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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Ethnogenesis from within the Chadic State: Some Thoughts on the History of Karem-Born0
Author:Lange, Dierk
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
Bornu polity
Kanem polity
traditional polities
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40341665
Abstract:Situated on the crossroads of influences from the Nile valley and North Africa, Kanem-Borno was the major State of the Central Sudan throughout the medieval period. Historians took it for granted that the medieval West African empires were based on a well-defined territory and that they developed out of a particular ethnic substratum. However, analysis of the relevant traditions of origin of great West African people, including the Soninke of Ghana, the Malinke of Mali, and the Kanuri of Kanem-Borno, shows that all the ethnic groups concerned emerged in more recent times than the States they are supposed to have founded. This paper analyses the major historical events which occurred in the Central Sudan from the 11th to the 15th century, viz. the rise of the Sayfuwa and the consecutive fall of the Duguwa in c. 1068; the abolition of the Amun cult by Dunama Dibalemi (1203-1242); the surrendering of the Kanem province to the Bulala in the second half of the 14th century; and the foundation of Gazargamo by 'Ali Gaji (1455-1487). It is concluded that there was no single ethnic substratum on which Kanem was founded. The Bulala and the Sayfuwa Magumi are two examples of the numerous descent groups which emerged as a consequence of the competition for power. The Bulala became a distinct ethnic group, while the Sayfuwa Magumi are today part of the Kanuri. The Kanuri, now considered to be the carriers of the Chadic State, only emerged after the foundation of Borno in the 13th century. Bibliogr., notes, ref.