ANCIENT AFRICA BY
JOHN M. WEATHERWAX
Printed for the HeritageProgtam Community Action Institute HARYOU-ACT, Inc. New York City
PART I CONTENTS For convenience, the lecture text is published in two I1t-rtS. Additional copies, at twentyfive centS per pamphlet, may be obtained from the Aquarian Spiritual Center Bookshop, 1302 West Santa Barbara Avenue, Los Angeles 37, California. (Specify whether Part I or Part II is desired; each is twenty-five centS.)
Cover: Tut-ankh-Amun's Burial Mask. The Metropolitan Museum of. An.
The John Henry and Mary LoUisa D$n Bryant Foundation
Los Angeles 29, California,
,Copyright, 1962, by The John Henry .and Mary Louisa Dunn Bryant Foundation
Cradle of Humanity ..... " . . . . . . . . . .. 3 Children of Ham .................. " 4 The Earliest Africans .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 6 What Makes Color ................. " 7 The Four Great Rivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Early Migrations ..................... 11 Upper and Lower Nile ................ 12 Imhotep ...............•.... '. . . . . . . 14 HatShepsut ..................... ' .... 14 The Temple of Karnak ............... 14 The Sons of Kush ................... 15 God-Kings and Goddess-Queens ......... 16 Meroe, Capital of Kush •.............. 16 Musawarat ......................... 16 Ram, Sun, Bull and Lion .............. 18 Phoenicia; Carthage; Crete . . • . . . . . . . . .. 19 Punt .. :. . ~ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... 20 The Habashan (Abyssinians) ........... 20 The Amharic People of Ethiopia ......... 21 Axum DefeatS Kush .................. 22 Kush, Nubia and Sudan ............... 24 Chief City of Ancient Africa ........... 24 The Coming of Iron to Afrka .......... 25 [)arfur .....••.......•.....•...•..• 27 Lake Chad and The Sao • ' " ........... 28 Kanem; Bornu .....•............ . ... 30 The Yorubas of Nigeria. '" .. , ........ 32 The Art of Benin and He .............. 32 The' Akan People of Ancient Ghana ..•... ~4 The Almoravids ..•.....•..•......... 35
I ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author acknowledges with gratitude the inspiration, advice and constructive criticism of Mrs. Mabel V. Gray, I.G.H.P., Public Relations Department, International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, in the preparing of this lecrure on early African civilizations. It was through her that the author firSt learned, many years ago, of Meroe, a city which was both the Athens and the Pittsburgh of Ancient Africa. The ritual of the Taborian Order reaches far back in history to Meroe. All of its members are of African descent; it is the oldest and largest fraternal body of this character in the United States. At the time of its founding in 1849 by Rev. Moses Dickson it became an important part of the Underground Railroad, and earned a highly respected place in the history of the struggle for Emancipation. The fact that such an organization in the United States is drawing for ethical and moral guidance on Ancient Meroeis a fact of profound significance and interest. The author is indebted for many excellent suggestions (made while this seminar oudine was in manuscript) by Cyril Briggs, of the Committee for Honesty in Education. The author acknowledges gratefully the pioneering of Richard B. Moore, Founder-Chairman of the Committee to Present the Truth About the Name "Negro," in urging use of the words "African" and "Afroamerican" instead of "Negro"-and in this lecrure follows that practice. Of great importance was the suggestion (used throughout the text) of Charles H. Davis, Jr., that the anthropological classification "Africoid" should be adopted wherever the classification "NÂ˘groid" would formerly have been used. The author/believes such a change in hmguage is long overdue/ and is therefore sending a copy of this lecture - first of all - to the anthropology departments of all Afroamerican colleges, with a request for comment on changing usage from Negroid to A/maid. The author acknowledges, with deep gratitude, the work done in this field by Basil Davidson and E. W. Bovill, whose studies made possible the present brief summary.
Africa is big. Only one continent-Asia-is bigger. From north to south, Africa measures 5,000 miles. From west to east (in its northern half) Africa is 4,600 miles wide. Africa is high. The land of Africa is mostly high plains. They average 2,000 feet above sea-level. Africa has four great rivers. These are the Nile, the Congo, the Niger and the Zambesi. The Nile is Africa's great northern river. The Zambesi flows to the southeast. The Congo and the Niger are the great rivers of the west. There are many smaller rivers. Where the land meets the ocean, the land is not as high as it is farther inside Africa. And wherever the rivers flow into the ocean, there are usually harbors for ships. Along the north coaSt of Africa there are many cities. The land near these cities is used in many places for farming and for raising cattle. Valuable iron and oil are in the ground of the north coast countries. Gibraltar is at the west and Suez is at the east of Africa's north coast. The water along this coast is the great inland sea called the Mediterranean. Just south of the countries that lie along and near the north coast is the Sahara Desert. The Sahara Desert is just about the same size as the United States. It is hot and dry. The sand dunes appear to be endless. Sometimes a wind comes up and makes a sandstorm. These storms have been known to cover people. It is easy to get lost in the Sahara Desert. Many people have died trying to get across it. Ever since history began, the Sahara has made it hard for people of the north coast 1
countries of Africa to reach the people south of the desert. But the Sahara Desert was not always as dry as it is today. In very early days, hunting people lived there. Much later, in fact a great deal latet, cattlekeeping people lived there. Rock drawings in the desert have shown that horses and chariots were used in the Sahara Desert as early as 1,200 years before Christ. Camels were not used to any great extent on the Sahara Desert until a thousand years later. People who srudy this huge desert say that at least sixteen different kinds of people1 lived there in the period of time between the first appearance of the hunting people and the cattle-keeping people. South of the Sahara Desert is a wide band of grassland. The plains of this part of Africa have few trees. There are streams and rivers and animals. Still farther south is forest country. Beyond the forest country, in the far south of Africa, there are again grassy plains. In the Sahara there is hardly any rainfall; but in parts of the Congo the rainfall for a year has been as high as 365 inches. That is an average of one inch of rain for every day of the year. Such rainfalls help to make the Congo one of the greatest water-power areas of the world. But this power has not yet been developed. In fact, the immense riches of Africa are only partly known even now. Africa has vast mineral riches-diamonds, radium, uranium, gold, copper, vanadium,cobalt, antimony, manganese, columbite-and immense crops of fruit and vegetable oils. Over 200 million people live in Africa. That is more than live in the United States. Among the people of Africa are the tallest
people in the world-the Warusi-and the shortest-the Pygmies. Warusi are usually between six and seven feet tall. Pygmies are usually about twelve inches shorter than the height of an average American. There are seven main groups among the people of Africa: Hamites, Libyans, Central Africans, Pygmies, Bushmen, Hottentots and Banru. All of these, except the Hamites, are Africoid. In Africa, there are a great many different languages and dialects. Bantu alone has 182 languages and dialects. Sudanese has 264. These are very good languages: clear, exact, and yet flexible. As to religion in Africa: there are 115000, , 000 poeple whose religion is native African, 65,000,000 Moslems, and 20,000,000 Christians. The native African has a different way of thinking about land than we have. "The ground, according to the native conception, does not belong to anybody, neither does it belong to all. ... In fact the ground is a god that no one would think of appropriating to himself and still less of buying or selling." 2 Whoever used and cultivated a particular piece of land owned the crop. Before the white man came to Africa Afdcoid peoples had forms of social organization based on the family, clan and tribe. Sometimes a number of tribes came together in a confederation of tribes. Tribal leaders were elected. In the northern part of Africa this system broke down and a system of kings was established. The right to rule was then inherited. But in Central and South Africa the original tribal democratic form of government was the rule, and tribal chieftains continued to be chosen by the clans. And just as they were
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elected by the dans, they could be removed from power by the dans. They could even be put to death for doing very wrong things. In the course of thousands of years Africans developed many great civilizations. African art, African architecture, belong with the world's best. African music, poetry, philosophy, dances, religions, are all important parts of mankind's development and history. The present srudy is intended to present briefly some material regarding the early civilizations of Africa.
Over thousands of years, all peoples, all nations, all tribes, have tried to explain the origin of man. The people of Surner had their beliefs about this important matter. The people of Babylonia had theirs; the Chinese and the Hindus, the Persians and the Assyrians, the Greeks and the Aztecs, the Romans and the Hawaiians, all had their own beliefs on this subject, and all these beliefs differed from one another. Not the earliest, but one of the earliest, efforts to put down in writing what his people believed, was the Book of Genesis, compiled by Moses himself. The Hebrew children believed all mankind vas descended from Japheth, Ham and Shem. In the language of the scientists of today, the first were Indo-European, the second were African, and the third were Semitic. Who, then, were these sons of Ham? Who were the Africans, according to the views of the ancient Hebrews, expressed by Moses? They are listed in Genesis 10, verses 6 to 15, of the King James version, and with the spelling of the King James period, as follows: Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan; and the children of Cush, that is, Seba, HaviIah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabtechah and Nimrod. The children
of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. The children of Mizraim: Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphruhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines went forth) and Caphtorim. The children of Canaan: Sidon, Heth, the Jebusite. the Amorite, the Girgasite, the Hivite, the Arkite, the Sinite, the Arvadite, the Zemarite and the Hamathite. Nimrod, in this account, is named as the founder of Babel and Erech and Accad. and Calneh, in the land of Shinar (that is, he was the founder of Babylonia and Assyria) . Moses knew about the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East, and these are the peoples listed in Genesis 10. North and South America already existed at that time, and were peopled; Australia and the Islands of the Pacific existed then, and were peopled; China and India existed, and were peopled; and Europe north of the Mediterranean, and Africa south of Ethiopia, already existed at the time Moses wrote the Book of Genesis, and they were peopled. But Moses knew none of these, so none of them were included in the ancient Hebrew Table of Nations which appears in Genesis 10. The Truth God gave him to see was simply and obviously part of a larger Truth. It was the whole truth as God gave him to see the whole truth; but there was much more to be unfolded, much more to be revealed, to mankind.
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Over millenia-over thousands of yearsmankind's knowledge of the material side of life has increased greatly. The study of the elements-such as hydrogen, carbon, uranium-has opened amazing doors (that were always there) to new understanding, doors revealing to man more and more of the wonders of the universe. One of the most amazing of these new doors
was opened when it was discovered that radioactive Carbon 14 disintegrates at a constant, unvarying, rate. By determining the amount l)f radioactivity left in a piece of this carbon, its age can be determined, it has been found within one per cent of absolute accuracy. ' Carbon 14 tests and many other methods of dating ancient sites occupied by man have (hrown new light on the problem of where mankind first appeared. Many of the most capable, the most thorough, the most serious of scientists throughout (he world are agreed-on the basis of the best knowledge now available anywhere-that the earliest known human beings lived in Africa. (Darwin called Africa the "cradle of humaniey.") They lived in the vicinity of a great lake which is surrounded by Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika. Their fossil bones and the tools they used have been found. The period in which (h('y lived was the period around 1,750,000 years ago,' The stage of human development in which they lived is called by coday's scientists the Old Stone Age. Very ancient human dwelling sites have been discovered in Asia, also, but none as old as (hose of Africa. The early African men lived near the equator. The darker the color of any particular family, the greater were its chances of survival. Pigmentation of the skin is one of nature's ways of protecting maa against light and heat. Over hundreds of thousands of years there was "a steady selection of the darker types for mrvival and a steady disappearance of the lighter types." 4 Thus the characteristic dark color of equatorial Africans developed. The process of selection was helped along hy the kind of food habitually used by any ~1Ven individual or family. What makes skin
color is the amount of two special chemicals in the skin. These are carotene and melanin, present in varying amounts in certain fonds. The quantity of these chemicals in our skm is determined partly by what kinds of food o~r ancestors ate. Melanin makes people dark; carotene gives the skin a yellowish color." The first racial types were the Africoid. Later -how much later we do not know-Mongoloid racial types appeared. The colored races came first; the Caucausoid or white races were a later development. The very early families were hunters and fishers. Not understanding how to grow food, and without domesticated animals (save the dog), they did not command their environment enough to be able to make long migrations. And so for tens of thousands of years dans and tribes would stay near one locality. Only the bravest would venture on' long trips, and the risks of their not returning were great. Short migrations took place-of families, of dans, even of whole tribes. From Uganda and Tanganyika very darkskinned peoples migrated northward to what is now the Sudan and Egypt, and westward to what is now Congo and Nigeria and Ghana, and southward to what is at present called Southern Rhodesia (soon to be called Zimbabwe) and South Africa. The period over which the early migrations took place was a period of a great deal more than a million years. Although it took a very long time, the peopling of Africa took place until there was no part of the continent that man had not traveled over or lived upon. At the northwest boundary of Africa was the Gibraltar land-bridge to Europe; at the north7
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east boundary was the Suez land-bridge to both Europe and Asia. Families and dans and whole tribes-over a period measured in hundreds of thousands of years-moved over these two landbridges into Europe and Asia; and other peoples, chiefly from Asia, moved over those same land-bridges into Africa. Strife at home, defeat in war, fear of death or slavery, famine, caused many to move. The farther from the equator people traveled, the more a dark skin became a handicap. The problem in the north was how to let the sun's rays in to the skin, not how to keep them out. And so the principle of selection began to operate with results the reverse of those at the equator. A steady selection of the lighter types for survival and an equally steady disappearance of the darker types developed the characteristic white European types. People who grow flowers can and do develop white carnations or white sweet peas from stocks originally colored. In such cases, every carnatIon in a great field of white carnations is descended from colored carnations. This is how the Caucausoid races-the white races-developed. Caucausoids came into being through a process of natural selection over very long periods of time. (All races have a few albinos. They are people whose skin lacks melanin and carotene.) We should remember: "People of browner complexions simply have more melanin in their skin, people of yellowish color more carotene. It is not an all-or-nothing difference; it is a difference in proportion. Your skin color is due to the amount of these chemicals present in the .skin."" In the United States a~ the present time (the 1960's) it is quite ge'nerally accepted that Greece and Rome were among the main foun-
tains of "Western" culture. Yet Greece achieved her greatest flowering as a result of contact with "Eastern" and African cultures; and Romans were of aU races. Julius Caesar himself was married to, and had children by, Cleopatra, whose ancestry was black African. Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus, among the greatest of Roman Emperors, were Africans. The Roman Empire itself for a time made Constantinople its center. The very alphabet used by ancient Rome (and used today by the entire Anglo-Saxon world and by all Latin nations) came from Greece, and Greece got that alphabet from the Phoenicians (the Canaanites of the Bible) who in turn got the alphabet from Egypt, 'from Africa. And so with many other foundationstones of "Western" culture. The use of the terms "East" and "West" to categorize world cultures and civilizations exdudes Africa from consideration. There is an astounding arrogance about the kind of "thinkers" who set up such categories-and are thus able to pass over an entire continent as if it did not exist, and eliminate from consideration two hundred million living Africans. Any scientific consideration of the foundations of culture must approach all cultures without prejudice and with an open mind. It is unfortunately true that ignorance about ancient African cultures is widespread. Of Africa's fifty countries, only one-Egypthas been accorded detailed study by the historians and archeologists of the white race. Only a handful of these men of science are studying the early records of the remaining forty-nine countries. It is not lack of money that is at the root of this situation; for hundreds, even thousands of mining engineers, oil geologists, and urani~m,
copper and gold specialists of the white race swarm over all fifty countries, seeking quick exploitations. 't The result of this neglect is an appalling ... ignorance. What do the college students of America know about such African countries as Angola, Senegal, Burundi, Dahomey, Mali, Somalia, Malagasy, Rwanda, Tanganyika, Mozambique or Uganda? How many U.S. Senators, Congressmen and Governors know anything at all about such great cities of ancient Africa as Timbuktu, Taghaza, Jenne, Gao, Kano, Khami, Inyanga, Penhalonga, Zimbabwe, Mapungubwe, Naletali, Dhlo Dhlo, Niekerk, Kilwa, Sofala, En-. garuka, Axum, Adulis, Malindi, Pate, Mombasa, Sena, Rhapta, Songo Mnara, Kati, Kua, Jebel Uri, Bono Mansu and Kumbi Saleh? To what classes, magazines or libraries would one go to obtain information about such African tribes as the Fulani, Ashanti, Mandingo, Mesufa, Tschangana, B;-Rozwi, Ndebele, Matabele, Lozi, Basuto, Mashona, Bavenda, Mbulu, Masai, Son jo, Konso, Kafia, Galla, Somali, Bahima, Bairu, Dogon, Tumal, Abiri, Yoruba, Akan, Sao, Fur, Sorko, Gow, Jaba, Biobaku, Fon, Baoule, Goran, Zaghawa, Bushongo, Bachwezi, Sala, Bangala, and Tswana? What about the origins, history and present state of the Berber, the Tuareg, the Habeshan, the Zulu, the Bambara, the Pygmies and the Hottentots? Is Swahili an African or an Arabic dialect? How does it happen that so many Africans i. speak Bantu? ,. When Mungo Park, a European, in 1796 reached Segu on the Niger-the first European to do so-he said: "The view of this extensive city, the numerous canoes upon the,~iver; the crowded population; and the cultivated state of â€˘
the surrounding country, found altogether a prospect of civilization and magnificence, which I 1!1;tle expected to find in the bosom of Africa.'" What were the origins, and what has been the history, of the Niger River civilizations? What connections existed, if any, between the civilizations of the Niger and those of the Nile?
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The four great rivers of Africa, in the early migrations of man, played a great part in determining the directions of those migrations. Until man learned how to carry and store water, he could not stay long away from fresh water streams and lakes. The early Stone Age men of the UgandaTanganyika-Kenya area lived for many hundreds of thousands of years within reach of many of the sources of both the Congo and the Nile. They fished and hunted along these streams. Searching for food, the areas known to them gradually widened. Very often the search for food led them dow~stream, and new settlements in new areas were a result. In the course of hundreds of thousands of years, through the migrations short distances of thousands of Stone Age families, settlements had been made along all four major rivers, and the first movements of African Stone Age people into Europe and Asia were taking place. But there were yet no cities; no agricultural communities; for man had not yet learned how to plant and cultivate grains, shrubs and trees. The nomadic movement of hunting and fishing peoples continued for more than a million and a half years. In Asia similar migrations of Stone Age nomads were taking place. Many went over the land-bridge at what is now Alaska and spread down through the Americas. Many followed streams leading to the Yellow River of China.
Many migrated westward and found food along the rivers of Siberia and Russia. The Indus, the Tigris and the Euphrates all were known to ~ Stone Age peoples. Meanwhile, floods, ice ages and other major .. climatic changes beset these early people. The record in the rocks indicates that East Africa, during the Stone Age period, experi. enced four major floods (or pluvials, as the scientists call them). But man was now moving toward mastery of his environment. His tools were improving. His skills were more varied. He began to domesticate animals, to weave, to make pottery. A settled community of Old Stone Age makers of pottery existed at Jos on the plateau of Central Nigeria 37,000 years before Christ. In the Rift Valley of South-Central Africa, near the great falls at Kalambo, a Stone Age community lived 36,000 years ago. However, it was not until the period around 6,000 B.c. that settled agricultural communities first appeared. One of tlIese was in the valley of the River Jordan in Asia Minor; Jericho, the first city in that area, was built around that time. Another was the area around Fayum Lake, near the delta of the Nile River, where settled Stone Age communities existed around 4,500 B.C. The lake has since dried up, but the Fayum Depression where the lake once was located is well路known to students of early Egyptian history. The early people of the Fayum area made boats of papyrus reeds, decorated pots, carved ivory, and made fine jewelry of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and amethysts. ,., The Fayumites were a very dark people. During the period of the Egyptian Captivity the Hebrew people intermarried much with the dark Egyptians of the Nile Delta. At the time of the Exodus under the leadership of Moses
(circa 1300 B.C.), many of the Hebrews were descendants of those unions. The Africans of the Delta at the time of Moses were still a dark people; 850 years later still the Greek historian Herodotus described the Egyptians. of his time as a dark, wooly. haired people. s The rich soil of the Lower Nile area, with excellent natural irrigation every year, made it possible for the early nomadic Africans to discover that seeds could be planted and food could be grown. Amazingly, they found they could grow a surplus of food. Nomads from the east brought sheep and goats into the area. Agricultural communities became possible, with a new kind of social relationship-the division of labor-and a new way of living through the building of cities. As these communties increased in number their own protection required a centralized gov~ ernment; the maintenance of a government led to the building of storehouses and granaries and to calculations in regard to the quantities of foods in them-that is, to mathematics and to writing. To make plans for planting, a calendar was necessary, and one was developed. In the year 4,241 B.C. Africans started the first 365-d.ay calendar. The solar year principle they used, we use today. Around 3,000 B.c. the First Dynasty of Egyptian Pharaohs was founded by Menes. By the time three hundred years had passed, Egypt was a very strong monarchy. Five hundred years after the founding of the First Dynasty, the sur路 pluses of wealth were so great that Cheops could and did build the Great Pyramid. An early great African was Imhotep, scientist, architect and medical genius. He lived
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during the Third Dynasty and was worshipped as a god in Egypt for 3,000 years. It was he and not the much later Hippocrates (who died between 377 and 359 B.C.) who was mankind's Father of Medicine. Egyptian medical men were diagnosing two hundred different diseases two thousand years before Hippocrates was born. The very symbol of medicine used today-the twined serpents surmounted by the winged sun -is African. At Karnak, Egypt, is the great temple of Amen. In this temple are twO basreliefs of Imhotep. Karnak itself is one of the architectural wonders of the world. 86,000 statues adorned it; 140 gigantic decorated columns supported its solid granite roof; the main temple is a thousand feet long by three hundred feet wide. (By way of comparison, King Solomon's famed temple was one hundred feet long by thirty feet wide, interior dimensions.) Two tall obelisks were placed in the temple area; their tops were burnished gold. In the words of Queen Hatshepsut: "You who shall see these monuments in later years, and shall speak of my works, will say, 'We do not know, we do not know it was possible to have made a mountain of gold: ... To gild them I gave gold by the bushel, as if it were sacks of grain ... for Karnak is heaven's image on earth." The grandmother of this Queen whose leadership and accomplishments were of highest order, was Nefertari-Aahmes, an Ethiopian, whose portraits show her as very black. Queen Hatshepsut built a temple-palace of her own at Deir el Bahari. It, toO, is one of the world's great buildings. Smartness, delicacy and color characterize it. With great taste and boldness of design, white, blue, yellow, red, green 14
and orange colors are used against a background of orange, pink, red and brown to convey an effect of vitality, opulence, splendor and gayety. It is hard for visitors to realize that her temple has stood there, singularly vital, for almost 3,500 years, evoking powerfully the spirit of a great African culture that we should learn to know better.
In the Bible the word "Ethiopian': refers to any non-Egyptian African from the upper Nile. That region, in ancient times, was divided into twO main countries: Kush and Punt. Kush was a huge country where Sudan now路 is; Punt, roughly, was the same as modern Ethiopia. Thus, in the period before the Bible was written, the Nile had three main regions: Egypt, Kush and Punt. Egypt was the most northern of the three; PUnt was the most southern. The middle kingdom, Kush, got its name from one of the sons of Ham. The main cities of Kush were Naga, Napata, Musawarat es Safra, and Meroe. Because Kush was a very great country with a 100% African native culture, because it was a black kingdom wielding enormous power as a center of ideas and techniques, it has been passed by with scarcely a word by the white world of science and history. Yet for those very reasons intensive and deep study of the civilization of ancient Kush is needed. As the Stone Age people of Uganda-KenyaTanganyika-over a period measured by hundreds of millenia-came down the Nile River one of the centers they established was nea; present-day Khartoum, on a plateau not far from the sixth cataract of the Nile. In the course of time, the area became dotted
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with many communlt1es. It commanded the earliest primitive trade along the White Nile, the Blue Nile and the Atbara. All of these were tributaries of the Nile. In later centuries the Atbara caravan route connected North Africa with the Indian Ocean. The existence of African communities near Khartoum five thousand years before Christ has been well established by Director Jean Vercoutter, of the Department of Antiquities of the Sudan, whose preliminary list of important Meroitic sites numbered 200 in 1960, and was growing. The god-kings and goddess-queens of Meroe and Musawarat were not Egyptian. Yet Egypt drew upon Kush for many of its queens. The people of the ruling circles of Meroe and nearby Musawarat were regarded by the people of the Nile as aristocrats; on many occasions when an Egyptian Pharaoh needed a queen, it was to the tranquil and cool, colonnaded and terraced palaces of Meroe and Musawarat he went for his mate. In the Bible (Acts 8:26-40) we read of "a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was remrning, lnd sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet." The Candace mentioned in The Acts of the Apostles was Queen Candace of Kush. That the eunuch wl'lo had "charge of all her treasure" was reading Isaiah and was baptized a Christian, throws an interesting light on the degree of freedom existing at that time in ancient Kush. ("The Treasure of Queen Candace," recovered from one of the pyramids at Meroe, was taken to the Berlin Museum during the period of great-power raiding of Nile relics of antiquity.)
Approximately a thousand years after the founding of Meroe, the wealth and affluence of Kush had increased to such an extent that a special and pa:latial residence at Musawarat was built for the Meroitic kings and queens. Queen Amanirenas, Queen Amanishakhete, Queen Naldamak and Queen Amanitere ruled from the royal residence at Musawarat. One of the great traditions handed down by Kush, and evidenced in her many queens, was the high status of women in Kushite society. Kush flourished. A harbor at Meroe made it possible to give better care to the river trade. Great stables housed the horses, and later the camels, needed in the overland caravan trade. Accumulating wealth was turned into fine buildings, temples, pyramids. Graphic artists and sculptors created great works of art. Basalt stelae were engraved with historical records which even now are still not deciphered. The intellectual and artistic development of Meroe made it the Athens of ancient Africa. Basil Davidson calls Kush "in some respects, the most truly African of all the great civilizations of antiquity." 9 He comments on the neglect of Meroe in these words: "At Meroe and other points not far away there stand the solitary ruins of palaces and temples that were built for a civilization which flowered more than two thousand years ago, while all around, still undisturbed by any spade, lie the city mounds of those who built them and lived within their shadow." 10 During the reign of Tutmosis I of Egypt, the southern boundary of Egypt was established at Kurgus, near the fourth cataract. This was 300 miles north of Meroe. The time: around 1525 B.C. In the early days of the Kushite kingdom, Napata was its capital. 17
During the eighth century B.C., King Kashta o~ Kush launched a war against Egypt, which hIS son Piankhy carried to a successful conclusion, becoming Pharaoh of Egypt as well as King of Kush. The Kushite Pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty removed from a great Nubian temple at Sulb a long avenue of granite rams and lions and transported them to the Meroitie Lion-Temple City Naga, sacred to the four-armed and threeheaded lion god. The ram was the sacred symbol of Amen (sometimes spelled Amun or Amon). The worship of the ram, the sun, the bull and the lion were Common along the Middle and Lower Nile. To this day, the granite rams of Naga may be seen at that city; other rams may be seen at Meroe and many other of the ancient cities of Kush. The people of Kush believed that everything good, everything fertile, everything growing and useful to man, was the outcome of the favor of the Ram-Sun God, Amen-Re. In the African word "Re" may be the origins of "ray" (of the sun), and of the many Latin words related to "rex" (ruler), such as "real" (in "camino del real"). But so little work has been done by white philologists on the subject of African sources for European words that even this is not sure. The word "N:ubia" derives from the Egyptian word "nub," meaning gold. The people of Kush/Nubia were mining gold 4,000 years before Christ. Kush was an established kingdom in the time of the Queen of Sheba. Meroe flowered for a thousand years (800 RC. to 200 A.D.). A continuous occupancy of the area for a period of 4,300 years has been established. Although Meroe had its pyramids, its lavish public bathhouses, its beautifully decorated 18
palaces and religious temples, its great importance grows out of the fact that Meroe, more than any other city of Africa, led the way out of the Stone Age and into the Iron Age; Meroe, in short, more than any other city, passed on to most of Africa the techniques and skills and knowledge necessary for one African country after another to emerge from the Stone Age into the Iron Age-that is, to make the essential transformation, the essential "breakthrough" from Stone Age backwardness to the techniques of the Iron Age with all of the vast potential for progress such a transition made possible. At the time Kush was rising to world importance, around 1,000 B.C., an Africoid people dominated the sea trade of the Mediterranean. These people-whose language was a branch of the Semitic-were the Phoenicians, the same people called Canaanites in the Bible. Hiram of Tyre, who supplied boats for King Solomon's trade, was a Phoenician. Carthage, the great power which for so long challenged the rule of Rome itself, was founded by Phoenicians. (The Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome were given that name because they were wars against the Phoenicians; the word "Punic" was a shorter, Latin, version of "Phoenician.") Still another Africoid country ruled the southern tip of Arabia. The name of that country was Sabaea ("Sheba" as the Hebrews called it). Queen Belkis of Sabaea (around 1,000 B.C.) was the famous "Queen of Sheba" mentioned in the Bible, who gave King Solomon "an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones; there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the Queen of Sheba gave to
Punt, the third kingdom of the Nile, traded with Egypt. History has a vivid description of the "marvels of the land of Punt" loaded on ships of Egypt's Queen Hatshepsut around the year 1460 B.c.: " ... all goodly fragrant woods of God's Land, heaps of myrrh resin, and fresh myrrh trees, with ebony and pure ivory, with green gold of Emu, with cinnamon wood and incenses and eye cosmetic, with apes and monkeys and dogs and skins of the southern panther, with natives and their children." Records of trade with Punt at the time of Tutmosis I of Egypt exist. The Greeks had a very high opinion of the people of Punt and Kush. The Iliad speaks of the "blameless Ethiopians;" Zeus himself, the chief god of the ancient Greeks, was black; Greek gods would go to Africa when they needed "to rest and recuperate." 11 The Habashan (Abyssinians) first appear in history shortly after 1580 B.C. They lived then in what is now northwestern Ethiopia in the "land of Habashat" which was a part of Punt. One of the most remarkable stories of courage through the ages is the story of Punt/ Ethiopia. That land at the southern end of the Red Sea was from earliest historic times in-
habited by a mountain people of fierce independence. Although invaded and conquered again and again these people were always able to regroup and ultimately throw out the invaders. The process of conquest and reconquest has been going on for 3,500 years; and the Amharic people of the central Ethiopian mountain area are still there, and are still the decisive and determining factor in the life of the country. Ethiopia developed systems of hillside terracing which are used to this day by the Chagga people of Kilimanjaro and the Matengo people of southern Tanganyika. Ethiopia developed defensive forts at the tops of hills, particularly in places where access to the hilltops was most difficult. This approach to the building of "strong places" was copied as far away as Mapungubwe, south of the Limpopo River. Ethiopians have made use of phallic symbols. These have been copied by many tribes of neighboring Kenya. The Ethiopians developed the art of drystone building which is characteristic of the early medieval cultures of east and south-central Africa; many scientists of today believe this art was transmitted to the eastern and southeastern African countries by the Amharic peoples of Ethiopia. If this proves to be true (and Emperor Haile Selassie is encouraging study of the archaeological evidences), then it will be shown that even Great Zimbabwe, the topmost achievement of medieval south-central Africa, owes much to Ethiopia. During the early and middle period of the rise of Kush, four successive states of Southern Arabia dominated the trade and the coastal cities of what is now Ethiopia and East Africa. These four states were Ausan, Qataban, Sabaea
King Solomon." (II Chronicles 9:9.) Carrying "gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks" for King Solomon, the famed ships of Tarshish were owned and manned by an Africoid people. Crete and its people, also, were non-Caucasian; they were the Africoid Caphtorians; Crete itself, two thousand years B.C., was called Caphtor. The "People of the Sea" from Crete and other islands of the Mediterranean, attempted (unsuccessfully) to conquer Egypt around 1,200 B.C. ,..
and Himyar. Beginning about 1,000 B.c. peoples from Southern Arabia went across the straits at the lower end of the Red Sea and settled in Africa. The area from which they came was the area now called Yemen and the Hadhramaut. Migration to Africa greatly increased around 575 B.C., when Persia conquered Southern Arabia. As a result of the Persian victory, large numbers of the peoples of the area fled across the Red Sea to the Horn of Africa, which is that part of Africa now held by Ethiopia, Somalia and Somaliland. In the course of time the chief city and capital in, Africa of those who came across the Red Sea in successive waves from Southern Arabia, was called Axum. This city lay directly upon the Atbara caravan trade route between Kush and the Red Sea. As it grew, it became more and more of a threat to the very existence of the Meroitic civilization. At Yeha, near Axum, are altars to the pagan goddesses N aurau and Ashtar (Ashtoreth); the altars were used by Arabian Semites who invaded Ethiopia during the 4th century B.C. The Habashan survived the Semitic invasion, and their power grew. Around 300 A.D. they were able successfully to challenge Kush in decisive battle for complete control of the Atbara caravan route. The Axumites at the time they defeated Kush . were a pagan people. One of their monarchs of the period shortly after this event was Aizanas. The coins of the early part of his reign are decorated with a pagan new moon and two stars; the coins of the latter part of his reign carry the Christian cross. It was in the year 341 A.D. that AxumEthiopia was converted to Christianity. Ausan, the first of the four Southern Arabian states which dominated the Punt-Ethiopian and
East African coaSt, was eclipsed around 600 B.c.; yet the northeast African coast was known for at least seven hundred years afterwards as the Ausanitic Coast. The Greeks and the Romans came to call the coast of Tankanyika, Kenya and Somll'liland by yet another name; they called it Azania, a name by which the area was known for many centuries. The first historic appearance of members of the "white" races in Africa was around the year 5,000 B.c. These people were Hamites, and came into Egypt over the Suez land-bridge from the east. Drawings of Hamites and Semites made in early Egypt lead to the conclusion that both of these groups were dark-skinned at that time. From around 1,000 B.C. onwards, a great many Hamites came across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to Ethiopia from southern Arabia with the Africoid migrations from that area. Although black in color, many Ethiopians today as a result of having many Hamitic ancestors have Causasoid features. There is a legend-but as yet no historical evidence-of a son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon being the first emperor of Ethiopia. The first use of the term "Negus" (Emperor) occurs about 1,400 years after the period of Solomon and Sheba, in a Himyarite inscription mentioning Gadaret, "Nagashi" (Negus) of the Habashan. Axumite and Meroitic civilizations are both gone; the caravan trade routes over which Axum and Kush fought are now of little trade significance; but the ancient port of Adulis which was the terminal of the caravan routes still exists, and ships trading with the countries of the Indian Ocean still put into its harbor. Following the lead of the Axumite-Ethio-
pians, the Nubians became Christians during the century 500-600 A.D. Belief in the Gospels and in Christ gave a new strength and unity to these direct successors of Kush. They remained a Christian people for nearly a thousand years. Christian Ethiopia was involved in wars against the Muslims of the north and various pagans of the south for eight hundred yearsfrom the 6th to the 14th centuries. .. .. Egypt, Kush and Punt all made extremely important contributions to the advance of mankind. But their relative importance cannot be judged on the basis of the size of monuments left, nor on the gold value of thrones or jewelry found in the excavations of the past century. Of the three, the country that had the deepest and most extensive influence on the development of other African peoples and cultures was Kush. Considered in the light of the subsequent development of Africa, the most important of these civilizations, by far, was Kush; and by far the most important city of ancient Africa was Meroe. Meroe is not far froJIl Khartoum. Khartoum is the capital of Sudan; today's Sudan is yesterday's Nubia; and Nubia in ancient times was the kingdom known as Kush. Kush, in its origins, was a civilization completely and wholly African. In its early period there were no influences from the outside at路 tempting to shape or modify the new civilization taking form there. The Meroitic civilization began early. Jericho has long been regarded by many as the world's first city; pottery made there around 6,000 B.C. ha~ been discovered, and its approximate dates established. But it now appears, on the basis of recent ar-
chaeological discoveries in the Khartoum area, that African communities, a part of the preMeroitic civilization, were making pottery at that date or earlier. From the beginning, Meroe was a disseminator of ideas. Learning the ceramic arts before Egypt was in existence, Meroe spread these skills down the Nile. Many of the concepts and beliefs, the religious practices and ideas, of very early Egypt were brought to that country by the "dark people of the south"-that is, by the people of Kush, from whom according to Egyptian tradition the people of Egypt were descended. The early dark-skinned Africans of the upper Nile-the Kushites-were regarded as the peo-. pie "who brought the Gods to Egypt." Politically, Kush was dominated by Egypt for a long time; but around 800 B.C its complete independence was recognized by Egypt. Not very long afterward, as we have noted, Kush conquered Egypt. But now a new factor appeared on the world scene: iron was being smelted in Mesopotamia, and soon (666 B.C.) the Assyrians were able to sweep into north Africa and take Egypt, due to their temporary superiority in weapons, for Egypt and Kush had only stone and bronze and copper weapons. Kush had to let go of Egypt, but the lesson of the importance of iron in the making of tools and weapons was well learned. By 600 B.c., Meroe was studying this new metal, not knowing that Kush was destined to lift at least twenty other African countries out of the Stone Age and into the Iron Age through the gift of the techniques of iron technology developed at Meroe. When the capital of Kush was transferred, around 530 B.C., from Napata to Meroe, the first iron furnaces at the new capital were aI-
Descendants of Kush included, according to the Arab writer Wahb ibn Munabbeh (738 A.D.) : The Qaran, the Zaghawa, the Habesha, the Qibt and the Barbar. The first of these probably refers to the Goran, a people whose home was east of Lake Chad; the Zaghawa are a people of Wadai and Durfur; . the Habesha are the Abyssinians; the Qibt are the Copts; and the Barbar of Wahb ibn Munabbeh are the Berber of today. Descendants of Kush traveled over Africa to the south and to the west according to El Mas'udi (who wrote these words in 947 A.D.): "When the descendants of Noah spread across the earth, the sons of Kush, the son of Canaan, traveled toward the west and crossed the Nile. There they separated. Some of them, the Nubians and the Beja and the Zanj, turned to the rightward, between the east and the west; but the others, very numerous, marched toward the setting sun.... " That there were many waves of Kushite migration to the west, southwest and south there can be no doubt. Any marching "toward the setting sun" from
Egypt would have taken the marchers into areas which we today call Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco - substantially the same route taken a few hundred years later by the first wave of Moors after Muhammad's death. Any marching "toward the setting sun" from ancient Kush wauld have taken the marchers first of all into the area which we today call Chad, for Chad is the country immediately west of ancient Kush. On the route to Lake Chad, about three weeks journey from Meroe, was Darfur. At tht: time of the defeat of Meroe by Axum around 300 A.D., one of the most important migrations was to Darfur. "Royal personages and priests" from Meroe crossed the barren wastelands of Kordofan to the Darfur country. The difficulties were numerous, the hardships were great, but a considerable number of leading families ~of Meroe, Musawarat, Napata and Naga made the trip. A great many settled in Darfur, bringing to the people of that region much knowledge and many welcome skills, and leaving their imprint on Darfur's architecture and customs. The refugees, as we would call them today, brought to Darfur not only their technical skills, their alphabet, their great abilities as artists, but also their thousand-year-long experience in administration, in government. There were no Assyrians, no Macedonians, no Romans, no Persians, no Pharaoh's army, and no Axumite Habesha to harass the sons of Kush. It had been to avoid all these that many people of the Meroitic civilization left Kush after the defeat of Meroe by Axum. In Darfur, the Kushites were regarded as custodians of all that was best in ancient African culrure. Contact over the caravan routes was maintained with the far more numerous Kushites
ready built. For the next eight hundred years, Meroe led all of Africa in the intensive smelting and manufacture of iron. The work was conducted prayerfully; the iron smelters of Meroe were adjacent to the religious temples of the city. The people of Kush, but more especially the people of Meroe, created, adapted and devel路 oped metal techniques, processes, arts and crafts; meanwhile transmitting their own and Egyptian culture to other African countries. In particular, technologies, religious concepts and governmental practices transmitted by Meroe basically influenced many new African civi路 lizations.
who remained in the homeland. Over the centuries that followed, the Fur people maintained close and friendly connections with Nubia, successor to Kush. The civilization built up in Darfur lasted more than a thousand years. WaIled cities like Jebel Uri were built by the local Daju people. At Ain Fara a Nubian monastery of early date still stands. Some of its pottery fragments (a thousand or more years old) show such Christian decorations as the fish, the cross, the dove. For a period of three hundred years (16031916) Darfor was ruled by the Keiro Dynasty, maintaining its independence throughout this period. The last sultan of this dynasty (Ali Dinar) was defeated by the British, who found him an obstacle to their plans for building an empire from the Cape to Cairo.
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A few groups of the westward-marching Kushites had chosen not to stay in Darfur and had pressed on to Lake Chad, which is a huge body of water in the heart of Africa, much farther inland than Darfur - in fact, around twelve hundred miles from Meroe. The good reports of the area, sent back by these initial small groups, were doubtless a factor in drawing some modest additional movements of Meroitic peoples to the lake; but it was not until five centuries after the first largescale migration from Meroe to Darfur that a large-scale movement of peoples westward through and from Darfur (and southward from Bilma) took place. Lake Chad, bounded on its east shore by the state called Chad, is bounded on the south by Cameroon, and on the west by Niger and Nigeria, two large countries of approximately the same size. Chad itself is larger than Egypt; and Sudan (successor to Nubia, and thus also successor to 28
ancient Kush), Chad's eastern neighbor, is twiee the size of Egypt. In short, the disrances for people traveling on foot and in great numbers "toward the setting sun" were very great. Lake Chad was a natural stopping place for a large column of people. The soil near the lake was rich; food was easy to grow there; hunting was plentiful; there were no large bodies of armed enemies for a distance of a thousand miles in any direction; and there was a water barrier to the west and a sand barrier to the n( rth. But five hundred years had passed since the initial Meroitie migrations west and southwest; an intermingling with many local central African tribes had taken place; and though knowledge, skills and techniques had been transmitted from father to son, a new nation, a new people, had come into being: the Sao people. The Sao built cities on the east bank of Lake Chad, and developed the surrounding territory agriculturally. They were complete masters of tin, copper, bronze and iron-working. They had smithies and smelters. They were jewelers. They used the famous "lost wax" method of casting bronze long before the artists of Benin used it, and were probably the transmitters of that technique to the Nigerian craftsmen. They created beautiful and durable pottery, utilizing design elements drawn from Meroe pottery, sculpture and religion. And they still worshipped the ram and the sun as did the people of ancient Meroe. It is noteworthy that the Sao had a very deep respect for women, who held influential posts in their system of government. The changes made by the Sao in the areas just east of Lake Chad, and to some extent north of the lake, changes toward greater prosperity, greater stability, and a higher cultural level, made an enormous impression throughout cen-
tral Africa. In retrospect, the Sao were regarded by those who followed them as "giants who easily sub路 dued the 'little men' whom they found." Rooted in an area midway between the Niger and the Nile, astride the main overland trade routes between the two great rivers, and with cultural ties going back for millenia to both Kush and Egypt, the Sao of Lake Chad became a major factor in the dissemination throughout the Western Sudan, Nigeria and Ghana of the ideas and techniques of the higher and older civilizations of the Nile. Their successors, the Kotoko, continued these ties and traditions, bringing to the changing culture of the area an Islamic aspect.
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Migrant bands of Sao reaching the west bank of Lake Chad, and moving toward the Niger, farther west, lived among the native Sudanese of the region, and, together with them, created the Kanembu nation. Kanem, just east of the Niger, became an immensely important factor in lifting the cuI路 tural level of what is now northeast Nigeria. Situated between the Niger and Lake Chad, and with travelers from many Sudanese countries passing through its territory, Kanem - and the Sao - became more and more influenced by the governmental forms and practices of the Western Sudan. Controlling vital sectors of the caravan routes from Nigeria to 'the upper Nile, and moving toward political unity of the various tribes along the western shores of Lake Chad, Kanem became a military force of great size and strength. From the eighth to the thirteenth centuries A.D. the old empire of Kanem was the main civilizing force of the Central Sudan. Kanem was one of the greatest of the African kingdoms 30
during the period of the Crusades. Its power was respected by the great Saladin. At Kanem's height of power, during the rule of Sultan Mai Dunama Dibbalemi, the area it controlled extended from the middle Nile in the east to .the Fezzan in the west, a truly immense territory. Under the name of Bornu the later empire continued from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Thus Kanem-Bornu was both the largest of the states between the Niger and the Nile, and the longest-lived. One of the most striking features of Kanem was its Council of Twelve. This body consisted of the principal officers of the Empire. It met whenever an important decision was to be made by the Ruler of the Empire. Each member of the Council was appointed for life, and held real power. In order that the affairs of the Empire should be conducted with harmony, every effort was made to achieve a unity of view within the Council before the pronouncements of the Ruler were made. There is no doubt that this structure of government was one of the main reasons for the stability achieved by Kanem-Bornu. At ancient Meroe, the secrets of iron-working were tighdy guarded and were transmitted only to selected individuals; the blacksmith trade was a guild, and the art itself was called a "mystery." This high regard for the skill, and the factor of secrecy, were noted at widely separated places by Europeans a thousand years after the destruction of the Meroitic civilization. European explorers at the edge of the Congo in the fifteenth century learned that Bantuspeaking kings of the Congo were blacksmiths
and very proud of it. Far to the south in Zulu country, secrecy and honor surrounded the blacksmith trade. Among the Dogon people of West Africa the same tradition persisted. -"The Tumal people of northeast Africa, and the Suk people of EaSt Kenya became skilled smiths. All of this dissemination of essential ironworking skills bears the imprint of Meroe. Particularly noteworthy, the "lost wax" method of casting brass and bronze heads, practiced in Meroe, was used in Ife and Benin Nigeria. ' The method came to its fullest flower in Nigeria during a five-hundred-year. period beginning in the thirteenth century and ending in the eighteenth century. But what wonders these brass and bronze heads were! In their design, in the perfection of their artistry, and in the peace and serenity they expressed - in all these they astonished and silenced the art experts of Europe who could not believe that people from the heart of Africa could produce such perfection in art without a Greco-Roman (that is, a European) tradition. The ties between Nigeria and Kush were not alone in iron-working and in art. The people of He and Benin were Yorubas. Their national god, Shango, wore the mask of a ram - the ram of Meroe. Also, the coiled serpent was used in the religions of both the Yorubas and the ancient Kushites. The ideas about divine kingship, and about immortality, of both Kush and the Yorubas show a most distinct and close relationship. And the legends of the Yorubas themselves indicate migrations of their ancestors from the east into Nigeria between 600 A.D. and 1,000 A.D. Thus the religion of the Yorubas, and their legends, point clearly to Meroe and the Nile for many of the deep roots of their culture.
Like the Sao people, and like the Akan people of ancient Ghana, the BaOule people of the Ivory Coast, the Fon people of Dahomey, the people of Cameroon, and of Congo, all have honored and respected legends of their own origins from people who tame from the north and/or east. Many west coast Africans, seized and chained and sent into slavery to the Americas during slave-trading days, reached the western hemisphere bringing with them memories of ancestral rituals and forms of organization which had come cen uries earlier from Meroe and the Nile. Long before the Iron Age came to Nigeria, however, highly developed artistic skills were possessed by its people. From 900 B.C. to 200 A.D. - that is, for a period of over a thousand years - the Jaba people of Nok, Zaria Province, . Nigeria, developed particular skill in the making of figurines. An artistic tradition thus existed in Nigeria long before the period of the Benin masterpieces. Politically, Benin was more advanced than the European feudal monarchies of its period. "The divine right of kings" expressed the essence of European feudal rule; but in Benin, 'as in so many central African communities, the rule of a king was always subject to the laws of the tribal collective. That is, the tribal council could give consideration to a proposed action of the king; and its recommendation for or against was final. As in Kanem, African collectives in many parts of the continent consisted of twelve respected and tested leaders; the practice of relying on such a top controlling body was highly democratic, efficient and effective.
The slow pre-history penetration of the central African forests over hundreds of thousands of years had created an all-black native popula-
â€˘ don of that huge area. Toward the end of the Stone Age, those communities which first learned how to smelt and work and use iron were better able to survive against attack from other tribes. Possession of weapons of iron gave such communities a considerable advantage over those using bone, stone and wood weapons. Among the forest peoples first to learn the use of iron' were the people of ancient Ghana. Their first use of iron dates from around 300 B.C. Whether they first learned iron technology from Libya or from Kush was still not definitely known in 1961. The first capital of ancient Ghana was located at Bono Mansu, approximately a hundred miles north of present-day Kumasi. The builders of this city, according to the Akan people of Ghana, whose roots go back to that period, had come from the north, had come in fact all the way across the Sahara Desert. Ancient Ghana was located to the northwest of present-day Ghana. It was on the gold trade routes north and northwest-of the upper Niger, . and was first called "Land of Gold" around 800 A.D. by EI Fazari. The famous Moorish writer Abu Obeid EI Bekri (1028-1094), writing in the year 1062 A.D., stated that the King of Ghana hath fighting force of two hundred thousand, 40,000 of these warriors armed with bows and arrows. By the time of EI Bekri, the capital of Ghana had been moved to Kumbi Saleh, located approximately two hundred miles north of present-day Bamako. El Bekri deSC1'ibes the court of the King of Ghana: "When he gives audience to his people, to listen to their complaints and set them to rights, he sits in a pavilion atound.which stand his horses caparisoned in cloth of gold; behind him stand ten pages holding shields and gold-
mounted swords; and on his right hand are the sons of the princes of his empire, splendidly dad and with gold plaited into their hair. The governor of the city is seated on the ground in front of the .king, and all around him. are his vizirs in the same position. The gate of. the chamber is guarded by dogs of an excellent breed, who never leave the kings seat, they wear collars of gold and silver ... The beginning of an audience is announced by the beating of a kind of d.nim which they call deba, made of a long piece of hollowed wood." It' was the iron technologies that came down from the north a'nd northeast that made it possible for Ghana to emerge as a strong, centralized state around the year 800 A.D. As late as 1060 A.D. Ghana waS still able to maintain its pre-eminence because of this superiority; its immediate neighbors who still fought with bars of ebony were easily subdued by the warriors of ancient Ghana with their metal swords and spears and arrow-points. However, after a fourteen-year struggle ending in 1076, the capital of Ghana fell before still better armed invaders from the Maghreb (that is, from the western areas of the north African coast). The invaders were the Almoravids from Morocc~nder Abu Bake. This Muslim group came into existence in 1042 when the orthodox preacher Abdullah ibn Yacin (who died in 1057) decided upon a jihad against the Jedala and the Lemruna, who had rejected the doctrines of Muhammad. A short 26' years after the Almoravid defeat of Ghana, the Muslim group was ruling a ttemendous territory extending all the way from Senegal to the Ebro River in Spain. The victory of the Almoravids resulted in the destruction of the authority of the Kings of Ghana and of their state, which was soon
seized by a Qeighbofing people, the SoSso;, in the year 1240 the empire Of ancient Ghana" ended; its capital was completely destt.~ hi" Sundiata, ,the second, ruler' of the ,,' Mandingo' state which history knows as Mali. But before taking up the rise of Mali, Songhay, the Hausa states,- and:·other western and central African countries, .let us tum our attention to the manner in which the North and East Coast of Africa and Southeast Africa developed anciently.
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NOTES AND BIBLIOORAPHY 'Literally, "at least sixteen,.different phases of occupation" are indicated. ' ,.,f' 'Maurice Delafosse, "The Negroes of Africa," p. 280. Associated Publishers, Washington, D.C., 1931.
SWilliam' H. Mathews III, "FossiJs," P. 169. Bariws ' and Noble, N.Y., 1962 . ·"Understaodins 9m Nei~bori? y. 6; Southern ' Regional Co,tncil, Adanta, 1945. . ~.' " s"Race: Science and Politics" by Ruth Benedict, p. 175. Viking, N.Y., 1961. ' ' .
6ibid., p. 176. '''Travels of Mungo Park" by M~ ~ E. P. Dutton & Co., N.Y., 1954.,(E~i'l:i1IB.hI·-;~,~ Edition) . "_-
8In spite Of these bistori~ ~~J!M• l'iII';pm~. pagated of' a whKe.,(W-.","__1Qa archaic, stiff and talC:rw~.acl~:tJcjn: Greek types than to ~ , ,mJttiOlog,.~ reinforced by popular'IDm 'peseittations , such showmen as ~ana -~ in wl!iiCJi.~!!:' white (or "ery slighdy"tin) Yul!lJynnerS _., __~ beth Taylon Mve decidedly blacff$taves. ... ".'::.
9Basil Davidson; "The Lost Cidu~6f Afric8;,!,_p~ ". Little, Brown, Boston, 1959. -' ' ':"
tOibitl., p. 37. "W. E. B. DuBois, "The World and Africa." p. 119.
Vildng, N.Y., 1947.
ANCIENT AFRICA BY
JOHN M. WEATHERWAX
Text of opening lecture, Seminar on African and Afroamerican Cultures, given at the headquarters of, Los Angeles CORE, 1115 W. Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles 15. California, f ! July 9, 1962. Printed as a public service through the courtesy of Mr. James A. McGann, Founder-President, West Indian American Club, 923 E. Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles 11, California. For convenience, the lecture text is published in two PartS~ Additional copies, at twenty-: five cents per pamphlet, may be obtained from the Aquarian Spiritual Center Bookshop, 1362, West Santa Barbara Avenue, Los Angeles 37, California. (Specify whether Part I or Part II is desired; each is twenty-five cents.) PrintedÂˇ for Vanguard Socie of America, 1160112 N. Westmore Los Angeles 29, California, tion.
July, '19~2 â€˘ "Cover: !lenin Bron~_
The John Henry and Mary Louisa Dunn Bryant Foundation Los Angeles 29, California
Copyright, 1962, by The John Henry and Mary Louisa Dunn Bryant Foundation
PART II CONTENTS Carthage and England ................ 37 Carthage and Rome .................. 38 The Origins of Swahili Culture ......... 40 The Zanj ......................... :40 Africa's East Coast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 The Coming of Islam ....... , ......... 41 MaIindi, Mombasa, Sofala ............. 42 What The Portuguese Did ............ 45 Engaruka, Niekerk, Inyanga ............ 47 Metal Technologies Were Developed Before The Whites Came ............ 48 The Monomotapa Empire ............. 49 Zimbabwe ......................... 49 The Finest Gold; The Finest Steel ........ 50 The Guns of The Whites .............. 50 Mapungubwe and The Bavenda ......... 53 Mozambique, Tanganyika, Uganda ....... 54 Songhay ........................... 55 Mali .......................... '.... 56 Mansa Kankan Musa ................. 56 Timbuktu, Jenne, Walat~, Gao ......... 56 Sudanese Culture .. " ................. 56 Sonni Ali;, Aski~ The Great ............ 58 . The Gold' of Wangara ................ 59 The Battle of Alcazar ................. 60 El Mansur and Marrakech ............. 60 The Plunder of Songhay .............. 61 The Hausa States .................... 62 The Fulani; Usuman Dan Fodio ......... 63 A Mountain of Crimes Against Africa .... 65 The Slave Hunters ................... 66 The Degradation of Slavery ............ 67 80,000,000 Africans Killed; 20,000,000 Enslaved ......................... 67 The Urgent Need for Study of African History and Cultures ................ 71
Printed in the Ucited States of America
In Kenya, at Hyrax Hill, a stone age settlement with walled enclosures, cemetery, and other evidences of continuous dwelling, has been found. It dates from 3,000 B.C. In Northern Rhodesia, the life of a forest people called the Nachikufu, dating from around 4,000 B.C., has been well established. They used polished stone adzes, grinding stones, pestles, digging sticks, awls of bone and grew :md ate vegetables, including the yam. Similar evidences of â€˘ early populations of the East and Southeast exist in many areas. All of these people were dark -skinned. Similarly, communItIes of dark-skinned peoples (before the Iron Age) had developed at many places along the north, the Mediterranean, coast of Africa. As the centuries passed, these northern communities developed into cities. The Africoid Carthaginians controlled much of this northern coast for a thousand years; Carthage itself in 500 B.c. was a great city. The Carthaginians traded timber, ivory, purple dyes, grain and ostrich feathers with the countries across the Mediterranean. Gold, brought to Carthage by the Gatamantians of north Africa, was also traded. The African carbuncle, famous in olden times, and in great . demand, was called the "Carthaginian stone." The black African Phoenicians of Carthage traded with the British Isles and with the peoples of Brittany on the French Coast before France as a country had come into existence. Before Anglo-Saxon times, the native inhabitants of England and Scotland were nonCaucasian. Dark-skinned miners dug for lead and tin in the Carthaginian settlements of Cornwall, England. Words from the Phoenician - such as "sack"- were left in the English language and are used by all English-speaking people today.
1 Even the word "Europe" derives from "Europa," a Phoenician princess. Like Bible Hebrew and Canaanite, Phoenician - including Carthaginian - was an Hebraic language. The very name "British" derives from the Semitic tongue and means "Covenant Men." London itself was not called London in those early days; it was called New Troy ("Troynovant") after the East Mediterranean trading city. The Phoenician -Carthaginians, direct descendants of the Canaanites, visited Iceland and learned of the existence of a vast continent beyond. After the defeat of Carthage by the Greeks and Romans, many Carthaginians chose to sail across the Atlantic to new homes in the western hemisphere rather than become slaves to Greece and Rome. 1t Many evidences of the trans-Atlantic voyagings of Africans exist; a three-volume studyl3 of Africa and America, by Harvard professor Leo Wiener, gives much information regarding the ancient connections between the two continents. A five-ton stone sculpture - a magnificent African face reflecting immense power and serenity-depicts a god worshipped around 500 A.D. by the Olmecs of the western hemisphere. A reproduction of this gigantic work of native art is on exhibit at the American Museum of Naturad History in New York; photographs of it have been printed in several books by J. A. Rogers. 14 Despite the existence of much evidence, however, little is popularly known about the pre-Columbian connections which existed between Africa and America.
Rome. North Africa in that period was often called "Rome's granary." The lions of north Africa were in demand for gladiatorial contests. Caesar used 400 in one day; Pompey set 600 lions on the gladiators in a single day. When the Colosseum was opened to the public, 9,000 animals were turned loose on the gladiators, among whom were many Africans. Rome built, in north Africa, aqueducts, dams and cisterns to help increase proJ,'ctivity; they also built huge amphitheatres, one of them (at Thysdrus, modern EI-Jem) seating 60,000 spectators. The great Roman Emperor Septimius Severns came to power in 193 A.D. and died in York, . England, in 211; he was an African and spoke Latin with a Punic accent, as historian E. W. Bovill (a specialist in north African history) points out. 15 Severns spent the equivalent of many millions of dollars building up his native land after he became Emperor. He was born at Lepcis, gateway to the North Sahara; to commemorate his own name he made Lepcis a fine harbor; magnificent ruins at this spot are visited by tens of thousands of tourists annually. From the fourth to the seventh centuries, A.D., the cities of the north African coast were in constant turmoil over persecutions arising out of religious conflicts, and over rebellions and invasions. The most important of these came shortly after the death of Muhammad in 632. His followers swept across the whole of north Africa, taking Tripoli in 643 and reaching the Atlantic Ocean in the year 681.
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After the seizure of the Carthaginian cities of north Africa by the Romans, north Africa became the main source of supply of corn for
The first regular trade along the northeast coast of Africa was carried on by the southern Arabia country of Ausan. The Qataban, Sabaean and Himyar states which followed it as dominant factors in that trade, brought many Arabic
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cusroms and words with them to the coastal cities of Kenya and Tanganyika and Somaliland. In the course of time a new language and a new culture developed. It was the language and the culture we call Swahili. The language has a Bantu base, but many Arabic elements. In 510 B.c., a Greek pilot named Scylax, of Caryanda, sailed down the Red Sea and along the east coast of Arabia to the Indus River and back. He was the first European to make such a trip. The famed pilot of Alexander the Great, Nearchus, duplicated (in 327-326 B.c.) the feat of Scylax. After Nearchus, many other mariners did the same, until trade with India by way of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean was commonplace. In the Arabian ports these early European sailors heard glowing accounts of the many dties of East Africa. It was soon after Alexander's time that the word "zanj" first appeared in history. It was first used in Persia in 293 B.C. "Zanzibar" means "coast of the Zanj." Today the word "zanj" in Arabic means "very dark" and "very dark people." It refers also to the East and Southeast coast of Africa ("the ZanY'). Interest in trading with the east and southeast coastal dties of Africa led to the preparation, in 60 AD., of a "periplus" or maritime atlas, te11ing many handy bits of information useful to navigators sailing along the African east coast. It cal1ed the land of that area "Azania," as was common then; and it mentioned the ivory, tortoise shells, palm oil and other articles of commerce obtainable there; and it told also what the east coast Africans wanted in trade. In that period, India wanted African iron for dagger hilts and swords, and wanted ivory for chessmen. China was interested in trading with Africa, too; and during the period 25-220 A D., during the late Han Dynasty, it began its maritime
Islam came to the East Coast during the ,eventh centUry. At least eight Islamic settlements dating from that century have been located by archaeologists along the East Coast. During the seventh and eighth centuries the nainland dties of the East Coast remained as :hey had always been, basically African; yet
trade with the Arab ports near the Red Sea. Immediately after, during the period 221-265 AD., China developed four-masted a~d sevenmasted ships for the long trips to the Indian Ocean. This was approximately fifteen hundred years before the development of the threemasted American clipper ships. Malayan and Indonesian vf'''~ls were also Africa. In making the trip to Arabia anI.. fact, Java and Sumatra colonized Yla~dgasy in the second century A.D. T?e cities of the EaSt Coast, wit!. ~ndians, PerSIans, Arabs, Chinese, Malayans, Indonesians and Bantu-speaking Africans became more and more cosmopolitan; and the Swahili language and culture absorbed much from all of these people. The Arab merchants settled in the EaSt Coast communities, adopted as their own the Swahili language, married the local dark-skinned women, and became a part of the life of the African people of the East Coast. The Arabs were there to trade, not to conquer. Since it was easier for the people of southern Arabia to reach the east COast of Africa than it was for people from the Far East, and since the religious and dynastic rivalries of Arabia were causing more and more Arabs to leave their native land, great numbers of Arabs arriv~ on the East CoaSt during the early centunes of the Christian era, giving Swahili a strongly Arabic aspect. .. .. ..
the Swahili culture of the area became more and more Islamic. In China, the fabulous Tang Dynasty was in power during the eighth century; its ships came to Africa for rhinocerous horns, used by magicians against evil spirits, copper, used in making bells, ivory elephant tusks for chairs and for carved works of art, frankincense, camphor, ambergris, sandal wood and gold. . El Mas-udi, one of the great early Arab authors, wrote in 947 that the ships of China put in at Oman, Siraf, Obillah and Basra; and that Arab ships from those ports路 sailed to China for goods. The East Coast of Africa sent an envoy to China in 1083; three years later it was known that the Chinese had an ingenious device for telling directions at sea or on land: the magnetic compass. The Chinese used this device a century before it came into use in the Mediterranean or in Europe. Having learned the usefulness of minted money from the Chinese, the east coast dty of Kilwa established a mint prior to 1300 A.D. By 1414 another east coast dty, Malindi, had enough trade with China so that it found it desirable to send an ambassador to the Emperor of China, with a gift of a giraffe, the first ever ~n in China. A great Chinese mariner named Cheng Ho made seven historic voyages from China to the Far West (that is, to India, Arabia and Africa). The "Three-Jewel Eunuch" (as he was called) was a Muslim and enjoyed the trust of the Emperor to such' an extent that after his first trip to Kenya in 1417-1419 he was given command of fleets so large that by 1431-1432 (the number is still in dispute among historians) between 27,000 and 37,000 men sailed with him to the Persian Gulf, with a large part of these continuing on down i:he African 42
EaSt Coast. In short, there was a vast路 amount of trade transacted in the African East Coast cities; silks and brocades were on display; Ming bowls and vases, Sung porcelains, fine carpets from the Middle East, copper, silver, jade and gold jewelry from Sultanabad and Nishapur, ivory figures from Canton, extraordinary mahogany and teak carvings from Indo[a::'ja, were all there for trade. The blue cotton garments of the native Africans, with their red shoes, the turbans and red fezzes and black skull-caps of traders, the bustle and glitter and chatter and gayety of peaceful and very active international commerce, made the East and Southeast Coasts of Africa centers for civilizing influences. Malindi, Mombasa, Kilwa, Zanzibar, Songo Mnara, Lamu, Brava and Mogadischu on the East Coast, and Mozambique, Quelimane, Chinde and Sofala on the Southeast Coast, all shared in this prosperity and stability. Arab and oriental traders knew all of these portS, and were welcome, for more than a thousand years before the Portuguese and destruction arrived.
The famous Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator 0394-1460) and his no less enterprising brother Don Pedro, searching for African gold, during the fifteenth century encouraged many voyages down the west coast of Africa. Each of the trips Henry and Pedro encouraged extended European knowledge of the African west coast; Joao Diaz rounded Cape Bojador (1434), Diniz Diaz reached Cape Verde, Cadamosto (a Venetian in Portuguese service) visited the Guinea Coast (1455) . ("Guinea" is from the Berber word aguinaou, meaning "black.") 43
But it was not until a generation after the death of Prince Henry that the most exciting discovery of all was made. Bartholomeu Diaz de Novaes (probably a relative of the other Diazes) On February 3, 1488 discovered the Cape of Good Hope. He continued some distance on until the coast line began to take him consistently northeast. He then knew he had found a sea-route around the southern tip of Africa to the trade portS of the Orient. He turned back before reaching Sofala. Another explorer, Pedro de Covilhao, in the same year went down the east coast of Africa as far as Sofala. The reports of Diaz and Covilhao decided the King of Portugal on a major effort to place Portugal ahead of all other European powers in dominating the new trade possibilities with the ports of the Indian Ocean. The King was all the more eager, since expectation of discovery of the new southern route had existed ever since Fra Mauro in 1459 had presented Prince Henry with a map showing the great southern cape of Africa. It was in 1497-1498 that four small Portuguese boats, under command of Vasco da Gama, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and sailed up the east coast of Africa. They were the first European ships to do this. Da Gama and his companions were astounded at what they saw: a world of commerce and wealth surpassing that of most European cities. The Africans did not have a high opinion of the Portuguese. At one point, stated the logbook of Da Gama's flagship, the Sao Gabriel, "twO senhores of the country came to see us. They were very haughty; and valued nothing which we gave them. One of them wore a cap with a fringe embroidered in silk, and the other a cap of green silk. A young man in 44
their company-so we understood from their signs-had come from a distant country, and had already seen big ships like ours." At Sofala the Portuguese learned that gold was brought down to the coast from an inland empire of great size and'power. This was what they had come for. Now, they thought, they were near the source of African gold. They. continued to India, returned a, 1 reported to the King of Portugal. The Portuguese decided to seize the entire East Coast-Indian trade; all of it. They had a convenient excuse: a group of Portuguese left in India by the first expedition after Da Gama had been murdered; the excuse would be to "avenge" these deaths. Da .Gama was placed in command of twenty warshIps and returned to the African east coast and India .in 1502 with instructions to begin the executIOn of Portugal's criminal plans. The magnitude of the Portuguese effort to control the East Coast and Indian trade can be seen from the fact that during the first twentyfive years after Da Gama's first visit to the East Coast, Portugal commissioned 247 ships to sail to India via the East Coast of Africa every year. R. S. Whiteway states16 that cruelties "were del~berate1y adopted as a line of terrorizing polIcy by Vasco da Gama, Almeida, and Albuquerque, to take no mean examples. Da Gama tortured helpless fishermen; Almeida tore Out the eyes of a Nair who had come in with a promise of his life, because he suspected a design on his life; Albuquerque Cut Qff the noses of women and the hands of men who fell into his. power on the Arabian Coast." Basil Davidson briefly summarizesl1 what the Portuguese did on the African East Coast: "It was at Mozambique, during his first voyage, that da Gama exchanged the first 45
fame barely survived; often it vanished altogether. Some of them, today, are entirely lost ...... " No wonder the Swahi1i poet wrote of his city of Pate: Madaka ya nyamba ya zisahani Sasa walaliye wana wa nyuni. (Where once the porcelain stood in the wall niches Now wild birds nestle their fledglings.) 18 But in spite of such disasters, the Swahili civilization of the coast cities was far from d~stroyed. Kilwa's people, for instance, said a SIxteenth century (1583) observer, van Linschoten, "are all most white-apparelled in silk and clothes of cotton wool: their women weare bracelets of gold and precious stones about their neckes and armes; they have great quantitie of silver workes, and are not so browne as the men, and well membered: their houses ar~ commonly made of stone, chalke and wood, WIth pleasant gardens of all kinds of fruit and sweet flowers. "19
shots. Back again on the coast in 1502, this time with a score of ships from home (the largest but one of ~all the Beets that Portugal would send to the golden East), da Gama threatens to burn Kilwa unless its ruler will acknowledge the supremacy of the king of Portugal and pay him yearly tribute in gold. Ravasio does the same at Zanzibar and Brava. Meeting resistance, Almeida storms Kilwa and Mombasa, burning and destroying. Saldanha ravages Berbera. Soares destroys Zeila. D' Acunha attacks Brava. And this last place, comments Barbosa, who went out in one of the earliest fleets and knew the sacking of Brava from the men who were there, 'was destroyed by the Portuguese, who slew many of its peoples and carried them into captivity, and took great spoil of gold and silver and goods.' There survives a letter from the ruler of Mombasa, after Almeida's disastrous invasion, to the ruler of Malindi. Returning to their blackened city after the Portuguese had gone, it says, the Swahili and Arab people of Mombasa found 'no living thing in it, neither man nor woman, young nor old, nor child however little. All who had failed to escape had been killed and ourned.' "All this was as easy for the Portuguese, and for much the same reasons, as it was in India whenever they met with resistance to their greed and theft. They were better armed. They were trained to ruthlessness. They wanted more than a simple monoply of trade, ruinous though that would be for the coastal cities; they wanted loot as well." To burn, to sack, to loot, to kill: this is what Europeans brought to the civilized East Coast of Africa in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, A. D. "White terraces of tall houses, ringed with strong walls, paved with firm quays, crowned by forts and palaces ...... their
Inland, among the hills of the Kenya-Tanganyika border, only a short time later (around 1660 A.D.) Engaruka, a city of 6,300 houses, was built by Africans skilled in mining ores and working metals. Inland, also, and around that same time, the terraces and fortresses of Niekerk were built. Niekerk and its neighbor, Inyanga, built around a c~ntury or so earlier still, were mining and agrtcultural communities. Including Penhalonga, the "many forts and dwellings, storepits, and terraced hillsides of eastern Rhodesia and western Mozambique are now known to extend across an area of two or ~hree ~housand square miles, and a proper lflspectlon of Mozambique may yet reveal them as still more extensive."20 Up to the year 1905 this vast complex of
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structures had never been reported Il.;x>n in any European publication; yet,' as one of the early European visitors to the area said' in amazement, "There has been as much labour expended here as on the building of the Pyramids, or even more." The peoples of eastern and sot1tnern Rhodesia, the peoples of Katanga and of Transvaal, mined, smelted and worked metals before any white person appeared in those areas. When and from whom did they learn these extremely important processes and skills? A thousand years before the great terraces of Niekerk and Inyanga were built, Meroe brought iron technologies to the people of that region, and to the areas south and west of it. Over deserts and wooded mountains, along trade routes and forest paths used for centuries upon centuries, Meroe, the Pittsburgh of Ancient Africa, sent its products and its ideas out to the communities south and路 west of Kush. ; One of the earliest of the South African inland communities to milke the breakthrough to the Iron Age was one at the southern end of Lake Tanganyika. By 4'0 B.C. this community was working iron. There were some areas that did not move directly from the Stone Age intp the Iron Age. Katanga worked bronze before iron; and the Hottentots of South Africa worked gold and copper (probably) before iron. But in general, following the Meroe pioneers, combining, transforming, adapting teChniques. and ideas to local conditions, tribe after tribe, area aftel;' area, country after country, underwent revolutionary economic, technical and social changes growing oui: of the dissemination of the skills and techniques of iron-working. One of the greatest of these changes occurred
in southeast Africa. After twelve centuries of continuous development of metal skills, there were in this area sixty thousand recorded ancient mine workings (gold, copper, tin and iron). Most of these were a part of the Monomatapa Empire. . During the middle ages rumors and legends about a gigantic empire south (1t Ethiopia had ~n passed on to Europeans by the Abyssinlans. The ruler, temporal and spiritual, of this tremendous empire was said to be _ Prester (Priest) John, a Christian. Some of the legends pl~ced Prester John in Asia. The locating of thIS Prester John and his huge empire was one .the objectives of the early Portuguese expedItIOns to the African east coast. ~here is little doubt now that the actuality behmd the legends. of an exceedingly large empire, inland, inaccessible, and very wealthy, was the Monomotapa Empire. The chief center of this vast kingdom was Zimbabwe, which is located seventeen miles southeast of路 present-day Fort Victoria in Southern Rhodesia. The chief port through which the metals of the empire could reach Arabia, India, China and Indonesia was the southeast African port of Sofala. Zimbabwe was two hundred and fifty miles inland from Sofala; but it took twenty-six days for carriers to make the trip. It was, of course, the existence of the thriving seatrade that made possible the development of the extremely widespread mining operations inland. Africans with iron-age skills founded Zimbabwe around the sixth century, A.D. For a thousand years it maintained connections with Katanga, Natal and Bechuanaland. Sometime around 950 AD. the considerable group of
walled and towered stone buildings now known as Great Zimbabwe were commenced. The main structure, still standing, is three hundred feet long and two hundred twenty feet wide. Its walls are thirty feet high and in many places twenty feet thick. The Monomotapa Empire was gradually built up over a period of around three hundred years; and then for the five-:.hundred-year period 1250-1750 it flourished. It was at its peak when the Portuguese saw, in Sofala, the evidence of its riches at the time of Vasco da Gama's voyage of 1497-1499. Barbosa wrote about it in 1517; and in 1583 the gold of the Monomotapa Empire was described as "the finest gold that can be found." The famous Damascus steel blades of the Crusades were made from iron mined in the Monomotapa Empire. The iron was sent down the mountain trails to the coast; from Sofala and other east coast ports it was shipped to southwest India. After forging, it was shipped to Arabia. In the Near East it was made into the hardest and sharpest cutting weapons the world had ever known, and into chain-mail. The fine weapons of the Saracens were an important factor in their ultimate victory over the Crusaders. Iron was ,important to the Portuguese, but it was gold they wanted most of all. By 1607 they had forced the Monomotapa to cede to them all right and title to his mines. But this was not enough. The Portuguese wanted all non-Portuguese traders to leave the empire. And $), in 1628-1629 they sent two hundred fifty Portuguese soldiers and thirty thousand Kaffirs against the Monomotapa. Most of the important leaders of the empire were killed, ml emperor was deposed, and a new emperor was put on the throne. The new emperor (coercect'by the murderers who called 50
themselves Christians) agreed to be baptized as a Christian and agreed to expel all Moors, giving the Portuguese the right to kill any that did not leave. After this capitulation the power of the Monomotapa was gone. The Rozwi invaded his kingdom in 1700 and largely destroyed it. They rebuilt it, however, in 1725, and for another hundred years the empire lingered on, being finally destroyed around 1825 by a southland people, from Natal, the Nguni. The last Ba-Rozwi ruler was flayed alive in 1835 by the Swazi. Khami, another great southeast African in- ' land city, built around 1600 A.D., was des.troyed in 1834 by a chief named Zwangendaba; and about the same time Inyanga and Penhalonga were devastated, never to recover, by Tschangana tribesmen from Mozambique. In order to make it impossible for any whites to work the Manica gold mines, ,Mzila, a Zulu chief, in the 1860's ordered all native workers in the area killed, leaving it a wilderness. The amount of gold taken out of the mines of the Monomotapan Empire is indicated by the money value of the captaincy of Sofala: 200,000 quzados every three years, worth more than the equivalent of 800,000 United States 1962 dollars. Each of the other 'east coast ports had its Portuguese "captain;'; the King of Portugal got his truly tremendous income; and the traders got theirs; and the basic sour~ for' all this wealth was the labor of coast' and 'fnllind Africans, and the gold of the Monomotapan Empire. It had taken over two thousand years of patience, probity and industry to build a network of trade rek ,', ,1'1S between East Africa and China, Indonesia,' ~ylon, India and Arabia. In sixty years the POI tuguese had completely des51
troyed that network of trading intereSts, and with it, the civilizations of the hinterlands that depended for their very existence on that trade. Rigid, bureaucratic, imperial procedures and greed, permeating their entire colonial apparatus, plus barbarous cruelty, contributed to the downfall of the Portuguese in East Africa. The use of Portuguese troops and firearms first on one side and then on another, among the inland tribes, fatally weakened the inland .,. civilizations. When no one would any longer work the gold mines (and the gold was still there in the hills and mountains of Zimbabwe), the Portuguese turned to black gold, turned to traffic in human. bodies, turned to the wholesale slave trade. And every act of bloody ctuelty made more and more of their subjects hate them, just as the bloody actions against native Africans of Angola and Mozambique make a later generation of Portuguese colonists despised and hated today. "Having ruined the states they found, they ruined themselves," summarizes Davidson.
South of the Monomotapa Empire, long before the Portuguese came, was the "Land of Waq Wag." The Waqlimi were not a Zan; people. Just what and who they were, the archaeologists will no doubt some day find out. In the land south of Monomotapa, however, at a spot n~r ~e southern boundary of ~uthern Rhodesla, 10 the Transvaal, there ltved-.: before the discovery of agriculture-a community of Stone Age Hottentots. They had ceremonial beaSt burials similar to those of Badarian, pre-Dynastic Egypt. Around 450 A.D. there was a migration into the area of an Africoid population from the north. They intermarried with the Hotten-
tots and in the course of time, doubtless for greater security, moved the community to a Bat mountaintop now called Mapungubwe. The newcomers brought know ledge of agriculture with them. Rich soil was carried up to the mountaintop and essential crops were planted there. The newcomers also brought with them the techniques of metalworking. They were Bantu-speaking people; probably Sotho and Shona.and Venda peoples, like those around Zimbabwe. Their numerous descendants, the Basuto, the Mashona and the Bavenda, live in the general neighborhood stilL In the 1890's and the 1900's it was rumored among the white settlers south of the Limpopo River that the Vehda people of the area had golden treasures hidden on a sacred hill. Because the hill was sacred, the Venda people kept its location secret. It was not until 1932 that a white man named van Graan found the hill. It could be climbed only through a chimney which had small climbing-holes on two facing sides. Van Graan, his son and three other whites climbed the chimney and came out on a level plateau a thousand feet long. Almost at once he and his party found seventy-five ounces of gold. It was in the shape of ornaments: bracelets, beads, little gold rhinoceroses, and so on. These were the fir~t wrought gold objects ever found in South Africa. The Royal Mint at Pretoria pronounced them "gold of great purity." The Government of South Africa at once took steps to gee title to Mapungubwe from its absentee owner. Soon twenty other occupation sites in the vicinity had been found. A royal cemetery was located. It was soon evident that Mapungubwe had been the dwelling place of venerated Afri-
In the course of the seven centuries after 300 A.D.-the centuries during which the metal-working techniques of Meroe spread throughout much of the continent - an increasing mastery of environment developed. Withit came a new mobility of tribes. Great quanti-
ties of iron-tipped weapons made possible the mobilization of tens of thousands of warriors armed formidably. A familiar feature of African tribal sociery from earliest times to the present, has been the division of dans through the "secession" of one group or another. This tendency to divide increased with the increasing militarization of the tribes. And because there was an apparently endless supply of land, the "seceding" or dividing groups always had a new place they could go to and call their own. Thus the peopling of many parts of central, east and south Africa went forward with greatly increased speed as a result of the advent of the Iron Age. Among the new tribes formed in this process were the Sorko and the Gabibi. The Sorko were fishers; the Gabibi were farmers; in legend they came to the middle Niger to an area then inhabited only by two dans who were referred to as "masters of the water" and "masters of the land." Both settled near the Labbezenga Falls in the Dendi country of the middle Niger..,Migrating upstream in their boats, the Sorko founded a city: Gao. In the ninth century Za Aliamen, a Lemta Tuareg, seized the countty nearby. Other fishing and agricultural communities were established in the vicinity over a long period. Together, under Lemta leadership, these communities, consisting of the native peoples and the newer migrant tribes such as the Sorko and the Gabibi, formed the Songhay state. Around the year 1009 A.D. K;ing Kossoi of Songhay 'becam;~6nverted to Islam. _ ~o meanwhile had become a trading as well as-i6Sflingand-~S,'riculturat community; its rich merchants and ttaders, acting on the principle "Islam and.Commerce" urged Kossoi to take
can rulers in pre-European times. But the nature of the civilization, its connections, beliefs, origins, customs, are now only beginning to be studied.
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Needing study, also, is the history of Nyasaland. Very little is known of it; and archaeologically, Nyasaland is almost a blank. When work begins there in the fields of history and archaeology, many connections, many links, between northern and southern African civilizations will doubtless be uncovered. Mozambique, Tanganyika and Uganda are in like need of historical and archaeological study. The world needs to know a great deal more than it now knows about the origins and histories of the Bantu-speaking peoples of east, central and south Africa. "The product of migration, intermarriage, and multiplication over many centuries," these people are the chief key to the future for the southern third of the entire continent. There are earthworks, for example, in Western' Uganda which are among the largest in the world, and pe"haps- the world's largest. At Bigo tw,09.t three hundr~ years ago a huge fortress-~as' lfu1lt jn an 'elliptical form reminiscent of Zimbabwe. Why were the earthworks and the fortress built? Who were their builders? Throughout Africa there are impressive remains of earli~ civilizations. We need to know more, much m6re, about those civilizations than we do.
Gao from the Sorko, which he did, making that city the Songhay capitaL Farther up the Niger River Mandingo tribesmen under Allakoi Keita founded the state of Mali (1213 A.D.). In the course of its growth, and during a war against the Sosso rulers of Ghana, Sundiata, successor to Keita on the Mali throne, destroyed the capital of Ghana (1240). By the year 1300 the Mandingo people had built a thriving city, quite as civilized as most of the cities of medieval Europe. The name of this city was Timbuktu. Another of their cities was Walata. Ibn Battuta (1304-1369) visited and described Mali. The Walata women, he found, were of "surpassing beauty" and were "shown more respect than the men." He was surprised when he found that "No one claims descent from his father, but on the contrary from his mother's brother. A person's heirs are his sister's sons, not his own sons." Although the people of Mali were Muslim, the family relations, such as matrilineal succession, were Sudanese. In the year 1307 Mansa Kankan Musa came to the throne of Mali. Seventeen years later he made the pilgrimage to Mecca, passing through Cairo on his way. The echoes of his trip condnued for centuries afterward. For the scale of Mansa Musa's expenditures was staggering; no one had ever seen such wealth and magnificence in Cairo; the gold market of the city fell, and did not recover for more than a decade. The Emperor of Mali, traveling on horseback, was preceded by five hundred slaves, each carrying a staff of gold weighing six pounds. And in order to pay the way for his soldiers and the many members of his court who accompanied him, the caravan included a hundred camel-loads of gold, each camel carrying from
Timbuktu three hundred pounds of the yellow metal. While the King of Ghana had a nugget of gold so big and heavy that he could tether his horse to it, the King 6f Mali had gold beyond the dreams of any king of tht: world of his time. His kingdom was larger than all of western Europe, and, indeeq,~ more civilized. When someone askedÂˇ him, 'in Cairo, how big his country was, he replied, "About a year." That is, it would take about ,a year for a man to walk across it. Muklim scholars of the period, wishing to be very conservative, said it could be done in four months. On his return home, Mansa Musa visited Gao, which his army commander had taken from the Songhay while Musa was on his trip . to Mecca. Arriving home in Timbuktu, Mansa Musa caused a fine ~ew mosque, the SankureÂˇ Mosque, to be erected'in that city, following the design of a poet of Granada, "whom the emperor had come to ~know in Mecca and persuaded to r.eturn with him." El Omari (born in 1301) wrote of the Emperor of Mali whopreteded Kankan Musa, that he led fleet of four hundred ships, two hundred filled with men and two hundred "with gold" (and, no doubt, supplies), to "the westward," that is, t~ the w.estern hemisphere. The captain of the last boat of the fleet got frightened or could not keep up with the fleet, and returned home; he was unable to report whether the other ships arrived or were lost. Certain it is, however, that many Africans made the trip to the Americas centuries before Columbus; Professor Leo Wiener's three-volume study, mentioned earlier, gives ample evidence of their widespread influence in the western hemisphere. Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) stated that caravans of 12,000 camels at a time, representing . a huge commerce, used to travel from Mali
across the Sahara Desert by way of the Hoggar Mountains. Mali imported horses, Damascus swords, silks, cottons, and many other commodities from the Mediterranean. The prosperity of the kingdom increased from year to year. Meanwhile, the power of neighboring Songhay was rising. In 1464, Sonni Ali came to power in Songhay, the eighteenth king in the line founded by King Kossoi around 1009. In four short years Sonni Ali made Songhay so powerful that it was able to seize Timbuktu, the capital of the Mali srate. By the time he died in .1492, Songhay was the most powerful country of the Western Sudan. Sonni Ali's son was the last of the Lemta Dynasty which had ruled Songhay with great success for eight centuries. Muhammad Toure, who assumed the title of Askia (and was later called Askia the Great) took over the kingdom from Sonni Ali's son, and ruled it for nineteen eventful years. Referring to Askia the Great, the famous traveler and writer Leo Africanus said in 1510: "Here (in Timbuktu) are great store of doctors, judges, priests, and other learned men, that are bountifully maintained at the king's cost and charges. And hither are brought divers manuscripts or written books out of Barbarie, which are sold for more money than any other merchandise.'>2t Both Mali and Songhay contributed to the development of Timbuktu and Djenne as centers of learning. Djenne was one of the greatest of such medieval African centers of learning. The town was regarded as "hallowed," and people came from far and near to study and trade and live there. Askia the Great's rule ended in 1528 with abdication. He lived out the rest of his life on an island in the Niger River, bothered greatly 58
by frogs and mosquitoes. Songhay itself was invaded in 1591 by the Moroccan armies of EI Mansur, in search of the gold that had made Mali and Songhay famous. Timbuktu and Gao were captured by the invaders, and the armed forces of Songhay were defeated and scattered. By 1600 the Songhay srate was no more, its cities the prey of marauding neighbors, with no force able to prevent them from being seized and looted again and again.
The source of West African gold puzzled the world for a very long time. "Wangara" was the country it came from, everybody said; but no-one (at least, no European) knew where ,Wangara was. It was known that the Wangara gold-diggers wore lip-disks; that as a result, the lower lip was stretched to very great size, and when the lipdisk was not in place, the lip actually hung down upon the chest. Because of this custom of stretching the lower lip, the people of Wangara had to have large quantities of salt, which was sprinkled on the lip to keep it from becoming infected by insects, dust, scratches or sun. It was also known that the Wangara were very secretive about their work; that the trade was silent, and women played a big part in it. Cadamosto reported to Prince Henry the Navigator that the Wangara gold was traded for salt. Slabs of salt were carried by "a great army of men on foot" to the trading area; then, "all those who have the salt pile it in rows, each marking his own. Having made these piles, the whole caravan retires half a day's journey. Then there come another race of blacks who do not wish to be seen or to speak. They arrive in large boats, from which it appears that they come from islands, and disembark. 59
Seeing the salt, they place a quantity of gold opposite each pile, and then turn back, leaving salt and gold." Thus, "by long and ancient custom, they carry on their trade without seeing or speaking to each other:m So closely was the secret of the source of the gold kept that it was two thousand years ~fore the location of the Wangara goldfields was established. They were at Bambuk-Bure and at Lobi.
It was the Battle of Alcazar (1578) that elevated 29-year-old Mulai Ahmed EI Mansur to power as the Shereef of Fez. In that battle, in six hours, 26,000 Portuguese were slaughtered or captured and enslaved. Less than one hundred escaped. Due to the death of his uncle in the battle, Muial Ahmed inherited his uncle's position as Shereef - and added the title HEI Mansur" (the Victorious) to his name. Europe was staggered by the terrible strength Of the blow at Alcazar, and hastened to make peace with the Moors. A ruby as big as a man's fist, an emerald the size of an apple, were among gifts showered on the young man by the monarchs of Europe and the Near East. Within six years after the Battle of Alcazar, EI Mansur had completed at Marrakech, Morocco, one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. Named' EI Bedi, it was built of Italian and Irish marble, and decorated by the finest Moorish artisans with semi-precious stones from India; its gardens were oo'a scale in keeping with the princely magnificence of its thousands of columns. After finishing this great structure, EI Mansur secretly began preparations to invade the western Sudan and take over the routes through which the gold of Wangara reached Europe. At that time salt was an extremely important 60
and valuable article of commerce not only for the Wangara gold trade, but throughout the western Sudan. One of the main sources for this commodity, for the trade of the western Sudan, was a group of salt mines at Taghaza, operated by black slaves of the Mesufa Tuareg, who were themselves vassals of the King of Songhay. EI Mansur's first step toward the domination of the western Sudan was the seizure of the salt mines of Taghaza. He closed them down, work. ing great hardship on all the people of the Sudan. Defying him, the Songhay reopened the mines. EI Mansur at once gathered an army of 4,000 and put Judar Pasha in charge of it. There were 2,000 infantry armed with the arquebus, 500 mounted arquebusiers, and 1,500 light cavalry, armed with lances. 600 sappers and 1,000 camel drivers, together with 8,000 camels and 1,000 pack.horses completed the force, which had to travel 1,500 miles across the desert before reaching the enemy. The army left Morocco in October, 1590, and arrived at Songhay in February, 1591. During 1593, Timbuktu and Jenne were plundered. The Moroccan army was constantly harassed, but, through many changes of command, and with epidemics cutting their numbers greatly (four hundred Moorish deaths in one period of two weeks), and with sickness killing the transport animals, it held on. At last, after ten years in Songhay, Judar Pasha returned to Marrakech, with three million dollars in unrefined gold for EI Mansur. It took thirty camels to carry the gold. J udar Pasha also brought slaves and the virgin daughters of the King of Gao for El Mansur. The invasion of Songhay cost Morocco . 23,000 troops over the period of Morocco's 61
occupancy of the Sudan. It made El Mansur rich. But since he spent the gold as fast as it came in, there was nothing in his treasury at the time of his death. EI Mansur died in 1603; fifteen years later, Morocco gave up the effort to hold Songhay, leaving the Moors on the Niger to be assimilated by the Sudanese. By 1670 Timbuktu had been taken by the Bambara of Segu, and Gao had become a vassal of the Tuareg. Still later (1672)' a private army of Sudanese, under a Moroccan named Ali ben Haidar, moved against a Moroccan ruler named Mulai er-Rechid. â€˘ By the time Haidar's army of Sudanese reached Morocco, er-Rechid was dead and Mulai Ismail was in power. Since Haidar had nothing against him, the army was turned over to Mulai Ismail. Built up to a strength of 150,000 through constant recruiting, this Sudanese force proved to be Mulai Ismail's most dependable army. Mulai Ismail himself being very black, liked the idea of a very dark army. He himself had 25,000 white slaves, among them Alexander Selkirk, the hero of the famous book "RQbinson Crusoe." Mulai Ismail kept a stable of 12,000 Arabian horses; a black and a white slave cared for each horse; and for each horse there was in the stable a running stream of water. aâ€˘
Between Lake Chad and the Niger River, in the period 950-1000 A.D., the seven Hausa states were founded: Daura, Kano, Zazau, Gobir, Katsina, Biram and Rano. Legend states that Abu Yazid, who came to Daura from the neighboring state of Bornu, . killed the Sacred Serpent of Daura, married the queen, and began ruling. 62
Seven minor Hausa kingdoms, known as the Banza Bokwoi, were also established. Their names: Kebbi, Nupe, Gwari, Yelwa, Horin, Kwararafa and Zamfara. The Hausa kingdoms later became a part of northern Nigeria. Kano, one of the more important Hausa kingdoms, had its first Bagoda king in the year 999 A.D. From that time to 1892, Kano had forty-eight kings. It was at the height of its power around the time of Christopher Columbu.c â€˘ Its king then was Muhammad Rimfa. The Hausa people were skilled tanners, leather-workers, weavers and iron-smiths. Their cities retained local autonomy, and were walled. The wall around Kano was thirteen miles long. Two branches of the Fulani arrived among the Hausa states from the west in the thirteenth century. One branch - the Bororojewere pastoral nomads and pagans; the other Fulanin Gidda - were Muslims with a liking for city life. Popularly, the two branches were called the Cow Fulani and the Town Fulani. Five hundred years later the Fulani occupied many of the highest positions in the Hausa states. One of the most important of the Fulanin Gidda clans was the Torobe or Toronke (the people of Toro). They were a very dark people who came from Senegal, migrated east, leaving a number of settlements along the upper and middle Niger, with the main mass of the Torobe settling finally in Gobir. It was from these Toronke of Gobir that the great national hero of the Fulani of Hausa arose: Usuman dan Fodio, who came to power over the Hausa states during the period 18041808. Shehu, as he was called, gave each of his most trusted followers a flag, and the promise of a Hausa city or province when his 63
jihad was over. He blessed each flag, and sent his followers out to rid the world of unbelievers. The Fulani rallied to Shehu (Sheik) with great enthusiasm. By 1810 he controlled a huge territory that extended from Timbuktu to the Black Volta, and as promised, each of the flagholders was put in charge of a dty or province. He was not able to conquer the Yoruba in the forest counrry of the south, nor the Bornu, whose homeland was west of Lake Chad. Usuman dan Fodio died in 1817, and is buried in Sokoto, where his tomb is the object of pilgrimages.
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Europeans have quite generally been stunned at the magnificence of such ancient African palaces as Deir el Bahari, and at the medieval splendor of El Bedi in Marrakech. Europeans have made many reports of the courtesy and kindness with which they were received by African monarchs. Hospitality was the rule. Duarte Pires, for instance, representing the King of Portugal at the court of the King of Benin reported (1516): "He pays us high honour and sets us at table to dine with his son, and no part of his court is hidden from us but all the doors are open." Portuguese Captain Gamitto, reaching the court of the King of Lunda in the southern Congo, reported (1831) "great elegance and good taste" and a great deal of etiquette and ceremony at court. Early English traders, such as Richard Windham (1554), reported a most friendly cordiality extended to them by West Coast African monarchs. The Hungarian Emil Torday, acting (1909) for the Belgians, traveled up the Congo River, then up the Kasai, then up the Sankuru; there, 64
far into the interior, he reported, he was received with courtesy and kindness. These were not isolated, occasional, instances; they were typical and habituaL Back of these actions and attitudes was a long tradition; when Torday visited the Bushongo they gave him "in measured phrases" a king-list of one hundred twenty names back to the founding of their nation. One of these kings was Shamba Bolongonge, who "abolished warfare with the throwing knife, and introduced raffia weaving and other arts of peace." The Bushongo were especially proud of such accomplishments, indicating their own deep respect for the "arts of peace." But when the European powers moved to subdue and rule the West Coast tribes, the resistance of the people amazed the would-be rulers. Using every form of torture and atrocity to intimidate the Congolese, it took the Belgians (using guns against spears) twenty years to conquer the Congo. The British lost six different wars (1803-1874) against the Ashanti before finally subduing them (1894); and even then the use of Jamaican and other United Kingdom black troops made British victory possible-for the Ashanti came out and threw their arms about their black brothers. It was only because of access to superior arms that the Belgians in the Congo and the British in Nigeria were able finally to impose their wills on the entire native populations of those huge areas.
Often hypocritically justifying their barbarity as "saving souls" the white European powers, for a period of five hundred years, have committed a mountain of crimes against Africa and Africans. In the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth 65
centuries an unspeakable horror descended upon the peoples of Africa. Slavery had existed in Africa long before the Europeans made a profitable business of it. The Egyptians enslaved many peoples, the Assyrians enslaved Egyptians, the Romans enslaved Carthaginians and many others; and literally hundreds of African tribes had slaves. But, as has been pointed out," the mass slavery imposed on Africa by the white European powers during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries differed from the earlier slaveries in that it broke every link between the slave and his own culture, and smashed the very structure of his society. Through mass murder and the dispersal of those deemed suitable for slavery, many tribal 'societies came to a complete and final end. In the earlier forms of slavery, slaves were an organic part of the society they served; when large numbers of slaves worked on specific projects, they were sometimes able to retain their own social relationships, and in some cases were encouraged to do so. The mass exodus of Hebrew slaves from Egypt was possible because the clan structure and practices of the Hebrews had been retained. But slavery of Africans by Europeans, which involved the taking of over 100,000,000 Africans from their homes by force, ended the very existence of scores of African cultures, rent and tore social fabrics in many cases hopelessly beyond repair, and set an entire progressive conrinent back in its development by several hundred years. A Netherlands historian cites an 1823 account writren from Liberia by an American about a local chief "who had received goods on credit from a French slave-hunter." In order to make payment, the chief searched among the peaceful neighboring tribes: "He singled
out the Queaks, a small agricultural and trading people of most inoffensive character. His warriors were skilfully distributed to the different hamlets, and making a simultaneous assault on the sleeping occupants in the dead of the night, accomplished, without difficulty or resistance, in one hour, the annihilation of the whole tribe - every adult, man and woman, was murdered - every hut fired! Very young children generally shared the fate of their parents; the boys and girls alone were reserved to pay the Frenchman."2' Of the 100,000,000 Africans seized in slave raids, only about twenty million lived to become slaves in foreign lands; approximately ten million in Europe and ten million in the Americas. 80,000,000 African lives were lost in the bloody welter of slave raids, kidnappings, massacres of the very old and the very young, slave sales and slave-ship transport deaths. Shackled side by side on decks that in some cases were two feet apart, rolling naked night and day on the bare boards of kennels stinking with excreta, blood, vomit and sweat, many of the victims died before the long middle passage voyage was completed. In 1784, for instance, the captain of the slave ship Zong threw 132 sick slaves overboard. In 1819 the captain of the French slave ship Le Rodeur threw 39 African slaves overboard. They had contracted opthalmia, an eye disease; had become blind and unsalable; but since they had been insured, they were thrown overboard "to enable the owners to collect the insurance." The degradation of slavery, and the desperation of its victims, resulted in many insurrections. Harvey Wish, in the "Journal of Negro History" lists sixty-one slave mutinies aboard ship alone. Slave revolts in every country to which the Africans were taken, were features
There were three kinds of slave trade: domestic, overland and overseas. The domestic slave trade was much the same as practiced in all parts of the world. Overland slave trade was carried on by caravan for thousands of years. In its final centuries, such roads as the Fezzan-Kawar road were lined by the skeletons of many thousands of victims, mostly young girls and women, who were unable to survive the ordeals of desert travel to the slave markets of Tripoli and Benghazi. Overseas slave trading - the "modern," "wholesale," "systematic" kind - began in 1444 when the first group of slaves taken from the area north of the Senegal was transported to Lisbon and sold there. By 1517 Spanish Bishop Las Casas was officially allowing twelve slaves
to each Spaniard who went ro the New World to seek his fortune. By 1537 the Pope had OK'd the Lisbon slave market. At the wharves of Luanda .~hite bishops sat in ivory chairs, to baptize, wholesale, the slaves rowed beneath them in chains to the waiting slave-ships. And aiding England's chief slave-trader, Sir John Hawkins, to carry on his bloody trade, was the good ship Jesus, and the fiction that the slave- . trader brought the slave eternal salvation. During the first fifty years of the trade, the price of a slave in Benin was from twelve to .fifteen brass or copper bracelets. From Angola alone in the period 1486-1641, more than 1,300,000 slaves were taken. In a period of only ten years (1783·1793) there were nine hundred voyages out of Liverpool alone for the slave trade; these nine hundred voyages yielded 300,000 slaves which sold at around fifteen million pounds sterling, with a net profit of approximately twelve million pounds sterling going to the captains and the ship owners. The Dutch West India Company in the twelve-year period 1637-1648 transported 23,163 slaves from Africa to Brazil. They paid 40 to 50 guilders each for the slaves in the Congo, and sold them in Brazil for 200 to 800 guilders per slave. Their book· keepers reported receipts of 6,714,423 guilders and 60 cents for the period. And who were the great New World slavetraders? "The Puritan colonies ranked as the greatest slave<arrying section in the New World~' and the "slave trade developed into New England's greatest industry," states Lorenzo Johnston Gteeae. 26 American slave-ship owners often made 100% on their investment at the end of a single voyage.
of this resistance. Over two hundred slave insurrection plots are of record. Suicide by stabbing, hanging or drowning was a way out for multitudes of the victims. Fear of being eaten drove many insane.• "Their sobs and songs of sadness have often troubled my soul," said the pious captain of the slave ship Degrltndpre. That Africa has recovered :it all from the loss of a hundred million of her people, from the smashing of scores of tribes, and from the debasement of those structures which remained, is the wonder. The centuties-long ravaging of every African people they could get at, the callous disregard of human decency, the branding with a hot iron on cheek, arm, thigh or chest of millions of Africans, as if they were no more than cattle, the senseless slaughter of orher millions of old, or weak, or siCk or too young Africans, earned for the white slave-trader countri.es a legacy of contempt and bitter hate.
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The city of Newport, Rhode Island, later a center of the world of fashion, had 22 distilleries during slave-trading days. In these distilleries rum was made to be traded in Africa for slaves. Many of the slaves so purchased were taken to the West Indies for sale. There molasses was purchased, which was taken to Newport to be manufactured into rum, completing the vicious triangle. In the slave marketS of the world, African blood was transmuted into gold in the coffers of the white slave-trading countries; the capital accumulation secured in this way laid the base for the further financial growth of those countries; and slave labor itself, in those countries, added for centuries to that capital accumulation. Those responsible for the deaths of eighty million Africans and the enslavement of twenty million, those responsible for. the rape of a continent for centuries called themselves civilized, and called their victims uncivilized; those who organized the most vast, the most cruel, the most destructive and savage manhunt of all time called their victims savages.
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Those who participated in the slaughter of eighty million Africans and in the enslavement of twenty million, and those who are trying with every means at their command to continue the exploitation of Africa and Africans today, have done their beSt to project an image of an "Africa without history and without mystery," an Africa barbaric, untrained, and badly needing "trained" (i.e. white) "help" (i.e., 路exploitation), Having stood on the necks of Africans, and having ridden on their backs, the current crop of these image-makers now speak of their victims as "backward" and "underdeveloped." In a rush to have their representatives sit at the head table, where the pickings (it is hopefully
expected) will be the best, those monied "protectors" and "defenders" of Africa move constantly along lines of economic and financial and military ties that will strengthen their position for the continued profitable. exploitation of A(rica under the new conditions forced on them by the rapid advance of African nationalism. The neo-colonialists would like, if they could, to bury African history; and if unab(e to do that, to bypass it; and,if this, too, proves difficult, to cbscure it; arid as obscuring it becomes harder, then to distort and minimize it. For - contrary to路 the interests of the New Colonialists with th~if gikof economic-military chains - the faccsOf :African history reveal an immense African capacity for progress; an innate and general sense of the collective, and a rejection of the methods and structure of exploitation; an unquenchable idealism; and a steady drive toward jus#ce and democracy. Freedom, everyone in Africa knows, is the weapon and the road leading to the full realization of Africa's aspirations. Knowledge of African history-in this period especially - becomes a light to assist the users of the weapon of Freedom, and the travelers along Freedom Road, and the Friends of African Freedom. Education thus assists Action. But the need for the study of African History is urgent. A deeper and more aceurate路 know I- . edge of African Cultures is essential if weare to move toward closer relations with our African brothers. It is to help provide material for this study, and for study of Afroamerican culture, that this Seminar has come into being, Other lectures in the series will deal with other aspects of African and Afroamerican cultures. 71
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, NOTES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY 12Charles M. BoJao.d. ''They All Discovered America... Doubleday, N.Y., 1961. '"Leo Wiener, "Africa and the Discovery of America." 3 vols. Innes and Sons, Philadelphia, 1920-22.
14J. A. Rogers, "Nature Knows No Color-Line," p. 234. J. A. Rogers, N.Y., 1952. , ' . 15K W. Bovill, "The Golden Trade of the Moocs," p. 44. Oxford Univ. Press, London, 1961. his "The Rise of the Potruguest' Power i_D 1497-1550," published in 1899.
l1Basil Davidson, "The Lost Cities of Afria," p. 200. Little, Brown. Boston, 19551.
18ibid., pp. 193,199. 19ibid., pp. 288-9. 2掳ibid., p. 277.
"Leo African~,' "The History and Descripcioo of Africa," Vol. nt, p. 825; uanslated by John Pory 4t. 1600; edired by Dr. Robert Brown; Hakluyt sOciety, London; 1896. The first realistic reportS of the interior , of the Western Stldan to be printe4 in Europe were those of Africanus. They were issued first,by G. 8. Ramusio 'in his "Navigationi eViaggi," Ven~,路 1563路1574. 22Gerald R. Crone, "'I'he Voyages of Cadam0stt>.,7 pp. 22-23. Halcluyt Society, London, .1937. 23A detailed descriptionof Mulai Ismail's cateer and of his Suda.pese army may be,found in V~ I 01 J. A. Rogers' invaluable 'W<Qrld's' &eat '. Men: 01 Color." .
Uby A. Ihle in "Das .!JteI(onigreich KOO8Q," 1m",.
'The People)'hat WIIIk
in Darkness," p. S. iklltUirjnf:, New ,Yerk, 1960. 2eLorenzo JOMStQft Greene, "The Negro in
New England," Press, N.Y;, 1942.
317. Columbia Ulli\'eWty