4 Songhai Empire to the 21st century Su2014
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4 Songhai Empire to the 21st century Su2014



The rise and fall of the Songhai Empire. While the fall is an immediate consequence of the Moroccan invasion subsequent events are dominated by conflicts with the Tuaregs of the Sahara and episodes of ...

The rise and fall of the Songhai Empire. While the fall is an immediate consequence of the Moroccan invasion subsequent events are dominated by conflicts with the Tuaregs of the Sahara and episodes of 'jihadist' regimes. Colonial powers enter the fray. Timbuktu becomes both a legend and a source of intellectual industry.



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  • manuscript is a copy of one of the most famous didactic poems in the Islamic world. Known as the Alfiyah ibn Malik, it consists of a thousand couplets that explain the rules <br /> of Arabic syntax and morphology. The work covers all aspects of vocabulary, and has to be memorised by students of Arabic in West Africa. Until they have done so, they cannot <br /> be considered to have mastered the language. <br /> The poem was written by Ibn Malik, a 13th century scholar who lived in Egypt. This copy of the manuscript dates to 1861, and is written in Sahrawi script in black ink, with red used to emphasize the particular grammatical rule. The main text is in a central block, with explanatory notes added on the sides.
  • t includes a genealogy of the Prophet going back 21 generations. Highly admired in the Muslim world, many commentaries have been written about it. It is even considered to have protective powers for the owner and his household. The author was a prominent scholar in the Maliki school of thought that is dominant in North and West Africa. <br /> This copy of a 12th century work has been made especially beautiful in order to reflect the glory of the subject. Decorated with gold illumination and written in Maghribi script, the praises of the Prophet are written in red. Some words in the text are explained in the marginal notes. <br /> Apparently purchased in Timbuktu for the equivalent of 24 grams of gold, it originated in Morocco, and was probably commissioned by a wealthy person.
  • ritten in Arabic script, this is a guide in verse to learning the Fulfulde language. Fulfulde is spoken by Fulani (Fulbe) people, pastoralists that were one of several cultural-linguistic groups in the Timbuktu area. <br /> This guide is an example of an Ajami text; Ajami is a term used to describe Arabic- based orthographies of African languages, as well as the body of indigenous literature that has developed using this convention
  • 1990 Rebel attacks on government posts by those in the north demanding autonomy. <br /> Retaliation by government based on ethnicity. <br /> Flight to neighboring areas <br /> UN and NGO refugee camps. <br /> Repatriation and sedentarization <br />
  • This conîdor, also called the Trans Saharan Highway, constitutes the oldest of the <br /> Trans African Highways. The main alignment, from Algiers through Niger to <br /> Lagos in Nigeria, a distance of more than 4500 km, is paved on about 85% of the <br /> length and with more pavement works presently underway. The Trans Saharan <br /> Highway is linked to several other Trans African Highways; in Algiers to Cairo- <br /> Dakar, in Kano in Nigeria to Dakar-N’Djamena and in Lagos to Lagos-Dakar and <br /> Lagos-Mombasa highways. <br /> <br /> The idea behind the Trans Saharan Highway is to enable road traffic from Algiers to Lagos has made considerable progress in Morocco the last 30 years. Road transport is now possible, <br /> although the middle sections present problems and are appropriate for specialised Vehicles only.

4 Songhai Empire to the 21st century Su2014 4 Songhai Empire to the 21st century Su2014 Presentation Transcript

  • From the Songhai Empire to 2014
  • Languages: Niger-Congo family • Mande – Manding • Bambara – Soninke • Senegambian – Fulani (Fula, Peul)
  • Nilo-Saharan Languages • Songhai
  • Tuareg Afro-Asiatic Languages • Semitic – Arabic • Berber – Tuareg (Tamahaq/Tamaceq)
  • Race and Color 7,000 bp
  • Y Chromosome Olalde, Iñigo, et al. "Derived immune and ancestral pigmentation alleles in a 7,000-year-old Mesolithic European." Nature 507.7491 (2014): 225-228.
  • Artist’s reconstruction Two ‘ancestral’ alleles for skin pigmentation [3% and 0% in modern Europeans] Based on modern Europeans 67-82 % chance of non-brown eyes
  • Songhai Empire
  • Gao Ancien and Saney - Two Cities
  • Gao Saney Residents Deduced from Arabic inscriptions in cemetery • Indigenous people • Muslim Berbers from North Africa
  • Gao Saney: Trade and Industry • Occupied ~ 700 CE • Reworking glass – Glass from Asia • Copper crescents – Copper from Tunisia? – Currency?
  • Copper Crescents
  • Gao Ancien Location
  • Pillared Structure (Royal Palace or Mosque?)
  • Gao Ancien, imported and local pottery
  • Carnelian Beads, nearby source?
  • Sonni Ali 1434 Tuaregs invade and take Gao The Tuaregs: Chief Akil gives administration of Timbuktu to an aide but withholds customary payments 1468 Help from Sonni Ali sought. Ali captures Timbuktu 1475 Capture of Djenne General tolerance of non Muslim practice
  • Askia the Great (~1443-1538) (b. Muhammad Toure) General in Songhai army 1493 Takes over the throne to establish an Islamic state Expands empire Notable hajj Expel or force conversion of Jews Brings in jurists and encourages scholars
  • Tomb of Askia the Great, Gao, 1495
  • Leo Africanus 1500 Description of West Africa Europe becomes aware of African civilizations; Redraw the maps. Here are great store of doctors, judges, priests, and other learned men, And hither are brought divers manuscripts or written bookes out of Barbarie, which are sold for more money than any other merchandize. The coine of Tombuto is of gold without any stampe or superscription : but in matters of smal value they use certaine shels brought hither out of the kingdome of Persia. The inhabitants are people of a gentle and chereful disposition, and spend a great part of the night in singing and dancing through all the streets of the citie.
  • Last years of the Songhai Empire • Imam/qadi Al Aqib (active 1570-83) – Rebuild Sankore, Djingareyber and Sidi Yahia mosques • Ahmad Baba (1556-1627) – Scholar, writer and teacher in Timbuktu and Morocco
  • Trade – Songhai Empire • Continue gold/ivory/ostrich feathers/civet  salt/copper/ trade • Manuscripts  North Africa • Kola nuts  rainforest  Sahel and North Africa • Textiles  North Africa • Paper  Italy
  • 1591 Moroccan defeat of Songhai Empire
  • Trade • Slaves to Morocco • Decline of trade routes • Coastal states trade directly with Europeans • Trade w. north bypassed the Sahara – Main product traded for gold - cloth • Traders move south of former empire
  • Manuscripts and Libraries
  • Subject Matter Topic % Language 11.9 Devotion 33.9 Islam 17.6 Sufism 6.9 Geography 0.2 Economics 5.3 Education 1.4 Conduct & Ethics 5.0 History 4.6 Social Science 6.9 Science 5.3 Medicine 0.9
  • Timbuktu, astronomical tables
  • Timbuktu, Music & Genealogy
  • Tarikh al-Sudan (History of Songhai), written 1655, copied 1792
  • Timbuktu, arithmetic, 18th century
  • Timbuktu Disease and Cure
  • Rules of Arabic Syntax In the form of a poem 1861 copy of 13th C. work.
  • The Rights of the Prophet Copy of 12th C. work
  • 1728 Hadtih, Djenne
  • Use of Arabic Script (Ajami) • Became widespread in 18th century • Part of jihad • Invent new letters to express sounds present in native languages but not Arabic
  • Verse guide to learning the language of the Fulani people
  • Other Cultural Centers • Chinguetti, Mauritania – 13th C. mosque – Libraries from 18th century • Boutilimit, Mauritania – School and library established by Shaykh Sidiyya "al-Kabir" (1774–1868)
  • Sufism “Doing what is beautiful” “Sufism explains how Muslims can strengthen their understanding and observance of Islam in order to find God's presence in themselves and the world.” [Oxfrod Islamic Studies Online]
  • Sufism • Organized into brotherhoods • Marabout – religious leader – Functions: teaching; promoting Islamic culture; leading community prayer; and performing rites connected with curing the ill, preventing misfortune, and soothsaying. • Tijaniyyah: Social reformers; jihadists
  • Manuscript poem Tijaniyyah, early 20th C.
  • Sufi ‘Saints’ Believed to have power or divine blessing to work miracles such as foretelling the future, mind-reading, flying, treating illness Believed to work miracles even after their death.
  • Djenne, Mausolea by Mosque
  • Shrine/tomb of Sufi saint, Timbuktu
  • 18th Century West Africa
  • René Caillié • First European to return from Timbuktu (1828) Plan and Front of the House of Sidi Abdallah Chebir, in Which Mr. Caillié Resides
  • Timbuktu 1828
  • 1840’s ‘Jihadist’ States
  • Tukolor Empire
  • Colonial Period
  • French Foreign Legion fort, Moroccan Sahara
  • Sahara Today
  • Algeria: Oil and Gas
  • Routes and No-go zones
  • Trans-Sahara Trade Today • Cocaine – Fishing boat S. America to Guinea Bissau etc. – North to Mediterranean • Arms – South from Libya • Uranium ore – Niger
  • Legacy of the Slave Trade • 25-50% of North African female pool is made of typical sub-Saharan lineages Harich et al.: “The trans-Saharan slave trade – clues from interpolation analyses and high-resolution characterization of mitochondrial DNA lineages.” BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010 10:138 • Mauritania: Haratins, “ones who have been freed,” descendants of the ‘Black Moors’ – “slavery may affect up to 20 percent of the population in both rural and urban settings” (Quoted in http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210740.pdf)
  • Tuareg - Morocco Libya
  • Tuareg Mali
  • Berber (Tamasheq) speakers • Tuaregs (rouges) – Lighter skinned; higher status – Livestock owners • Bella – Darker skinned – Blacksmiths; former (?) slaves; employed as herders
  • Resettlement of nomads, attacks and exile
  • Sahara Insurgents • AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) • Ansar Dine – Tuareg - fundamentalist • MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) – Tuareg - secular • MUJAO (Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa) – Breakaway from AQIM From International Criminal Court ‘Situation in Mali’
  • The Future? Trans-Sahara Highway Project 2013 2018 Goal Border crossings Algeria/Niger:62 vehicles/day Niger/Chad: 18 vehicles/day Algeria/Niger: 116 vehicles/day Niger/Chad: 76 vehicles/day Time for the conveyance of goods from Southern European ports to the cities of Northern Niger Algiers-Arlit ~2500 km 40 days 18 days
  • Trans-Africa Highways - North Africa
  • Resources • Chad - fishery resources of Lake Chad, • Niger - uranium mined in Arlit, Niger, • Southern Algeria - natural gas and oil • Argument: Highway improvements would lead to better social services • Hindrances: Borders, political instability