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African Kings and Queens
African Kings and Queens
To fully understand the development of Africa and its present-day turmoil, one must know the history of this magnificent continent, which is four times the size of the United States and three times the size of Europe. At one time, long before Europe emerged from the dark ages, Africa was the pillar of advanced technology and superior civilizations.
African kingdoms such Ghana and Mali, and cites such as Jenne and Timbuktu were the mecca of intellectual centers which boasted mathematics, astronomers, architects, physicians, jurists, and great material riches (gold, silver, ivory, salt, etc.). African civilizations charted the stars, built the pyramids, created written languages, established the calendar as we now know it, and developed networks of world trade as early as 4000 B.C. In fact, Africa is the “cradle of humanity.”
Tribal wars and the lucrative slave trade are the primary reasons that brought about the depopulation and downfall of the great, ancient African states. It is documented that the Afro-European slave trade began in 1441, at the hands of the Portuguese. And, it was not long thereafter that the Portuguese were joined by the Spanish, French, Dutch, and English slave traders.
In 1619, the first slaves were reported in English America. The participation of countries in the African slave trade became so profitable that the slaves were viewed as “black gold” and beasts of burden. Europeans established trading posts along the West African coastline where beads, guns, whiskey, and ivory were bartered for African slaves.
In this category we give an overview of twenty four significant black rulers of ancient Africa, and an insight into their respective kingdoms. Ancient Africa was as varied as its terrain, encompassing peoples and cultures more distinct than any other continent. Thirteen different empires, nations, or kingdoms are represented by the emperors, empresses, kings, and queens whose biographies are presented herein. These thirteen cultures have distinct histories and traditions, yet they are interrelated. Islam and Christianity competed with their ancient beliefs and with each other; the desire for greater power and wealth caused many of the nations to conquer each other; and the onslaught of the slave traders brought about the loss of a tremendous amount of human and natural resources and the systematic rape of a continent whose peoples had sustained their own identities, borders, trading networks, and languages.
This exploitation, which is brought out in some of the biographies, was not met with passive resistance; in many cases, African monarchs led their people into battle against the invasions from outsiders. Throughout the ages, these and other Africans have withstood the challenges of time, nature, and human foibles, and they remain a proud race of people with a fascinating history. Black America has every reason to be proud of its rich, vibrant African heritage.