The Dahomey Kingdom was founded in the early 17th century CE when the Aja people of the Allada kingdom moved northward and settled among the Fon. They began to assert their power a few years later. In so doing they established the Kingdom of Dahomey, with its capital at Agbome. King Houegbadja c. He declared all lands to be owned of the king and subject to taxation.
Primogeniture in the kingship was established, neutralising all input from village chiefs. A "cult of kingship" was established.
Islam was used to extend his authority by declaring jihad on the Mossi, reviving the trans-Saharan trade, and having the Abbasid "shadow" caliph in Cairo declare him as caliph of Sudan. Mali reached the peak of its power and extent in the 14th century, when Mansa Musa — made his famous hajj to Mecca with slaves, each holding a bar of gold worth mithqal. Looking for a book about a woman who supports her husband through medical school as a waitress. Sammy's underwater travel meeting various sea creatures etc. In the beginning, there is a scene where where he becomes disoriented on a subway. Further information: Arab slave trade and Atlantic slave trade. Examples of Metaphor from Common Speech Many common sayings are metaphors.
A captive slave would be sacrificed annually to honour the royal ancestors. During the s, the slave-trading states of Whydah and Allada were taken, giving Dahomey direct access to the slave coast and trade with Europeans. King Agadja — attempted to end the slave trade by keeping the slaves on plantations producing palm oil, but the European profits on slaves and Dahomey's dependency on firearms were too great. Taxes on slaves were mostly paid in cowrie shells. During the 19th century, palm oil was the main trading commodity. Most of the troops who fought against Dahomey were native Africans.
Traditionally, the Yoruba people viewed themselves as the inhabitants of a united empire, in contrast to the situation today, in which "Yoruba" is the cultural-linguistic designation for speakers of a language in the Niger—Congo family. The name comes from a Hausa word to refer to the Oyo Empire. The first Yoruba state was Ile-Ife , said to have been founded around CE by a supernatural figure, the first oni Oduduwa.
Oduduwa's sons would be the founders of the different city-states of the Yoruba, and his daughters would become the mothers of the various Yoruba obas , or kings. Yoruba city-states were usually governed by an oba and an iwarefa , a council of chiefs who advised the oba. By the 18th century, the Yoruba city-states formed a loose confederation, with the Oni of Ife as the head and Ife as the capital. As time went on, the individual city-states became more powerful with their obas assuming more powerful spiritual positions and diluting the authority of the Oni of Ife.
Rivalry became intense among the city-states.
The Oyo Empire rose in the 16th century. The Oyo state had been conquered in by the kingdom of Nupe , which was in possession of cavalry, an important tactical advantage. The alafin king of Oyo was sent into exile. After returning, Alafin Orompoto c. This made them invincible in combat on the northern grasslands and in the thinly wooded forests. By the end of the 16th century, Oyo had added the western region of the Niger to the hills of Togo, the Yoruba of Ketu , Dahomey, and the Fon nation.
A governing council served the empire, with clear executive divisions. Each acquired region was assigned a local administrator.
Families served in king-making capacities. Oyo, as a northern Yoruba kingdom, served as middle-man in the north-south trade and connecting the eastern forest of Guinea with the western and central Sudan , the Sahara, and North Africa. The Yoruba manufactured cloth, ironware, and pottery, which were exchanged for salt, leather, and most importantly horses from the Sudan to maintain the cavalry. Oyo remained strong for two hundred years. The Oyo state ceased to exist as any sort of power in The Kwa Niger—Congo speaking Edo people.
By the midth century, the Benin Empire was engaged in political expansion and consolidation. Under Oba king Ewuare c. He solidified central authority and initiated 30 years of war with his neighbours.
At his death, the Benin Empire extended to Dahomey in the west, to the Niger Delta in the east, along the west African coast, and to the Yoruba towns in the north. Ewuare's grandson Oba Esigie — eroded the power of the uzama state council and increased contact and trade with Europeans, especially with the Portuguese who provided a new source of copper for court art.
The oba ruled with the advice from the uzama , a council consisting of chiefs of powerful families and town chiefs of different guilds. Later its authority was diminished by the establishment of administrative dignitaries.
Women wielded power. The queen mother who produced the future oba wielded immense influence. Benin was never a significant exporter of slaves, as Alan Ryder's book Benin and the Europeans showed. By the early s, it was wrecked with dynastic disputes and civil wars.
However, it regained much of its former power in the reigns of Oba Eresoyen and Oba Akengbuda. After the 16th century, Benin mainly exported pepper, ivory, gum, and cotton cloth to the Portuguese and Dutch who resold it to other African societies on the coast. In , the British sacked the city.
The Niger Delta comprised numerous city-states with numerous forms of government. These city-states were protected by the waterways and thick vegetation of the delta. The region was transformed by trade in the 17th century CE. The delta's city-states were comparable to those of the Swahili people in East Africa. Some, like Bonny , Kalabari , and Warri , had kings.
Others, like Brass , were republics with small senates, and those at Cross River and Old Calabar were ruled by merchants of the ekpe society. The ekpe society regulated trade and made rules for members known as house systems.
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Some of these houses, like the Pepples of Bonny, were well known in the Americas and Europe. The Igbo primarily lived east of the delta but with the Anioma on the west of the Niger River. It was a political entity composed of villages, and each village was autonomous and independent with its own territory and name, each recognised by its neighbours.
Villages were democratic with all males and sometimes females a part of the decision-making process. Graves at Igbo-Ukwu CE contained brass artefacts of local manufacture and glass beads from Egypt or India, indicative of extraregional trade. The Aro Confederacy was a political union orchestrated by the Igbo subgroup, the Aro people , centered in the Arochukwu Kingdom in present-day south-eastern Nigeria. It was founded at the end of the 16th century, and their influence and presence was across Eastern Nigeria into parts of the Niger Delta and Southern Igala during the 18th and 19th centuries.
European traders first became a force in the region in the 15th century, with the establishment of a Portuguese trading post at Arguin Island , off the coast of present-day Senegal; by , Portuguese traders had reached as far as the Bight of Benin.
The transatlantic African slave trade began almost immediately after based on the already well established slave trading capacity serving the Islamic world, with the Portuguese taking hundreds of captives back to their country for use as slaves; however, it would not begin on a grand scale until Christopher Columbus 's voyage to the Americas and the subsequent demand for cheap colonial labour. In , the Spanish crown legalised the African slave trade, followed by the English in [ citation needed ]. By the slave trade was in full force at a number of sites along the coast of West Africa, and over the coming centuries would result in severely reduced growth for the region's population and economy [ citation needed ].
The expanding Atlantic slave trade produced significant populations of West Africans living in the New World, recently colonised by Europeans. The oldest known remains of African slaves in the Americas were found in Mexico in early ; they are thought to date from the late 16th century and the midth century. States such as Dahomey in modern-day Benin and the Bambara Empire-based much of their economy on the exchange of slaves for European goods, particularly firearms that they then employed to capture more slaves.
Moreover, during colonial rule both British and Dutch authorities were active in recruiting African slaves into the national military service. As it was believed that African black population was more immune than Europeans to the tropical diseases present in India and Indonesia. Recruitment changed format after the Atlantic slave trade was abolished by European and American governments in 19th century.
For instance, was the first year when only volunteers were accepted for the military service. Descendants of West Africans make up large and important segments of the population in Brazil, the Caribbean, the United States, and throughout the New World. African Americans in several major US cities who took part in a genetic research study, concluded that their common ancestry originated most prominently in western Africa which is consistent with prior genetic studies and the history of slave trade.
A similar movement occurred on a much broader scale in the Hausa city-states of Nigeria under Uthman dan Fodio ; an imam influenced by the teachings of Sidi Ahmed al-Tidjani , Uthman preached against the elitist Islam of the then-dominant Qadiriyyah brotherhood, winning a broad base of support amongst the common people. In it was noted that the extensive coastline and deep rivers of Africa had not been utilised for 'correspondence or commerce', yet maps in this ancient volume clearly show the "Gum Coast", "Grain Coast", "Ivory Coast", and "Gold Coast".
Samory Ture's newly founded Wassoulou Empire was the last to fall, and with his capture in , military resistance to French colonial rule effectively ended. West African political history has been characterised by African socialism.