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Jeremy Rich

king of the Merina state of central Madagascar and a pivotal figure in its eighteenth-century expansion, was born around 1745 in the northern Malagasy town of Ikaloy. His father, Andriamiaramanjaka, was a member of the Zafimamy royal family of the northern independent kingdom of Alahamadintany. His mother, Ranavalonandriambelomasina, was the daughter of Merina monarch Andriambelomasina, who ruled Merina from roughly 1730 to 1770. He also was the nephew of Andriambelomasina’s successor, Andrianjafy, who was the king of Merina from 1770 to 1787.

He stayed with his father in Ikaloy until he was roughly twelve when he moved to the Merina court As a young man Andrianampoinimerina became a wealthy merchant and probably engaged in slave trading At the same time he presented himself as a defender of ordinary commoners fearful of slave raiding threats from neighbors like the Sakalava kingdom and unjust officials Supposedly Andriambelomasina had stipulated that ...

Article

Ari Nave

Oral traditions recorded by Jesuit missionaries in the late eighteenth century suggest that Andriambélomàsina, ruler of the Imerina (the territory of the Merina ethnic group) from 1730 to 1770 , directed that his eldest son Andrianjàfy succeed him, followed by his grandson Ramboàsalàma, son of his eldest daughter. Andrianjàfy, however, intended for his own son to take his place and plotted to kill Ramboàsalàma, who, fearing for his life, fled to the north. Supported by a dozen Merina chiefs, Ramboàsalàma returned in 1787, overtaking the city of Ambohimànga and exiling his uncle, who was later killed.

Ramboàsalàma was crowned Andrianampoinimerina, “the prince in the heart of Imerina.” After consolidating power through treaties and marriage alliances and establishing a capital at Antananarivo in about 1795 Andrianampoinimerina also known as Nampoina began to expand the Merina Empire Eventually he controlled much of the island conquering and consolidating the Betsileo Sihanaka ...

Article

A governor under Ali, Muhammad rebelled against Ali's son and successor and in 1493 ascended the throne. Two years later he went on a prolonged pilgrimage to Mecca that became legendary both in Europe and the Middle East for its pomp and ostentation. On his return, Muhammad set out not only to enlarge his empire, but also to transform the previously African state into an Islamic kingdom. Although he failed in that effort, he restored Tombouctou as a center of faith and learning and favored Muslim scholars with grants of land and high posts in government. Refining the administrative machinery inherited from Ali, he established directorial positions—similar to those of modern cabinet ministers—for finance, justice, agriculture, and other affairs. Although more a statesman than a warrior, he added vast territories to his realm, extending his influence as far west as the Atlantic Ocean. In 1528 Muhammad was overthrown by ...

Article

Juliet Montero Brito

fugitive slave and leader of an anticolonial rebellion in Venezuela from 1553 to 1556, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Venezuela). He was a slave of Don Pedro Del Barrio, the son of Damián Del Barrio, who had discovered an important gold mine in Segovia de Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and moved his family and slaves from the island of Puerto Rico to Venezuela to establish a slave labor regime in the mines. In 1552 Miguel Barrios was moved to Nueva Segovia de Barquisimeto, at which point he had already earned a reputation as a rebellious and courageous slave, unbreakable in character. In 1553 he struck his master Del Barrio and then fled to the nearby mountains Once there he declared himself free and during the following year under cover of darkness came down from the mountains and convinced many of the other black and indigenous slaves to join ...

Article

Iyasu I  

Claire Bosc-Tiessé

also known as Iyasu the Great, king of Ethiopia (r. 1682–1706) under the name Adyam Seged, was the son of King Yohannes I (r. 1667–1682) and Queen Seble Wengel. After the death in June 1676 of his eldest brother, Yostos, who was intended to succeed their father, he inherited the government of the region of Semen, in the north of Gonder. In 1677–1678, he accompanied his father on a military campaign against the Lasta region but rebelled against him in 1681. Iyasu then negotiated his succession, so when Yohannes died on 19 July 1682, he came to throne.

In September 1683 in Gonder Iyasu married Walatta Seyon who was from the northern region of Hamasen They had only one daughter Walatta Rufael Iyasu s four sons who later came to the throne were children of his concubines Tekle Haymanot was the son of Melekotawit who later encouraged ...

Article

Iyasu I  

Iyasu was the son of Emperor Johannes I and grandson of Emperor Fasiladas. He came to the throne in 1682, at a time of decline in imperial power that had begun during his grandfather’s reign. Through his brilliance as a military leader, Iyasu temporarily halted the trend of decline, reestablishing control over rebellious vassals and conquering areas to the south of his domain. In addition to his military and political exploits, Iyasu was a patron of arts and letters and sponsored buildings in the city of Gonder. He also attempted to settle doctrinal differences within Ethiopia’s Coptic Church, but without long-lasting success. Iyasu was deposed by his son Takla Haymanot in 1706 and assassinated. A series of ineffectual emperors followed Iyasu until the middle of the nineteenth century. During this period, imperial power declined and the empire lost territory.

Article

Sundiata Keita was the son of Nare Maghan, the ruler of Kangaba, a small state located on a tributary of the upper Niger River. Sundiata left Kangaba, but the reason is unknown: he may have gone into voluntary exile to avoid a jealous half-brother, or he may have been exiled by Sumanguru Kante, king of the Soso, who killed Sundiata’s father and took over his kingdom. Sundiata responded to the requests of his people to return to Kangaba to help them regain independence. He assembled a coalition of Malinke chiefdoms and in 1235 led them to victory in the Battle of Kirina. According to popular tradition, Sundiata triumphed because he was a stronger magician than his opponent. This victory marked the beginning of the Mali empire.

After defeating the Soso, Sundiata consolidated his authority among the Malinke people and established a strong centralized monarchy. According to Ibn Khaldun a ...