Lost Kingdoms of Africa - Netflix
British art historian Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford explores the pre-colonial history of some of Africa's most important kingdoms.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Lost Kingdoms of Africa - History of Africa - Netflix
The history of Africa begins with the emergence of hominids, archaic humans and – around 5.6 to 7.5 million years ago – anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens), in East Africa, and continues unbroken into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states. The earliest known recorded history arose in the Kingdom of Kush, and later in Ancient Egypt, the Sahel, the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa. Following the desertification of the Sahara, North African history became entwined with the Middle East and Southern Europe while the Bantu expansion swept from modern day Cameroon (West Africa) across much of the sub-Saharan continent in waves between around 1000 BC and 0 AD, creating a linguistic commonality across much of the central and Southern continent. During the Middle Ages, Islam spread west from Arabia to Egypt, crossing the Maghreb and the Sahel. Some notable pre-colonial states and societies in Africa include the Ajuran Empire, D'mt, Adal Sultanate, Warsangali Sultanate, Kingdom of Nri, Nok culture, Mali Empire, Songhai Empire, Benin Empire, Oyo Empire, Ashanti Empire, Ghana Empire, Mossi Kingdoms, Mutapa Empire, Kingdom of Mapungubwe, Kingdom of Sine, Kingdom of Sennar, Kingdom of Saloum, Kingdom of Baol, Kingdom of Cayor, Kingdom of Zimbabwe, Kingdom of Kongo, Empire of Kaabu, Kingdom of Ile Ife, Ancient Carthage, Numidia, Mauretania, and the Aksumite Empire. At its peak, prior to European colonialism, it is estimated that Africa had up to 10,000 different states and autonomous groups with distinct languages and customs. From the mid-7th century, the Arab slave trade saw Muslim Arabs enslave Africans following an armistice between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Kingdom of Makuria after the Second Battle of Dongola in 652 AD. They were transported, along with Asians and Europeans, across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Sahara Desert. From the late 15th century, Europeans joined the slave trade that includes the triangular trade, with the Portuguese initially acquiring slaves through trade and later by force as part of the Atlantic slave trade. They transported enslaved West, Central, and Southern Africans overseas. Subsequently, European colonization of Africa developed rapidly from around 10% (1870) to over 90% (1914) in the Scramble for Africa (1881-1914). However following struggles for independence in many parts of the continent, as well as a weakened Europe after the Second World War (1939 - 1945), decolonization took place across the continent, culminating in the 1960 Year of Africa. Africa's pre-colonial history has been challenging to research within the field of African studies, because of the scarcity of written sources in large parts of the continent, particularly with the destruction of many of the most important manuscripts from Timbuktu. Disciplines such as the recording of oral history, historical linguistics, archaeology and genetics have been crucial.
Lost Kingdoms of Africa - Maghreb - Netflix
During the 10th through 13th centuries, there was a large-scale movement of bedouins out of the Arabian Peninsula. About 1050, a quarter of a million Arab nomads from Egypt moved into the Maghreb. Those following the northern coast were referred to as Banu Hilal. Those going south of the Atlas Mountains were the Banu Sulaym. This movement spread the use of the Arabic language and hastened the decline of the Berber language and the Arabisation of North Africa. Later an Arabised Berber group, the Hawwara, went south to Nubia via Egypt. In the 1140s, Abd al-Mu'min declared jihad on the Almoravids, charging them with decadence and corruption. He united the northern Berbers against the Almoravids, overthrowing them and forming the Almohad Empire. During this period, the Maghreb became thoroughly Islamised and saw the spread of literacy, the development of algebra, and the use of the number zero and decimals. By the 13th century, the Almohad states had split into three rival states. Muslim states were largely extinguished in the Iberian Peninsula by the Christian kingdoms of Castile, Aragon, and Portugal. Around 1415, Portugal engaged in a reconquista of North Africa by capturing Ceuta, and in later centuries Spain and Portugal acquired other ports on the North African coast. In 1492, at the end of the Granada War, Spain defeated Muslims in the Emirate of Granada, effectively ending eight centuries of Muslim domination in southern Iberia. Portugal and Spain took the ports of Tangiers, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. This put them in direct competition with the Ottoman Empire, which re-took the ports using Turkish corsairs (pirates and privateers). The Turkish corsairs would use the ports for raiding Christian ships, a major source of booty for the towns. Technically, North Africa was under the control of the Ottoman Empire, but only the coastal towns were fully under Istanbul's control. Tripoli benefited from trade with Borno. The pashas of Tripoli traded horses, firearms, and armor via Fez with the sultans of the Bornu Empire for slaves. In the 16th century, an Arab nomad tribe that claimed descent from Muhammad's daughter, the Saadis, conquered and united Morocco. They prevented the Ottoman Empire from reaching to the Atlantic and expelled Portugal from Morocco's western coast. Ahmad al-Mansur brought the state to the height of its power. He invaded Songhay in 1591, to control the gold trade, which had been diverted to the western coast of Africa for European ships and to the east, to Tunis. Morocco's hold on Songhay diminished in the 17th century. In 1603, after Ahmad's death, the kingdom split into the two sultanates of Fes and Marrakesh. Later it was reunited by Moulay al-Rashid, founder of the Alaouite Dynasty (1672–1727). His brother and successor, Ismail ibn Sharif(1672–1727), strengthened the unity of the country by importing slaves from the Sudan to build up the military.
By 711 AD, the Umayyad Caliphate had conquered all of North Africa. By the 10th century, the majority of the population of North Africa was Muslim. By the 9th century AD, the unity brought about by the Islamic conquest of North Africa and the expansion of Islamic culture came to an end. Conflict arose as to who should be the successor of the prophet. The Umayyads had initially taken control of the Caliphate, with their capital at Damascus. Later, the Abbasids had taken control, moving the capital to Baghdad. The Berber people, being independent in spirit and hostile to outside interference in their affairs and to Arab exclusivity in orthodox Islam, adopted Shi'ite and Kharijite Islam, both considered unorthodox and hostile to the authority of the Abbasid Caliphate. Numerous Kharijite kingdoms came and fell during the 8th and 9th centuries, asserting their independence from Baghdad. In the early 10th century, Shi'ite groups from Syria, claiming descent from Muhammad's daughter Fatimah, founded the Fatimid Dynasty in the Maghreb. By 950, they had conquered all of the Maghreb and by 969 all of Egypt. They had immediately broken away from Baghdad. In an attempt to bring about a purer form of Islam among the Sanhaja Berbers, Abdallah ibn Yasin founded the Almoravid movement in present-day Mauritania and Western Sahara. The Sanhaja Berbers, like the Soninke, practiced an indigenous religion alongside Islam. Abdallah ibn Yasin found ready converts in the Lamtuna Sanhaja, who were dominated by the Soninke in the south and the Zenata Berbers in the north. By the 1040s, all of the Lamtuna was converted to the Almoravid movement. With the help of Yahya ibn Umar and his brother Abu Bakr ibn Umar, the sons of the Lamtuna chief, the Almoravids created an empire extending from the Sahel to the Mediterranean. After the death of Abdallah ibn Yassin and Yahya ibn Umar, Abu Bakr split the empire in half, between himself and Yusuf ibn Tashfin, because it was too big to be ruled by one individual. Abu Bakr took the south to continue fighting the Soninke, and Yusuf ibn Tashfin took the north, expanding it to southern Spain. The death of Abu Bakr in 1087 saw a breakdown of unity and increase military dissension in the south. This caused a re-expansion of the Soninke. The Almoravids were once held responsible for bringing down the Ghana Empire in 1076, but this view is no longer credited.
Lost Kingdoms of Africa - References - Netflix