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The Fabled Kingdom of Timbuktu (West Africa)

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

The University of Sankoré, Timbuktu

“… The first, and perhaps the most important fact is that the general enslavement of Africans, proclaimed to the world as savages, began during the very period and in the very West Africa in the center of which one of the great universities of the world and other colleges were located.” ― “The Black Revival of Learning,” p. 247

West Africa was experiencing a “Golden Age” where kingdom and empire-building was happening in the Western Sudan before the Transatlantic slave trade era reached the shores of West Africa. In the Islamic Era, three powerful empires emerged, which were ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. The Western Sudan is sandwiched between the Sahara in the north and the rain forests of the Guinea Coast in the south. During this time in medieval West Africa, the empires of ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai were superior to their contemporaries in Europe.

“It would be interesting to know what the Normans might have thought of Ghana. Anglo-Saxon England could easily have seemed a poor and lowly place beside it.” – Basil Davidson

The economic life of these empires revolved around agriculture, manufacturing, and international trade. Black kings wielded power through provincial governors and viceroys and maintained large standing armies. Trade and commerce flourished in great cities that were established in the Sudanese savannah, and the intellectual life was stimulating. For example, the kingdoms of Jenne and Timbuktu were known throughout the Muslim world as centers of culture and learning. The citizens were sophisticated and knowledgeable. Ibn Batuta, an Arab traveler who visited the Mali Empire in the 14th century was impressed by the orderly flow of life.

“Of all people, the blacks are those who most detest injustice. Their Sultan never forgives anyone who has been guilty of it.” – Ibn Batuta

Mali. Trade caravans approaching the city of Timbuktu. Salt entered the city from the north by camel caravan. Gold entered the city from the south by donkey caravan. Other goods arrived by barge or by head porter. From Dr Henry Barth, Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa, Volume III (UK, Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts, 1858, opposite p.404).

Located in present-day Mali, the kingdom of Timbuktu was founded about 1100 CE as a seasonal camp by Tuareg nomads. According to one tradition, Timbuktu was named after an old woman named Tomboutou, Timbuktu, or Buctoo, which meant “mother with a large navel.” She was left to oversee the camp while the Tuareg roamed the Sahara. In the late 13th and early 14th centuries, Timbuktu was incorporated into the Mali Empire.

Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire, arguably Africa’s most flamboyant emperor embarked on a large building program, raising mosques and universities in Timbuktu and Gao. Like the Great Mosque, a splendid monument of Timbuktu, the Hall was built of cut stone. Timbuktu rose from obscurity to great commercial and cultural importance. It had caravan connections to Angila, Dra’a, Egypt, Fez, Fezzan, Ghadamer, Sidjilmessa, Sus and Tuat. Timbuktu became a centre of learning, one of the foremost centres of Islamic scholarship in the world. The University of Sankoré Mosque was highly distinguished for the teaching of Koranic theology and law, besides other subjects such as astronomy and mathematics. It was under the reign of Mansa Musa where the University of Sankoré became one of the greatest learning destinations of the Islamic world. The university housed the largest library in Africa since Egypt’s Great Library of Alexanderia. For instance, the Library of Alexanderia had between 40,000 to 400,000 manuscripts while the University of Sankoré had 250,000 to 700,000 manuscripts.

After the death of Mansa Musa, the empire of Mali declined in importance. In its place rose the Songhai Empire which ruled West Africa during the 15th and 16th centuries. In the years when Timbuktu was the great intellectual nucleus of the Songhai Empire, African scholars were enjoying a renaissance period that was known and respected throughout most of Africa and in parts of Europe. The educational capital of the Western Sudan was the University of Sankoré. There were five to 1,500 towns in the kingdom of Timbuktu. When Askia Mohammed Toure I (Askia the Great) began ruling the Songhai Empire in 1493, just one year after Christopher Columbus so-called discovered America, the kingdom of Timbuktu had 100,000 citizens, filled to the top with gold and beautiful women. Timbuktu was one of the most fabled kingdoms of the whole medieval world, and the Sudanese metropolis was celebrated for its luxury and glory.

According to Songhai writers, Timbuktu was Paris, France; Chicago and New York of the United States of America all in one and blended into an African setting. The citizens of Timbuktu amused themselves with music, and the love and pleasures of drinking. Music with orchestras with both Black men and women singers were preferred, and midnight revels were common. The Sudanese women dressed extravagantly. The men and women were both fond of jewels, and women had gold incorporated in their creative hairstyles. There were dramatic displays of dancing, fencing, gymnastics and poetry recitations, and playing chess was also popular.

Timbuktu was located at the edge of the “sand roads” joining West Africa to North Africa, Arabia, and the Mediterranean. Timbuktu developed into a university city, and mosques, libraries, and other buildings were built to house the beautifully illustrated manuscripts that were filled with knowledge on many subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, culture, religion, and philosophy. In the narrow streets of Timbuktu, scholars mingled with rich African merchants and young boys sat in the shade, reciting the Koran.

Visiting Arab businessmen wandered the streets of Timbuktu looking for excitement for which the kingdom was famed. Young people from all over the Muslim world came to Timbuktu to study law and surgery at the University of Sankoré, and scholars came from North Africa and Europe to consult with learned African historians and writers of the Songhai Empire. Learning flourished in Songhai’s university kingdoms like Timbuktu, Jenne, Gao, and Walata with thousands of professors. Many of these learned Black men lectured and conducted research on various subjects, and some of these disciplines were medicine, and surgery, like the removal of cataracts on the eye, the transplanting of limbs, and the study of bacteria.

“The scholars of Timbuktoo (Timbuktu) yielded in nothing to the saints and their sojourns in the foreign universities of Fez, Tunis and Cairo. They astounded the most learned men in Islam by their erudition. That these Negroes were on a level with the Arabian savants is proved by the fact that they were installed as professors in Morocco and Egypt. In contrast to this, we find that the Arabs were not always equal to the requirements of Sankore.” – Felix DuBois, author of Timbuktoo the Mysterious

The Black Revival of Learning in West Africa

Mali. View of the city of Timbuktu. In the 14th century the city had an estimated population of 115,000 people. Typically 25,000 were at university and 20,000 were at school. London, by contrast, had a total 14th century population of 20,000 people. From Dr Henry Barth, Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa, Volume III (UK, Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts, 1858).

“Songhay’s (Songhai’s) greatness was due to something more than the remarkable expansion of its empire over a territory larger than the continent of Europe. That was great, but greater by far was the grand scale on which the revival of learning spread among the Blacks of West Africa―The Western Sudan, or ‘Land of the Blacks.’ Three of the principal centers of learning were at Jenne, Gao, and Timbuktu.” – Dr. Chancellor Williams

The structure at the University of Sankoré consisted of a Faculty of Law, Medicine and Surgery, Letters, Grammar, Geography, and Art. The University of Sankoré attracted thousands of students from all parts of West Africa and other regions. There were also many Black scientists, doctors, lawyers, and other scholars at the university. The religion of Islam and its Arabic language spread over much of West Africa, and had been embraced by Black rulers, nobles, and merchants, along with their immediate followers. The Arabic language was used by Black scholars in West Africa whether they were Muslims or not, but the study of the Islamic Koran, law and literature was at the core of the curriculum at the University of Sankoré. For the Blacks of West Africa during medieval times, learning was so compelling that the introduction of any written language after the loss of their own native writing was welcomed as a godsend. The Blacks were able to read and write again, and the advance to higher education was far more important to West Africans than the vehicles of religion as media, whether Muslim or Christian in orientation.

The renaissance in Africa occurred at the same time it developed in Europe, between the 15th and 16th centuries. The most important manuscripts that disappeared from Europe entirely was during the European “Dark Ages.” The only sources were those copied and preserved by the Arabs and “scholars generally agree,” the great European Renaissance could not have occurred.

The End of Black Excellence in West Africa

“Timbuktu and the civilization of which it was a flower declined in the seventeenth century and the reign of the great West African states came to an end.” – Lerone Bennett, author of Before the Mayflower: A History of the Negro in America 1919-1962

In West Africa, the destruction of Black Civilization was real and not imaginary. The Muslim destruction of the Songhai Empire, the main centers of learning with all the precious libraries and original manuscripts were destroyed first. The Moors (the Arabs, Berbers, and Coloureds: Mixed Africans) from Morocco were called Moors, while the darkest and black skinned Africans were called “Black-a-Moors.” Eventually, “Black” was dropped from “Black-a-Moor.” In North Africa, and Morocco in particular, all Muslim Arabs, Berbers, and Mixed Africans were regarded as the Moors. Mauritania in West Africa is where the Black-a-Moors originated, and they spread to the whole region of North Africa.

Sultan Al Mansur of Morocco (Northwest Africa) was seeking alliances to build his kingdom, and he received help from Queen Elizabeth I of England. Sultan Al Mansur was interested in conquering the rich and prosperous Songhai Empire in the south (West Africa). The news of Sudanese gold for years was drifting to Europe and other countries. After persuading his Council of War and further years of planning, Sultan Al Mansur wrote a letter to the queen of England on June 23, 1590, requesting assistance. The queen of England was more than happy to send Sultan Al Mansur a supply of men and weapons. Sultan Al Mansur felt the conquest of the Songhai Empire would be easy because the Songhai were not acquainted with the fire power of guns, because they only had javelins, swords, and shields for warfare. It was also foretold that the Songhai Empire was richer than all the countries of North Africa combined. The Songhai people were devout Muslims, and the Songhai government officials were pressured because of their extreme devotion to Islam. In Islam, “two Islamic brothers should not use guns of the Europeans against other Moslem (Muslim) brothers.”

“Real men met on the battlefield with sword and shield face to face.”

Sultan Al Mansur gave the order to attack Songhai, and the Moors invaded the Songhai Empire in 1591 with 4,000 men, and 2,500 were European (British and Spanish) mercenaries. The destruction of the Songhai Empire was dramatic and intense because the Songhai kingdoms of Jenne, Gao, and Timbuktu were sacked, pillaged, and burnt to the ground. Water wells were filled in, and crops were burnt. The people of Songhai also experienced wholesale slaughter, rape, and looting. The Moors burned the books of the University of Sankoré and all this was done in the name of Allah under the banner of Islam. It’s important not to forget that the destruction of Timbuktu and the University of Sankoré was done by the “Moors” and not the real indigenous “Black-a-Moors,” because it wouldn’t have made sense for the Black-a-Moors to burn their own books of wisdom and knowledge.

When the plague occurred, it decimated the population of the Songhai Empire and killed many that the famine spared. The high cost of food lasted for two years, and people were reduced to selling their furniture and utensils just to survive. From the successful conquest of Songhai, Sultan Al Masur and Morocco received gold-dust, musk, slaves, ebony, and other valuable objects. After the Moors conquered the Songhai Empire, in Marrakesh, the Moroccans were honored with celebrations and congratulations.

Ahmed Baba, the last Black President of the University of Sankoré in Timbuktu

The famous African scholar during the medieval world was Ahmed Baba, the last Black President of the University of Sankoré. He was born in 1526, and he was a biographer and lexicographer. According to Dr. Chancellor Williams, author of The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race From 4500 B.C. To 2000 A.D., there seems to be no question at all about Ahmed Baba being the greatest and most prolific African writer and scholar in the 16th century. His fame as a scholar-educator spread to distant lands. Amongst the Songhai, Ahmed Baba was known as “The Unique Peral of his Time.” It was in October 1593 where Moroccans captured and deported Songhai scholars to Morocco in chains, and some of them were killed along the way. Once Morocco took the Songhai Empire by force, the old age practice of seizing all men of learning and skilled craftsmen for enslavement and service to the conquerors was in full effect. Among those captured was Ahmed Baba. It was here where he was instructed to use his great learning in service of his conquerors, the Moors. Ahmed Baba had a personal library of 1600 books, and he wrote 40 books.

Professor Ahmed Baba was detained in Morocco for 12 years, and he eventually received permission to return to Songhai by the successor of Sultan Al Mansur. Before Ahmed Baba’s departure through the desert, he was in the presence of scholars from Marrakesh who gathered around to see him off. Ahmed Baba said:

“May God never bring me back to this meeting, nor make me return to this country!”

Ahmed Baba returned home to a devastated Timbuktu and died in 1627.

One fact is, Black-African Muslims (the Songhai) were not spared from destruction by the Muslim Moors (Arabs, Berbers and Coloureds (Mixed Africans). The general enslavement of Africans began during the very period when West Africa was the very center of culture and learning. The destruction of the Songhai Empire, which was the same size as all of Europe combined during the 16th century, and the kingdom of Timbuktu and its advancing educational system was destroyed by the Moors and their European mercenaries. According to Dr. Edward W. Robinson, Dr. Calvin R. Robinson, and Redman Battle, authors of The Journey of the Songhai People, it was the invention of the gun in the early 1500s that gave European nations the confidence to invade, conquer, and colonize Africa. It was the gun, and the gun alone, along with help from the Moors that gave Europeans the edge in warfare, and the once prosperous African nations were taken by force.

Askia Mohammed Toure I and his sons strengthened the Islamic faith in Songhai, and unfortunately, the Songhai Empire was still invaded by the conquering Moors. Both the Moors and Songhai were believers in the Islamic faith, and in that faith, a Muslim brother is forbidden from attacking a fellow Muslim brother. The Pan African Federation Organization (PAFO) believes the Songhai were set up for the betrayal of the century.

The territorial extent of the Songhai Empire in c. 1500

The Songhai are unique people who can be characterized as highly intelligent, industrious, and aggressively invincible as traders and warriors. The Songhai came to power during the 15th and 16th centuries, and the Songhai Empire ruled West Africa for 129 years.

PAFO views the history of Africa as the “cake” and the history of the accomplishments of African Americans in America merely as the “icing.” Nobody ever wants to eat cake without the icing or icing without the cake. You need both.

The Transatlantic Slave Trade in West and Central Africa

"The big unanswered question, then, was what had happened? How was this highly advanced Black Civilization so completely destroyed that its people, in our times (modern era) and for some centuries past, have found themselves not only behind the other peoples of the world, but as well, the color of their skin a sign of inferiority, bad luck, and the badge of the slave whether bond or free? And, since I had learned that whites were once enslaved as generally as any other race, how did it come about that slavery was finally concentrated in Africa on Blacks only?" Dr. Chancellor Williams

The major and immediate aim of the Portuguese in Africa was not the conquest of Africa and Black people, because their aim initially was to destroy Arab power in Africa and the Islamic control of just about all the overland trade routes to the East. This is what caused Christopher Columbus and other European sailors to sail the high seas. The Portuguese sought to use religion (Western Christianity) as the usual spearhead. There were Christian empires in Africa from the earliest times before the arrival of Europeans in Africa, and these Christian empires had not been completely forgotten. One had escaped Muslim destruction and was in what had been a southeastern border state of the ancient Ethiopian Empire, identified by the Portuguese as a kingdom ruled by a “King Prester John.” The idea was to unite the Christian forces of Europe with those of Africa in an all-out war against the Arabs. The Christian churches of the 4th century in Africa were independent of Western (European) imperialism, and they could not be used as bases.

“BEFORE THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY MOST AFRICANS ON the continent had never seen a real white face.” – Dr. Chancellor Williams

According to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, author of The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors, it was during the 15th century when Europeans learned latitude and longitude and would travel, conquer, and control the entire non-white world (i.e., Africa, the Americas, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania).

“This phenomenal success, this unquestionable ‘position of strength,’ derived from their conquests of other peoples and their wealth, has led them to believe that they are, as a matter of fact, the superior people and, therefore, the rightful rulers of the planet.” – Dr. Chancellor Williams

The Portuguese opened the flood gates for most of the rest of European nations to look to Africa as an untapped source for resources and free forced slave labor to build their colonies abroad and their nations at home in Europe. European explorers and traders were seeking to get into the Western Sudan from the coastal regions, and they found their way barred by rain forests and the mighty Songhai armed forces. Raids to capture Africans as enslaved people from the Songhai Empire was repulsed time and again. On the authority of The Journey of the Songhai People, the people of the Western Sudan, particularly the citizens of the Songhai Empire did not sell any people to any European for the slave trade.

When the Robinson brothers and Redman Battle finally decided to introduce the Songhai history, they were told that the people of the Songhai Empire were responsible for the Black Jews being sold into “bondage” in Africa. Prior to 1960, the Robinson brothers and Battle never seen anything in their study of the three main empires of the Western Sudan: ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai participating in the Transatlantic slave trade. For 30 years, their search had intensified, and they did not find even the slightest evidence that the indigenous Africans, from ancient Ghana, Mali, and Songhai had sold the Black Hebrews or any other African from the many ethnic groups or tribes to the Europeans for the Transatlantic slave trade. Also, European forces couldn’t crack the defense of the Songhai until the 15th and 16th centuries. Raids were made by Europeans, and were sometimes successful in other areas of Africa, but not in Songhai. Furthermore, there were isolated instances of kidnapping by European commando raids that were successful. The complete invasion of the Songhai Empire didn’t come to the interior of the Songhai country until the 19th century.

During the first stages of the Transatlantic slave trade, many African chiefs and kings thought they were supplying slaves as workers needed abroad, and at a great profit for themselves. African chiefs and kings had no experience with the white man’s slavery system or its equation with “race.” But overtime, as decades passed, like in the Kongo state (Southwest and Central Africa), many Africans fell into the horrors of the slave trade, and knew what they were doing and, in the pursuit of guns and riches, became just as brutal and ruthless as the whites in dealing with members of their own Black race. The common narrative about the slave trade in West Africa is that African chiefs and kings sold Black people to Europeans for slavery, which did happen, because Black kingdoms were warring against other Black kingdoms, and the victor sold the people (prisoners-of-war) as slaves to the Europeans. This was how many African rulers became rich. By some African chiefs and kings participating in the Transatlantic slave trade with the Europeans, they degraded their whole race because millions of Black people were exiled to foreign lands for free slave labor for another race of people for hundreds of years.

When the Blacks were warring with each other for slaves, this created deep-rooted resentment and hatred among the Black race, which is one of the reasons why during the modern era Black people have difficulty unifying for a common goal that could benefit the race. There were dire consequences in terms of psychological impact on Africans under perpetual danger. What is often neglected from the slave trade narrative is when the Europeans came to West Africa with their slave ships and earth-shaking cannons, the Africans thought the Europeans were gods of the world.

“John Hawkins made three trips to West Africa in the 1560s, and stole Africans whom he sold to the Spanish in America. On returning to England after the first trip, his profit was so handsome that Queen Elizabeth I became interested in directly participating in his next venture; and she provided for that purpose a ship named the Jesus. Hawkins left with the Jesus to steal some more Africans, and he retuned to England with such dividends that Queen Elizabeth made him a knight. Hawkins chose as his coat of arms the representation of an African in chains.” – Dr. Walter Rodney, author of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

The European’s aim was to provoke war between the Blacks, giving one Black kingdom guns while the other Black kingdom only had spears and shields. When African chiefs and kings began selling their prisoners-of-war to Europeans, they set in motion a chain of events that undermined their civilizations, some of which were the most advanced on the African continent, like the Oyo Empire, the Great Benin Empire, the Asante Empire, the Kaabu Empire, the Wolof Empire, the Kongo Empire, etc. For example, the Portuguese arrived at the mouth of the great Congo River in West Africa in 1488. They were also not prepared to find a highly advanced state when they visited the kingdom of Kongo. They noticed the political structure and expertly organized administrative machinery equaled that of Portugal and any other European state known to them. The Kongo Kingdom was prosperous, carrying on external trade by both land and rivers with African states farther north, east, and west.

From this form of European manipulation of divide and conquer, slaves skyrocketed from thousands to millions. It’s never talked about that whole villages and kingdoms were depopulated (i.e., the kingdom of Timbuktu had populations of 100,000 citizens) and the formally proud and free citizens of nations were marched to the West African coast in chains and tied together by heavy poles. Many royal lineages were also among the captives, including rulers like chiefs and kings. The Europeans learned early that the general plan was to keep Black people divided so they have mutual hatred and be suspicious of one another. Also, the European slave captains at the coast always complained about the many weeks it took for the captured Africans who were inland to reach the coast. There were Blacks who were aware that Europeans were hunting them like animals because they intuitively felt they were being hemmed in from all directions. They knew danger was approaching from the coast. There were also those Blacks who fought death, been to hell and back, and somehow survived against European cannon fire.

For every 2 million Black people enslaved over 1 million died. It was also not true that all Black women, and even children were marched to the West African coast by the European enslavers. This was unnecessary because Black women were so loyal to their men that they would fellow them anywhere, even into hell (i.e., European slavery), which they did. The Europeans understood once Black men were captured, there was no need to capture the Black women. Some of these Black women were courageous, and sought death by attacking the European enslavers, and they were treated like Black men who rebelled; beaten and chained.

The disunity among the Blacks spread over the whole race due to crisis situations they had no control over. There were also numerous Black chiefs who not only opposed slavery but fought against it to the death. Some led their people into battle and died fighting the European enslaver to the very end. For example, the Portuguese in Southwest and Central Africa were overly aggressive in keeping the Blacks fighting amongst themselves. This system of divide and conquer spread throughout the land. Black chiefs were coerced to meet quotas demanded by the European enslavers, and if these quotas for slaves weren’t met, the Black chiefs themselves were enslaved. On the authority of Dr. Chancellor Williams, over 100 chiefs and other nobles were sold into slavery in a single year and another 100 were murdered by the Portuguese in the Kongo-Angola region.

Ndongo (Angola), Ngola Ann Nzinga (ruled 1623-1663).

Queen Nzinga was a warrior queen of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms (present-day Angola, Southwest Africa). She was known as “Africa’s Greatest Daughter,” and the “greatest military strategist” because her greatest act as queen was in 1624, which also makes her one of the greatest women in history is when she declared all the territory of present-day Angola a “Free Country.” All Black people, slaves or otherwise were forever free when they crossed the boundaries of Queen Nzinga’s realm. Queen Nzinga’s aim was nothing less than destroying the Transatlantic slave trade. The kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba were safe havens for all Africans, regardless of ethnic group or tribe affiliation. Queen Nzinga waged war against the Portuguese for 40 years and was unconquerable during her lifetime. She was one of the first Black people to see that the European conquest of Africa, the Transatlantic slave trade, and Western (European) church were all one in the same, working together for the common goal of conquering the Blacks and their motherland.

Before Queen Nzinga was laid to rest peacefully in 1663, she renounced the Catholic religion, and banned missions from her country. Angola didn’t become a possession of Portugal until Queen Nzinga died, because when she was alive, the Portuguese couldn’t defeat her in warfare. Towards the end of the 17th century, the Kongo, and Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms fell victim to European predator activities where “executions, treachery, robbery, and violence became the order of the day.”

“Africa had lost her greatest daughter, the slaves their greatest emancipator.” – Dr. Chancellor Williams

The name “Angola,” was later taken from the title for the king of Ndongo, who were known as “Ngola.” When the Portuguese finally conquered this territory, they chose to name their new colony Angola, a title taken from the Ndongo kings.

“These wars spanned several thousand years, and in an earlier chapter (Destruction of Black Civilization) I ‘wondered out loud’―and still wonder―how any people, weakened by perpetual hunger and disease, could possibly carry on wars of resistance to the white invaders for over 5,000 years. This they did―and this their descendants must know and remember with pride: That Black resistance to white domination covered over 5,000 years.” – Dr. Chancellor Williams

The Transatlantic slave trade left Africa so weak that Europeans were able to take whatever they wanted when they wanted. During the European colonial era in the 1800s, in West Africa, and particularly the Songhai Empire, had been stripped of its natural resources and human population to the extent that West Africa looked like a barren wasteland.

In retrospect, during ancient and medieval times throughout the whole continent of Africa, African people were “one” people because they shared the same general culture, laws, and spirituality. They lived by the same general social laws and rules, and only certain modifications to this way of living occurred in different African societies where they developed their own languages. Although the Africans were “one” people, they did not see themselves as “one” African people, or belonging to “one” race, because they saw themselves belonging to their specific ethnic group or tribe like the Songhai, Yoruba, Mandinka, Edo, etc. Their loyalty was to their specific group and people outside of that group were looked on as strangers or outsiders. So, the reality of wars or raids of Blacks against Blacks didn’t exist, but rather Songhai against Mandinka, Yoruba against Edo, etc. It was the African chiefs and kings’ duty to protect their people; protect their ethnic group or tribe from any outside danger.

In fact, the Transatlantic slave trade was not the first agency that established elements of Yoruba settlers beyond their country of Yorubaland. People from a specific African ethnic group or tribe who lived in lands outside of the boundaries of their country were looked at as foreigners. For example, before Europeans came to west and central Africa, there were Yoruba settler colonies in many distant places throughout the African continent. Before and during the centuries of the Transatlantic slave trade, Yoruba traders lived in different lands, like in Nupe, Hausa, and Kanuri towns in the north of Yorubaland, the Great Benin Empire in the southeast of Yorubaland, and probably in far away places as the valley of Senegal in the west and the valley of the Congo in the east. Along with these places, Yoruba populations ended up as slaves in the kingdom of Dahomey (present-day Benin Republic) during the 19th century. All these amounted to a very sizeable Yoruba Diaspora unrelated to the Transatlantic slave trade.

“Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse.” – African Proverb

Also, during this time in ancient and medieval Africa, the all-important fact was the non-enslavement of Mulattoes (Coloureds, Afro-Asians and Afro-Europeans) and their classification as being “white.” On the authority of Dr. Chancellor Williams, this crucial fact could not be glossed over, as it has been throughout history, because there were many societies in Africa that were exclusively Mulatto. A separate “ethnic” group was created for the Mulatto offsprings born by Black-African women and Asian or European men. The Mulattoes were classified as “white” in some areas and “Coloureds” in others. Many mixed-bred clans, tribes, or societies made efforts to separate themselves from the “pure” Black-Africans, and they had a constant fear of being considered “Black-Africans.” The Afro-Asians and Afro-Europeans spearheaded most of the slave raids in Africa, where Black-African villages, kingdoms, empires, etc. were destroyed and the people enslaved. They always retained thousands of Black people as slaves in their own service and selling others. European men in Africa from the earliest times drove their mixed offspring (Afro-European children) as a wedge into the Black race is not only to keep it weak by keeping the race divided but maintained effective control over the Black race without necessarily being present.

"When the first white man appears in the land the nation will die." – The Great Prophesy of the Mossi

The wide use of so-called “Black” agents, usually Mulattoes, continued to be the white man’s secret weapon in destroying and becoming the masters of Black civilizations and the Black world. From their mixed-raced origin, the Mulattoes can choose which side of their bloodline they wanted to be loyal to and could even flip-flop if they wanted depending on which race was on top, the Black or white race. For example, when the Blacks were on top, they could pose as loyal members of the Black race, as many of them did. Or they could, by also having “white blood” running through their veins, ally themselves with the whites and serve their interests. Europeans always made it easy and attractive not only by emphasizing their so-called “superiority” by blood, but by giving their Mulatto offspring better education and economic opportunities than Blacks under constant survival pressures could ever hope to achieve. It was this system that became worldwide in dividing the Black race and creating hostile color lines within it. The Mulatto role in Black history was a major source of “White Power” and the white man’s effective agent in helping destroy Black civilizations everywhere they were found. European writers wrote how the “Half-Blacks” came to be classified as “Caucasoids” and how helpful this was in obliterating Black civilizations, especially in ancient Egypt.

Arguably the most murderous Mulatto was Tippu Tip, and his slave headquarters was in Zanzibar (East Africa). His slave trails extended in every direction from the African east coast far into the interior where white slave traders feared to go. Tippu Tip and his agents looked like him (Afro-Asian), and the caravan leaders often looked like himself. From the outside looking in, when Mulatto slave raids were destroying Black civilizations, it looked like an “African against African” affair because sometimes it is difficult to differentiate a “Black-African” from a “Mixed-African.” The Black-Africans trusted the Mixed-Africans less because of their ability to play both sides of the race they belonged to, the Black or white race to suit their purposes. Of course, there were always several predominantly Black groups with some Asians and Mulattoes who were loyal to the Black race as any Black-African person.

"Human beings simply refuse to be generalized into neat categories. So in ancient times and even later there were Caucasians who regarded the Blacks as superior people and the question about inherent inequality they would have thought absurd to entertain. The Greeks, who seemed to have studied the advanced civilization of the Blacks more than any other white people, were first among this group. There were, therefore, always Caucasians who were affectionately drawn to the Blacks as by some 'magic.' When recognized as genuine by the Blacks, the esteem became mutual and such Caucasians became an integral part of some Black groups. These were not the Caucasians―Asians or Western―who infiltrated Black societies for domination and future conquests. These were the Caucasians, albeit, a small minority, who stayed with the Blacks and fought shoulder to shoulder with them against their own kind, retreated with them in defeat, and were, therefore, a part of the migrations." –Dr. Chancellor Williams

It was the learning of the Black-a-Moors, who ruled Spain for 700 years (711-1492 AD) that brought Europe out of its Dark Ages. The successful conquest of Africa by Europe further helped Europeans out of their Dark Ages also. The repercussions from the conquest and colonization of the African’s homeland by Europe, and the enslavement of their bodies, which were used for hundreds of years as enslaved peoples for free slave labor forced the Africans into their Dark Ages, of which they are still experiencing during the modern era. Between 1884-1885, 14 European nations met in Berlin, Germany for the infamous “Berlin Conference.” The European nations in attendance agreed to stop fighting amongst themselves for the possession of Africa and African people. The only people not invited to the conference were the Africans, where many African lives were altered by the decisions agreed upon the European nations in attendance at the conference.

About 93% of the ancestors of the present-day African Americans who were brought to the United States of America like cattle came from the Western Sudan, which included ancient Ghana, Mali, Songhai, and many more countries in the region. According to the Journey of the Songhai People, out of the 100 or so million Africans who were rooted from their homeland, only about 2 million made it to the shores of America.

Before enslavement, the ancestors of African Americans contributed to the rich, prosperous, and golden kingdom of Timbuktu, and the University of Sankoré, which was the greatest college of medieval times before the arrival of the Transatlantic slave trade to West Africa’s shores. The citizens of the Songhai Empire were prisoners-of-war (i.e., captured by the enemy) and were made to be slaves. The Songhai people once had world respect and recognition before the invasion of their country in 1591. The reason why African Americans were able to survive one of the most destructive and unforgiving atrocities to ever happen to a people is because their ancestors from the Songhai Empire of West Africa passed down the genes of creativity, resourcefulness, and genius to their descendants.

It is estimated that over 100 million Africans were murdered during the 400 years of Africa’s invasions.

“The essential links with their past were broken. All knowledge of former greatness was lost. Even their kinship and family relationships were destroyed along with their true names. They were not regarded as human beings. They became a race of outcasts hating themselves for being. The Caucasian triumph was complete.” – Dr. Chancellor Williams

“We hope that we, as Africans, have now learned our lesson. We see how other nationalities protect themselves which is their god-given right, which is not for short-term but for long term as well. By the acceptance of foreign religions and rejection of our own over the long haul, our power as a major nation began a steady decline, even with all of our religious piety. We are some of the most powerless people on the planet.” – Dr. Calvin R. Robinson, Dr. Edward W. Robinson and Redman Battle, authors of The Journey of the Songhai People


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