradually established himself as Anton s ...

Article

Awutiek  

Stephanie Beswick

chief of the Palyoupiny Malwal, created an early aristocratic Dinka state in the southern Sudan during the 1880s. Awutiek’s uncle and predecessor Duang Marial had gained power by collaborating with slave traders such as Zubayr and with officials of the Egyptian colonial government. These lessons were not lost on the young chief Awutiek, who quickly realized the importance of firearms and purchased large quantities from Fertit middlemen, northern Sudanese traders, and Azande. He also acquired arms from Mahdists fallen in battle. Awutiek built a standing army. He set his warriors to regular military drills and maintained a strong, well-trained force. By 1892 having annihilating the last Mahdist force to venture into his territory Awutiek extended his influence down the Chell and Loll Rivers as far as the Rek country in the eastern Bahr el Ghazal By the height of his power Awutiek controlled most of the diverse peoples living ...

Article

Maitseo Bolaane

Kgosi of the Bangwaketse, was born at Tswaaneng, southern Gangwaketse, in Botswana. The eldest son of Kgosi Gaseitsiwe’s senior wife, Bathoen I was heir to the Bangwaketse chieftaincy. His mother was of the Batlhware people. He learned to read and write at a London Missionary Society mission (LMS) school. As the son of Kgosi, he became leader of the Maisantwa regiment, initiated in 1864 (Ngcongco 1977: 277). Bathoen became chief of the Bangwaketse in July 1889 after the death of his father, Gaseitsewe. The key events of Bathoen’s life related to the growth of British colonial power in this period. In 1885 Botswana became a British protectorate. Khama of Bangwato, Bathoen of Bangwaketse, and Sebele of Bakwena were key players during the period (1890–1891 when Britain s control over Botswana developed from a vague protectorate over the southern part to a more clearly defined though still in practice ...

Article

Botswana leader, was born in Kanye to Seepapitso II, paramount chief of the Bangwaketse, and Mogatsakgari, daughter of Ratshosa, Khama III’s son-in-law. Bathoen’s grandmother, Gagoangwe, was the daughter of Kgosi Sechele of the Bakwena. Bathoen was thus of royal descent on both sides. In 1916, when Bathoen was eight, his father was murdered by his own brother, Moeapitso, in a palace intrigue. Moeapitso was jailed, and Kgosimotse Gaseitsiwe was appointed acting chief of the Bangwaketse until Bathoen reached adulthood. Bathoen spent much of his childhood in Serowe among his mother’s people, the Bangwato.

Bathoen studied at Kanye Hill School, now Rachele Primary School, beginning in 1918; subsequently, in South Africa at Tiger Kloof (1919–1922) and Lovedale (1923–1927 During this time two strong women served as regents the queen mother Gagoangwe and after 1924 Gagoangwe s eldest daughter Ntebogang After completion of his junior certificate ...

Article

Ralph A. Austen

paramount chief and anticolonial protest leader in present-day Cameroon, was born in Douala, Cameroon, the eldest son of chief Manga Ndumbe Bell (ruled 1897–1908). Duala Manga is best remembered for a struggle against the racist policies of the German rulers of Cameroon, who executed him on 8 August 1914. Beyond this dramatic conclusion to Duala Manga’s life lay a precolonial heritage of international commerce by the Duala people, an embattled but—until its last years— successful adaptation to German rule, and an afterlife as a nationalist and ethnic icon.

Duala Manga was descended from a line of merchant rulers who dominated trade between European Atlantic shippers and the Cameroon hinterland from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries The Duala inhabitants of what eventually became the city of Douala at the estuary of the Wouri River lived in a group of mutually independent settlements of whom the most prominent were ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

political, military, and religious leader and first Caliph of the Sokoto Caliphate, was born in the town of Morona, now located in Niger, in 1780 or 1781. His father was the revolutionary Islamic cleric and leader Uthman Dan Fodio (1754–1817), and his mother was Hawwa bint Adam ibn Muhammad Agh. Bello received an advanced education in Islamic theology and law thanks to his father, and supported his father’s call for a strict adherence to orthodox Sunni interpretations of Islamic practices. Bello praised his father as a loving parent: “His face was relaxed and his manner gentle. He never tired of explaining and never became impatient if anyone failed to understand” (Boyd, 1989).

When Uthman Dan Fodio launched a series of holy wars against the nominally Islamic sultans of Hausa cities such as Kano in northern Nigeria and southern Niger Bello became an active lieutenant of his father ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

Muhammad Bello was born in Gobir, in what is now Niger. He helped his father, Usuman dan Fodio, overthrow the Hausa states and build the powerful Sokoto Caliphate, which ruled over the northern half of present-day Nigeria. In the early nineteenth century Bello’s father, a Fulani Muslim religious leader, called on the rulers of the Hausa states to abandon their corrupt ways. He organized a popular movement among the Fulani and among Hausa peasants and merchants, advocating a purer form of Islam and the application of the Shari’a, or Islamic law. Usuman first tried peaceful means, but his peaceful movement only provoked repression from the Hausa rulers. In 1804 Usuman and his followers called for a jihad, or holy war, to overthrow resistant rulers. Among those who led the military campaign was Usuman’s 23-year-old son, Muhammad Bello A capable military leader and administrator Bello was crucial ...

Article

A. K. Bennison

chief of the Sanhaja, military leader, also known as Abuʾl-Futuh Yusuf, was the son of Ziri ibn Manad, a chief of the Sanhaja, one of the main Berber peoples of the Maghrib. Many Sanhaja tribes joined the Shiʿi Fatimids when they were based in Ifriqiya (909–972 CE), while the majority of the Zanata Berber tribes offered their support to the Sunni Umayyads of Cordoba. The Kharijites of the Maghrib also opposed the Fatimids, creating a situation of permanent conflict among the tribes of the region. In 324/936 Ziri constructed the fortified town of Ashir, which al-Nuwayri describes as populated by merchants dealing in agricultural products, religious scholars, and jurists. Ziri became a prominent client of the Fatimids after they assisted the Fatimid caliph al-Qaʾim during the Kharijite siege of al-Mahdiyya in 334–5/946.

According to chroniclers Buluggin was the youngest of Ziri s ten or twelve sons but the most able ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

district colonial chief and master farmer, was born in Njau Village, in the Upper Saloum District of present-day Gambia in 1890. His name is also spelled Sise or Sisi. He was among the few formally educated Gambian colonial chiefs, having attended the prestigious Mohammedan School in Bathurst (now Banjul) in the 1910s before working as an interpreter for the Traveling Commissioner North Bank Province. Interpreters were central to the running of the colonial machinery. As the intermediaries between the local people who could not speak English and colonial officials, they wielded influence because of their perceived proximity to the colonial powers. European officials also did not always trust the interpreters, who were occasionally sacked or jailed for suspected treachery.

Unlike the French colonizers who completely replaced local chiefs with French officials the British in West Africa administered their colonies through preexisting traditional authorities and used local customary institutions ...

Article

Adrian Fraser

who was killed in battle on 15 March 1795, has the honor of being the first national hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a status conferred on him posthumously on 14 March 2002. This recognition reflects the shift from villain to hero that came with a reassessment of colonial symbols following the country’s attainment of independence in 1979.

The Caribs left no written records, so tales of their lives and struggles with the European colonizers came from their enemies. In developing a profile of Chatoyer one must depend on the records and writings of those who saw him as spearheading the efforts to thwart their colonization ambitions. The two main sources of information on Chatoyer have been Sir William Young’s An Account of the Black Charaibs in the Island of St. Vincent’s (1795) and Charles Shephard’s An Historical Account of the Island of St ...

Article

In 1795, Joseph Chatoyer instigated a revolt of the Garinagu against the British on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent the original home of the Garinagu Chief Chatoyer was killed during combat against British forces and the Garinagu were deported to Roatán Island off the coast of Honduras ...

Article

legendary founder of the Chadian kingdom of Baguirmi, was apparently born in the early sixteenth century. Given the wealth of legends about his life and the lack of documentary evidence, it may be that stories involving Dala Birni Bisse may refer to events linked to several early mbang kings of Baguirmi Many oral traditions collected about Dala Birni Bisse claim that his grandfather ʿAbd al Tukruru was the great grandson of ʿAli son in law of the prophet Muhammad Supposedly ʿAbd al Tukruru s father Muhammad Baguirmi was a black child of two Arabian parents who was nearly killed by his angry relatives ʿAbd al Tukruru advised his twelve sons and twelve of their friends to leave Yemen and establish a kingdom somewhere to the west They brought with them bellows made of stone from the holy city of Medina three drums three trumpets and three lances carried by ...

Article

Michael Kevane

Burkinan author, canton chief, and civil servant, was born in Sao village, about 60 kilometers northwest of Ouagadougou, in the Mossi region of the present-day country of Burkina Faso. His mother was Datoumi Yaaré, from the village of Kaonghin; and his father, Gueta Wagdogo, was the son of Yiougo, the naba (Mossi chief) of Sao. Naba Yiougo supported Mogho Naba Wobgo (Boukary Koutu), the principal king of the four Mossi kingdoms, against a rebelling vassal, the naba of Lallé. In 1896, Mogho Naba Wobgo supported Gueta Wagdogo to attain the chieftaincy (whereupon he assumed the name “Naba Piiga”) after the death of Naba Yiougo. The meaning of Dim Delobsom’s name, “The king has returned the favor,” acknowledged the relationship between the two rulers.

Naba Piiga was unable to help his suzerain when the French column led by Captain Paul Voulet seized Ouagadougou on 1 September 1896 Mogho Naba ...

Article

Diyab,  

Allen J. Fromherz

the Aeneas of North African Arabs, was a semilegendary Arab chief and a primary character in the most important medieval Arab epic, the Sira al-Hilaliyya. The Sira al-Hilaliyya glorifies the story of the great “western march” of Arabs from their original homelands to Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. The Sira tells of the odyssey of the Arab migrants who journeyed from Yemen and Arabia to the more verdant lands of North Africa. It relates the resistance they encountered from Berber peoples as they spread across the continent in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The arrival of the Arabs irrevocably changed the cultural and linguistic landscape of the Maghreb.

The first part of the Sira takes place in Arabia and details long struggles between warring factions and the eventual displacement of one tribe the Banu Hilal to the land of Jaziya in North Africa Driven from Arabia by famine ...

Article

Dierk Lange

ruler of the Sefuwa dynasty (r. c. 1203–1242) in present-day Sudan, under whom the Kanem-Bornu empire reached its maximum size, owes his fame to military successes and to the implementation of radical Islamic reforms culminating in the destruction of the national Mune shrine.

Succeeding his father Salmama II, Mai Dunama II was the sixth ruler of the Sefuwa, who had come to power under Hume around 1068 CE He resided in Njimi the Muslim capital of Kanem and undertook extensive military campaigns by the extensive use of a Kanuri cavalry comprising allegedly 41 000 horses and Tuareg camel riders He thus extended the frontiers of Kanem in the north to Fezzan in the east to the Dajo of Dafur and in the west over most of Hausaland From a Kanuri base maghza at the northern end of Lake Chad he raided the Buduma but otherwise left the people of ...

Article

Stephen J. Rockel

Tanzanian political leader, was the last and most distinguished of a long line of mtemi, or chiefs, of Unyanyembe, including the great nineteenth-century chiefs Swetu, his namesake Fundikira I, and Isike. Abdallah Fundikira’s father, Saidi Fundikira II, was deposed by the British in 1929 and sent into exile in Bagamoyo after embezzling more than £10,000 of tax money. Unyanyembe was the most important chiefdom of the Nyamwezi, one of the largest ethnic groups in present-day Tanzania, and its nineteenth-century chiefs were central players in the development of commerce based on the caravan trade. Their capital village, Itetemia, lay just outside the city of Tabora, which was the largest urban center in Tanganyika (as the territory was then known), until it was overtaken by the colonial capital, Dar es Salaam, around 1920 Tabora remained an important provincial capital railway junction and military and educational center through the colonial period ...

Article

Stephen J. Rockel

, Tanzanian leader, was mtemi (chief) of Unyanyembe, the most important of the nineteenth-century Nyamwezi chiefdoms in central Tanzania before the rise of Mirambo’s empire. Unyanyembe, with its rapidly growing town of Tabora, was to become one of the major commercial centers in East Africa during a period of rapid economic growth based on long-distance caravan trade.

In the early nineteenth century Unyanyembe was still a small chiefdom, and Tabora did not yet exist. Around 1840 Fundikira’s father, Swetu, son of Sambwe, from the Nyangwila section of the Kimbu (a related ethnic group who are southern neighbors of the Nyamwezi) moved with his people to the northwest and annexed the area around what was to become Tabora, setting up his capital at Itetemia. Thus the ruling house in Unyanyembe retained a strong Kimbu identity, and Kimbu rituals dominated.

Swetu died in the early 1840s just as a great expansion in ...

Article

Gbudwe  

Stephanie Beswick

prominent Zande leader in southern Sudan, was born about 1860; his father was the Avongara leader Bazingbi (“conqueror of the world”) and his mother, a slave woman. He is also known as “Mbio” or “Yambio.” He gradually rose to leadership in rivalry with several half-brothers and numerous other Zande princes. As a young man he participated in his community’s conquests eastward across the Yubo River into Western Equatoria and the area of Yambio, the town that now bears his name. Attempts to extend the Zande conquests east to the White Nile, however, were repulsed by the Dinka and Bari. Because Gbudwe could no longer expand eastward, he planned new invasions toward the territories along his northern borders. These efforts brought him into conflict with the Turco–Egyptian regime in Bahr al-Ghazal that had succeeded at the fall of al-Zubayr Rahma Mansur in 1875. In 1881 Gbudwe obliterated a large ...

Article

Godfrey Muriuki

warrior and leader, was born in Kenya, though the date is not known. However, by 1900 he was already a prominent individual in the Gichugu area of Kirinyaga District. His prominence was attributed to several factors. He was reputed to have been an intelligent and brave warrior who led Gichugu warriors in raids against their Kikuyu, Embu, and Mbeere neighbors. Through these raids, he was able to accumulate a great deal of livestock, which was regarded as the ultimate symbol of status and wealth.

By the middle of the nineteenth century Swahili and Arab traders had begun to penetrate into the area in search of ivory and the occasional slave Invariably they would befriend prominent individuals from the relevant trading area In Gichugu and its environs Gutu became their local middleman He owed this favor to the Kamba who were renowned ivory traders in this period The ensuing trade between ...