Note too that the early Arab (not African) leader ‘Ubada inb al-Samit is described as a black (aswad) man, and consider the expression used by the Arabic writers to mean “non Arabs and Arabs” (i.e., the whole world), al-ahmar wa’l-aswad, “the red and the black” respectively. Similarly the explanation of al-Jahiz, which he puts in the mouths of the Zanj (black Africans): “The Arabs belong with us not with the whites, because their color is nearer to ours… For the Prophet, God bless and save him, said, ‘I was sent to the red and the black,’ and everyone knows that the Arabs are not red.” Jahiz concludes: “Our blackness, O people of the Zanj, is not different from the blackness of the Banu Sulaym and other Arab tribes. We can add several other authors including those who use the term in the context of Ham’s curse of dark skin.
Ka’b al-Ahbar (d. ca. 652), a Jewish Yemeni convert to Islam, spoke of the cursed descendants of Ham “begetting black [aswadayn] male and female children until they multiplied and spread along the shore. Among them are the Nubians [nuba], the Negroes [zanj], the Barbars [brb], the Sindhis [sind], the Indians [hind] and all the blacks [sudan]: they are the children of Ham. We saw earlier that Wahb inbn Munabbih (d. ca. 73), “a celebrated authority on the traditions of the ahl al-kitab,” reported that God “changed [Ham’s] color and the color of his descendants in response to his father’s curse,” and that Ham’s descendants are Kush, Canaan, and Fut; Fut Fut’s descendants are the Indians; and Kush and Canaan’s descendants are the various races of blacks [sudan]: Nubians, Zanj, Qaran, Zaghawa, Ethiopians, Copts and Barbar. In another source Wahb is reported to have said that Canaan’s descendants were the blacks [al-aswid], Nubians [nuba], Fezzan [Fazzan], Zanj [zanj], Zaghawah [zaghawa], and all the peoples of the Sudan [sudan]. The Akhbar al zaman counts “among the descendants of Sudan, son of Kan’an…the Ishban, the Zanj, and many peoples that multiplied in the Maghrib, about 70 of then.
Clearly, the rabbinic story of sex in the ark is an etiology that is meant to account for the existence of all dark skinned people, not just the Black African. Although, to the best of my knowledge, rabbinic literature does not mention the skin color of the Putites and Canaanites, who descended from Ham, it does refer to the dark skin of Ham’s other descendant, the Egyptians. In the next chapter, we will see two examples of Egyptians referred to as Kushites because of their dark skin color. (107)
Archaeological and epigraphic (South Arabian) evidence in East Africa indicates that already in the early first millennium B.C.E. there were strong trade contracts between East Africa and Arabia. Similarly, “topographical names with Sabean foundations testify.. to the relations between ancient Yemen and Abyssinia. The anonymous author of the Periplus says that in his time a significant part of the East African coast (“Azania” was subject to the kingdom of Arabia “by ancient right” and that Arab traders “through continual intercourse and intermarriage, are familiar with the area and its language. Lewicki notes that the name Azania itself indicates the existence of South Arabian traders in East Africa, “many centuries BC,” for the name is a Greek transcription of the Arabic name Ajam. In light of the evidence from the Greek and Latin texts of a slave trade in black Africans during the first six centuries of the Common Era, it is likely that these trad contacts between Africa and Arabia included slaves.
Another reflection of biblical imagery may be indicated in the midrashic play on the Arabic word Kuwayyis to describe the Kushites as particularly handsome people. (195)
“From many centuries, merchants–mainly Moors from Morocco and Mauritania, but also Tuareg and Tadjakan ones–traded Saharan salt and other goods in Timbuktu for gold dust, ivory, pepper, and above all, slaves. One early-nineteenth-century writer reported that a 50 percent profit was possible from this trade in salt, purchased along the way. I 1816 once a caravan from Wadi Nun, in Morocco contained fifteen hundred to two thousand camels, had acquired a “considerable amount of salt” an Ijil, and was making for Timbuktu to buy a “great number of Negroes.”
“The salt-for-slave equation remained the crucial one. French intervention against the slave trade, most successfully with the defeat and capture of Samori, the greatest slaver in Western Sudan, reduced the volume of trade but did not end it. Instead of relying on Western Sudanic slavers, Moors from Mauritania, along with the Kinta and Tuareg acquired slavers for dessert and desert-fringe markets by doing their own raiding and kidnapping. In 1899, for instance, the Kinta, “a respected clerical clan,” enslaved the entire population of one village.”
“As the colonial governor advised in 1918: “It can happen that in certain contracts between Moors, for the constitution of a bride price, for example, it is specified that a slave be given by the spouse. This is not, in my opinion, an act of slave trading–a slave who condition we have already recognized remains in the family and does not leave the country. This is not a loss for the masters. In effect, this constituted, and would long continue to do so, official connivance at an internal slave trade in virtually all of its customary forms.”
“According to Human Rights Watch/Africa, roughly a third of the inhabitants are beydanes (literally “white Moors). Another third, called haratin (derived from the Arabic word for freedom) and otherwise known as black Moors, are former black slaves or their descendants “who remain politically and culturally tied to their former masters.” The final third, generally blacks (sometimes known as Afro-Mauritanians) from various ethnic groups of which the largest is the Halpulaar, encompasses an untold number of people still held in slavery.”
“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”.
“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.”
From the Negroes proper of the Sudan have descended most American Negroes See U.S. Immigration Commission Dictionary of races or peoples. The name Sudan is probably a confusing term, especially to modern learners of history as it is a recent name given to the current Republic of Sudan governed by its capital city Khartoum. Geographically, it is the area bordered by Ethiopia and Eritrea from the East, Egypt and Libya from the North, Chad and Central Africa from the West and Zaire, Uganda and Kenya from the South. With reference to ancient facts of history, to give any piece of information about ancient history of Western Sudan, it is necessary to point out to two important historical facts. First, the origin of the term Sudan and the source from which it is derived. Second, what part of Africa is said to be known as Sudan in ancient history.
“1099 Cristen soudan. Although modern, secular readers will not see anything amiss here, the original audience would perceive this as a contradiction. Today, we read “sultan” as a social and political title and “Christian” as a religious and spiritual one. Drawing on a number of works, especially romances, MED defines “soudan” primarily as a Moslem or Saracen leader; with such a strong connotation, a Christian sultan would appear to be an oxymoron.”
“The American Negro is a new biological and cultural product, his ancestors from Africa represented tribes as divergent as the several peoples of Europe. They were captured from provinces covering large parts of Central and West Africa, Guinea, the Ivory, Slave, and Gold Coasts, a great part of what is now French West Africa, the vast stretches of the Niger Valley, the Cameroons, the Congo, the Benguela. Among them [their ancestors] were Arabs and Moors from the northerly coast, the small yellow Hottentots from the South, the Bantu tribes from the equatorial regions. Members of these diverse tribes captured of an area as large as the Continent of Europe were completely mixed in the process of transport to African slave ports to the West Indies to American marts and in their distribution to the New World. “
“The Sudan is the name given to a geographic region to the south of the Sahara, stretching from Western to eastern Central Africa. The states of the Sudan The early kingdoms and empires of the western Sudan In the 10th century the kings of Ghana extended their sway over the Ṣanhājah, the congeries of Amazigh nomadic tribes living around Audaghost, just north of their kingdom, who supplied them with salt and North African goods (see map). This move must have upset the economic balance between agricultural Ghana and the pastoral Ṣanhājah, and ultimately it provoked a reaction. Like the North African Imazighen, the Ṣanhājah tribes were already to some extent Islamized, and they shortly found in a militant, puritanical version of Islam the means to eliminate their tribal differences and to unite in the movement known to history as the Almoravids. In the middle of the 11th century they began to expand into the productive lands on either side of the western Sahara, and it would seem that later in the century Ghana became dominated by them.”
“The medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai that controlled the western Sudan had no fixed geopolitical boundaries or singular ethnic or national identities. Although each empire possessed important political and economic centers, such as Ghana’s Kumbi Saleh and Songhai’s Gao, it is not certain that these were permanent capitals. Instead, the empires may have had “floating” capitals that shifted between a number of urbanized centers or traveled with their ruling monarchs. Above all, the empires of the western Sudan were unified by strong leadership, kin-based societies, and the trade routes they sought to dominate. Trans-Saharan Trade The importance that contact with the Islamic world held for these empires cannot be understated. While extensive trading networks undoubtedly predated Arabic involvement, the development of trans-Saharan commerce in the seventh century by Arabs and Berbers intensified and expanded the trading networks that made the empires of the western Sudan possible.”
“West Sudanian savanna (green) inWest AfricaThe Western Sudan is a historic region in the northern part of West Africa. Traditionally, the Western Sudan extends from the Atlantic Ocean across to the basin of Lake Chad (which is sometimes associated with a region called “Central Sudan” or other times with the Western Sudan) and includes the savanna and Sahel lands north of the West African tropical rainforest belt. It includes the rivers of the Senegal, Gambia and Niger systems, as well as the highlands of Fouta Djallon from which these rivers flow. West Sudanian savanna (green) in West Africa Historians have considered the Western Sudan as a land of great empires, since at least the seventh century, when the Empire of Ghana flourished, there have been a succession of empires: Ghana (seventh to eleventh century), Mali (thirteenth to fifteenth century), Songhai(1464–1591) are the three best known, but smaller large scale polities have also been important, the Empire of Great Foula (late sixteenth to early eighteenth century), the Bamana Empire (late seventeenth to early nineteenth century), and the nineteenth century empires of El Hajj Umar Tal and Samori Toure. In fact, since the fourteenth century at least, local historians of the region have seen its history in terms of a succession of empires. This cycle is discernible in the historical accounts of shaykh Uthman, whose history was told to the historian ibn Khaldun while on the Muslim Pilgrimage in 1397. It can also be found in the great Sudanese chronicle, Tarikh al-Fettash. Modern historians have followed suit, and the imperial tradition can be found in textbooks today.”
The people of the Sudan region share similar lifestyles, dictated by the geography of the region. The economy is largely pastoral, whilesorghum and rice are cultivated in the southern parts of the region. The region was governed in colonial times by the French, as part of their African colonial empire, but the countries of the region achieved independence in the latter half of the 20th century.
Soudan may refer to:
The French name (and former English name) for Sudan
“During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal’s withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. Significant portions of its legislation is derived from sharia law.”
“The pages above are from Timbuktu Manuscripts written in Sudani script (a form of Arabic) from the Mali Empire showing established knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. Today there are close to a million of these manuscripts found in Timbuktu alone. Sudanese tourists by the Meroë pyramids in various types of clothing.At the height of their glory, the Kushites conquered an empire that stretched from what is now known as South Kordofan all the way to the Sinai. King Piyeattempted to expand the empire into the Near East, but was thwarted by the Assyrian kingSargon II. The name derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān (بلاد السودان), or “the lands of the Blacks“, an expression denoting West Africa and northern-Central Africa.”
“International Association for the History of Religions (1959), Numen, Leiden: EJ Brill, p. 131, West Africa may be taken as the country stretching from Senegal in the west, to the Cameroons in the east; sometimes it has been called the central and western Sudan, the Bilad as-Sūdan, ‘Land of the Blacks’, [or]of the Arabs. By the 6th century, fifty states had emerged as the political and cultural heirs of the Meroitic Kingdom. Nobatia in the north, also known as Ballanah, had its capital at Faras; the central kingdom, Muqurra (Makuria), was centred at Tungul (Old Dongola), about 13 kilometres (8 miles) south of modern Dunqulah; and Alawa (Alodia), in the heartland of old Meroë, which had its capital at Sawba (Soba) (now a suburb of modern-day Khartoum). In all three kingdoms, warrior aristocracies ruled Meroitic populations from royal courts where functionaries bore Greek titles in emulation of the Byzantine court. A missionary sent by Byzantine empress Theodora arrived in Nobatia and started preaching Christianity about 540 AD. The Nubian kings became Monophysite Christians. However, Makuria was of the Melkite Christian faith, unlike Nobatia and Alodia.”
“After many attempts at military conquest failed, the Arab commander in Egypt concluded the first in a series of regularly renewed treaties known as al-baqṭ (pactum) with the Nubians that governed relations between the two peoples for more than 678 years. Islam progressed in the area over a long period of time through intermarriage and contacts with Arab merchants and settlers. Additionally, exemption from taxation in regions under Muslim rule were also a powerful incentive for conversion. In 1093, a Muslim prince of Nubian royal blood ascended the throne of Dunqulah as king. The two most important Arab tribes to emerge in Nubia were the Jaali and the Juhayna. Today’s northern Sudanese culture often combines Nubian and Arabic elements. During the 16th century, a people called the Funj, under a leader named Amara Dunqus, appeared in southern Nubia and supplanted the remnants of the old Christian kingdom of Alwa, establishing As-Saltana az-Zarqa (the Blue Sultanate), also called the Sultanate of Sennar. The Blue Sultanate eventually became the keystone of the Funj Empire. By the mid-16th century, Sennar controlled Al Jazirah and commanded the allegiance of vassal states and tribal districts north to the Third Cataract and south to the rainforests. The government was substantially weakened by a series of succession arguments and coups within the royal family. In 1820, Muhammad Ali of Egypt sent 4,000 troops to invade Sudan. His forces accepted Sennar’s surrender from the last Funj sultan, Badi VII.”