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When We Ruled *2nd Edition - 50 Greatest Africans - Dahia al-Kahina & Askia Daud
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The 2nd Edition
An Introduction by
Robin Walker

Study Guide

africa5.jpg50 Greatest Africans - Dahia al-Kahina & Askia Daud


17. Dahia al-Kahina of Mauritania (ruled 688-705 AD)
Defender of Northern Africa against the Arabian invasion

In 639 AD a new conquering force swept into Africa. The Arabians seized Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripoli, and pushed on to Carthage and Numidia. The invasion swept away 600 years of Roman occupation. The new conquerors spread Islam from Egypt to Morocco and also into Spain. The Spanish conquest was achieved with African help. The invaders also destroyed many Africans, enslaved many, and caused others to flee further south to evade their clutches. Kuseila of Mauritania resisted but he was defeated and killed in 688 AD. Dahia al-Kahina (cf. Cohen) became leader of the African resistance. She is generally held to have been a Jewess but we believe that she could just as well have followed the old Carthaginian religion. This differs from Judaism but also shares some affinities with it. There are, of course, Negro Jews in many parts of Africa such as the Falasha of Ethiopia and the Lemba of South Africa. Arab records describe her as having "dark skin, a mass of hair and huge eyes" - the comment referring to her hair may refer to an afro or perhaps dreadlocks. Dr John Clarke describes her as a nationalist who favoured no particular religion. This may explain her effectiveness in bringing together a united front against the invaders. She counterattacked the invaders and drove them into Tripolitania. This was so effective that some Arabs doubted whether Africa could be taken. As one African army was beaten another replaced them. The Arabs seized Carthage in 698 AD. Dahia defeated them and instituted a scorched earth policy to prevent the Arabs from being able to find crops to feed on in the region. That desolation can be seen even today in southern Tunisia. Eventually, however, the Arabs returned. Dahia was finally defeated in battle in 705 AD. North Africa was overrun. Today Black people are a minority in North Africa. Furthermore, Africans in Mauretania and Sudan continue to face the threat of enslavement.
All of this information is extracted from When We Ruled. To find out more about this book CLICK HERE




18. Askia Daud of Songhai (1549-1582 AD)
Great ruler of the Songhai Empire

Askia Daud became emperor in 1549. His military victories restored Songhai control over trade routes to the north. There were battles with the Mossi, the Fulani, the Malians, Kebbi and Katsina. Daud was so sure of the bravery and fighting ability of his soldiers that he sent a raiding party of twenty-four horsemen to attack the Hausa city of Katsina. These resolute men hurled themselves at 400 Katsina cavalrymen who had come out to engage them. Needless to say, Daud's men were beaten. Fifteen of them were killed in this struggle, and the nine remaining were wounded and captured. The ruler of Katsina sent them back to Daud with the message: "Men of such incomparable bravery do not deserve to die." In 1556 the Moroccans attacked Taghaza. They killed the Songhai governor of the city and a number of Tuaregs who were working in the salt caravans. The surviving traders petitioned Daud to abandon Taghaza for safer pastures. The Askia opened a new salt mine in 1557 where the old salt traders found work.

Askia Daud was a fine administrator. He employed only trusted supporters to the key jobs in the government. Under his rule, trade and culture flourished. He repaired the University Mosque and enlarged the Djinguerebere Mosque, both in Timbuktu. The learned and dutiful Cadi, Al-Aquib, supervised these construction works. Scholarship also flourished and Daud was a scholar himself. He founded libraries and employed scribes to transcribe important manuscripts.

Following his victorious campaign against Mali in 1559, Askia Daud married a Malian princess. According to As-Sadi, the great Songhai historian of the seventeenth century: "He [Askia Daud] caused the princess to be conducted to Songhai in a sumptuous equipage. She was covered with jewels, surrounded by numerous slaves, both men and women, and provided with an abundant baggage train. All of the utensils were of gold - dishes, pitchers, pestle and mortar, everything." As Professor Diop points out, the princess "then lived in a luxury comparable with that of Helen of Troy"
All of this information is extracted from When We Ruled. To find out more about this book CLICK HERE



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Category : 50 Greatest Africans


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African Rulers
50 Greatest Africans

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