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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The man who would be caliph: a sixteenth-century sultan's bid for an African empire
Author:Cory, StephenISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:West Africa
Songhai polity
About person:Ahmad al- Mans¯ur sultan van Marokko (1549-1603)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40282384
Abstract:In 1590, the Sadi sultan Mulay Ahmad al-Mansur launched a full-scale invasion of the West African Songhay Empire, after seeking to gain control over the region for a number of years. The Moroccon sultan claimed he undertook this attack to unify the Muslim lands of western Africa under one leader. However, most historians - supported by a number of primary sources - believe that al-Mansur's considerations were more material than spiritual, and that he had an insatiable desire to gain full control over the prosperous gold trade that had been carried on for centuries in West Africa. The present author argues that this interpretation is overly simplistic. Basing himself primarily on contemporary Moroccan historical sources for the Moroccan conquest of Songhay, particularly the account of the sultan's scribe, Abd al-Aziz al-Fishtali, and the Moroccan royal correspondence, the author argues that al-Mansur saw his conquest of Songhay as the first step in a grand scheme to unite Islamic Africa under a revived Arab caliphate, this time from the West rather than the East. His goals were no less than to challenge the mighty Ottoman Empire itself. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]