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Large Urban Areas of Ancient Imperial Africa

When it comes to the pre-colonial Africa in the video clips, cartoons or movies, we always see the same scenery. Urban planning with primitive huts of wood or earth. While this type of urban settlement has existed and still exists. But what is interesting in terms of objectivity, but also to enjoy the most advanced urban achievements.

There are lots of descriptions by foreign explorers, major urban construction in pre-colonial Africa. Yet it is almost exclusively the image of the mud hut or straw seems to be the most publicized. Dutch travelers have left many such descriptions of urban areas including, for example, the city of Benin (Southern Nigeria), as evidenced by the work of P. Mercier [ 1 ]: "The city seems to be very high when you enter, you go off on a main road, unpaved appears to be seven or eight times as wide as the street Warmoes of Amsterdam, which goes straight ... It is thought that this street was 1000 Dutch (7 km) long. We see many large blocks on the sides that go straight (...) The houses in this town stand in good order, and each side in alignment with each other, as the houses stand Holland (...) At the door through which I entered on horseback, I saw a very high wall (...) Outside this door, there is a suburb. " Another Dutch traveler named O. Dapper also visited the same city. It shows [ 2 ]: "The city is composed of thirty very straight main streets and one hundred and twenty feet wide, in addition, an infinite number of cross streets. The houses are close to each other in good order (...) they have only one story high. The king's palace is a complex of buildings occupying as much space as the town Harlem and is surrounded by a wall, like that surrounding the city (...) The only palace of the Queen has three turn and Locations City (...) five city and palace taken together have a perimeter of eight leagues (over 30 Km). "


About Lovango kingdom, the site of the present Congo-Brazzaville, O. Dapper has also described its capital: "About the size of (city) Rouen, but the buildings do not touch it (...) It has large cross streets and other people that are careful to keep clear. It front of the houses are large avenues of palms, bananas, Bakov. The houses are long. The roof is supported on masts supported by columns (...) There is in each house two to three separate rooms so that 'in Europe. The one where they keep their money usually has a back door and is closed by a padlock. They keep each other great loyalty and succor quickly if necessary. " Banza, the provincial capital of Pemba in Angola, was called San Salvador by the Portuguese. It was built on the hill and the houses that compose it are arranged in single file in various streets and home, according to Dapper, nearly 40,000 souls. The king's palace, enclosed by four walls, was as big as a city usually . Pursuing this description, J. F de la Harpe, tells us that [ 3 ]: "There are few places as crowded as the kingdom of Congo (...) The city of Banza (San Salvador) is on a high plateau, 150 miles from the sea plateau about ten miles in circumference is grown and so full of towns and villages in a small space, it contains over one hundred thousand souls. " To describe Ghana, El Bakri said that [ 4 ]: "Ghana is composed of two cities (...) Those who inhabited by Muslims is large and contains twelve mosques. The city is inhabited by the king to six miles of it (...) The territory that between them is covered with houses. The buildings are built with stone and acacia wood. The house of the king of a castle consists of several huts and rounded roofs (...) In the city of the sovereign, not away from the court, is a mosque (...) The city of the king is surrounded by huts, clumps of trees and groves. " And these are not the only African cities were extensively described by foreign visitors who insisted on the wide and straight streets of cities, houses more or less splendor storey or not, trees arranged in rows, the walls, etc.. .. Because we could cite Bouali described by Father Proyart, Koumbi by Kati, Songhai cities by Es Sadi, Kano by Henri Lhote, Mogadishu by a Chinese traveler in the 15th century even notice, is particularly high stone houses of four to five stages (see Unesco Courier, October 1959, G. Mathew, Indian Ocean washes the dead cities). However, it should be noted that these cities were federated under the authority of a king, ruling over a vast kingdom divided into homogeneous cities and towns say Lordships. For example, Dapper says that the kingdom of Ngola (Angola) consisted of eight major provinces divided into various Lordships. Thus, Lovango were 39, 60 Cambamda, Massingan 12, LlambĂ­ 12, 60 and Embaco in the province of Sinfo (northern Lovango) there is a village every three miles and there were 32 estates. The Prince of Bamba, for example, ruled on several villages and according to the Tarikh el Fettach, the Mali Empire had nearly 400 cities. There is no doubt that there were Masons African experts and construction engineers diverse to make walls of fortresses and houses, temples or mosques.


To illustrate, when the Askia Mohamed (Negro king) took the town of Diaga he recruited force nearly 500 masons carrying their tools were taken at 400 and 100 Gao others built the city for its Tendirma brother and his palace. But let us a little over two renowned cities, Timbuktu and Djenne. Kati said an eyewitness told him that there were nearly 26 institutions of tailors in Timbuktu, each employing 50 to 100 apprentices. There were still about 180 schools each with an average of 120 students. Joao de Barros added that the merchants were in Cairo, Tunis, Oran, Tlemcen, Fez, Morocco and other realms in order to do business. According to Es Saadi, the city was founded as the 12th century and it was: "Exquisite, pure, delicious, illustrious city blessed, buxom, bustling retirement of scholars and devotees, habitual residence of the saints and pious men." About Djenne, SĂŠkĂŠnĂŠ M. Cissoko tells us further that one [ 5 ]: "Entered the town by eleven doors. The wide streets planted with scented mimosa, gardens shaded by clumps of palmyra, squares, large houses with one or two floors, clean lines and harmonious, showing a concern for urban imbued with a genuine originality. Unfortunately the governor's palace was destroyed in the 11th century when Komborou converts to Islam. On the site of the palace, he built a mosque reputed to be more beautiful than the La Kasbah Mecca, which was destroyed in 1830 by Felix Dubois (...) Cheikou Amadou (who visited Jenne 1900) has left us a good description (...) It was a tour de force, a marvel, a masterpiece if we consider that all materials, the architects employed clay and wood and that their work only lasted eight centuries (...) As Mosque, the Jenne are beautiful houses in clay and wood. Yet their massive walls seem to be cut from a block of stone. It gives the illusion that a plaster of sand used by the Masons. (...) Pillars decorate the facade. Often the walls are inlaid pottery that serve as nesting pigeons (....) Under the arcades of the mosque or in the courtyard of their house silent, teachers give their lessons circled attentive students. Sadi tells scientists who illustrated the city. He cited others: in the 15th Mouri Maghan, a renowned jurist Fulani, the 16th, Fode Mohammed Sanou, a Mandingo Cadi who was the first of the city. Elgho, Mandingo origin, known scholar, is the father of two famous lawyers of Timbuktu, Mohammed and Ahmed. There were also some Arab scholars who had opened classes at Jenne. From the 15th century, the University of Timbuktu arose as a rival and it appears that the 16th century, daring innovations, bubbling ideas would become the preserve of Timbuktu in particular [ 6 ]. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, it should take the time to explore the great urban complexes of the pre-colonial Africa is important, especially for children who think that the box was the only house built in black Africa. Drawings of the pre-colonial cities were made by explorers, we must collect and process them using computer graphics.


CITY AFRICAN LOUANGO On the other hand, we see that the problems of ethnic rivalries were evacuated by an organization of fair and proportionate representation of each ethnic group within the central government. Each contributing to maintenance of harmony in the kingdom because of its specificity (eg trades) and was working to defend the core values of the empire.

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CITY Comment on this article Read Comments (16) References:


[ 1 ] See civilization of Benin, Continental StĂŠ modern editions, p. 161, or anonymously Dutch Louise Maes-Diop Black Africa: demography, land and history, or J. Philippe Omotunde, The African roots of European civilization, ed. Menaibuc [ 2 ] See Description of Africa, 1668, Amsterdam [ 3 ] See JF de la Harpe, general history of voyages, tome III, Paris, 1787 [ 4 ] See Description of Northern Africa, Paris, Maisonneuve [ 5 ] See History of West Africa, Paris, Presence Africaine [ 6 ] See the beautiful pages of African history, Vera Carnot translated by google translate


Large Urban Areas in Ancient Emperial Africa (English Translation)  

Large Urban Areas in Ancient Emperial Africa (English Translation)

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