Kanem Empire

Kanem Empire

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The Kanem Empire was located in the present countries of Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

, Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but also parts of southern Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 (Fezzan
Fezzan
Fezzan is a south western region of modern Libya. It is largely desert but broken by mountains, uplands, and dry river valleys in the north, where oases enable ancient towns and villages to survive deep in the otherwise inhospitable Sahara.-Name:...

), eastern Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

 and north-eastern Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

. The history of the Empire is mainly known from the Royal Chronicle or Dīwān
Girgam
Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara....

 discovered in 1851 by the German traveller Heinrich Barth
Heinrich Barth
Heinrich Barth was a German explorer of Africa and scholar.Barth is one of the greatest of the European explorers of Africa, not necessarily because of the length of his travels or the time he spent alone without European company in Africa, but because of his singular character.-Biography:Barth...

.

Origins


There are two views concerning the foundation of Kanem. The majority view is that the state was founded by local Zaghawa. A minority view held by historian Dierk Lange asserts that the Kanem state was founded by immigrants, however, this view is not yet widely accepted.

State founding by immigrants from the collapsed Assyrian Empire: c. 600 BCE


The information contained in the prologue and the first section of the Girgam
Girgam
Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara....

 provides evidence for the founding of Kanem by refugees from the collapsing Assyrian Empire: the names of biblical patriarchs point to Israelites, the names of ancient Mesopotamian kings indicate Babylonian contributions and the names of the last Assyrian kings bear witness of immigration in consequence of the fall of Assyria. The royal titles offered by the Girgam
Girgam
Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara....

 and the origin-chronicles support the idea of mass immigration of various people formerly dominated by the Assyrians in consequence of the destruction of the Assyrian Empire by the invading Babylonian
Neo-Babylonian Empire
The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Throughout that time Babylonia...

 and Median
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 armies in 612 BCE. The theory is further strengthened by linguistic and archeological evidence. Writing in the ninth century, the celebrated Arab historian al-Ya'qubi seems to refer to this migration on the basis of Central Sudanic oral traditions when he describes the dispersion of people from Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 which led to the foundation of Kanem and other states in West Africa. Another theory proposes that the lost state of Agisymba
Agisymba
Agisymba is a lost sub-saharan country in Africa mentioned by Ptolemy in the middle of the 2nd Century. According to Ptolemy's specification it was a 4 months journey south of the Fezzan, contained large animals and many high mountains....

 (mentioned by Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 in the middle of the 2nd century CE) was the antecedent of the Kanem Empire.

State founding by local kanembou: c. 700 CE


According to the majority scholarly opinion, the empire of Kanem began forming around 700 CE under the nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic Tebu
Tebu language
Tebu is a language of the Nilo-Saharan language family. Tebu is predominantly spoken in Chad and southern Libya by about 380,000 people, with two main dialects, Tedaga, spoken by about 49,000 people and Dazaga, spoken by about 331,000 people .- External links :* Ethnologue: * Ethnologue:...

-speaking Zaghawa. Comparison of the information provided by the Dīwān
Girgam
Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara....

 and by Arab geographers shows that the Zaghawa were forced southwest towards the fertile lands around Lake Chad
Lake Chad
Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, whose size has varied over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998; yet it also states that "the 2007 ...

 by political pressure and desiccation
Desiccation
Desiccation is the state of extreme dryness, or the process of extreme drying. A desiccant is a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains such a state in its local vicinity in a moderately sealed container.-Science:...

 in their former range. The area already possessed independent, walled city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

s belonging to the Sao culture
Sao civilisation
The Sao were an African civilisation that flourished from ca. the 6th century to as late as the 15th century. The Sao lived by the Chari River south of Lake Chad in territory that would later be part of Cameroon and Chad. They are the earliest people to have left clear traces of their presence in...

. Under the leadership of the Duguwa dynasty
Duguwa Dynasty
The Duguwa dynasty is the line of kings of the Kanem Empire prior to the rise of the Islamic Seyfawa dynasty in 1068. According to the Girgam, the Duguwa kings were the kings of Kanem whose dynastic name is derived from Duku, the third king of the Duguwa...

, the Zaghawa would eventually dominate the Sao, but not before adopting many of their customs. War between the ruling establishment and the Sao continued in Bornu up to the late 16th century.

Kanem under the rule of pre-Islamic kings: 600 BCE - 1068 CE


Though the Duguwa claim to descend from the same ancestor Sef
SEF
SEF may refer to:* Supplementary eye fields, areas in the primate brain that are involved in planning and control of saccadic eye movements* Spectral edge frequency, a measure used in signal processing...

 as the Sayfawa, there must have existed a marked difference between the two, since the Dīwān
Girgam
Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara....

 clearly indicates that the rule of the Banū Dūkū finished with rise of the great Muslim king Hume (1068-1080).

The Duguwa or Sayfawa-Duguwa dynasty


The name of the Duguwa dynasty
Duguwa Dynasty
The Duguwa dynasty is the line of kings of the Kanem Empire prior to the rise of the Islamic Seyfawa dynasty in 1068. According to the Girgam, the Duguwa kings were the kings of Kanem whose dynastic name is derived from Duku, the third king of the Duguwa...

 is derived from that of Dūkū, the third ruler mentioned in the Dīwān
Girgam
Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara....

. Succeeding to Sef
SEF
SEF may refer to:* Supplementary eye fields, areas in the primate brain that are involved in planning and control of saccadic eye movements* Spectral edge frequency, a measure used in signal processing...

, the Banū Dūkū or Duguwa ruled until Abd al-Jalil (1064-1068), the first Muslim king of Kanem. From the evidence provided by Arab geographers it appears that Kanem was located at the southern end of the trans-Saharan trade
Trans-Saharan trade
Trans-Saharan trade requires travel across the Sahara to reach sub-Saharan Africa. While existing from prehistoric times, the peak of trade extended from the 8th century until the late 16th century.- Increasing desertification and economic incentive :...

 route between Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 and the region of Lake Chad and that it was dominated by the Zaghawa
Zaghawa
The Zaghawa are an ethnic group of eastern Chad and western Sudan, including Darfur.The Kanemite royal history, the Girgam, refers to the Zaghawa people as the Duguwa. Today, Zaghawa refer to themselves as the Beri, while the name "Zaghawa" comes from the nearby Arab peoples and became better known...

 from their capital Manan
Manan
Manan is a name with Gaelic roots. Manan is "a new beginning" or "morning ", a "new day" or "opportunity". It insinuates a positive feeling towards an opportunity, or fresh start....

. The mais of the Duguwa were regarded as divine kings and belonged to the ruling establishment known in the internal records as Magumi and in the external sources as Zaghawa
Zaghawa
The Zaghawa are an ethnic group of eastern Chad and western Sudan, including Darfur.The Kanemite royal history, the Girgam, refers to the Zaghawa people as the Duguwa. Today, Zaghawa refer to themselves as the Beri, while the name "Zaghawa" comes from the nearby Arab peoples and became better known...

. Despite changes in dynastic power, the Magumi and the title of mai would persevere for over a thousand years.

Extent of the Duguwa Empire


Writing in 873, the Arab historian al-Ya'qubi mentions that Kanem was dominated by the Zaghawa
Zaghawa
The Zaghawa are an ethnic group of eastern Chad and western Sudan, including Darfur.The Kanemite royal history, the Girgam, refers to the Zaghawa people as the Duguwa. Today, Zaghawa refer to themselves as the Beri, while the name "Zaghawa" comes from the nearby Arab peoples and became better known...

. It had a king called Kakarah whose power seems to have extended far to the west because "the king of Malal/Mali hated him". In particular he seems to have ruled over the Hausa who are said to have had a king from among the Zaghawa.

Rule of the Sayfawa in Kanem: 1068-1380


The name of the Sayfuwa dynasty is derived from that of Sēf, the first ruler mentioned in the Dīwān
Girgam
Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara....

. Usually called Banū Sayf and hence Sayfuwa, the new dynasty should in contradistinction to the preceding Sefuwa-Duguwa be called more properly Sefuwa-Humewa . Evidence derived from the writings of Arab geographers with respect to the disappearance of the Zaghawa
Zaghawa
The Zaghawa are an ethnic group of eastern Chad and western Sudan, including Darfur.The Kanemite royal history, the Girgam, refers to the Zaghawa people as the Duguwa. Today, Zaghawa refer to themselves as the Beri, while the name "Zaghawa" comes from the nearby Arab peoples and became better known...

 from Kanem under the early Sefuwa-Humewa confirms that the fall of the Duguwa involved important changes.

Rise of the Sayfuwa-Humewa


The major factor that influenced the history of the state of Kanem was the early penetration of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. North African traders, Berbers and Arabs, brought the new religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. In 1068, a Muslim official by the name of Hummay
Hummay
Hummay was the founder and mai of the Sefuwa dynasty of the Kanem-Empire in the region of Lake Chad. He discarded the Sefuwa-Duguwa from power and ruled from 1068 to 1080. The dynasty founded by him was to survive until 1846. His rule had important consequences because of the spead of Islam...

 removed the last Duguwa king Abd al-Jalil or Selma
Mai Selma
Selma was the last Duguwa king of the Kanem Empire who was overthrown by Muslim followers of Hummay in 1085....

 from power and thus established the new dynasty named after him Humewa (Arabic: Banū Hume).
The establishment of the Sefuwa dynasty (later known as Sayfawa) 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 revised. After the 13th century, the empire began associating Mai Sef with the legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

ary Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

ite hero Sayf ibn Dhī Yazan
Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan
Sayf ibn dhī-Yazan was a Yemeni Himyarite king who lived between 516 and 574 CE, known for ending Aksumite rule over Southern Arabia...

. Hence, it became customary to call the new ruling dynasty by the Arabized name Sayfawa
Sayfawa dynasty
Sayfawa dynasty or more properly Sefuwa dynasty is the name of the kings of the Kanem-Bornu Empire, centered first in Kanem in western Chad, and then, after 1380, in Borno ....

 instead of the more appropriate name Sefuwa.

The coming of Islam corresponded in Kanem to the demise of the Duguwa
Duguwa Dynasty
The Duguwa dynasty is the line of kings of the Kanem Empire prior to the rise of the Islamic Seyfawa dynasty in 1068. According to the Girgam, the Duguwa kings were the kings of Kanem whose dynastic name is derived from Duku, the third king of the Duguwa...

 and the rise of the Sayfawa
Sayfawa dynasty
Sayfawa dynasty or more properly Sefuwa dynasty is the name of the kings of the Kanem-Bornu Empire, centered first in Kanem in western Chad, and then, after 1380, in Borno ....

. Islam provided the ruling Sayfawa with a new power base, facilitating the expansion to Bornu
Bornu
Bornu may refer to:* Bornu Empire, a historical state of West Africa* Borno State, Nigeria...

 west of Lake Chad and thus the rise of the Kanem-Bornu Empire
Kanem-Bornu Empire
The Kanem-Bornu Empire existed in modern Chad and Nigeria. It was known to the Arabian geographers as the Kanem Empire from the 9th century AD onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu until 1900. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but also parts of...

.

Spread of Islam in Kanem


Islam offered the Sayfawa rulers the advantage of new ideas from Arabia
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 and the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 world, as well as literacy in administration. But many people resisted the new religion, favouring traditional beliefs
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 and practices. When Hummay had assumed power on the basis of his strong Islamic following, for example, it is believed that the Sefuwa-Duguwa began some kind of internal opposition. This pattern of conflict and compromise with Islam occurs repeatedly in Chad's history
History of Chad
Chad , officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country next to the Atlantic ocean in Central Africa. It borders Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

.

By the 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
Njimi
Njimi was the capital of the Kanuri state of Kanem , north of Lake Chad, from the eleventh through the fourteenth centuries. Founded by the Sefawa dynasty in the eleventh century, the town dominated trans-Saharan trade in ivory and slaves between the central Sahara and Libya. The precise location...

. Even though the Kanembu became the main power base of the Sayfawa, Kanem's rulers continued to travel frequently throughout the kingdom and especially towards Bornu
Bornu
Bornu may refer to:* Bornu Empire, a historical state of West Africa* Borno State, Nigeria...

, west of lake Chad. Herders
Shepherd
A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards flocks of sheep.- Origins :Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor. Sheep were kept for their milk, meat and especially their wool...

 and farmer
Farmer
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...

s alike recognized the government's power and acknowledged their allegiance by paying tribute
Tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

.

Mai Dunama Dabbalemi: 1203-1242


Kanem's expansion peaked during the long reign
Reign
A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office of monarch of a nation or of a people . In most hereditary monarchies and some elective monarchies A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office...

 of the energetic Mai Dunama Dabbalemi
Dunama Dabbalemi
Dunama Dabbalemi, of the Sayfawa dynasty, was the mai of the Kanem Empire, in present-day Chad, from 1203 to 1243.A fervent Muslim, Dabbalemi initiated diplomatic exchanges with sultans in North Africa and apparently arranged for the establishment of a special hostel in Cairo to facilitate...

 (ca. 1203–1242), also of the Sayfawa dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

. Dabbalemi initiated diplomatic exchanges with sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

s in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and arranged for the establishment of a special hostel in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 to facilitate pilgrimages
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

. During his reign, he declared jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

against some neighbouring tribes and initiated an extended period of conquest. After consolidating their territory around Lake Chad, the Fezzan
Fezzan
Fezzan is a south western region of modern Libya. It is largely desert but broken by mountains, uplands, and dry river valleys in the north, where oases enable ancient towns and villages to survive deep in the otherwise inhospitable Sahara.-Name:...

 region (in present-day Libya
History of Libya
The History of Libya includes the history of its rich mix of ethnic groups added to the indigenous Berber tribes. Berbers, the bulk of Libya's population, have been present throughout the entire history of the country. For most of its history, Libya has been subjected to varying degrees of foreign...

) fell under Kanem's authority, and the empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

's influence extended westward to Kano
Kano
Kano is a city in Nigeria and the capital of Kano State in Northern Nigeria. Its metropolitan population is the second largest in Nigeria after Lagos. The Kano Urban area covers 137 sq.km and comprises six Local Government Area - Kano Municipal, Fagge, Dala, Gwale, Tarauni and Nassarawa - with a...

 (in present-day Nigeria
History of Nigeria
-Early history:Archaeological research, pioneered by Thurstan Shaw and Steve Daniels, has shown that people were already living in southwestern Nigeria as early as 9000 BC and perhaps earlier at Ugwuelle-Uturu in southeastern Nigeria, where microliths were used...

), eastward to Ouaddaï
Ouaddai Kingdom
The Ouaddai Empire was originally a non-Muslim kingdom, located to the east of Lake Chad in present-day Chad...

, and southward to the Adamawa grasslands (in present-day Cameroon
History of Cameroon
This article documents the history of Cameroon.-Early history:The earliest inhabitants of Cameroon were probably the Baka . They still inhabit the forests of the south and east provinces. Bantu speakers originating in the Cameroonian highlands were among the first groups to move out before other...

). However, he also destroyed the national Mune cult and thus precipitated widespread revolt culminating in the uprise of the Tubu
Tubu
Tubu is a village in North-West District of Botswana. It is located close to Okavango Delta and it has a primary school. The population was 392 in 2001 census....

 and the Bulala. The former could be quenched but the latter continued to linger on and finally led to the retreat of the Sayfawa from Kanem to Bornu c. 1380.

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
Heredity
Heredity is the passing of traits to offspring . This is the process by which an offspring cell or organism acquires or becomes predisposed to the characteristics of its parent cell or organism. Through heredity, variations exhibited by individuals can accumulate and cause some species to evolve...

 nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

. Dabbalemi was able to suppress this tendency, but after his death, dissension among his sons weakened the Sayfawa Dynasty. Dynastic feud
Feud
A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another...

s degenerated into civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

, and Kanem's outlying peoples soon ceased paying tribute.

Kanem under pressure: 14th century


After the death of Dunama Dabbalemi Kanem soon fell into a downward spiral. By the end of the 14th century, internal struggles and external attacks forced the Sayfuwa to leave their ancient capital Njimi
Njimi
Njimi was the capital of the Kanuri state of Kanem , north of Lake Chad, from the eleventh through the fourteenth centuries. Founded by the Sefawa dynasty in the eleventh century, the town dominated trans-Saharan trade in ivory and slaves between the central Sahara and Libya. The precise location...

 in Kanem and to establish their court in Bornu
Bornu Empire
The Bornu Empire was an African state of Nigeria from 1396 to 1893. It was a continuation of the great Kanem Empire founded centuries earlier by the Sayfawa Dynasty...

. Desiccation and foreign incursions contributed to the destitution of Kanem and its desorganization in the nineteenth century.

Sao Resurgence in Bornu


Between 1342 and 1352, the Sao, who had dominated Kanem prior to the Zaghawa, killed four mais in battle. These defeats also contributed to the weakening of Sayfawa power in Kanem.

Bulala Invasion in Kanem


The death knell of Sefawa power in Kanem was dealt by the Bulala, invaders from the area around Lake Fitri
Lake Fitri
Lake Fitri is located in the center of Chad about 300 km east of N’Djamena. The normal size of the lake is about 50,000 hectacre. The size of this lake can triple in wetter years. This freshwater lake is shallow and is fed by seasonal rainfall and run-off from a catchment area estimated at 70,000 km²...

 to the east claiming also descent from Sef. By 1380, the Bulala had driven the Sayfawa from their capital. The Sayfawa and their followers were forced to withdraw to their province west of Lake Chad, eventually establishing a new empire in Bornu.

Rule of the Bornoan vasall dynasty of the Dalatoa: ca. 1600-1846


The Bulala of Kanem were decisively defeated by Idris Alooma
Idris Alooma
Idris Alooma was mai of the Kanem-Bornu Empire, located mainly in Chad and Nigeria. His name is more properly written Idris Alawma or Idris Alauma. An outstanding statesman, under his rule Kanem-Bornu touched the zenith of its power.Idris is remembered for his military skills, administrative...

 in the battle of Kiyayeka in 1577. He first installed a tributary Bulala king but later nomminated his slave official Dalatu Afno as governor of Kanem. Descendants of this official were known as the Dalatoa and they are still today in Mao
Mao, Chad
Mao is a city in Chad, the capital of the Kanem Region and of the department also named Kanem.As in other Chadian regions, Mao is ruled by both a traditional Sultan and by central government officials...

 the traditional kings of Kanem.

Rule of the Awlad Sulayman: 1846-1900


Expelled from Tripolitania
Tripolitania
Tripolitania or Tripolitana is a historic region and former province of Libya.Tripolitania was a separate Italian colony from 1927 to 1934...

 the Awlad Sulayman established themselves in Kanem in 1846. On account of their connections with the defeated Sayfawa the Kanemi Shehus of Kukawa
Kukawa
Kukawa is a town and Local Government Area in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, close to Lake Chad.The town was founded in 1814 as capital of the Kanem-Bornu Empire by the Muslim scholar and warlord Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi after the fall of the previous capital, Ngazargamu, conquered in...

 in Bornu recognized the Awlad Sulayman as their official representatives in Kanem without pushing them to abolish the dynasty of the Dalatoa.

French colonial occupation: 1900-1960


After Rabih
Rabih
Rabih is an Arabic given name meaning "spring". It is common in the Middle East and has no religious significance.-People:* Rabee Jaber, Lebanese author* Rabih Jaber, Swedish singer...

's defeat in Kusseri in 1900 French troops occupied Kanem and integrated it into the newly created Protectorat du Tchad.

See also

  • Bornu Empire
    Bornu Empire
    The Bornu Empire was an African state of Nigeria from 1396 to 1893. It was a continuation of the great Kanem Empire founded centuries earlier by the Sayfawa Dynasty...

  • Sayfawa dynasty
    Sayfawa dynasty
    Sayfawa dynasty or more properly Sefuwa dynasty is the name of the kings of the Kanem-Bornu Empire, centered first in Kanem in western Chad, and then, after 1380, in Borno ....

  • Chronology of the Sayfawa (Kanem-Bornu)
    Chronology of the Sefuwa (Kanem-Bornu)
    The Chronology of the Sefuwa concerns the rule of the Sefuwa dynasty first over Kanem, then over Kanem-Bornu and finally, since c. 1380, over Bornu alone. African historians presently use several conflicting chronologies for the history of Kanem-Bornu...

  • Dīwān
    Girgam
    Dīwān is the Arabic and Girgam is the older designation of the royal chronicle of Kanem-Bornu. The latter name is also used for written historical records in some kingdoms west of Bornu, including Daura, Fika and Mandara....

     (Girgam)
  • Ibn Furṭū (Ibn Furtuwa)
    Ibn Furtu
    Ahmad b. Furtu or Ibn Furtu lived in the sixteenth century. He was the grand Imam of the Bornu Empire and the chronicler of Mai Idris Aluma ....



Written sources

  • Ibn Furṭū: "The Kanem wars", in: Herbert R. Palmer: Sudanese Memoirs, vol. I, pp. 15-81.
  • Dierk Lange: Le Dīwān des sultans du Kanem-Bornu, Wiesbaden 1977.
  • Nehemia Levtzion und John Hopkins: Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West African History, Cambridge 1981.

Further reading


External links