Askia Mohammed I & Mansa Musa

37. Askia Mohammed I of Songhai (ruled 1493-1529, died in 1538 AD) Emperor of the Songhai Empire of West Africa Sonni Baru Dao, ruler of the Songhai Empire, was also a follower of a traditional African religion and rejected all attempts to convert him to Islam by Muslims in his empire. After several weeks of […]

Mutapa Matope & Pharaoh Mena

33. Mutapa Matope of Munuhumutapa (fourteenth century AD)Powerful ruler of Southern Africa The early southern African towns and villages lacked any central authority until discipline was imposed, first by the 12th or 13th century AD ruler Mutapa (i.e. Emperor) Mutota and then by a descendant, Mutapa Matope. Matope was the greatest conqueror of the early […]

Queen Judith & Sarki Muhammad Kanta

29. Queen Judith of Ethiopia (ruled c. 940-c.980 AD)Falasha conqueror of Ethiopia and destroyer of Christianity In 940 AD, though some authorities give slightly earlier dates, Judith, a Falasha conqueror, seized the throne of the Ethiopian city of Axum and proclaimed herself Queen. Inspiring dread in many Christian minds, she destroyed the churches, killing thousands […]

Mai Idris Alooma & Prime Minister Imhotep

27. Mai Idris Alooma of Kanem-Borno (ruled 1564-96 AD)Greatest ruler of the Central African state of Kanem-Borno Mai (i.e. King) Idris Alooma (1564-96) was a most successful politician of the period who gained considerable international prestige. Mahmud Kati, the great Songhai historian, wrote that: “The mass of our contemporaries hold that there are four Sultans […]

Admiral Hanno & Queen/Pharaoh Hatshepsut

25. Admiral Hanno of Carthage (sixth or fifth centuries BC)Carthaginian explorer of the West African coast The North African civilisation of Carthage was much engaged in exploration. There are accounts of Carthaginian exploration in the sixth or fifth centuries BC. Hanno, one of their admirals, commanded sixty ships that carried 30,000 people along the north […]

Negus Negaste Ezana & Hannibal Barca

Negus Negaste Ezana & Hannibal Barca

23. Negus Negaste Ezana of Ethiopia (flourished 330 AD)The first Christian Emperor in the world Ezana proclaimed Ethiopia to be a Christian state in the early fourth century AD, one of the oldest surviving Christian nations in the world. An inscription of the period recorded a prayer of the Negus Negaste (i.e. King of Kings): […]