Kanem Empire: Prehistory to 1400: Africa
Lady Jane Acquah
The Lake Chad area was the center of great states and empires, and Kanem Bornu is one such state. Islam and trade paved the way for its rise. Kanem lived through some turbulent political and religious eras but survived for some 10 centuries and only succumbed to British imperial power in 1900. Kanem's beginnings consisted of a number of tribal communities that inhabited the Lake Chad area stretching from Wadai in the east to Borku in the west. These included the Malal, Ngalaga, Kangu, Zaghawa, Kayi, Kuburi, and Tomafra. Beginning in the 9th century, the Zaghawa, under the leadership of Saif ibn Dhi Yazan, founded the Saifa/Sefuwa dynasty and successfully consolidated the tribes into the Kanem state. The people of Kanem are referred to as the Kanuri, and the ruler bore the title of Mai. The pre-Islamic capital of Kanem was Manan, but it was moved to Njimi, which may ...