The Almoravids’s empire included ancient Ghana



“During the period of Ghana’s greatest power in the late 10th and early 11th centuries, one of the most important commercial cities under its control was Awadaghust, about 125 miles northwest of Kumbi Saleh. Abu Ubayd al Bakri (d. 1094), an Arab scholar living in Islamic Spain, described it as a large, populous town with well-built, handsome houses.”

“The buildings sat on the sandy ground below a big mountain that was completely barren of any vegetation. The bulk of the population consisted of Muslim traders from Ifriqiya (the North African region between Maghrib and Egypt.). The crops al-Bakri mentioned include wheat, sorghum, date palms, fig trees, and henna shrubs (the leaves of which produce a reddish brown dye). The vegetable gardens were watered with buckets, which was the usual method in Sahel towns and Sahara oases.”

“Awdaghust sat astride a trade route for gold shipped northward to the city of Sijilmasa in southern Morocco, where it was minted into coins. The overland caravan journey between Awdaghust and Sijilmasa took two months. The Arab geographer Ibn Hawqal visited Sijilmasa took two months. The Arab geographer Ibn Hawqal visited Sijilmasa in 951 and reported witnessing a steady volume of trade with lands below the Sahara, with “abundant profits and the constant coming and going of caravans” (quoted in Levtzion and Hopkins).”

“The main traders of Awdaghust were Berbers of the Zanata clan from the Atlas mountain region in Morocco. In the 10th century, city-dwelling Zanata traders began to dominate trans-Saharan commerce between Awdaghust in south and Sijilmasa in the north. But it was the Sanhaja nomads of the desert who really held power over the urban markets.”

“The Sanhaja are sometimes called the “the people of the veil” because the men cover their faces (not the women, as is the case in many Muslim societies). The Sanhaja avoided living in the city because they preferred living in tents and wandering the wide open spaces on their camels.”

“From out in the desert they exerted great authority over all avenues leading to the cities. The Sanhaja derived their income from the control of the trade routes. They were the guides and protectors for some caravans, but they demanded tolls from others, or simply raided and plundered them. The Sanhaja were also the real power in control of trade revenues in Awadagust. But they lost that revenue around the middle of the 11th century when the Soninke of Ghana took control of Awdaghust.”

“The Zanata traders of the city accepted their authority, which caused the Sanhaja people of the desert to lose an important source of income. The Sanhaja never eventually get their revenge on the Soninke through the Almoravids, Muslim Berber rulers from Morocco who took control of the Islamic Empire around 1085. The Almoravids’s empire eventually reached from Senegal through the Maghrib to Spain. They competed with the Soninke for control of trade and had a great impact on 11th-century Ghana.” 

Source:  Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhay By David C. Conrad

It was Common for Magrib Berbers to marry Soninke women



“Scholars have attributed Ghana’s political hegemony to the ruler’s ability to unify Soninke villages and maintain a cohesive confederacy of chiefs under the command of one king. Ongoing raids launched by North African Berbers searching for gold and slaves also served to maintain Ghana’s unification.”

“Though many North African groups raided the kingdom throughout its existence, Ghana developed alliances with one Berber people—the Magrib. Many Magrib Berbers established trade relations with Ghana chiefs and lived among their allies. Several trading posts were established in the Soninke villages near Kumbi, the main center of Ghana, as well as in the south and north of the Gambia River. (Levtzion 1973:24, 28, 104).”

“Other major Ghana trading posts included in Timbuktu, Wagadugu, Gundiuru, and Awdaghustic. Magrib Berbers traded horses, brass, copper, glassware, beads, leather, textiles, tailored clothing, and preserved food to the Soninke in exchange for gold, ivory, cloth, and preserved food to the Soninke in exchange for gold, ivory, cloth, pepper, kola nuts, and sometimes slaves.”

“In these trading centers, it became common for Magrib Berbers to marry Soninke women. Furthermore, the alliances between Ghana chiefes and Magrib Berbers helped Ghana retain its domination over Malinke and Songhay villages; when revolts erupted, the Magrib Berbers assisted their allies. By A.D. 1076 the Magrib Berbers demanded that the Soninke people convert to Islam (Levtzion 1973: 44; Oliver and Fagan 1975:166). The King of Ghana complied, yet many villages resisted.”

“The pressures to convert increased when Sanhaja tribes from various regions of North Africa united in a religious movement to convert people to Islam and attack those who resisted. The Sanhaja, like the Berbers, was a racially mixed Hamitic people, who were unified under the religious Almoravid Movement, centered in Morocco. Unlike the Magrib Berbers, the Sanhaja were enemies of Ghana and took over some of the Magrib Berber trading posts.”

“Many Soninke villages converted to Islam as a means of averting Islamic attacks. This did not stop the Sanhaja from demanding tribute from Ghana villages and taking people as slaves. By A.D. 1250 the Almoravid Movement had provoked conflict and religious factionalism in the Kingdom of Ghana (Levtzion 1973:51; Oliver and Fagan 1975:169). Most Ghana chiefs refused to convert to Islam and instead chose to end the Confederacy.

“Many successor states emerged out of Ghana. By this time a large part of West Africa had converted to Islam.”

“The Soso, who had been conquered by Ghana, emerged as the most powerful kingdom. They conquered many Soninke villages and also began preying upon the Malinke villages, which were not unified under one kingdom. Some Malinke villages were able to retain their independence and were subsequently unified by a man called Sundjata. Sundjata then launched a successful military campaign against the Soso people and replaced them as the military power of West Africa.”

“By A.D. 1250 Malinke chiefs had united in a confederacy, with Sundjata as their king (Oliver and Faga 1975:169). Sundjata’s clan, the Keith, became the ruling family, and his confederacy evolved into the Kingdom of Mali. The power of the Kingdom of Mali expanded, and it came to encompass the entire region that had formerly been Ghana. The Malinka also conquered the peoples from the Kingdom of Songhay.”

Source: Recovering History, Constructing Race: The Indian, Black, and White Roots of Mexican Americans By Martha Menchaca

Islam is as African as it is Middle Eastern

“Islam penetrated several parts of Africa at different times, and its presence in the continent predates Christianity. For instance, the initial spread of Islam in West Africa dates back to 800 CE when the Almoravid warriors (Berber Muslims) pushed the religion southward into the Ghana empire from Morocco. On the east coast of Africa, Arab traders in Mombasa, some of whom had taken part in the trans-Saharan long-distance trade, were able to spread Islam to that part of the continent with ease because of the similarities of the local inhabitants’ culture and those of Arab traders.”“The growth of Arab power did not mean the total collapse of Berber resistance. To the contrary; the processes of Arabization and Islamization were accompanied for several decades by violence and coercion. In fact, so unstable and rebellious were the Berbers that they “apostatized twelve times before Islam gained a firm foothold over them”.


2.5 times bigger than the United States.

“These traders brought Islam with them to places like Zanzibar, Mogadishu, and Mombasa. Evidence suggest that these traders had traveled from as far away as the Middle East and the Orient, and many of them had knowledge of the geography and topography of the continent because of the advanced trans-Saharan trade roots that linked the Arabian Peninsula to several parts of Africa and the middle east. Because of the booming business in spices and ivory with Africans, Arab traders decided to gradually settle down along the east coast of Africa. They married local women and soon began to spread the religion of Islam. The mingling of Arab culture with local African cultures, languages, and dialects eventually gave rise to what is now known as the Kiswahili culture. Thus, one can surmise that the acceptance of Islam in black Africa, especially wester Africa, can be traced to the internaction with Arabs in countries such as Tunisia, Lobya, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria. In Central Africa, Islam was spread by the Shirazi merchants and Arabs traders, may of whom had also traveled far from their native land. But unlike East and West Africa, it took a while before the new arrivals began to settle down and internmingle with the Africans. However, with political turmoil back in thier homeland, especially in Arabia and Iran, many of these merchants found it convenient to settle in towns along the East Africa coast and eventually Central Africa.”

“The Berbers seemed to have been chosen by history to carry the banner of Islam into West Africa because of their geographical location and their historical role as middlemen between Arabs and black Africans.”

“The first Berber tribe in the Sahara to play a major role in the Islamization process as implemented by the Sanhaja. This ethnic group became Muslims as a result of their interaction with Muslim traders who had settled in thier midst.”

“The historical evidences seems to point out that such politically astute decisions were taken only under circumstances of grave danger; the most interesting example that is directly related to our discussion of early Islam in the Sahara and the west of the Sudan occured in about 1020 CE. This act of unity by the different Berber tribes was motivated by their collective desire to bring down the Ghanaian kingdom. In fact, this much needed unity thatt the Lemtuma, Godala, and Masufa Berbers hoped for was based on the ideas acquired by one of their leaders, Tarsina the Lemtune, whose pilgramage to Makkah inspired him to rationalize his campaigns against black Africans in the name of the Islamic Jihad.”

“The end of the Almoravid dynasty and the collapse of Ghana did not necessarily mean that Islamization ceased with the death of the Almoravid movement. The process of propogation continued and Islam began to penetrate more and more into the West Sudan. This phase in the propogation of Islam in Africa was made possible by the activie involvement of three different groups of Arab-Berber and Sudanese-Muslim cultivators of Islam in West Sudan. These three groups, according to J.R. Willis and his fellow contributors in the volume entitled Studies in West African Islamic History (1979), are the Zawaya clerisy, the Mande-Islamic clerisy, and the Torodbe clerisy. The first group has been traced to a community of Berbers who suffered oppression at the hands of fellow Berbers and Arabs. According to Willis in his comprehensive introduction to the volume cited above, the Zawaya formation began to take shape in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. They decided to be pacifist and so laid down their arms and took up the life of Muslim scholars dedicated to the propogation of Islam in the area. The Mande-Islamic clerisy emerged from the numerous trading centers created by Mande Muslims throughout the West Sudan.”

Source: Islam in Africa South of the Sahara: Essays in Gender Relations and …edited by Pade Badru, Brigid M. Sackey



Historical References on the Black African Skin color of the original Berber Tribes

Batalla del Puig del retablo del Centenar de la Ploma de Marxal de Sax

Dana Reynolds-Marniche provided several sources defining the original Berbers. Original Berbers here correspond with the Berbers imported into the Americas branded in slave legislation under the term “Negroes” in legislation like the Negro Law of South Caroline 1790. The distinction must be made because several groups now living in north Africa identity under designations that correspond with the term “Berber” such as the modern Amazigh tribes in North Africa.

Notably, Professor Marniche demonstrates that the pre-modern applications of the term “Amazigh” correspond with the Tamashek or Tuareg*, i.e. “Mazikes” and their vassal castes composed mainly of Songhai or Soninke, Zaghai or Ahel Gara (Jarawa) and that these peoples are the Ancient Ethiopians mentioned by the Greeks and Romans and that they correspond with the Mauri or Maure groups called “Mauri Mazazeces” and “Mazices” in Tripolitania of the Byzantine writers. Her blog also provides that:

“the Tuareg whose noble castes despise the plough as we have shown are direct descendants of the largely nomadic ancient Levathes Mauri still bearing their names. Among them are the modern Inusamani  (“Nasamones”), Ifran (“Yafran”) and Iforas (“Ifuraces”), Imoshagh (“Mazax” or “Mazices”) and Imakitan or (“Micateni”),  Imaqqoren (“Machruas”), and Kel Cadenit (“Silcadenit”) whom retain customs of the more nomadic and war-like ancient Libyans such as the Nasamonian practice of sleeping near ancestral tombs of their ancestors and prophesying through dreams. Al-Bekri said the Tuareg were strangers to agriculture, and even bread, living entirely off of the meat and milk of their herds. Ya’aqubi also said they had no cereal or grain.”
American Moors and people who are interested in this history need to understand that just as the Americans of the 1400s are not the majority representation of America in 2019, the same goes for Morocco or any modern nation-state in North Africa today. The average Citizen of the United States does not descend from the indigenous peoples of North America. The same understanding must be acknowledged as to North Africa. We see the examples of these facts with the Europeanization of Africa and America. Dana Reynolds-Marniche has also provided direct references that proves from a scholarly review  that the “Songhai” were recognized as Berber tribes long before the modern notoin that they were simply “Black Africans” or “Sub-Saharan Africans”. These references dead the “moot” issue among the African Americans or even Non-Black Muslims who attempt to remove the “Moor” and “Berber” identity from “Berber founded Empires” like “Songhai” and ancient “Ghana”. I provide a few of the limitless heavy hitting references cited in Dana Reynolds-Marniche blog titled:

Source: FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES – PART II Andalusia and the Mauri: An Exploration of the Original Berbers of Early Sources and their Settlements in Spain

“As for the Zaghawa, according to specialist Harold MacMichael “..witness is borne to this connection of the Zaghawa with the Berbers by Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) who in speaking of the Tuwarek (‘mulethamin” – “veiled ones”) says they are a section of the Sanhaga Berbers, who include the kindred tribes of the Lamtuna, Zaghawa, and Lamta, and have frequented the tracts separating the country of the Berbers from the blacks…” However, the word Ibn Khaldun used “Zanj” is here translated as “the blacks” and by doing so the reality that the Zaghawa were also pretty much black is obscured, as were the other Berbers named.”


in the old sources, the terms Berber, Sanhaja, Massufa, Lamtuna and Tuareg are often used interchangeably”  Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle ( 2009) Timbuktu: The Sahara’s Fabled city of Gold, p. 271.”

“Gabriel Camps the specialist on the archaeological history of the Maghreb proposed in his Berberes: Aux Marges de’l’Histoire that name Bavares or Bavari was an early form of the name Barbars (Baadj, Amar S., p. 11). David Goldenberg, one of the West’s more trustworthy historians (in my opinion : ) when it comes to things related to “race” in the ancient world has written – “Barbares is a variant form of the name Bavares, a people of Mauretania Tingitana and/or Caesarensis, who possibly appear also under the name Babari. Note the association of Barbares with Mauretania in the Laterculus Veronensis (Riese, p. 129): ‘Item gentes quae in Mauretania sunt: Mauri [Quinque]gentiani, Mauri Mazices, Mauri Barbares, Mauri Bacuates….”” See pdf of Rabbinic Knowledge of Black Africa published in 1998 in the Jewish Quarterly, 5. The mountains of the Bavares were also known as the Grand and Petit Babors, the latter including Little Kabylia.” 
“According to Lewicki, in fact, Bavares is also thought to be the name of the people that came to be called the Bafour. “According to some traditions Bafour were whites … belonging to the Berber group of the Zenata. According to non-Muslim tradition the autochthonous inhabitants of Adrar Tmar were agriculturalists…The Bafour, might we think, be identified with the Libyan (Moorish) tribe of the Bavares, active in western part of North Africa in the third to fourth centuries of the Christian era” (Lewicki, Tadeusz, p. 313)” 
“A recent government document in Mauritania sheds some light on the Bafour/Bavari connections of the Soninke or Wangara. It reads -“From the 3rd to 7th centuries, the migration of Berber tribes from North Africa displaced the Bafours, the original inhabitants of present-day Mauritania and the ancestors of the Soninke. Continued Arab-Berber migration drove indigenous black Africans south to the Senegal River or enslaved them. By 1076, Islamic warrior monks (Almoravid or Al Murabitun) completed the conquest of southern Mauritania, defeating the ancient Ghana empire.” See (2000) Mauritania, Mineral, and Mining Sector Investment and Business Guide, Volume 1, Strategic Business Guide, p. 19.”

“Clearly it seems that the “Barbares” or Soninke of the Sahel and Sudan were the “Mauri Bavares” or Babars of Mauritania in what is now Morocco and Algeria possibly pushed down by the Tuareg “the second race of Berbers” and/or Arab Sulaym/Hilal peoples like the Trarza or Hassaniya. They were direct ancestors of the black merchants known as Soninke, Sughai (Isuwaghen or Zawagha) or Wangara who are called “whites” in early African manuscripts.” 

“The Bafour, in fact, is considered by some to be the same as the Zenagha or Znaga Berbers who came to be subject to the Almoravid (Tuareg) nobles. In Mauritania by the 15th century, they were referred to as “tawny and squat” by a slave trader from Venice named Alvice Ca’da Mosto (Thomas, Hugh, 1997, p. 22). They then fell into low caste status under the Hassaniyya or Hassan “Moors” (a group formed from the mixture of Arab/Berber peoples) which might explain how they came to be the first Africans sold out of Lagos to the Portuguese that were brought to Europe.”  

Source: FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES – PART II Andalusia and the Mauri: An Exploration of the Original Berbers of Early Sources and their Settlements in Spain


In 1704 a Willem Bosman of the Dutch West India company describing the “Gold Coast” wrote

“Here the Portuguese received a small quantity of gold dust, as well as some ostrich eggs; and, as Gonçalves had always desired, his men also seized some black Africans, twelve in number, to take back to Portugal (“What a beautiful thing it would be,” this commander told his men, ‘if we could capture some of the natives to lay before the face of our Prince’).

These people were nearly all Azanaghi, as had been most of those sold in Lagos in 1444. They seem not to have been carried off to serve as slaves—though one of them, a woman, was a black slave, presumably from somewhere in the region of Guinea. They were taken as exhibits to show Prince Henry, much as Columbus would bring back some Indians, fifty years later, from his first journey to the Caribbean

The previous statements give credence to the suggestion by earlier colonial historians that the Jarawa or Garawan of North Africa were the Wangara or Wakore of the Sudan, and that the name of Djanawa is in fact derived from the traditional Berber ancestor “Djana”. Yves Moderan in Les Maures et l”Afrique Romain has said they were agriculturalists having some pastoralists, rather than camel nomads. “D’une part, en effet, tous les Zénètes ne peuvent être assimilés à de grands nomades chameliers : les plus célèbres, les Djarâwa, étaient, nous l’avons vu, des agriculteurs autant que des pasteurs”. The Mauri and Roman Africa link

Source: FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES – PART II Andalusia and the Mauri: An Exploration of the Original Berbers of Early Sources and their Settlements in Spain

Dana Reynolds Marniche commented in a post on Andalusia that certain groups claimed descent from the Jews and in particular Aaron and Jethro in Tarikh el-Fattach

She wrote

“The Tuareg Inaden blacksmiths caste who are mostly Soninke in fact claims descent from the Jews of Wargla. Similarly the Wangara/Garawan (Soninke) related groups further west and south had traditions of Jewish origin.

‘In today’s Mauretania, endogamous groups of blacksmiths claim Jewish descent and some oral traditions maintain that it’s early inhabitants, the Bafur, were Jews from Wadi Nun…. Other traditions from Mali document the prevalence of Jews in the pre-Islamic period, some claiming that Maghribi Jews from the Dra’a and the Sus regions shared with the Mande their knowledge of blacksmithing.

The History of African Jews, one of the most understudied chapters in African history, would extend back to the days of king Solomon…. By the eighth century there were communities of Jews in most major oases on the desert edge such as Sijilmasa, Tu’at, Gurara, Ghadamis, Sus, and Wadi Nun ” (Lydon, Ghislaine, 2009, p. 66). ‘”

The so-called Maghreb jews were the WaKore and Wa’Kara/Wa’n’Gara. Beriberi, Soninke, “El-Berabir” or the ancient Berbers, and the earliest Jews in Africa were but one people. They were the people of the Niger bend, and many parts of West Africa, i.e. the Negro. Believe it, – or do not!”

“The author of the the book Aghram Nadharif, (2003), “According to the stereotyped image, the Garamantes are a black people (e.g. Ptolemy, 1.8.5; cf. Snowden 2001: 260-261 with full bibliography; Mattingly 2003: 89), part of the larger ethnic group of the Aethiopes (Desanges and Camps 1985). They are naked (nudi Garamantes: Lucan, Bellum civile IV 334) and burned by the sun…” (Mariano, Liverani, 2003, p. 432). : Ahel Gara is a general Tuareg name for people that were cultivators, though often seminomadic found throughout North Africa, the Sahara and Sahel.  They originally occupied places like Gara Mez- Zawaga in the Dahkhla Oasis west of the Nile and Gara Krima in the Wargla Oasis of the Mz’ab (Algeria) and towns named Garama or Jerma in Libya. These Djerma came to be known as DJerma or Zarma Songhai and were descendants of an ancient “Ethiopian” people named “Garamantes”. The author or the “Garamantian Kingdom and their Southern Border” writes: “According to the stereotyped image, the Garamantes are a black people (e.g. Ptolemy, I.8.5; cf. Snowden 2001: 260-261 with full bibliography; Mattingly 2003: 89), part of the larger ethnic group of the Aethiopes (Désanges and Camps 1985). They are naked (nudi Garamantes: Lucan, Bellum civile IV 334) and burned by the sun …” (Mariano, Liverani, 2003, p. 432).”