- Kanem Empire
Infobox Former Country
conventional_long_name = Kanem Empire
common_name = Kanem Empire
continent = Africa
country = Chad
era = Middle Ages
government_type = Monarchy
year_start = 700
year_end = 1387
event_end = Invaded and forced to move, thus establishing new
p1 = Zaghawa
s1 = Bornu Empire
image_map_caption = Location of Kanem Empire around 1200 AD
common_languages = Teda
leader2 = Omar I
year_leader1 = c. 700
year_leader2 = 1382-1387
title_leader = King (Mai)
The Kanem Empire (700 - 1376) was located in the present countries of
Chadand LibyaFact|date=April 2008. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but also parts of southern Libya( Fezzan) and eastern Niger. The history of the Empire from the 13th centuryonwards is mainly known from the Royal Chronicle or " Girgam" discovered in 1851by the German traveller Heinrich Barth.
The empire of Kanem began forming around 700 AD as a result of a migration of
nomadic peoples called the Zaghawa who spoke languages of the Teda–Daza ( Toubou) group. Originating in the northeast, they were forced by desiccationand political pressures to travel into the more fertile area northeast of Lake Chad. When the Zaghawa (whom the "Diwan" refers to as the Duguwa) arrived, a settled people called the So were already there and had formed a sophisticated though non-centralized society of city-states protected by walls. The Zaghawa would eventually dominate the So but not before adopting many of their customs and fighting numerous wars with them right up to the late 16th century.
One theory proposes that the lost state of
Agisymbamentioned by Ptolemyin the middle of the 2nd Century AD was the antecedent of the Kanem Empire. [ [http://dierklange.com/pdf/contents/12Mune-Symbol_as_the_Ark.pdf "The Mune as the Ark of the Covenant between Duguwa and Sefuwa (in ancient Kanem)"] Borno Museum Society Newsletter 66-67 (2006), 15-25. (The article has a map (page 6) of the ancient Central Sahara and proposes to identify Agisymba of 100 CE with the early Kanem state).]
Kanem was located at the southern end of the
trans-Saharan traderoute between Tripoliand the region of Lake Chad. The Zaghawa eventually abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and founded a capital in 700 AD under the first documented Zaghawa king ("Mai") known as Sef of Saif. The capital of N'jimi(the word for "south" in the Teda language) grew in power and influence under Sef's son, Dugu. This transition marked the beginning of Duguwa Dynasty. The mais of the Duguwa were regarded as divine kings and belonged to the ruling establishment known as the Magumi. Despite changes in dynastic power, the Magumi and the title of Mai would persevere for over a thousand years.
The major factor that influenced the history of the state of Kanem was the early penetration of
Islam. North African traders, Berbers and Arabs, brought the new religion. In 1085, a Muslim noble by the name of Hummayremoved the last Duguwa king Selma from power and thus established the new dynasty of the Sayfuwa.
The introduction of the Sayfuwa dynasty meant radical changes for the Kanem Empire. First, it meant the Islamization of the court and state policies. Second, the identification of founders had to be redressed. After the
13th century, the empire began associating Mai Sef with the legendary Yemenite hero Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan. Hence, it became customary to call the new ruling dynasty the Sayfawa instead of the Sefuwa.
Islam and Kanem
Islam offered the Sayfawa rulers the advantage of new ideas from Arabia and the Mediterranean world, as well as literacy in administration. But many people resisted the new religion favouring traditional beliefs and practices. When Hummay had assumed power on the basis of his strong Islamic following, for example, it is believed that the Duguwa/Sayfuwu began some kind of internal opposition. This pattern of conflict and compromise with Islam occurs repeatedly in Chadian history.
12th century, the Sayfawa ruled all over Kanem. At the same time, the Kanembu people drew closer to the new rulers and increased the growing population in Njimi. Even though the Kanembu became the main power-base of the Sayfuwa, Kanem's rulers continued to travel frequently throughout the kingdom and especially towards Bornu, west of lake Chad. Herders and farmers alike recognized the government's power and acknowledged their allegiance by paying tribute.
"Mai" Dunama Dabbalemi
Kanem's expansion peaked during the long and energetic
reignof "Mai" Dunama Dabbalemi(ca. 1221– 1259), also of the Sayfawa dynasty. Dabbalemi initiated diplomatic exchanges with sultans in North Africaand apparently arranged for the establishment of a special hostel in Cairoto facilitate pilgrimages to Mecca. During his reign, he declared " jihad" against the surrounding tribes and initiated an extended period of conquest. After consolidating their territory around Lake Chad the Fezzanregion (in present-day Libya) fell under Kanem's authority, and the empire's influence extended westward to Kano(in present-day Nigeria), eastward to Ouaddaï, and southward to the Adamawa grasslands (in present-day Cameroon). Portraying these boundaries on maps can be misleading, however, because the degree of control extended in ever-weakening gradations from the core of the empire around Njimi to remote peripheries, from which allegiance and tribute were usually only symbolic. Moreover, cartographic lines are static and misrepresent the mobility inherent in nomadism and migration, which were common. The loyalty of peoples and their leaders was more important in governance than the physical control of territory.
Dabbalemi devised a system to reward military commanders with authority over the people they conquered. This system, however, tempted military officers to pass their positions to their sons, thus transforming the office from one based on achievement and loyalty to the "mai" into one based on hereditary
nobility. Dabbalemi was able to suppress this tendency, but after his death, dissension among his sons weakened the Sayfawa Dynasty. Dynastic feuds degenerated into civil war, and Kanem's outlying peoples soon ceased paying tribute.
Fall of Kanem
After the death of Dunama II, Kanem quickly fell into a downward spiral. By the end of the
14th century, internal struggles and external attacks had torn Kanem apart.
1342and 1352, the So whom had dominated Kanem prior to the Zaghawa killed four mais in battle. This proliferation of "mais" resulted in numerous claimants to the throne and led to a series of internecine wars.
The death knell of Sayfawa power in Kanem was dealt by the
Bulala, invaders from the area around Lake Fitrito the east. By 1376, the Bulala had driven the Sayfawa from their capital. By 1388, they had taken Kanem altogether. The Kanuriwere forced back into their nomadic ways and migrated west of Lake Chad eventually establishing a new empire in Bornu.
*Barkindo, Bawuro, "The early states of the Central Sudan: Kanem, Borno and some of their neighbours to c. 1500 A.D.", in: J. Ajayi und M. Crowder (Hg.), "History of West Africa", Bd. I, 3. Ausg. Harlow 1985, 225-254.
*Lange, Dierk, "Ancient Kingdoms of West Africa: Africa-Centred and Canaanite-Israelite Perspectives", Dettelbach 2004. (the book suggests a pre-Christian origin of Kanem in connection with the Phoenician expansion)
*Urvoy, Yves, "L'empire du Bornou", Paris 1949.
*Lange, Dierk: [http://dierklange.com/pdf/fulltexts/UNESCO_III.pdf "The Chad region as a crossroads"] , in: M. Elfasi (Hg.), "General History of Africa", vol. III, UNESCO, London 1988, p. 436-460.
*Lange, Dierk, [http://dierklange.com/pdf/fulltexts/UNESCO_IV.pdf "The kingdoms and peoples of Chad"] , in: D. T. Niane (ed.), "General History of Africa", vol. IV, UNESCO, London 1984, p. 238-265.
Kingdom of Baguirmi
* [http://www.rulers.org/nigatrad.html Timeline of rulers]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Kanem-Bornu Empire — might refer to: * Kanem Empire, the Ancient African state founded in the 8th century in what is modern day Chad * Bornu Empire, the Medieval African state which continued the dynasty of the Kanem state from what is modern day Niger … Wikipedia
Kanem — may refer to: * Kanem Empire * Kanem Prefecture * Kanem Region * Kanem (department) … Wikipedia
Kanem-Bornu — ist ein ehemaliges Reich, dessen Zentrum seit dem vorchristlichen Zeitalter östlich des Tschadsees lag, wo die arabischen Geographen seit dem 9. Jahrhundert Kanem lokalisieren. Die Gründungsgeschichte Kanem Bornus ist deshalb mit der Kanems… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Kanem Region — Kanem is one of the 18 regions of Chad, corresponding to the former prefecture of Kanem. Its capital is Mao.The region of Kanem is divided into 2 departments: Demography The population of the region was 280,804 in 1993, of whom 269,846 were… … Wikipedia
Empire of Brazil — Império do Brasil ← … Wikipedia
Empire Du Mali — L’Empire du Mali est un empire africain du Moyen Âge. Il a été créé au XIIIe siècle par Sundjata Keïta et connut son apogée au XIVe siècle. Il est le berceau de la charte du Manden. Sommaire 1 Étymologie … Wikipédia en Français
Empire du mali — L’Empire du Mali est un empire africain du Moyen Âge. Il a été créé au XIIIe siècle par Sundjata Keïta et connut son apogée au XIVe siècle. Il est le berceau de la charte du Manden. Sommaire 1 Étymologie … Wikipédia en Français
Empire of Great Fulo — ← … Wikipedia
Empire De Sokoto — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Empire peul. Le califat du Sokoto en 1893 L’Empire de Sokoto a été créé au … Wikipédia en Français
Empire de sokoto — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Empire peul. Le califat du Sokoto en 1893 L’Empire de Sokoto a été créé au … Wikipédia en Français