When We Ruled 100 things that you did not know about Africa Books

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The 2nd Edition
An Introduction by
Robin Walker

Study Guide

africa5.jpg50 Greatest Africans - Abd-al-Mumin & Sarki Abdullah Burja

1. Abd-al-Mumin of the Almohades (ruled 1133-1163 AD)
Moroccan Founder of the Almohad Empire that ruled in North Africa and Spain

Koutoubia MosqueAbd-al-Mumin was a Negro Berber from Morocco. He became the leader of the Almohades, a radical Islamic movement that eventually became the Third Islamic Dynasty in Moslem Spain. Abd-al-Mumin took control of the movement in 1133 AD. A brilliant organiser, he unified the various Berber groups, not just the Mesmuda (his own group), into a cohesive force. In time, a power struggle took place between the ruling Almoravid establishment, an African power that radiated from Senegal, and the newly rising Almohades. The newcomers triumphed. In 1147 they seized the Moroccan city of Marrakech and executed the last Almoravid monarch that ruled there. Abd-al-Mumin commissioned the great Koutoubia mosque to be built there as a symbol of his conquest over the Almoravides. By 1150 he became master of Spain. "Thus for a second time" wrote Lady Lugard, a great English historian, "a purely African dynasty reigned upon the most civilised throne of Europe". By 1160 his armies took control of Tunisia and penetrated Libya. These actions gained control of trade routes. Dr Basil Davidson, another great historian, explained that: "the Magreb blossomed once again." Furthermore, "cities like Fez and Tlemsen rivalled the urban beauty and learning of Granada and Cordova, unsurpassed by now throughout the western world".
All of this information is extracted from When We Ruled. To find out more about this book CLICK HERE

2. Sarki Abdullah Burja of Kano (ruled 1438-1452 AD)
Northern Nigerian monarch who created the first golden age in that region

KanoAbdullah Burja, the eighteenth ruler of the Hausa city-state of Kano, was the architect of great prosperity in the northern Nigeria region. In 1438 AD he was crowned Sarki (i.e. King) of Kano. Within a few years, he became the most powerful sarkuna (i.e. king-but plural) within in the Hausa Confederation. His general led military campaigns for seven years in the regions to the south. The campaigns attempted to open the trade route to Gwanja on the edge of the forest belt. The Kano cavalry, typical of the time, were equipped with plumed iron helmets and chainmail. Their horses were protected with lifidi - a thick quilted armour made of cloth. Burja's raids proved successful. Twenty one thousand prisoners were captured. The General dispatched the captives to twenty-one settlements in Kano City. From Gwanja, through this newly opened trade route, kola nuts and gold dust flowed into Kano.

Meanwhile, serious diplomatic problems had emerged with the neighbouring state of Borno to the east (roughly modern Chad and Niger). The Kano Chronicle, the chief Hausa history, attempts to put a brave face on it but admits that after the conflict "many towns were given to Borno." This indicates that Burja was defeated in whatever-it-was the authors of the Chronicle were trying to conceal. The city of Kano remained independent and surprisingly, direct trade was established with Borno despite the conflict. Moreover, the Sarki sent gifts to the ruler of Borno, acknowledging the Bono King's supremacy as an Islamic leader. This started a tradition that continued late into the eighteenth century.

Of the Hausa rulers, Abdullah Burja was the first to encourage the use of camels as beasts of burden. Previously, Kano businessmen and traders waited on camel caravans controlled by the Tuaregs to arrive from the north. Under Burja's new policy, Kano merchants could transport their own goods across the desert. In the footsteps of these merchants followed the Hausa language and culture. Hausa became the biggest indigenous language spoken in Africa after Swahili. In reputation, Hausa merchants came to rival the legendary Wangaran merchants of Guinea, the economic powerhouse behind Mali. It is worth remembering that the BBC in the Millennium series described Mali as the richest empire in the fourteenth century world. In Kano Burja established the Kurmi Market. A veritable magnet, it attracted goods from all over the world.
All of this information is extracted from When We Ruled. To find out more about this book CLICK HERE

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Creation date : 17/04/2006 @ 19:21
Last update : 28/07/2014 @ 17:47
Category : 50 Greatest Africans

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African Rulers
50 Greatest Africans

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