Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture

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During this period, the Maghreb became thoroughly Islamised and saw the spread of literacy , the development of algebra , and the use of the number zero and decimals.

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By the 13th century, the Almohad states had split into three rival states. Muslim states were largely extinguished in the Iberian Peninsula by the Christian kingdoms of Castile , Aragon , and Portugal. Around , Portugal engaged in a reconquista of North Africa by capturing Ceuta , and in later centuries Spain and Portugal acquired other ports on the North African coast. In , at the end of the Granada War , Spain defeated Muslims in the Emirate of Granada , effectively ending eight centuries of Muslim domination in southern Iberia.

This put them in direct competition with the Ottoman Empire , which re-took the ports using Turkish corsairs pirates and privateers. The Turkish corsairs would use the ports for raiding Christian ships, a major source of booty for the towns. Technically, North Africa was under the control of the Ottoman Empire, but only the coastal towns were fully under Istanbul 's control.

Tripoli benefited from trade with Borno. The pashas of Tripoli traded horses, firearms, and armor via Fez with the sultans of the Bornu Empire for slaves. In the 16th century, an Arab nomad tribe that claimed descent from Muhammad's daughter, the Saadis , conquered and united Morocco.

They prevented the Ottoman Empire from reaching to the Atlantic and expelled Portugal from Morocco's western coast. Ahmad al-Mansur brought the state to the height of its power. He invaded Songhay in , to control the gold trade, which had been diverted to the western coast of Africa for European ships and to the east, to Tunis. Morocco's hold on Songhay diminished in the 17th century. In , after Ahmad's death, the kingdom split into the two sultanates of Fes and Marrakesh.

Later it was reunited by Moulay al-Rashid , founder of the Alaouite Dynasty — His brother and successor, Ismail ibn Sharif — , strengthened the unity of the country by importing slaves from the Sudan to build up the military.

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Egypt under the Fatimid Caliphate was prosperous. Dams and canals were repaired, and wheat, barley, flax, and cotton production increased. Egypt became a major producer of linen and cotton cloth. Its Mediterranean and Red Sea trade increased. Egypt also minted a gold currency called the Fatimid dinar, which was used for international trade. The bulk of revenues came from taxing the fellahin peasant farmers , and taxes were high.

Tax collecting was leased to Berber overlords, who were soldiers who had taken part in the Fatimid conquest in AD.

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The overlords paid a share to the caliphs and retained what was left. Eventually, they became landlords and constituted a settled land aristocracy. To fill the military ranks, Mamluk Turkish slave cavalry and Sudanese slave infantry were used. Berber freemen were also recruited.

In the s, tax revenues from farms diminished. The soldiers revolted and wreaked havoc in the countryside, slowed trade, and diminished the power and authority of the Fatimid caliphs. During the s, Fatimid Egypt came under threat from European crusaders. Saladin defeated the Christian crusaders at Egypt's borders and recaptured Jerusalem in Under his rule, Egypt returned to Sunni Islam , Cairo became an important center of Arab Islamic learning, and Mamluk slaves were increasingly recruited from Turkey and southern Russia for military service.

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Support for the military was tied to the iqta , a form of land taxation in which soldiers were given ownership in return for military service. Over time, Mamluk slave soldiers became a very powerful landed aristocracy , to the point of getting rid of the Ayyubid dynasty in and establishing a Mamluk dynasty. The more powerful Mamluks were referred to as amirs. For years, Mamluks controlled all of Egypt under a military dictatorship. Egypt extended her territories to Syria and Palestine, thwarted the crusaders, and halted a Mongol invasion in at the Battle of Ain Jalut.

Mamluk Egypt came to be viewed as a protector of Islam, and of Medina and Mecca. Eventually the iqta system declined and proved unreliable for providing an adequate military. The Mamluks started viewing their iqta as hereditary and became attuned to urban living. Farm production declined, and dams and canals lapsed into disrepair. Mamluk military skill and technology did not keep pace with new technology of handguns and cannons.

With the rise of the Ottoman Empire , Egypt was easily defeated. The Istanbul government revived the iqta system. Trade was reestablished in the Red Sea, but it could not completely connect with the Indian Ocean trade because of growing Portuguese presence. During the 17th and 18th centuries, hereditary Mamluks regained power.

The leading Mamluks were referred to as beys. Pashas , or viceroys, represented the Istanbul government in name only, operating independently. During the 18th century, dynasties of pashas became established.


The government was weak and corrupt. In , Napoleon invaded Egypt. The local forces had little ability to resist the French conquest. These events marked the beginning of a 19th-century Anglo-Franco rivalry over Egypt. After Ezana of Aksum sacked Meroe , people associated with the site of Ballana moved into Nubia from the southwest and founded three kingdoms: Makuria , Nobatia , and Alodia.

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  7. They would rule for years. Makuria was above the third cataract , along the Dongola Reach with its capital at Dongola. Nobadia was to the north with its capital at Faras , and Alodia was to the south with its capital at Soba. Makuria eventually absorbed Nobadia.

    The people of the region converted to Monophysite Christianity around to CE. The church was aligned with the Egyptian Coptic Church. By , Egypt was conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate. In —, Arabs from Egypt invaded Christian Nubia.

    Nubian archers soundly defeated the invaders. The treaty controlled relations between Christian Nubia and Islamic Egypt for almost six hundred years. By the 13th century, Christian Nubia began its decline. The authority of the monarchy was diminished by the church and nobility.

    Arab bedouin tribes began to infiltrate Nubia, causing further havoc. Fakirs holy men practicing Sufism introduced Islam into Nubia. By , Nubia had become divided into petty fiefdoms when it was invaded by Mamluks. During the 15th century, Nubia was open to Arab immigration.


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    Arab nomads intermingled with the population and introduced the Arab culture and the Arabic language. By the 16th century, Makuria and Nobadia had been Islamized. During the 16th century, Abdallah Jamma headed an Arab confederation that destroyed Soba, capital of Alodia, the last holdout of Christian Nubia. Later Alodia would fall under the Funj Sultanate.

    During the 15th century, Funj herders migrated north to Alodia and occupied it. Between and , the kingdom expanded, reaching its peak and establishing its capital at Sennar under Badi II Abu Daqn c. By the end of the 16th century, the Funj had converted to Islam. They pushed their empire westward to Kordofan. They expanded eastward, but were halted by Ethiopia. They controlled Nubia down to the 3rd Cataract.

    The economy depended on captured enemies to fill the army and on merchants travelling through Sennar. Under Badi IV — , the army turned on the king, making him nothing but a figurehead. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, displacing and absorbing the original Khoisan speakers. They slowly moved south, and the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around The southernmost group was the Xhosa people , whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoi-San people, reaching the Great Fish River in today's Eastern Cape Province.

    Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture
    Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture
    Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture
    Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture
    Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture Encyclopedia of Blacks in European History and Culture

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