By Mueni wa Muiu, Guy Martin (auth.)

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Extra info for A New Paradigm of the African State: Fundi wa Afrika

Sample text

Fourth, these states possessed large armies—first conscripted, then professional— making regular use of iron weapons (from Ghana, onward) and of cavalry. Ghana’s army was 200,000-strong, while Mali’s and Songhay’s was 100,000-strong. Trans-Saharan trade—mostly based on the exchange of gold for salt—was key to state-building in the Western Sudan. Islam quickly became the religion of the ruling elite, while the masses remained faithful to their indigenous beliefs. The pilgrimages of Mansa Kanku Musa (1324–25) and Askia Mohammed Ture (1496–97) to the holy city of Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula are among the most memorable ever chronicled by historians, mostly because of the enormous amount of gold generously distributed by these emperors on their way.

All four were treated as usurpers by posterity. Women had a key role in the system. For example, Ahmosis-Nefertari was influential under Amenhotep I. 2 By 3500 BCE, sacral chiefdoms and petty sacral kingdoms gradually emerged in Nubia, in the southernmost part of Egypt. Recent archeological work shows that these political and cultural institutions and traditions then spread from southern Egypt northward into Lower Egypt around 3300 BCE, culminating in the establishment of a unified Egypt around 3100 BCE.

Between 3100 and 2500 BCE came the period of the Old Kingdom. From around 2900 to 2500 BCE, the rulers of the Third and Fourth dynasties consolidated and elaborated on the royal ideology of divine kingship, including the development of Indigenous African Political Systems and Institutions 25 pyramids as the proper form of a royal tomb. A readjustment of power between kings and subjects seems to have taken place after the Fourth Dynasty. During the Sixth Dynasty, provincial governors (especially in the Upper Nile) seem to have gained increasing autonomy.

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