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Jeremy Rich

legendary hero of the Afro-Brazilian community, is believed by many to have been born in the kingdom of Kongo in Central Africa in the early eighteenth century. With few written sources available about his origins or his life that could help confirm the many stories told about Rei in later years, it is difficult to determine with precision many of the narratives that emerged about him. According to many stories about Rei, he was a leader of his people in Kongo and was captured by African rivals. These enemies sold him to a visiting Brazilian slave ship, which brought Rei and his unfortunate companions across the Atlantic to the Minas Gerais region of southern Brazil. His wife and most of his family were said to have died during the long voyage. Only one son was believed to have survived.

During the early eighteenth century Brazilian prospectors discovered large deposits of ...

Article

Edmund Abaka

Fulani scholar and Muslim cleric Osman dan Fodio was one of the leaders who emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when West Africa had seen a series of revolutions which consolidated Islam in West Africa. Born in 1754 to Fulani parents in Gobir, Osman dan Fodio led a movement for reform caused by political, economic, and social grievances, but voiced through a powerful religious revolution in the Hausa States. It culminated in the creation of the one of the largest Muslim polities, the Sokoto Caliphate, in eighteenth-century Africa.

As a young man, Osman received a Muslim education and studied under a number of famous and reformist teachers who affected his outlook on life and religion. When Jibril b. Umar the last of his teachers fled Agades after an unsuccessful jihad among the Tuareg the twenty year old dan Fodio returned to Hausaland to begin life as a teacher ...

Article

David C. Conrad

ruler of the West African Soso Empire in present-day Mali, was a central iconic figure in the Sunjata epic. In this story, Kanté is described as a “sorcerer king” and is credited with the acquisition of Mande musical instruments and conquest of pre-Malian Mande chiefdoms. His sister Kosiya Kanté was the mother of Fakoli Koroma, who is claimed as an ancestor by most Mande endogamous blacksmith lineages.

Our knowledge of Sumanguru also known as Sumaworo Sumamuru Sumawolo and other similar names comes almost entirely from oral tradition although his ephemeral kingdom is historical and it is reasonable to assume the existence of the ruler on which this legendary character is based Moreover in the Mande worldview Sumanguru plays a pivotal role in events affecting key historical ancestors and leading up to the founding of the Mali Empire The existence of Sumanguru s kingdom is acknowledged in the Arabic sources including ...

Article

Kimera  

Holly Hanson

semimythical king of Buganda in what is now southern Uganda is said to have been born in the palace of Winyi I ruler of Bunyoro a neighboring kingdom to the north His mother was Wannyana the chief wife of King Winyi According to the dynastic history of Buganda Kimera s father was Kalemeera son of Kabaka King Chwa and grandson of Kabaka Kintu the founder of the Buganda kingdom Kalemeera was invited by King Winyi to sleep in the house occupied by his wife and found her irresistible Kalemeera died as he journeyed south after fathering Kimera The newborn Kimera was thrown into a clay pit but Mulegeya a royal potter retrieved the baby and raised him in his own household supported with gifts of cattle from Wannyana When Ganda chiefs learned of Kimera s existence they called him to come and rule Buganda In the Nyoro version of the ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

king (r. 205–148 BCE) of Numidia, the territory south and west of Carthage, who brought his kingdom from a Carthaginian-allied principality to one of the major powers of the era and began the romanization of North Africa. The sources for his long career are Polybius 14, Livy 25–42, and Appian, Libyka.

Massinissa was educated at Carthage a protégé of the famous Hasdrubal He fell in love with Hasdrubal s daughter Sophoniba who was married to Syphax a rival for the throne of Numidia When the Romans invaded the region in the Second Punic War Massinissa gave Sophoniba poison so that she would not be captured alive He fought for Carthage in the early years of the war commanding a group of cavalry that went as far west as Tingis modern Tangier and then crossed into Spain and was responsible for killing the Roman commander Publius Cornelius Scipio the Elder ...

Article

Menes,  

Jacco Dieleman

legendary Egyptian pharaoh. According to Egyptian tradition, Menes was the first human to rule Egypt as king after the succession of gods and heroes, and he is considered the founder of the pharaonic state for having united Upper and Lower Egypt into one political and cultural unity. As a cultural hero, he is not a historical figure but the product of historical imagination and cultural memory.

No written records contemporary with the period of Egyptian state formation c 3300 3000 BCE mention Menes s name In fact his name is not attested in writing before the Ramesside period c 1302 1198 BCE when his name occurs in king lists the Abydos King List the Turin Canon and the Min Festival reliefs in the Ramesseum However earlier annals are fragmentary and may have contained his name The king lists place him at the head of royal succession but give no biographical ...