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Article

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 ...

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monarch was born in the town of Tshipunda located in the southern province of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo then the Belgian Congo His father Tshipunda was a member of the Cokwe ethnic community Natshika his mother belonged to the Lunda aristocracy but had been enslaved by Cokwe traders who were bitter rivals of their Lunda neighbors He belonged to the royal family that had governed the Lunda or Ruund kingdom that had once controlled much of the southern Democratic Republic of Congo northeastern Angola and northern regions in Zambia In the early twentieth century colonial officers of the Independent State of the Congo drove out Cokwe leaders from the Lunda state Ditende was then sent to the court of of King Muteba who had been placed in power by colonial officials His parents sent Ditende to primary school at the Methodist Protestant mission of Musumba There ...

Article

Orisha (Shango) king of Trinidad and Tobago, was born on 12 December 1901 in Third Company Village in southern Trinidad, but he lived most of his life in Fifth Company Village. The “Company Villages,” as they are known, were founded after the British-American War of 1812, when many enslaved African Americans who had fought on the British side were offered their freedom and resettlement in other parts of the British Empire. Several hundred arrived in the southeastern area of Trinidad, where they became small farmers. They and their descendants were known as “Merikans.” Ebenezer Elliott was descended from two of these early settlers. He fathered four children and married later in life. Elliott made his living as a small-time farmer, but his real claim to fame lay in his religious life as the undisputed head of the Orisha religion in Trinidad.

Elliott was born into the Baptist faith which ...

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

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 ...

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monarch, was born between 1905 and 1910 in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo Kabongo s mother was Ma Nsenga who had originally been a prisoner brought to the king His father was Kumwimba the reigning monarch of a state that once had controlled most of the Luba speaking clans living in southern Congo This empire had fallen on hard times by the early twentieth century as African rival states took over territory claimed by the Luba state and as a result of the establishment of Belgian King Leopold II s colonial regime known as the Independent State of the Congo Kabongo then known by the name Boniface Kalowa first attended primary school at the Protestant mission of Kabongo After two years Kabongo transferred to the Dafubu professional school run by Belgian Catholic missionaries near the provincial capital of Lubumbashi There Kabongo became a skilled ...

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 ...

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 ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

politician and king, was born on 20 November 1925 in the town of Bunkeya located in the province of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His father was Mwanangwa Mutampuka Munongo, and his mother was Luebo Lwa Nkolomba. Munongo's father died in a colonial prison when his son was relatively young. Munongo's grandfather was the late nineteenth-century warlord M’Siri. Godefroid's uncle Mwami Kitanka was the king of the Yeke people in Katanga, and until the age of eleven Munongo spent most of his time at his uncle's court rather than immediately enrolling in primary school as his other siblings had done. This experience later proved useful once he became the king of the Yeke himself, as he had a great knowledge of court rituals.

Around 1936 Munongo commenced his formal education at the primary school of Bunkeya and he later transferred to Saint Boniface school in Lubumbashi ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Okwei  

Gloria Chuku

Nigerian princess, entrepreneur, and Omu (female monarch), was born Okwei Afubeho in 1872 in the trading town of Osomari located on the lower Niger River (present-day Nigeria). Her father, Osuna Afubeho, was a famous warrior and wealthy prince of Osomari who had several hundred slaves, who manned his trading and war canoes. Okwei’s grandfather, Nzedegwu, was the Atamanya (king) of Osomari, who signed trading agreements with the British in 1854 and invited the Roman Catholic mission to his town in 1860. Her maternal grandfather, Obi Aje, was one of the sons of the famous Obi Ossai, the Aboh king, who received and signed trading agreements with European traders in the 1830s.

Okwei s father was a polygynist with many children but she was the only child of her mother At the age of 9 Okwei became an apprentice to a maternal aunt who was a trader in the Igala ...

Article

Sara Busdiecker

was born on 25 June 1880 in Mururata in the rural Nor Yungas Province of the department of La Paz, Bolivia, to José Maria Pinedo and Gregoria Iriondo. He is also referred to as “El Negro Bonifaz” and “Bonifacio II.” His first marriage was to Juliana Zabala, with whom he had two sons, Manuel and Carmelo. His second marriage was to Cecilia Barra, with whom he had two children, a son, Juan, and a daughter, Aurora. Juan died in adolescence. Aurora’s son from the first of her two marriages, Julio Pinedo, was successor to Bonifacio Pinedo as Afro-Bolivian king.

Local oral history in and around Mururata provides at least two divergent accounts for the origins of the black king tradition. The most widely repeated account, which was first documented by the Bolivian folklorist Arturo Pizarroso Cuenca in his 1977 book La Cultura Negra en Bolivia traces the tradition of ...