This chapter has been published in the book Middle East & Africa to 1875.
For ordering information, please click here.
In 1501 the Mamluks elected Qansuh al-Ghuri, and he complained to the Pope about the Portuguese navy that had rounded Africa and entered the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Qansuh had a fleet built that defeated a Portuguese squadron off the coast of Malabar in 1508; but the following year the Egyptian fleet was destroyed by the Portuguese navy at Diu. The Mamluks built another navy and with help from the Ottomans were able to defend Aden from a Portuguese attack in 1513. Selim had become Ottoman sultan in 1512 and attacked the Mamluks in Asia Minor four years later before invading Syria. The Mamluk cavalry was no match for the Turks' use of firearms, and the aged Qansuh died in the battle near Aleppo. Khayrbay, the former Mamluk governor of Aleppo, defected to the Ottomans. The Mamluks elected Tumanbay sultan in 1516 at Cairo, but the governors would not let him be viceroy under the Ottoman rule. In January 1517 the Ottoman army defeated the Mamluks near Cairo; Tumanbay fled but was captured and hanged. Egypt became a part of the Ottoman empire with Khayrbay as viceroy. He abolished fiefs (iqta) and had provincial treasuries pay fixed salaries, enabling grain to be sent to Mecca and Medina. He got Janissaries and Azabs to guard Cairo and died in 1522.
Ahmad Pasha claimed the sultanate of Egypt and demanded money from Jews; but he was killed as a traitor in 1524. The next year Turkish vizier Ibrahim Pasha inspected Egypt and codified a new administrative policy (Qanun Name) mandating an Ottoman military government with a viceroy (wali) advised by a council four times a week and dividing Egypt into fourteen districts with officers to regulate irrigation and collect taxes. The Egyptian treasury had to send 16 million paras annually to Istanbul. Sulayman Pasha (r. 1525-38) became viceroy of Egypt. In 1538 he seized Aden in Yemen on his way to attacking the Portuguese at Diu in Gujarat, where the Ottomans were defeated because local Muslims did not support them. He returned by way of Kusayr and Aswan, building a fortress at Say in Upper Egypt. While the Ottomans were fighting Zaydi tribes in Yemen, Imam Ahmad Gragn led a jihad in Ethiopia; but he was defeated by the Christian Ethiopians and the Portuguese in 1543. Da'ud Pasha ruled Egypt for eleven years (1538-49) and died in office. Ozdemir Pasha was Yemen governor, and in 1555 he occupied Massawa on the Red Sea and conquered part of Ethiopia to establish the province of Habesh. Dugakin-Oglu Muhammad Pasha (r. 1554-56) was considered so wanton that he was recalled by Sultan Sulayman and executed for having violated Islamic law.
Zaydi Shi'a revolted and by 1567 had driven the Ottomans out of Yemen except in Zabid. Two years later Egypt's viceroy Sinan Pasha reconquered Yemen, and this became an unpopular outpost for soldiers from Egypt. In 1574 the Viceroy wrote to Istanbul complaining that Arab shaykhs embezzled tax money and protected bandits. This led to the reform of hiring government agents for a fixed salary to collect taxes in Egypt, except for the Buhayra province, where the Arab shaykhs were needed. In 1580 Khadim Hasan Pasha ordered Jews to wear conical red hats and Christians black hats; but these decrees were not generally obeyed, and Sharif Muhammad Pasha (r. 1596-98) changed the color of the Jews' hats from red to black. Upper Egypt became a province in 1583 when the Hawwara chiefs yielded to an official sent from Cairo.
When Viceroy Sinan Pasha investigated why tribute for Istanbul was lacking in 1586, the military revolted. Three years later the officers killed some of the Viceroy's retinue and forced Uveys Pasha (r. 1587-91) to meet their demands. Troop mutinies accelerated in 1598 as Turkish officers attacked Arabs. The Sufi Ibrahim Pasha tried to stop illegal levies (tulba) in rural areas and was murdered by cavalry officers (sipahis) in 1605. Four years later Muhammad Pasha suppressed a revolt and became known as "the breaker of soldiers" when he abolished the tulba. The Viceroy gained the support of Bedouins and executed 250 disloyal soldiers, while the chief judge (qadi) got 300 others sent to Yemen.
In 1623 when the Ottoman sultan appointed 'Ali Pasha to replace Mustafa Pasha, the troops demanded more pay and got Mustafa reinstated. Viceroy Musa Pasha tried to stop the illegal taxation that gave the soldiers himaye (protection charges), and in 1631 he had a bey assassinated. When he would not turn over the assassin, the officers got Musa temporarily replaced by Ridwan Bey al-Fiqari, who traced his ancestry back to Sultan Barsbay (r. 1422-38). In 1636 the Zaydi Shi'a finally threw the Ottoman imperialists out of Yemen for two centuries. When Ridwan was assigned to govern Habesh in 1639, he refused to go; but the next year Sultan Ibrahim (r. 1640-49) put him in charge of the pilgrimage. In 1647 an attempt to remove Ridwan and Upper Egypt governor 'Ali Bey Fiqari backfired on Qansuh Bey and Mamay Bey when they and many Qasimi were killed, causing a vendetta between the Fiqari and Qasimi families.
When Ridwan died in 1656, Viceroy Abu'l-Nur Muhammad Pasha appointed a Qasimi from Bosnia named Ahmad Bey Boshnagi as governor of the pilgrimage. The Fiqari faction forced the Viceroy to step down and sent Ahmad Bey into exile, replacing him with Hasan Bey Fiqari. Ahmad Bey went to Istanbul and returned as treasurer of Egypt. When Muhammad Bey refused to leave his governorship of Upper Egypt for Habesh so that Ahmad Bey could have his job, Viceroy Shahsuwaroghlu Ghazi Muhammad Pasha marched against Muhammad Bey and put him to death in 1659. The quarrels continued, and many Fiqari beys were killed before the Viceroy ordered Ahmad Bey assassinated in 1662. Viceroy Kara Ibrahim Pasha implemented fiscal reform in the early 1670s and doubled the treasury, but he had to give the Janissaries and Azabs benefices.
The Fiqari revived, and in 1692 Ibrahim Bey persuaded Kuchuk Mehmed and the Janissaries to abolish some of the protection charges and illegal taxes. In 1694 Kuchuk was shot while riding through Cairo, and Mustafa Katkhuda al-Qazdagli was held responsible. The increase in food prices caused a famine in 1695, followed by an epidemic. The soldiers profited from devalued coins and blocked the reform demanded by the Ottoman rulers. In the 18th century the viceroy tried to keep a balance between the Qasimi and Fiqari factions by appointing one as treasurer and the other as head of the pilgrimage. In the Great Sedition of 1711 Janissary commander Ifranj Ahmad called in 6,000 Hawwara Bedouin from Upper Egypt in his conflict with the 'Azab corps, the Qasimi and their allies, who killed him and several Fiqari. Four years later Isma'il Bey had the rival Qasimi leader Qaytas Bey executed. In 1724 Isma'il Bey was killed as the Circassian Mehmed Bey proscribed his household by forming an alliance with the Fiqari. Mehmed Bey was exiled and drowned in 1730, and Dhu'l Fiqar Bey was assassinated. As Qasimi power faded, the viceroy Bakir Pasha tried to divert the illegal funds of the soldiers to the treasury and had three Fiqari leaders assassinated for resisting, causing his own deposition in 1737. Sulayman Pasha arrived in August 1739 and was also deposed for instigating another assassination in January 1740.
'Ali Pasha ibn al-Hakim promised he would not interfere with the governors, and under Qazdagli officers Egypt prospered for the next thirty years, as exports to Europe greatly increased. Ibrahim Katkhuda worked with Ridwan Katkhuda of the Azabs and became rich, dying in 1754. When Ridwan Katkhuda proposed another tax on coffee, he was killed by the Janissaries.
'Ali Bey was called the "Cloud-catcher" and was brought up in the Mamluk household of Ibrahim Katkhuda. He joined a plot led by 'Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda al-Qazdagli in 1760, and four years later he led the pilgrimage to Mecca. Having promised to pay the deficit for the past ten years, 'Ali Bey got 'Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda exiled to the Hijaz in 1765; but the next year 'Ali Bey himself had to flee to Upper Egypt for a year. There he made an alliance with the wealthy Hawwara shaykh Humam (r. 1740-69) and rival Salih Bey to march on Cairo. They were victorious, and 'Ali Bey had many of his opponents proscribed and killed. When the Viceroy tried to organize resistance in 1768, 'Ali Bey deposed him and took his place. 'Ali Bey remained loyal to the Ottoman sultan and in 1770 intervened to end a dispute in Mecca. After the Russian fleet destroyed the Ottoman navy at Cheshme that year, 'Ali Bey sent a force under his mamluk Muhammad Bey Abu'l-Dhahab to take Damascus in 1771. Abu'l-Dhahab returned by way of Upper Egypt, forcing 'Ali Bey to gather his wealth and cavalry to flee to Acre. 'Ali Bey joined with Shaykh Zahir and the Russians against the Ottomans in Syria. When 'Ali Bey returned to Egypt, he was imprisoned by Abu'l-Dhahab and died a week later. Abu'l Dhahab invaded Syria and died in 1775 while besieging Acre. His mamluk Murad Bey took over and returned to Cairo, and his comrade Ibrahim Bey was chosen shaykh al-balad.
Fighting and much robbery aggravated a severe economic crisis that began in 1780. In the next two years the para currency lost 54 percent of its value. In the famine of 1784 the fallahin (peasants) left their villages to avoid paying taxes to the beys. That year the pilgrimage caravan could not pay the fees at Medina. The next year a plague killed about one-sixth of the population. In 1786 the Ottomans sent troops to Egypt under Ghazi Hasan Pasha to collect their annual tribute; Ottoman control over Upper Egypt was restored also. In 1787 Yusuf al-Shirbini wrote Shaking the Peasants' Heads, satirizing rude farmers and the pride of narrow-minded 'ulama'. After several loyal beys died during the epidemic of 1791, Murad and Ibrahim returned to Cairo from Upper Egypt and took over the government, making an agreement with Istanbul the next year during another famine. Scholars from al-Azhar helped lead the uprising of 1795 against high taxes. Extorting money from European commercial houses eventually provoked the French into sending Napoleon to invade Egypt in 1798.
Ethiopian empress Eleni requested a mission from Portugal, and the Portuguese arrived at the Red Sea port of Massawa in 1520. That year Adal's Muslim general Ahmad ibn Ghazi, called Gragn for "left-handed," killed Sultan Abu Bakr at Harar, and he led a jihad in 1529 that defeated Ethiopian emperor Lebna Dengel (r. 1508-40). The Ethiopian Royal Chronicles reported that the latter had 16,000 cavalry and 200,000 infantry against Gragn's 560 cavalry and 12,000 soldiers; but Adal had firearms. The battle was bloody as Adal lost 5,000 men and Ethiopia even more. The Muslims plundered southern Ethiopia for many years, burning churches and monasteries and forcing Christians to convert. After Lebna was succeeded by his son Galawdewos (r. 1540-59), the Portuguese sent 400 musketeers led by Christavao da Gama and helped defeat Adal near Lake Tana in 1543, killing Gragn. His widow Bati Del Wambara married Gragn's nephew Nur ibn Mujahid, because he agreed to seek revenge.
In 1557 Turks led by Ozdemir Pasha took over the port of Massawa. Jesuit priest Andre de Oviedo from Portugal tried to convert them but was resisted by people in Tigray. In the next two years Ethiopians led by Bahr Negash Yishaq drove the Turks back to the coast. In 1559 after the Ethiopian army attacked Harar and killed Adal sultan Barakat, Gragn's nephew Nur defeated the Ethiopians and killed Galawdewos in battle. Oromo tribes (called Galla by Ethiopians) moved into the area. Minas, the brother of Galawdewos, attacked the Falasha of Semien; but he was challenged by Tigray ruler Bahr Negash Yishaq, who allied with the Ottomans. Before Minas died of a fever, he banished the Jesuits to Maigoga, which they renamed Fremona. His son Sarsa Dengel (r. 1563-97) became emperor of Ethiopia as a child. He won over the Amhara aristocrats and Yishaq by 1567, and he defeated Adal in 1576. He also fought the Turks in Tigray successfully in 1578 and 1589. He sold about ten thousand slaves a year to the Turks.
When Sarsa Dengel's infant son Ya'qob succeeded in 1597, the military took power. After Ya'qob grew up, he was deposed and replaced by Za Dengel. Jesuit Pedro Paez learned the languages Ge'ez and Amharic and was able to convert emperors Za Dengel (r. 1603-04) and Susenyos (r. 1607-32). Za Dengel was killed by nobles for trying to implement radical tax reforms. Ya'qob became king again, but he was defeated by Lebna Dengel's grandson Susenyos. The prudent advice of Paez kept Susenyos from submitting his country to the Pope in Rome in 1612. Susenyos invaded Sennar in 1617 and had to put down a rebellion at home. He announced his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith in 1622. Religious conflict and his large army burdened Ethiopia, and during a civil war he abdicated in favor of his son Fasiladas (r. 1632-67), who immediately expelled the Jesuits from Dankaz to Fremona. Seven Jesuits remained in Ethiopia; but two were assassinated, and the other five were hanged. Fasiladas moved the Ethiopian capital to Gondar and had a castle built there in 1636. The Oromos continued to spread, and in 1642 they destroyed the royal army of Tigray. An attempt by a Muslim judge to convert Fasiladas in 1650 caused a riot in Gondar. Christians divided over a theological controversy regarding the nature of Christ. When Fasiladas sided with the unctionists in 1654, he had to suppress a rebellion by the unionists. During the reign (1667-82) of Yohannes, monks at a council in 1668 tried to excommunicate him for marrying a distant relative. That council expelled Portuguese descendants from Ethiopia and segregated Muslims from Christians.
Iyasu succeeded his father Yohannes and tried to impose the unionist religious dogma on Ethiopia by punishing the Tekla-Haymanot for their new theories. Iyasu spent years fighting the Oromos and establishing his authority in Baher-Meder and Tigray. Iyasu led the expedition to the Sidama plateau in 1704. French missionaries abandoned Ethiopia after their emissary was murdered at Sennar in 1705. When Iyasu withdrew to an island in Lake Tana, his wife made their son Tekla-Haymanot king. In 1706 her kinsmen assassinated Iyasu; but Tekla-Haymanot was murdered two years later. Iyasu's brother Tewoflos died in 1711, probably of poison, and the nobility's attempt to end the Solomonid dynasty by making Yostos king ended in 1716 when he was deposed. Dawit III (r. 1716-21) was poisoned by a servant, and another son of Iyasu called Bekaffa gained the throne. His army with Oromo forces subjugated Wag and Lasta and made the nobility of Tigray and Baher-Meder submit. When Bekaffa became very ill in 1728, Queen Mentuab ruled as regent until his death and afterward for her infant son Iyasu II, whom she married to the Oromo princess Wobit. Mentuab's brother Walde-Li'ul expanded the territory of Ethiopia. Because he was called "little," Iyasu invaded Sennar in 1744, and nearly 20,000 Ethiopians were killed or captured; an icon of the Christ and a piece of the cross were captured, costing the Ethiopian treasury 8,000 ounces of gold to buy them back. When Iyasu II died in 1755, Mentuab and Walde-Li'ul made Iyasu's young son Iyo'as king so that they could continue to rule.
Tigray governor Ras Mikael Sehul gained authority over Ethiopia's
eastern provinces. After Walde-Li'ul died in 1766, Iyo'as asked
for Mikael's help against Mentuab's kinsmen. Mikael commanded
a large army and defeated the rebelling coalition of Amhara, Agaw,
and Yejju chiefs in 1768. King Iyo'as told Mikael to return to
Tigray; but instead he turned on Ethiopia's troops led by Fasil
Warena, who fled to Damot. Mikael ordered Iyo'as killed. Thus
began in 1769 the era of the war-lords in Ethiopia that would
last until 1855. Mikael executed anyone he suspected, and in 1771
Fasil and allies defeated the Tigray army and exiled Mikael to
Shoa. A coalition of Amhara nobles defeated and killed Fasil in
1775. A Mecha chief ruled at Gondar until 1781. Meanwhile Muslim
Wallo chiefs burned churches, killed priests, and sold Christians
into slavery. In 1784 guard commander 'Ali Gwangul deposed the
king. Although he converted to Christianity, his despotism was
resented by Christians. 'Ali died in 1788, but his brother Aligaz
Gwangul, though challenged by his own relatives and Wallo chiefs,
ruled Amhara until 1803. Ras Wolde-Selassie (r. 1795-1816) managed
to rule over the provinces east of the Tekeze.
'Alwa in the eastern Sudan was destroyed in 1504 when Amara Dunkas (d. 1534) became the first Funj king of Sennar, replacing the Christian kings. After the Turks defeated the Funj at Hannak in 1520, the Nubians appealed to Ethiopia for Christian priests. The 'Abdallabi dynasty ruled the northern part of Funj until 1820. Sultan 'Abd al-Qadir (r. 1550-57) expanded Funj power to the west. Funj king Dakin ibn Nail (r. 1569-86) granted Shaykh Ajib the right to appoint his own judges, and in 1606 Ajib deposed Funj king 'Abd al-Qadir II for being religiously unorthodox; but the Funj army killed Ajib in 1611 and put 'Abd al-Qadir's brother 'Adlan on the throne, who was quickly overthrown by 'Abd al-Qadir's son Badi I Sid al-Qum. He declared independence from Ethiopia's Susenyos and died in 1616. His successor Rubat had to fight an alliance of Ethiopia and the 'Abdallabi. Sultan Badi II Abu Dikn (r. 1644-92) fought the Shilluk and gained Alays on the White Nile. Funj aristocrats rebelled, because Badi III (r. 1692-1711) used slaves in the army; but the practice continued. They deposed his son Unsa III in 1720. Under Badi IV (r. 1721-62) the Funj fought two wars against Ethiopia, winning the second in 1744. Abu Likaylik commanded the Funj army and defeated the Musabba'at in 1747; he ruled Kordofan as viceroy for fourteen years. In 1762 he deposed Badi IV and ruled as regent for his son Nasir. After Abu Likaylik died in 1776, the Funj sultanate suffered a half century of intrigues, revolts, and civil wars.
After conquering the last Muslims on the Iberian peninsula at Granada in 1492, the Spaniards led by Pedro Navarro invaded the Maghrib, taking Oran by 1509, killing 4,000 and capturing 8,000, and the next year conquering Bijaya, Bougie, and Tripoli. In 1510 the crown of Spain authorized the selling of Africans in America, and the first shipload of slaves from the Guinea Coast directly to America was made in 1518. Algerians gained the military aid of the Muslim corsairs, brothers 'Aruj and Khayr al-Din Barbarossa. 'Aruj got permission from the Hafsid sultan to use the island of Jerba as a base, and he captured Jijelli in 1514 and took over Algiers in 1516 when he defeated the Spaniards. 'Aruj suppressed a local rebellion by having Shaykh Salim strangled, and his soldiers proclaimed 'Aruj sultan. When Zayyanid Abu Hammu III succeeded at Tlemcen in 1517, prince Abu Zayyan rebelled against him and gained the help of 'Aruj to overthrow Spanish domination. 'Aruj defeated Abu Hammu and took over Tlemcen but was driven out by the Spaniards and killed in 1518.
'Aruj's brother Khayr al-Din founded the Algiers Regency and was appointed beylerbey by Ottoman sultan Selim. In 1520 Kuku tribal leader Ahmad ibn al-Qadi and the Hafsids attacked Algiers and defeated Khayr al-Din, who moved to Jijelli and increased his privateering. He took over Constantine and reconquered Algiers in 1525, massacring Arabs and Kabyles who resisted him. In 1527 Algeria accepted the overlordship of the Ottoman empire with its Turkish governors. Khayr al-Din fought the Hafsids and extended his domain, occupying Tunis in 1534 and sponsoring piracy; but the next year a Spanish navy of 300 ships and 30,000 men led by Charles V liberated thousands of Christian slaves from Tunis as Khayr al-Din and the Turkish garrison fled to Algiers. Khayr al-Din made a treaty with France, and the next year went to Istanbul to command the Ottoman navy. Spanish count Alcaudete was put in charge of Oran in 1534, and the next year he joined with tribal chief Ibn Radwan to help Zayyanid prince 'Abdulla overthrow his older brother Mulay Muhammad at Tlemcen; but the Banu Rashid tribe defeated them and nearly wiped out all of Alcaudete's 600-man force. Yet probably because the Spaniards had taken Tunis, Sultan Muhammad agreed to pay tribute to Oran in exchange for Spanish protection.
After negotiations with Khayr al-Din failed, in 1541 Spain's Charles V led an attack on Algiers with 516 ships; but a storm destroyed 140 vessels, and Charles retreated. The next year Hasan Agha (r. 1536-43) attacked the port by Oran. Alcaudete used new recruits to replace Mulay Muhammad with 'Abdulla at Tlemcen; but Banu Rashid chief Ibn Ghani, fearing the Turks, invaded Tlemcen with Spanish aid, putting on the throne Mulay Muhammad's brother Ahmad in 1545. However, Mulay Muhammad was restored by Khayr al-Din's son Hasan Pasha (r. 1544-52) of Algiers, making Tlemcen a military fortress for the Turks. Alcaudete attacked Mustaghanim in 1541 and 1547, but the Turks drove him back to Spain. When the Wattasids of Fez turned to the Turks, Arab Sa'diyans in 1545 defeated and captured Wattasid sultan Ahmad. Four years later the Sa'diyans drove out of Fez the Wattasid prince 'Ali Abu Hassan, who took refuge in Algiers. In 1551 Sa'diyan Muhammad al-Shaykh (al-Mahdi) sent his son Muhammad al-Harran with 30,000 men, and they took over Tlemcen; but al-Harran died of illness as the Turks led by agha Hasan Quru dispersed the cavalry coming from Fez, ending three centuries of Zayyanid rule in Tlemcen.
The next Algiers beylerbey, Salah Ra'is, took over Fez in 1554 and let 'Ali Abu Hassan rule it with Janissaries; but Muhammad al-Shaykh reconquered Fez the same year and formed an alliance with Alcaudete. Salah Ra'is attacked Oran in 1556 but was killed, allowing the Sa'diyans to occupy Tlemcen. When the Janissaries tried to install their own beylerbey, Ottoman sultan Sulayman sent Hasan Pasha back to govern Algiers, and Turkish spies assassinated the resisting Muhammad al-Shaykh in 1557. Having lost this ally for an attack on Algiers, Alcaudete marched on Mustaghanim the next year; but tribes and the Turkish forces of Hasan Quru surrounded them. Alcaudete died, and 10,000 of his men were killed or captured. Hasan Pasha besieged Oran in 1563 but gave up after four months when Spanish reinforcements arrived. Spain retained control of Oran in Ottoman Algeria until 1708. In 1563 makhzan (governing) tribes were appointed to collect taxes in the countryside. In 1567, like his father, Hasan Pasha went to Istanbul to command the Ottoman navy. Algiers was governed by Turkish Janissaries and, unlike Tunis, held a state monopoly over privateering. The growing city of 60,000 acquired an additional 25,000 Christian captives. About 5,000 Jews in a ghetto had to wear special clothes and pay higher taxes, but some excelled at business.
By 1615 the state of Algeria was taking in between two and three million livres annually from its naval piracy, enriching many from this merchandise and slave trafficking. Many Christians worked in the galleys, but other slaves found their way into the society in a variety of roles. Europeans raised money to pay ransoms, and Lazarists led by Vincent de Paul tried to intervene on behalf of the captives' relatives. In 1628 Corsican Sanson Napallon distributed baksheesh (bribes) to secure a monopoly on coral fishing at the French Bastion, but he was caught and killed by the people of Tabarka five years later. In 1637 the Bastion was destroyed for having shipped contraband grain.
French merchants established a funduq at Tunis in 1659 and tried to exclude English and Dutch competitors, both of whom traded arms for grain. In 1663 Algiers made a treaty with the de Ruyter of Holland and increased privateering attacks on French ships. Seven years later their treaty with France's Louis XIV disrupted Dutch and English shipping, and the Algerian treaty with the English in 1681 led to war with France. After 1685 many Protestant religionaires sought refuge in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. In 1689 French navy commissioner Guillaume Marcel signed a hundred-years' treaty with Algiers excluding the merchants from meddling in politics and renouncing holy war; in the first half of the 18th century this convention was confirmed fourteen times.
In 1659 Ottoman pasha Ibrahim tried to levy a tithe on the subsidies sent from Istanbul for the Algerian fleet. A riot broke out, and the Janissary commander (agha) took over the government of Algeria, accusing the pasha of corruption. The next four Janissary chiefs were assassinated. After the fourth, Agha 'Ali (r. 1664-71), died, the officers elected a dey, meaning "maternal uncle," a title used in Tunisia since Ottoman soldiers rebelled there in 1591. Algeria thus became a military republic in 1671, but fourteen of the thirty deys in the next century and a half were removed by assassination. Yet deys worked hard for the state on public business, spending only one afternoon and one night per week in private with their family.
The dey appointed beys (military governors) to collect taxes and enforce laws, using the privileged makhzan tribes. The ongoing piracy made it difficult for the merchants to develop trade relations with Europeans, and until 1798 their ships were threatened by the Knights of St. John at Malta. In 1600 Algeria had about 75 ships, but by the middle of the 18th century this had been reduced to about twenty. Muhammad ibn 'Uthman (r. 1766-91) suppressed the rebellious Kabyles and used some of his wealth to construct a prominent mosque. In 1770 Spain went to war with Algeria in order to rescue 10,000 Spanish captives. Neither side won, and in the 1785 treaty Algeria released the prisoners in exchange for Spanish withdrawal from Oran. In 1788 Algeria had only ten ships for privateering, and only 800 captives were left.
As privateering profits decreased, taxes had to be increased. Algerians complained about exporting wheat, especially during droughts. In the western province the beys 'Uthman (r. 1747-60) and Muhammad al-Kabir (r. 1780-97) subjugated the tribes with military force to make them pay taxes. 'Abdul Qadir ibn al-Sharif led the Darqawiya Tariqa rebellion in the west from 1783 to 1805. They won over Tlemcen and besieged Oran, but the new bey Muhammad al-Muqallash forced Ibn al-Sharif to flee to Morocco. Outside the cities much of the country was governed by tribal leaders, often marabouts with spiritual authority. Sidi 'Abdul-Rahman was so respected that when he died in 1793, Hasan Dey (1791-98) venerated his tomb in the capital, while the people in his home village believed his body was buried there also. The Sufi brotherhoods went beyond tribal divisions, and in hard times they often rebelled against Turkish taxes.
When Khayr al-Din conquered Tunis in 1534, Muhammad's son al-Hasan turned to the Spanish for protection and was reinstated the next year. While he was in Spain in 1542, his son Ahmad deposed him. The Turkish corsair Turghut (Dragut) fought Tunisia's Ahmad Sultan (r. 1543-69) and the Spaniards for several years. Turghut captured Tripoli in 1551, driving out the Knights of St. John, who had been there since 1535. Turghut governed Tripoli for the Ottomans. He and Piyale Pash led the Ottoman fleet to victory over the Spanish navy and exterminated their garrison at Jerba in 1560. Turghut died fighting the Knights of St. John with Turkish troops from Algeria at Malta in 1565. A sequence of many pashas ruled Tripoli for the Ottomans. Ja'far Pasha (r. 1586-1631) governed for an exceptionally long time and put down a rebellion with the help of the Mhamid tribe.
'Eulj 'Ali (r. 1568-87) was the last beylerbey of Algiers. He captured Tunis in 1569, when Ahmad Sultan fled to Spain for help. Spaniards reinstated Ahmad in 1573; but he was sent into exile in Sicily and replaced by his brother Muhammad. In 1574 the Turks conquered Tunis and ended the Hafsid dynasty by sending Muhammad to Istanbul. Vizier Sinan Pasha established 4,000 Janissaries with an officer (dey) over each hundred troops. The pasha was assisted by a commander called a bey, who maintained peace and collected taxes. In 1581 Philip II of Spain relinquished his claims in Africa when he made a truce with the Ottomans. After 'Eulj 'Ali died, the Ottoman sultan made Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripolitania regencies governed by pashas he could periodically replace; but in 1591 the Tunisian officers revolted and forced the Ottoman pasha to accept an elected dey as the supreme authority.
Tunisia's 'Uthman Dey (r. 1598-1610) reduced the pasha to a ceremonial figurehead and only used the divan (council) to ratify his own decisions. He relied on the head (qaptan) of the navy and the military commander (bey) to subdue the tribes and collect taxes. His son-in-law Yusuf (r. 1610-37) protected privateers, sponsored building, and fought Arab insurrections and Algerian invasions. 'Uthman Dey and Yusuf Dey did not indulge in luxuries and brought law and order to Tunisia, though piracy at sea brought in revenue for the state. When the Ghadames refused to send the Ottoman commander in Tunis five young eunuchs and eight pretty girls in 1609, he forced them to pay their tribute by cutting down their palm trees. Moors expelled from Spain came to Tunisia and improved the economy. Using revenue from privateering, Yusuf Dey sponsored construction of a mosque, a fortress, an army barracks, and aqueducts. The Hanafi qadi was the supreme judge, but the Malakis remained influential. The beys increased their power, and Murad Bey (r. 1612-31) gained the title pasha and made his office hereditary, being succeeded by his son Humada Bey (r. 1631-1666). The Muradists increased their revenues by opening up trade with Europe and monopolizing the sale of agricultural produce. Murad Bey II (1666-75) suppressed an army mutiny and moved into the palace of the Bardo. He arrested a dey for insanity in 1670 but was defied by the successor Sha'ban Dey. Murad also replaced him; but the Janissaries refused to obey his puppet and appointed their own dey while Murad Bey was visiting Tripolitania in 1673. His supporters in the divan were slaughtered; but Murad Bey had the forces to overcome the revolt.
When Murad Bey II died, his two sons and brother fought for power. The civil war lasted more than twenty years and was complicated by Moroccan Mawlay Isma'il's Algerian invasions of 1691 and 1701. Finally in 1702 cavalry commander Ibrahim al-Sharif had all of Humada's descendants killed and became Bey. The army proclaimed him Dey two years later, but in 1705 forces from Algiers and Tripoli led by Algerian dey Hajj Mustapha captured him. Another cavalry commander named Husain ibn 'Ali rallied the troops, retreated to Tunis, was proclaimed Bey, and fought off the Algerians. Hajj Mustapha returned to Algiers, where in 1705 a revolt beheaded him. Husain ibn 'Ali established his camp at Qairawan, where he recruited warriors; the dey in the capital could not raise taxes to pay his troops, who deserted him, and Husain was welcomed at Tunis in January 1706. The role of the dey was reduced to that of police chief. In 1711 'Ali Shaush refused to receive the Ottoman envoy until the sultan recognized him as pasha.
Husain ibn 'Ali recruited kulughli warriors, who were sons of Turkish fathers and native women. He made treaties with the French, English, Spanish, Austrians, and Dutch. After his son was born, he appointed his nephew 'Ali pasha in 1728; but after four years of ceremonial functions, 'Ali Pasha fled to Algiers, organized a revolt, and returned in 1735 with his Pashiya followers and an Algerian army to fight and defeat the Husainiya. Husain ibn 'Ali held out at Qairawan until 1740, when he was beheaded by 'Ali Pasha's son Yunis. 'Ali Pasha took the name 'Ali Bey I and ruled Tunisia until 1756. Yunis also revolted and fought a long civil war, driving his father out of the capital in 1752; 'Ali won back his place by allowing the Algerians helping him to plunder the Bardo palace, as Yunis fled to Constantine. The Algerians left Tunisia with their booty in 1756 and kept 'Ali Bey in custody; but their three ships were lost at sea.
'Ali's son Muhammad Bey had promised the Algerians tribute
and ruled Tunisia for only three years. His application for Ottoman recognition as
pasha was granted to his brother 'Ali Bey II (r. 1759-82). He
used taxes on Jews to support Maliki religious teachers and their
students. Trade increased; but privateering continued to be popular
by the justification of holy war. 'Ali Bey II reformed the mushtara
system that had forced farmers to sell produce to the government
at low prices and merchants to buy it at high prices. He also
reduced the tax on crops. The state even loaned money to merchants
without charging interest. The resulting prosperity, religious
support, and army discipline continued under Hamuda Bey (r. 1782-1814).
He limited his own expenditures, and he urged the poor to work
instead of asking for charity. He consulted the tribal chiefs
directly and asked local governors for their opinions. Hamuda
was assisted by the outstanding vizier Yusuf Sahib al-Taba'. Tunisians
enslaved about a thousand people when they captured the entire
population of Sardinia in 1798.
In Tripoli Ja'far Pasha (r. 1586-1631) was succeeded by Muhammad (r. 1631-49) and 'Uthman (r. 1649-72) of the Saqizli family, continuing Ottoman sovereignty over the Cyrenaican tribes. However, in 1711 while the Ottoman governor Muhammad Khalil Amis was visiting Istanbul, a kulughli chief of the cavalry named Ahmad Qaramanli usurped power by massacring 300 Janissary officers. After withstanding two Turkish attacks, he sent a delegation to Istanbul, where Sultan Ahmad III declared him pasha of Tripoli in 1722. Ahmad gained control of the trans-Saharan trade by sending three expeditions to Fazzan. The Qaramanli dynasty sponsored privateering while making commercial treaties with Britain and France. Ahmad Qaramanli was succeeded by his son Muhammad (r. 1745-54) and then his son 'Ali Pasha (r. 1754-93). 'Ali squelched an attempted rebellion by his uncles by having the princes supporting them arrested and executed in 1760, causing his uncle Mustafa to flee to Tunisia. Successful corsairs were treated as national heroes in Tripoli.
'Ali Pasha's son Hasan used his position as bey to take over his father's authority and came into conflict with his younger brother Yusuf. When 'Ali Pasha became ill in 1787, a civil war between the tribes of these factions erupted. After Yusuf assassinated his brother Hasan Bey in their mother's quarters in 1790, outraged Tripolitans forced him to flee. Yusuf claimed to be supporting his other brother Ahmad but besieged Tripoli the next year. 'Ali Burghul, a marine captain exiled from Algiers for having authorized plundering American ships, went to Istanbul and got 300 mercenaries to attack Tripoli in 1793. Elderly 'Ali Qaramanli fled to Tunis; but 'Ali Burghul extorted so much money and property from Jews and wealthy Muslims that after 17 months he was driven out of Tripoli by a Tunisian army led by Ahmad Qaramanli. Ahmad was installed as pasha and appointed Yusuf as bey in 1795. A few months later Yusuf used this power to proclaim himself pasha and appointed Ahmad governor of Darna. Ahmad fled to Tunis.
Wattasid Muhammad al-Burtughali (r. 1505-24) could not stop the Portuguese invasion of Morocco, as they took Safi in 1508 and Azemmour in 1513. The Portuguese had reached Marrakesh by 1515, but Sharif Ahmad al-A'raj entered Marrakesh in 1524 and gained allegiance. Al-Burtughali's son Abu'l-'Abbas Ahmad (r. 1524-48) made a truce with the Portuguese in 1528 and besieged Marrakesh, but his army was defeated by the Sharif's forces in 1537. Ahmad al-A'raj was deposed by his brother Muhammad al-Mahdi, who defeated the Portuguese at Agadir in 1541, the same year Spain attacked Algiers and was defeated. The Portuguese then withdrew from Safi and Azemmour. In 1548 Shadhiliya marabouts supported al-Mahdi's siege of Fez, while the Qadiriya marabouts sided with the Wattasids and Turks. Al-Mahdi was victorious and ruled Morocco for eight years. His son al-Harran captured Tlemcen the next year, but al-Harran ventured east and was defeated by the Ottomans and their Berber allies, who reconquered Tlemcen.
When the marabouts objected to the taxes of al-Mahdi, the Ottoman army took over Fez and set up the Wattasid Abu Hassun as their vassal. He was supported by the people even though he had to pay off the Ottomans. Abu Hassun formed an alliance with Ahmad al-A'raj to attack Marrakesh; but when Abu Hassan was killed battling the Sa'diyans in September 1553, his army fled, enabling al-Mahdi to reconquer Fez a year later. He had two hundred wealthy people executed and confiscated their property, taking over religious endowments also. Three years later al-Mahdi was murdered by his Turkish commander, who had been hired by Hassan.
Al-Mahdi's son al-Ghalib (r. 1557-74) made an alliance with the Spaniards to take Tlemcen and was succeeded by his son Muhammad al-Mutawakkil, who was overthrown at Fez two years later by 'Abdul-Malik but later returned with the Portuguese. 'Abdul-Malik declared a jihad and wrote a letter to Portuguese king Sebastian asking him not to wage war against his country and even offering to appear in his court of law to argue for justice. 'Abdul-Malik was able to destroy the Portuguese army of 20,000 in 1578. Yet he, al-Mutawakkil, and Sebastian died in this famous "battle of the three kings" that was called the Battle of Wadi al-Makhazin by Muslim historians and the Battle of Alcazarquivir by Europeans. Thousands died on both sides, and 14,000 Christians were captured. Mawlay Ahmad was crowned al-Mansur, meaning the Victor.
Al-Mansur (r. 1578-1603) gained wealth by ransoming the Portuguese prisoners and reigned over Morocco with an extravagantly rich court, patronizing poets, musicians, and religious scholars. Al-Mansur suppressed opposition by the zawiyas and the Berbers, developed agriculture and the sugar industry, and used force to collect taxes. In 1581 England's queen Elizabeth approved the export of naval timber to Morocco for saltpeter, which was used in gunpowder. Al-Mansur gave Jews concessions for running the state monopolies on sugar and saltpeter, and they also controlled the imported English cloth. In 1583 he captured the oases at Garara and Tuat, and in 1589 al-Mansur drove the Europeans out of Arzila. He defeated the Songhay empire south of the Sahara Desert in 1591 with the help of firearms he gained from the Turks. Gold and slaves were imported from the south, but the sultan prohibited exporting gold. Religious teachers debated the new habit of smoking tobacco. Barani Berbers revolted in 1596 but were crushed. Al-Mansur's son Muhammad al-Shaykh al-Mamun had been recognized as his heir in 1581; but his scandals and rebellions were so numerous that his father put him in prison in 1602.
A civil war followed the death of Mawlay Ahmad (al-Mansur) in 1603. His son Zaydan gained control of Marrakesh by 1609, while another son Abu Faris held Fez until he was assassinated by al-Mamun's son 'Abdullah in 1610. Al-Mamun helped the Spaniards take al-'Ara'ish that year but was assassinated himself in 1613. This betrayal to Spain tarnished his son 'Abdullah's reputation, though he managed to rule Fez until 1627. Zaydan was driven out of Marrakesh in 1612 by Ahmad Abu Mahalli from Sijilmasa; he claimed to be the mahdi and led a religious rebellion because of the betrayal of al-'Ara'ish. He married Zaydan's mother; but Yahya ibn 'Abduallah al-Hahi, the religious chief of Mount Daran, and his tribe helped Zaydan win back Marrakesh in 1613.
Zaydan (r. 1609-28) ruled Morocco from Marrakesh but faced much opposition and was driven out and restored three times. Fez was governed independently by his nephew 'Abdullah ibn al-Shaykh until 1627. The Dala'iya from the middle Atlas mountains were the strongest opponents; but Abu al-Hassun al-Simlali in Sus and refugees from Andalusia in Bu Ragrag also challenged Sa'diyan authority. Abu al-Hassun organized the Berbers of the Jazula tribe and attacked Zaydan's protector Yahya al-Hahi over Sus. After Yahya died in 1626, Abu al-Hassun made Iligh his capital of Sus and conquered Sijilmasa in 1631. After the Spanish built a fortress at al-Ma'mura, Muhammad al-'Ayashi led Arabian tribes and Andalusian Moriscos in holy wars against Spaniards from 1615 for a quarter century, attacking al-Ma'mura, al-'Ara'ish, and Tangier. Eventually the Moriscos (Moors) turned against him, denying him scaling ladders in 1631 and helping the Dala'iya army to defeat and kill al-'Ayashi in 1641.
The Dala'iya shaykhs were influenced by Sufi teacher al-Qastali of Marrakesh, and Abu Bakr built hostels for students and the poor. His son Muhammad led the community 1612-36 and constructed a new zawiya for scholars that fed 7,000 people a day. The third Dala'iya chief Muhammad al-Hajj (r. 1636-68) organized a Berber army and built a fortress. He criticized the Sa'diyan rule of Muhammad al-Shaykh and defeated his army in 1638. Muhammad al-Hajj occupied Miknasa in 1640 in al-'Ayashi's territory, defeating him the next year. Andalusians were allowed to control Sala for the next decade until al-Hajj sent his son 'Abdulla as governor in 1651. That year 'Abdulla signed a treaty with the Dutch. In 1653 Arabian army chief al-Khadr Ghailan led a rebellion against the Dala'iya. Al-Hajj's son Muhammad governed Fez 1653-59 until he was poisoned. In 1660 Fez revolted, and Ghailan and the Andalusians defeated the Dala'iya army at Sala. 'Abdulla left a captain in charge of his Sala castle, but in 1664 the Andalusians began paying their taxes to Ghailan.
'Alawite sharifs had lived in Sijilmasa since the 13th century. In 1635 'Alawite Mawlay al-Sharif tried to expel Abu Hassan's Dala'iya garrison from the Tabu'samt oasis and was banished to Sus, where a black slave girl bore him two sons, including Mawlay Isma'il. Another son, Muhammad al-Sharif drove the Dala'iya out of the oasis by 1641, but they defeated him in 1646. After Mawlay al-Sharif died in 1659, his son Rashid left Sijilmasa to avoid his brother Muhammad and gained the support of the Banu Ma'qil Arabs and the Ait Yaznasin Berbers in 1663. Muhammad tried to reassert his authority in Angad against his brother Rashid, but he was defeated and killed in battle. Rashid captured Fez in 1666 and two years later took over Marrakesh from the last Sa'diyan 'Abbas.
Rashid was succeeded by his half brother Mawlay Isma'il (r. 1672-1727), who put down a revolt by his nephew and claimed religious authority as a sharif. Sharifs were descendants of the prophet Muhammad and were believed to have baraka (divine power). 'Ali ibn Haidar had gathered several thousand blacks in the Sudan but disbanded them after Rashid died. Isma'il recruited these for his guard. He defeated and killed Ghailan, forcing Fez to submit in 1673. After two years of siege, Isma'il captured and plundered Marrakesh. The last Dala'iya, Ahmad al-Dala'i, was defeated in 1678. The 'Alawites drove the Spaniards out of al-Ma'mura (al-Mahdiya) in 1681, and the English left Tangier in 1684. After twelve years of fighting, Isma'il's brother al-Harran and Ahmad ibn Mahriz were killed. The last resistance in Morocco was put down when the inhabitants of Taroudant were massacred in 1687. Moroccans retook Larache in 1689 and Arzila in 1691.
Mawlay Isma'il put Negro slaves in his army and encouraged them to have children, who were trained for their military careers, building his army to 150,000 men. Eventually he granted these slaves and serfs the right to own land. He established garrisons at kasbahs, building 76 new ones. His army invaded Algeria three times to discourage the Turks from threatening him. Yet because of his pact with the Ottomans, he replaced his son Mawlay Zaydan for having sacked the palace of 'Uthman Bey in Mascara. In 1701 his son Zidan rebelled in Taza and conquered Tlemcen. Isma'il was wounded in the battle that crushed them, losing 3,000 men. The 'Alawites opened up trade across the Sahara and annexed Mauretania for a while. Isma'il disliked Catholics, but he allowed Franciscan friars to have a convent in his capital at Miknasa to minister to the captives. Isma'il had a large seraglio and was said to have had 500 sons. He sponsored building at Miknasa and moved the Jews to a suburb. He enforced laws strictly and used convict labor for his construction projects. He used economic extortion to gain revenue and punished resistance. His government collected ten percent duties and as much as 25% on wax, the biggest export. Isma'il tried to negotiate a trade treaty with Louis XIV for thirty years, but they could not agree.
The eminent religious scholar Abu-Hasan al-Yusi (d. 1691) denounced Isma'il's repression in a letter. In 1697 Sultan Isma'il angrily answered scholars in Fez who criticized his using slaves ('Abid) in his army. In 1708 he ordered the scholars to sign the register of his 'Abid army, or they would be arrested and have their property confiscated. The prominent 'Abdul-Salam Jassus refused, was arrested, and lost his property. His Fez supporters raised money to free him; but he was arrested again and strangled the next year. In 1720 the sultan had all money that could be found in Fez confiscated. Isma'il claimed his authority as a descendant of the prophet rather than by upholding Islamic law. He recognized Sufis such as Sidi 'Abdulla (d. 1678) and his son Muhammad (d. 1708) as sharifs and thus formed an alliance with the Tayibiya tariqa (brotherhood). In 1718 Sultan Isma'il removed all of his sons from office and sent them to Sijilmasa, except for Mawlay Ahmad al-Dhahabi, who had governed Tadla in peace so well for twenty years.
The powerful 'Abid army provided the viziers. In the thirty years after Isma'il died in 1727, they appointed as sultans and deposed seven of Isma'il's sons. The Wadaya army protected Fez from plundering by 'Abid troops but occasionally looted it themselves. Mawlay 'Abdulla became sultan in 1729 and was deposed four times. In 1734 he fled to the Berbers of Ait Idrasin and won over the Wadaya army. Ahmad 'Ali al-Rifi gained power in the north but was defeated and killed in 1743. 'Abdulla gained Marrakesh in 1750 and appointed his son Muhammad governor. 'Abdulla gained money by ransoming Spanish, Dutch, English, and French captives.
Mawlay Muhammad ibn 'Abdulla (r. 1757-90) consolidated his power by overcoming Wadaya resentment of the Berbers at Fez in 1760, and during his reign he had to suppress Sanhaja revolts from the mountains. He made a trade treaty with Marseilles in 1767 and founded the port of Mogador. Muhammad ordered a thousand 'Abid transferred from Miknasa to Tangier in 1775. When they refused, he dispersed them to several cities, causing turmoil that lasted seven years. This lack of security and a plague reduced the population of Morocco from five million to three million. The Sultan reduced taxes, imported grain without a profit, gave bread to the poor, provided money to tribal chiefs, and punished the rebellious 'Abid. Later he justified extra taxes to pay the army in order to keep the peace. He followed Maliki rituals but adopted Wahhabi beliefs, even destroying books.
After Mawlay Muhammad died, his son Mawlay Yazid (r. 1790-92) rapidly became unpopular by his exactions and for arresting the Spanish consuls at Mogador and Larache and two religious men in Tangier. He was challenged by two brothers-Maslama in the north and Hisham in the south; but when Yazid died, the Ait Idrasin and the 'Abid proclaimed his scholarly brother Sulayman as sultan. Maslama submitted, and a naval blockade forced Hisham to give up in 1795. The next year Sulayman occupied Marrakesh.
Muhammad Ture (r. 1493-1528) founded Songhay's Askiya dynasty. He went on a pilgrimage and got the caliph in Cairo to recognize his authority over Takrur (West Africa). When he returned in 1497, he implemented Islamic law by appointing qadis (Muslim judges), such as Mahmud ibn 'Umar in Jenne. That year Muhammad Askiya declared a jihad to convert Nassere, the Naba of Yatenga; so many Mossi resisted that he had to build a special quarter for the captives in his capital at Gao. Muhammad fought wars against Mali governors, conquering the provinces of Baghana, Kaarta, and Galam; he drove the Tuareg back into the Sahara, captured Air in the east, and took over the salt mines at Taghaza. The Mali retreated south of the Niger delta to Malinke territory. However, Songhay failed to conquer the Bariba of Borgu, who defeated their army in 1504. Muhammad invaded the Hausaland, conquering Katsina and Zaria and killing their rulers; but Songhay had to withdraw from the Hausaland in 1515 because of the Kebbi revolt led by Kuta Kanta. Muhammad Askiya revived learning at Timbuktu but did not force the common people to become Muslims. The Songhay empire declined as Muhammad aged; in 1528 he had become blind and was finally deposed by his son.
Dynastic conflicts among the Askiya family caused short reigns in the next decade. Muhammad Benkan overcame the pagan Gurma but was defeated by the Kebbi before he was deposed in 1537. Ishaq I (r. 1539-49) was elected but was so suspicious that he had governors killed and dismissed. After he died, Dawud (r. 1549-82) gained the throne peacefully. Dawud also tried to subdue the Mossi and was praised for memorizing the Qur'an and supporting learning and religion. He even forced two scholars to become judges. A struggle with Morocco sultan Muhammad al-Shaykh caused the loss of the salt mines at Taghaza in 1557. Dawud reorganized the Songhay army and won victories over the Mossi, Borgu, Gurma, Hombori, Bandiagara, Mali, Fulani of the Sahel, and Arabs in the desert, though a cavalry raid on Katsina failed. When al-Mansur (r. 1578-1603) of Morocco imposed a tax, Dawud sent him 10,000 mithqals (1,250 ounces) of gold but did not recognize it as a tax. Al-Mansur sent an expedition in 1583 that in three years took over the Sahara oases at Tuat and Gurara for Morocco, which exchanged diplomatic gifts with al-hajj Muhammad II (r. 1582-86) of Songhay. Civil war caused by another succession struggle then weakened the Songhay empire, and Moroccan spies captured a brother of Askiya Muhammad Bani (r. 1586-88) and Askia Ishaq II, taking him to Marrakesh in 1589.
The next year al-Mansur demanded a tax of one mithqal of gold for every load of salt from Taghaza, but Askia Ishaq II answered his letter with spears. Al-Mansur sent 4,000 men under his Spanish eunuch, the pasha Judar. This force met the Songhay army of about 40,000 or more about 35 miles north of Gao in March 1591. The small Moroccan force had muskets and prevailed. Ishaq submitted and offered a heavy annual tribute, as Judar's troops occupied Gao and Timbuktu. The latter, led by qadi 'Umar ibn Mahmud Aqit, refused to cooperate with the conquering army, which tore down people's houses. Judar was replaced by pasha Mahmud ibn Zarqun. After a disturbance when a former Songhay governor of Timbuktu returned and was killed, 'Umar ibn Mahmud sent three 'ulama' (clerics) to Marrakesh. People put their goods in the houses of leading jurists; but in 1593 Mahmud sent the seventy jurists, including the great scholar Ahmad Baba, to Marrakesh in chains. The next year Mahmud ibn Zarqun was assassinated by the Songhay resistance in Bandiagara. Pasha Sulayman (r. 1600-04) restored order in Timbuktu by punishing criminals and by not letting Moroccan soldiers out after sunset.
In 1598 Fulani ardo Hammadi Amina tried to intervene for an imprisoned 'ulama' in Timbuktu and was driven into exile by the Moroccans. Mali mansa Mahmud IV attacked Jenne in 1599 but was defeated by Moroccan reinforcements. The death of Mawlay Ahmad in Morocco led to civil war there in 1603, and after that the Sudan army gave their allegiance to the prince in Marrakesh. Jenne revolted in 1609 with Songhay aid; but eventually the Moroccan army subdued the region. After 1612 the sultans of Morocco abandoned control of Timbuktu, and without Sudanese trade it fell into anarchy. The Fulbe and Tuareg plundered the fallen Songhay empire, which was divided among local pashas. Askiya al-Amin governed the Songhay in Dendi 1612-18 and helped them during famine. His successor Askiya Dawud was said to have killed many people, including his relatives and army commanders. His brother Isma'il escaped to Timbuktu, gained the support of the pasha, and returned in 1639 to depose Dawud. When he asserted his independence by sending back the arma (Moroccan troops also called Ruma), the pasha attacked the Dendi capital at Lulami and deposed Isma'il. However, the askiya appointed by the pasha was later rejected by the independent Songhay.
In 1618 Marrakesh sent to Timbuktu the new amin Mahmud ibn Abi Bakr; but in 1629 he was accused of corruption and executed by Mawlay 'Abd al-Malik ibn Zaydan. He was replaced by a local commander (qa'id), and two years later the pasha appointed the amin, who became his assistant. After the army elected the amin to be pasha in 1638, the former office was no longer filled. Jenne revolted against the pasha in 1632, but they were punished two years later by the new pasha from Timbuktu. Merchants left Jenne and went to Bina in 1637, and in 1643 the arma in Jenne revolted again, getting the troops in Timbuktu to replace the pasha. In 1644 the pasha defeated ardo Hammadi Amina II; but he regained his position the same year, and the next year a qadi of Massina went to Timbuktu and restored peaceful relations.
After the 'Alawi dynasty gained power in Morocco, the army
in Timbuktu pledged allegiance to Mawlay al-Rashid in 1671. Whenever
the soldiers elected a new pasha, they were given gold
collected from Timbuktu merchants. The pashas were replaced
more frequently, and between 1660 and 1750 there were 86 pashas.
Pasha Mansur (r. 1716-19) tried to make the soldiers dependent
on him, and he appointed Sudanese slaves as governors at the expense
of the arma and made friends with Arab nomads and the 'ulama'.
When the slave governors became tyrannical, the 'ulama'
joined with the arma and replaced Mansur, who had accumulated
1,500 ounces of gold. The arma elected a pasha in
1766 who held the office until his death in 1775; but then Timbuktu
had no pasha for eighteen years. During famines and pestilence
the people suffered, because the troops were fed first. In 1794
the ethnic clans chose a pasha, and his successor made
the office hereditary.
In the early 17th century slave-owning Fulbe nomads settled in the Segu region and married Berber, Bambara and Mande women. Banmana animists, called Bambara, revolted against local chiefs and the last Mali emperor Mansa Magan in 1645. The Kulibali family founded the Masasi dynasty that was established by the time of Kaladian Kulibali (r. 1652-82), but its influence declined under Danfassar (r. 1682-97) and Souma (r. 1697-1712). Mamari Kulibali became Biton, the leader of his ton (association of boys initiated together) and began pillaging. The booty was used to buy captives; others fleeing persecution joined Biton as slaves (ton-dyon). Kong gave them Wattara gold for their services, and then the Macina Fulbe helped Biton fight off the Kong about 1725; Biton Kulibali reduced the heavy tax burden of the Kong people. In 1739 local chiefs appealed to the Joola (Dyula) state of Kong led by Famagha Wattara, but Segu was rescued by Bambara ally Fulani of Fuladugu. Biton defeated the Marki rival capital Kirango in 1740. When clan leaders rejected his invitations, he had them murdered. Biton Kulibali also made the free men of the ton his slaves. He had palaces built in Macina and Jenne, and in 1751 he conquered the Mali capital of Niani and made them pay tribute. Since Biton's fleet and cavalry protected the Niger Bend from Tuaregs, even the pashas of Timbuktu paid tribute. When Kaarta ruler Fulakoro was besieging Murdia, Biton answered their appeal by defeating and imprisoning Fulakoro, who died in captivity.
Biton Kulibali died in 1755 and was succeeded by Dekoro, who was so cruel that he was assassinated after two years, as the ton tried to restore its egalitarian society. His brother Bakari tried to impose Islamic law and lasted only fifteen days. In the next nine years three military leaders were assassinated. Ngolo Diarra (r. 1766-90) had been a slave of Biton and made others pledge fealty to him. His son Monzon Diarra (r. 1792-1808) expanded Segu influence by taking over Kaarta and others in the west. The Masasi had moved to Kaarta after they were defeated by Mamari in 1754. They regained power under Deniba Bo (r. 1758-61) and Sira Bo Kulibali (r. 1761-88) by conquering villages and taking their supplies. Sira Bo established his capital at Guemu and made the Marka tributaries. In 1777 the Dabora faction was expelled, and the Masasi made the Diawara pay tribute. Under Desekoro (r. 1788-99) they attacked Segu during the turmoil following the death of Ngolo Diarra, razing Nyamina in 1792; but four years later Monzon retaliated by destroying Guemu and regaining most of the territory taken by Sira Bo. Khasso plundered Desekoro's people and sold them as slaves; but Desekoro fled to Guidimakha, gathered 800 warriors and attacked Khassonke villages. The Masasi made Dioka their capital and seized 2,500 slaves owned by Joola merchants to rebuild their strength. Segu and Joola merchants exported many slaves to the French, and Segu was also a main source of grain for the Niger region.
In the 17th and 18th centuries the Tuaregs dispersed in the middle Niger region. In 1653 the Aulimadan forced the Tadmakka out of the Adrar. The Aulimadan began raiding, and in 1680 they took Gao away from the Moroccan forces (arma) for eight years. Then the Aulimadan moved south, and their leader Kari Denna became a vassal of the Moroccan pasha Hamad ibn 'Ali in Timbuktu. His successors were similarly installed by pashas in 1715 and 1741. The arma used the Tadmakka as mercenaries; but in 1737 the latter led by Ag-Moru defeated the arma and established Tuareg control over Middle Niger. After their great leader Ag-Moru died in 1755, the Tadmakka suffered internal conflicts.
Al-Mukhtar al-Kunti (1729-1811) united Qadiri factions into
a zawiya (religious) group that renounced arms and pillaging.
His diplomatic skill brought Kunta religious influence over the
Arabs, Berbers, and Sudanis. After the death of the uncompromising
Barabish leader Muhammad ibn Ruhal, al-Kunti won over Walad Suliman,
and this alliance with the Barabish protected Kunta commercial
interests. Al-Mukhtar al-Kunti mediated various disputes for the
Aulimadan, Tadmakka, and the arma by using his spiritual
power (baraka). He criticized the Tuaregs for expropriating
Muslims' wealth and tried to remove superstitious customs of Berber
and Sudanic paganism. Al-Kunti preached and wrote extensively,
uniting the estranged branches of the Qadiriya order. The Aulimadan
were re-established in Gao by 1770, and in 1787 they imposed tribute
on the arma of Timbuktu and spread their power.
In the Hausaland wars between the Kano and Katsina were continued by Kano sarki Muhammad Rumfa's son 'Abdullah (r. 1499-1509) and grandson Muhammad Kosoki (r. 1509-65). Katsina ruler 'Ali (r. 1498-1524) was known as a religious warrior. However, tradition credits Katsina chief Ibrahim Maje (r. 1549-66) with being a religious reformer. Kuta Kanta led Kebbi by invading the Hausa states and defeating the Bornu army; but after he died in 1556, Kano and Katsina regained their independence. Rumfa's elderly son Yakufu let the Katsinawa ravage the country while he devoted himself to religion; he was deposed in 1573. Katsina defeated Kano sarki Muhammad Shashere (r. 1573-82); but his successor Muhammad Kisoki (r. 1582-1618) was victorious over them. Zamfara, south of Gobir, gained strength and fought a war for about fifteen years with Katsina that ended in 1609.
Kano sarki Muhammad Zaki (r. 1618-23) tried to make peace with Katsina; but according to the Kano Chronicle when they invaded, he won. Kano sarki Kutumbi (r. 1623-48) sacked the main city in the Gombe region, and Kano and Zaria warriors raided the Kwararafa empire to capture slaves. Kutumbi invaded Katsina twice; the first was a nine-month siege, but in the second he was defeated and killed. When Kwararafa began invading Zaria, Kano, and Katsina about 1650, Kano and Katsina made a perpetual peace treaty with each other that was not broken. About 1653 Kwararafa attacked Kano while Sarki Muhammad Kukuna was touring eastern provinces, and the same year Kwararafa besieged and set fire to Katsina, which was reported to have been saved by the prayers of a pious poet known as Dan Marina. Kwararafa attacked Kano and Katsina again in 1671; many were slaughtered as both cities were plundered. After Katsina's Muhammad Uban Yara (c. 1641-71) killed a Zamfara prince, Zamfara sarki Zaudai wanted to retaliate but was persuaded not to and died. The electors chose his brother Aliyu, who was the first Muslim ruler of Zamfara. In 1674 Sulayman led the Hausa states in a major attack on Kebbi's army of 6,000 and defeated them, enabling Ahir prince Agaba to take over Adar.
Kano ruler Mohamma Sharefa dan Dadi (r. 1703-31) imposed seven new taxes to pay for military forces. After Kumbari dan Sharefa (r. 1731-43) put a tax on scholars, many Arabs left Kano for Katsina, which, as the wealthiest commercial city in the region, welcomed foreigners. Poet Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al Barnawi composed the Shurb al-Zulal (Drinking of the Sweet) that distinguished what is permissible from what is forbidden according to Islamic law. He also criticized illegal taxes, greed, and perversion of justice. Kano ruler Baba Zaki (r. 1768-76) was unpopular for exploiting the nobles and forcing them to fight as soldiers. Sacrifices of cattle to the Qur'an did not end in Kano until the reign (1781-1807) of al-Wali.
In the 18th century Gobir with help from Zamfara and Ahir replaced
Kebbi as a regional power. Ahir attacked Gobir and Zamfara while
competing with Bornu for northern trade routes. Zamfara raids
on Kano stimulated Kanawa vassals to build walls around their
towns. Gobir under Babari (r. 1741-69) fought several wars against
Kano early in his reign. Then Gobir went to war against Zamfara
and finally sacked Birnin Zamfara about 1762. Babari fortified
Alkalawa and made it his capital; but his son Dan Gudi (r. 1769-71)
was killed fighting the Tuareg. Zamfara sarki Maroki went
to Kiawa and in alliance with Katsina continued the war for fifteen
years against Gobir sarki Bawa jan Gwarzo (r. 1771-89).
Bawa plundered Katsina territory but died after the defeat at
Dan Kashe. His son Ya'qub dan Bawa also died fighting Katsina
at Kiawa in 1795. This ended Gobir's war with Katsina, but Ya'qub's
successor Nafata (r. 1795-1802) turned to conflicts with Zamfara.
Mai 'Ali Gaji founded a Bornu dynasty about 1472 at Ngasargamu east of the Songhay empire and ruled for a quarter century. His son Idris, called Katakarmabe, inherited a peaceful kingdom but attacked the Bulala sultan Dunama ibn Salama, driving him out of Njimi before departing. Dunama was killed by his brother Adam, who reoccupied Kanem. Mai Idris then invaded Njimi again. Traveler Leo Africanus considered Bulala more powerful than Bornu because of its flourishing trade with Egypt. Bulala sultan Kadai ibn 'Abd al-Jalil attacked the son of Idris, Mai Muhammad (r. 1525-43), but Kadai was defeated and killed. Bornu's Dunama (r. 1545-62) opened diplomacy with the Ottoman Turks, who had occupied Tripoli in 1551. Dunama and his son 'Abdullah (r. 1562-69) continued to battle the Bulala. The mother of Bornu mai Idris Alooma (r. 1571-1603) was a Bulala princess. Idris Alooma led a campaign against the Kano, Tuareg, and Teda, and he also suppressed internal resistance of the Kotoko, Buduma, Ngizim, and the So. After fighting Kanem, Idris Alooma made a peace treaty with the Bulala. Trade with the Ottomans in Tripoli enabled him to employ Turkish musketeers. In 1582 Idris Alooma asked for military aid to fight infidels, and al-Mansur used this opportunity to extend his imperial influence from Morocco.
Idris Alooma in Bornu was succeeded by his three sons, Muhammad (r. 1603-18), Ibrahim (r. 1618-25), and 'Umar (r. 1625-44). Muhammad was said to have ruled in peace, but he died fighting a jihad. Ibrahim changed from a dissolute youth to a pious warrior, who fought ten battles. A song to the queen mother Amina praises Bornu as having a thousand thrones and 500 gunmen. 'Umar was elderly but went on a pilgrimage, and his son 'Ali ibn 'Umar went on three pilgrimages, letting his brother Kashim Birri rule as regent while he was away. When Kashim tried to take the throne, 'Ali had him blinded and banished. During his last four years in the early 1680s his son Idris acted as regent.
Tuareg warriors gave the Hausa states troubles, as Ahir sultan Muhammad al-Mubarak (r. 1654-87) and his son Agg-Abba expanded their domain and challenged Bornu sovereignty. In 1667 Tuareg disputes caused Sultan al-Mubarak to flee to In Gall. In 1679 he launched a raid on Bornu from Dabak, but four years later he arbitrated a peace between the Itisen and the Kel Away. In 1685 Sarkin Zamfara led forces that wiped out a party of about 700 Tuareg. The same year Muhammad al-Mubarak retaliated with a Tuareg army that routed the Zamfara forces, killing a thousand. Al-Mubarak died during a severe epidemic at Agades in 1687. His son Agg-Abba campaigned against Gobir in 1689 and sold some Gobirawa into slavery. Five years later he left Agades and took refuge in Dabak. In 1696 the War of Hunger between the Kel Away and the Itisen ravaged the sultanate, followed the next year by a devastating drought in the Sahel. When his brother al-Amin overthrew him in 1721, Agg-Abba fled to Adar. Agg-Abba ruled the refugee Itisen and founded their capital Birni-n-Adar, where he died in 1738.
These wars probably contributed to a series of famines that continued in the 18th century when Bornu was ruled by Dunama ibn 'Ali and Muhammad ibn Hajj Hamdun, who besieged Kano for seven months during the reign of Kumbara ibn Sharefa. Bornu mai Hamdun ibn Dunama emphasized piety and learning, beginning the influence of 'ulama' in Bornu that was continued by 'Ali ibn Hamdun (c. 1750-91). 'Ali fought off Tuareg attacks over the salt mines of Bilma in Kawar; but after an Ahirawa attack on Bornu in 1759, he allowed Ahir to engage in the Bilma trade. The Mandara rebellion eventually led to the routing of the Bornu army about 1781. Bagirmi led by Muhammad al-Amin (r. 1751-85) also threw off Bornu hegemony and made Islam the state religion. When his successor 'Abd ar-Rahman Gwarang (r. 1785-1806) married his sister, Wadai's 'Abd al-Karim Sabun used this as a pretext for attacking Bagirmi. Wadai under Jawda (d. 1795) invaded Bahr al-Ghazal, causing migrations and famines. Gobir also revolted against Bornu about 1785.
All together over four centuries about ten million African slaves were transported to the Americas, more than six million of them during the 18th century when prices rose steadily. Africans were most viable economically for this exploitation because of their superior resistance to diseases and willingness to work. Native Americans died in enormous numbers as a result of contact with Europeans, and Europeans themselves were three times more likely to die of disease in America than Africans. Thus a greater percentage of the crews on the ships died during the passage than the slaves in miserable conditions. More slaves were continually needed, because only half as many women were transported as men, and the raising of children was difficult.
For fifty years after 1482 over 400 kilograms of gold were sent annually from El Mina ("The Mine") to Lisbon, Portugal. Led by Tengella and his son Koly, the Denianke Fulani fought a war against Mali between 1481 and 1514. Tengella invaded Zara but was defeated and killed about 1512 by the Songhay; Tengella had led the Fulani into Futa Toro and Jolof. Mali retained authority from Gambia to Casamance, and the mansa maintained diplomatic and trade relations with the Portuguese. Mansa Mahmud III in 1534 received envoys from Joao de Barros, who governed at Fort Elmina. The Portuguese transported slaves from Benin and the Kongo to Elmina to sell them to interior merchants; but Portuguese king Joao III (r. 1521-57) declared this illegal, because the slaves were becoming Muslims.
Portuguese Jews and criminals were sent to colonize the island of Sao Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea, as the slave trade was organized. In 1506 Pereira wrote that every year they were getting 3,500 slaves, plus ivory, gold, and cotton. Portuguese established sugar plantations worked by slaves on Sao Tomé, and as late as 1560 this island was exporting twice as much sugar as the Caribbean island of Española. The Portuguese took over the Cape Verde Islands in 1484 and required a license to travel to Guinea in 1514. By 1582 the Cape Verde Islands had 1600 Europeans, 400 free Africans, and 13,700 slaves. By 1600 Sao Tomé had imported 76,000 slaves as compared to 75,000 for all of Spanish America and 50,000 for Brazil. French raiders captured 300 Portuguese caravels between 1500 and 1531, and the French increased their trade on the Guinea coast. Starting in 1553, English ships began visiting and for a while were allied with the French. Captains William Towerson and George Fenner found trading difficult, because previous English privateers had raided the coast for slaves. In 1588 English queen Elizabeth granted merchants the right to trade on the Senegal and Gambia rivers. The Dutch made their first voyage to the Gold Coast in 1595, and three years later they settled at Mori, Butri, Kormantine, and Kommenda.
After tunnels collapsed near Elmina in 1622, Africans refused to go back in the mines. The next year the Portuguese went up the Ankobra River and built a fort to work a gold mine in Aowin territory. However, after an earthquake in 1636 destroyed tunnels, the Aowin people killed Portuguese, and the surviving garrison fled to Axim. In 1625 natives near Elmina repulsed an attack by 1200 Dutch troops and 150 Africans. Organization of the Dutch West India Company in 1629 for expeditions to the Gold Coast got competition two years later when the English crown chartered the Company of Adventurers of London Trading in Africa. The Dutch fortified Mori, and the English built a fort at Kormantine. The Dutch appealed to natives upset with the Portuguese and used force to take over Elmina from the Portuguese in 1637. While Portugal was preoccupied winning its independence from Spain in 1640, the Dutch captured Axim and drove the Portuguese off the Gold Coast by 1642.
In 1660 the Dutch ended their ban on exporting firearms. The
English formed a new trading company of Royal Adventurers in 1662
that included the king's brother James. Their encroachment led
to a war in 1665 with the Dutch, whose Admiral de Ruyter took
back the lost towns on the Gold Coast, causing the Royal Company
to go out of business in 1672. However, the same year the Royal
African Company was formed with the English king as a stockholder,
and between 1673 and 1704 they shipped nearly 66,000 firearms
and more than 9,000 barrels of powder to West Africa. Brandenburgers,
Swedes, and Danes sent traders. In 1693 the African Asameni tricked
a Danish garrison into giving his men guns, and they took over
the fort at Christiansborg. When the Dutch mediated, Asameni gave
the fort back for 1,600 pounds after having taken 7,000 pounds
worth of trading goods. The next year Dutch mining of a sacred
hill at Fort Vredenburg provoked a war with the Kommenda people,
who gained the Fante as allies. In 1698 the British Parliament
opened West African trade to anyone paying ten percent on exports
and imports as a license fee; but the Royal African Company complained,
because gold and slaves were exempted.
Operating from the Cape Verde Islands, the Portuguese traded for gold, ivory, hides, spices, and slaves along the Senegal and Gambia rivers, and between 1562 and 1640 they transported about 5,000 slaves per year from the southern rivers to islands and the New World. In 1621 the Dutch moved into Gorée Island. The English built Fort St. James at the mouth of the Gambia River in 1651, and the French established Saint-Louis across from the Senegal River mouth in 1659. In 1660 the leather trade peaked with 150,000 hides meeting European demand. Gorée Island was taken by the Dutch in 1629 and 1645, by the English in 1667, and by the French in 1677. The French built the Saint Joseph fort at Galam in 1700. These western-most ports were used for transporting slaves before the larger slave markets were developed in the Gulf of Guinea and Angola.
After the Mali empire declined, the Kaabu became the dominant military power in this region. Early Portuguese trade favored the coasts and broke up the Jolof confederacy. In 1660 the Hassani were fighting the Berber marabouts in Mauritania. When Amari Ngoone defeated the Buurba Jolof at Danki, he proclaimed Wolof independent and became the Damel of Kayor.
A Zawiya (religious) leader who took the title Nasir al-Din opposed the slave trade and condemned kings who killed and enslaved people. He declared a holy war (jihad) against the Hassani in 1673 and crossed the Senegal River to invade Futa Toro, Wolof, Kayor, and Jolof. Marabouts from the countryside joined his movement, defeating and killing Wolof brak Fara Kumba. Nasir al-Din set up a theocratic government using the royal puppet Yerim Kode as brak, and he imposed an Islamic tax on tribes north of the Senegal. Turmoil occurred in Kayor as the marabout Njaay Sall assassinated Mafaali Gey for not respecting the Qur'an and then proclaimed himself viceroy. In 1674 Nasir al-Din was killed in a third battle against Hassani warriors in Mauritania, and his successor 'Uthman was killed fighting the Wolof. Three succeeding imams were also defeated, as the marabout movement declined. Because trade had been suspended by the viceroys, the French at Saint-Louis intervened for the Futa Toro, Wolof, Kayor, and Jolof kings and helped them defeat the marabouts by 1677. The war disrupted agriculture, and famine followed. Marabouts fled from Futa Toro to Bundu, where Maalik Sy founded a Muslim theocracy about 1690, taking the title Almamy.
The war chiefs strengthened their control and exploited the slave trade. Lat Sukaabe Fall (r. 1695-1720) of Kayor monopolized the sale of slaves and firearms and took over the crown of Bawol. His reforms attempted to integrate the marabouts into his political system by making them government agents. French desire to control the gum trade provoked a war in 1717 that lasted ten years in Wolof. The French supported provincial chief Malixuri in his rebellion against Wolof brak Yerim Mbanik in 1724. After mediation failed, Malixuri lost company support and was defeated. Yerim Mbanik increased his power, and his brothers Aram Bakar (r. 1733-57) and Naatago (r. 1756-66) expanded Wolof hegemony, especially over Kayor which had suffered civil war. Naatago kept raising the price of slaves, and in 1758 the English took over Saint-Louis. That year the French also abandoned Fort Saint Joseph at Galam. The English helped Kayor damel Makoddu Kumba Jaaring to recover his territory from Wolof in 1765. After Naatago died, British governor O'Hara supplied arms to Moors in order to overcome Wolof power and to take more slaves. In six months of 1775 the English took more than 8,000 slaves from Wolof alone; the price of a slave in Saint-Louis was reduced to a piece of cloth.
In Futa Toro the violent climate of the war chiefs stimulated Bubakar Sire to appeal to Morocco for troops (Ormans) in 1716, and from then on they had to pay a grain tax. Power struggles led Samba Gelaajo to seize control with help of the Gaidy Ormans in 1725; but he turned from the Moors to the French and traded slaves for weapons. Later Samba was forced into exile but used his Orman army to return in 1738. The Moors dominated Futa Toro as one ruler followed another. Finally the Torodo party, led by Sulayman Baal, won a military victory at Mboya and ended the annual grain tribute to the Moors.
Because O'Hara was taking so many slaves, in 1776 the Torodo party banned all English trade with Galam. That year Sulayman Baal died and was succeeded by 'Abd al-Qadir ibn Hammadi, who was chosen for his religious learning to establish a theocracy. He defeated the Moors and made them pay tribute, overcoming the Denianke and distributing land to Torodo leaders. In 1786 he invaded Trarza, killing their emir Ely Kowri. 'Abd al-Qadir implemented land reform in Futa Toro about 1790. Kayor damel Amari Ngoone Ndeela (r. 1790-1809) renounced the previous submission to Futa Toro and killed 'Abd al-Qadir's envoy. 'Abd al-Qadir organized a military expedition with nearly 30,000 people to colonize Kayor; but Amari Ngoone's scorched-earth strategy left them thirsty and weak. 'Abd al-Qadir was taken prisoner but was magnanimously released by Amari Ngoone after he promised not to invade again. 'Abd al-Qadir invaded Wolof in 1796 and forced the burba of Jolof and the brak of Waalo to become Muslims. However, when he intervened in Bundu and wanted to attack the Bundu-Kaarta alliance, he was deposed by the Jaggorde opposition at home. He formed an alliance with Gajaaga and Xaaso but was killed in 1807 by the Bundu and Kaarta forces.
Large slave-hunts by the powerful Kaabu stimulated Fulbe and Mande marabouts in 1725 to revolt in order to gain security. The marabouts, led by Ibrahima Sambegu, declared it a jihad and defeated the non-Muslim Jallonke cattle herders; his nephew Ibrahima Sory smashed the pagan drums of Timbo. The Futa-Jallonke led the resistance and formed an alliance with Sulimana ruler Ayina Yella (r. 1730-50). After conquering Jallonke, Susu, and Pullis, in 1747 nine Muslim chiefs combined the Fulbe and Jallonke to form the theocratic Confederation of Futa Jallon under the leadership of Sambegu, who was given the titles Karamokho Alfa and Almamy. After he died about 1751, the army commander Ibrahima Sory used the excuse of jihad and an alliance with Yella-Dansa (r. 1750-54) of Sulimana to attack Farabana in 1754 and procure slaves. After Tahabaire became king of Sulimana, they attacked Farabana again the next year. This provoked a slave revolt, and some fled to Bundu, where they fortified Koundie. When Sulimana defected from the Fulbe and Jallonke alliance in 1762, Sory was defeated at Balia by Sankaran king Konde Burama. The Jallonke withdrew their support from the Fulbe, who reacted by beheading all the Jallonke chiefs of Sulimana in Futa. Tahabaire joined Konde Burama, and they took over Timbo and burned it in 1763. Tahabaire attacked Fugumba in 1767 but was driven back; yet he pillaged Limba, taking and selling 3,500 prisoners.
Sory fought back and eventually defeated Sankaran in 1776, becoming Almamy. When the council of 'ulama' (clerics) in Fugumba challenged his authority, Sory went there and beheaded those who opposed him, replaced them with his supporters, and moved the council to Timbo. So many slaves were held in Futa Jallon that several slave revolts broke out. In 1785 Mandinka slaves massacred their masters and burned the stores of rice. Sory influenced Bundu and the region, ruling Futa Jallon until 1791. Six years later his son Sadu was assassinated by supporters of Karamokho's son. The marabouts themselves had become a slave-holding class.
On the Gold Coast west of the Volta River, the Accra people destroyed the Portuguese fort at Accra in 1578 that had been there since about 1500. The Ga people, led by priests, moved into the Accra region and came into conflict with the Akwamu, reaching their peak of power during the reign of Accra king Okai Akwei (c. 1640-77). In 1659 Denkyira defeated Adansi and surrounding tribes to take control of trade routes from Assini and Axim to the coast. From 1662 to 1666 so much fighting occurred in the Accra region that Danes at Christiansborg could not get their provisions locally. The Ga army did not defend Okai Akwei, who was surrounded by the Akwamu army. He shot himself and left a curse on Accra. His son Ashangmo continued the war against the Akwamu. In 1677 the Akwamu led by Ansa Sasraku (d. 1688) using cannons took over the capital of Great Accra and drove their kings beyond the Volta to Little Popo on the Dahomey coast, where they became vassals of the Dahomey kingdom. The Akwamu made Nyanoase their capital.
As trading for gold gave way to trading for slaves, the Akwamu
tried to stop the raiding but eventually engaged in it themselves.
The Akwamu were disliked for robbing Akyem and Fante traders and
selling them to the Dutch as slaves. By 1706 English ships had
transported more than ten thousand captives in the last thirty
months from Cape Coast. In 1726 a Dutch employee wrote that gold
had become so scarce that the Gold Coast should be renamed the
"Slave Coast." In 1730 a conflict between the Akwamu
king and his maternal uncle provoked rebellions among the Akwapim
scarplands. The Dutch supplied the Akwamu with muskets, cannons,
and ammunition; but Akan chiefs in Akyem, longtime enemies of
the Abrade, sacked Nyanoase and killed the king, causing the Abrade
royal family to take refuge in different directions.
Under Oti Akenten the Asante (Ashanti) became a military people. When he died about 1660, his nephew Obiri Yeboa continued military expansion and confederated Asante tribes. Obiri Yeboa's sister Manu Kotosii had a son named Osei Kofi Tutu, who was raised at the Denkyira court of Boa Amponsem. After making the chief's sister Ako Abena Bensua pregnant, he fled to the Akwamu court. There he became friends with the priest Okomfo Anokye. When Obiri Yeboa was killed fighting the Doma, Osei Tutu was chosen chief. Okomfo Anokye and thirty Akwamus from Anum accompanied him back to Asante. The spiritual power of Okomfo Anokye helped mold the Asante into a unified nation so that they were able to overcome the Doma and the people of Tafo. The Doma chief was given a position in Osei Tutu's house, and the Tafo chief was killed. People hated and feared the domination of both the Akwamu and the Denkyira; but Okomfo Anokye brought conquered provinces into the Asante confederation as equals, respecting their customs and territory while listening to their chiefs in the Asante council called Abrempon.
The Asante had to pass through Denkyira and Adansi territory to get to the sea. When the Adansi rebelled against Denkyira and fled to Asante, the latter prepared for war against Denkyira. After Denkyira chief Bosianti died, he was succeeded by Ntim Gyakari, believed to be the son of Osei Tutu and Ako Abena Bensua. When Ntim Gyakari demanded tribute from Asante, Osei Tutu declared war in 1699. The Asante won the battle of Feyiase and captured Ntim Gyakari, whose successor Boadu Akefun swore to serve Asante. Then the Asante invaded and took over Denkyira territory. The Akyem had fought as allies of Denkyira and lost 30,000 men, becoming tributaries of Asante. The Elmina fortress, which had passed from the Kommenda to the Denkyira, was now controlled by Asante. In 1717 the Asante went to war with the Akyem Kotoku and killed their chief Ofosu Apenten; but Osei Tutu died also.
Osei Tutu was succeeded by his grandnephew Opoku Ware, who extended Asante territory to the Volta River. During this war the Sefwi raided the Asante capital at Kumasi. After his mother was killed, Opoku Ware sent Bantama chief Amankwa Tia, who defeated the Sefwi army at the Tano River and executed their ruler Abirimuru. Four years later a quarrel with the Wassaw resulted in their king dying too. The Asante army defeated Bono in 1723, threatened the Fante in 1726, and invaded Gonja in 1732. The Asante attacked Gyaman in the northwest and killed their ruler Abo Kwabena. Between 1742 and 1744 Opoku Ware's Asante armies invaded Akyem Abuakwa, Accra, Adangme, Akwamu, and Dagomba. Na Garba was captured and was released when he promised that Dagomba would send 2,000 prisoners annually to Kumasi. This caused Dagomba to engage many warriors in man-hunts within its own territory and in Gonja. By 1745 the Asante kingdom stretched from the Comoe River in the west to the Volta River in the east and beyond the Volta in the north. When Opoku Ware died in 1750, the Muslim chronicler al-Hajj Muhammad ibn Mustafa in the Kitab Ghunja criticized him for harming the people of Gonja by oppressing them and robbing their property, complaining he ruled violently as a tyrant and noting that people all around feared him greatly.
Opoku Ware was succeeded by his uncle Kusi Obodum (r. 1750-1764), who was remembered as "the chief that never killed a man if he could help it, but always commuted the death penalty to a fine."1 His nephew Osei Kwadwo (r. 1764-77) invaded Banda and Wassaw, and he punished Denkyira and Gyaman for having helped them. During a Dagomba succession dispute about 1770 the Asante used firearms against their spears and arrows to occupy their capital Yendi. Dagomba chief Garbia agreed to pay a tribute of 200 slaves annually, and the tribute continued until 1874. Osei Kwadwo continued the fighting against the Akyem, Akwapim, and Assin, even paying the Fante not to help their Assin neighbors. When the Fante broke their promise, Osei Kwadwo swore revenge; but he died. His successor Osei Kwame was only a boy, and for a decade a regent ruled Asante. No major wars occurred, and he prohibited the selling of his Asante people; but Osei Kwame was eventually deposed by the council of chiefs. His brother succeeded but died after a few weeks, making another brother, Osei Bonsu, Asantehene (Asante king) in 1801.
By 1750 the British Parliament was paying 13,000 pounds a year to maintain the forts. Rev. Thomas Thompson arrived from America in 1752 to propagate the gospel; he studied the Fante language but was only able to baptize eight people before he left in 1756. He did arrange for a few boys to go to London for an education. Philip Quacoe returned in 1765 and for a half century taught children at Cape Coast. During the Seven Years War, France tried and failed in 1757 to capture Cape Coast. Two British warships failed to take Elmina in 1780; but the next year Captain Shirley took the forts at Mori, Apam, Kormantine, and Beraku from the Dutch. A joint British military operation also captured Kommenda; but in the 1783 peace treaty of Versailles the status quo was restored, though the one fort at Sekondi taken by the Dutch had been destroyed. In 1792 the Danish governor at Christiansborg asked Osei Kwame for Asante mercenaries to fight the Fante. The British tried to stop this war between Asante and Fante, but the Asante warriors went to the coast. By then the Danish governor had died, and his successor paid the Asante to go home. Between 1750 and 1807 the British exported to West Africa 49,130,368 pounds of gunpowder and exported from West Africa slaves valued at 53,669,184 pounds.
In 1772 Granville Sharp helped a former slave from the West
Indies to keep his freedom when his former master tried to claim
him in the Somersett case that went to England's chief justice
Mansfield. Sharp befriended Africans who had been in America and
persuaded the British government to let them move to Sierra Leone
in West Africa in 1787. Most were Christians, and they named their
province Freedom. Temne chief King Tom made a treaty with the
self-governing citizens; but when he died, the Koya Temne regent
Naimbana could not read a new treaty that granted the newcomers
claim to the land. When the settlers and European slave traders
opposed Tom's successor King Jimmy, he burned their town in 1789.
Two years later the Sierra Leone Company financed the venture.
A thousand former slaves from Nova Scotia arrived in 1792 and
built Freetown. Governor John Clarkson promised them free rent;
but he left that year, and the Company demanded a small quit rent.
Religious Zachary Macaulay was an effective governor and resolved
this crisis; but when he left, armed rebellion broke out in 1800.
A British ship arrived with troops and 550 new settlers, and they
helped suppress the revolt.
Three former slaves from West Africa wrote books about their experiences that were published in England. The Letters of Ignatius Sancho (1729-80) were published by Joseph Jekyll in 1782. Sancho was born on a slave ship; on this journey to the Spanish West Indies his mother died, and his father committed suicide. Sancho was only two when he was taken to England to be a servant for two sisters. In 1773 he married and started a small grocery store. He recommended reading the Bible and believed that blessing follows virtue. His letter to novelist Laurence Sterne asked him to support the anti-slavery campaign.
Quobna Ottobah Cugoano was born in a Fante village about 1757. He was kidnapped by Africans about 1770 and sold to Europeans, who transported him to the West Indies. Taken to England in 1772, he became the servant of painters Richard and Maria Conway, who introduced him to prominent people such as William Blake. He worked with Olaudah Equiano to oppose slavery, and in 1787 he paid for the printing of his own Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species. Cugoano argued that since God created all the races, none is inferior. Although Christianity advocates duties to fellow humans, he noted that this religion has been used to dupe innocent natives. He held that those enslaving humans could not be Christians. He suggested abolishing the slave trade and enforcing it with British ships. He hoped that the British could help improve Africa, and in exchange Africans could supply labor for industry and defense. He lamented the villainy of chieftains who cause the common people to suffer because of their wars and feuds. He wrote that any robbery is wrong, but stealing people is the worst.
But the robbers of men, the kid-nappers,
ensnarers and slave-holders,
who take away the common rights and privileges of others
to support and enrich themselves,
are universally those pitiful and detestable wretches;
for the ensnaring of others,
and taking away their liberty by slavery and oppression,
is the worst kind of robbery, as most opposite
to every precept and injunction of the Divine Law,
and contrary to that command which enjoins that
all men should love their neighbors as themselves,
and that they should do unto others,
as they would that men should do to them.2
Olaudah Equiano wrote that he was an Ibo from the Niger region and that when he was twelve years old, he was abducted and taken to America, though some research indicates he may have been born in South Carolina. He served in the British navy during the Seven Years War. By trading and saving, Equiano bought his freedom from a sea captain in 1766. After a shipwreck near the Bahamas, he helped save the crew. When a captain died, he was able to take over and sail to Antigua. In England he worked with abolitionist Granville Sharp on establishing the Sierra Leone colony; but he criticized the corruption that siphoned off the needed funds for the provisions he was employed to purchase. Although the Navy Board defended him, Equiano was fired. His Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano was published in London in 1789. During the middle passage he remembered the slaves' agonies, but he also observed a white sailor who was flogged to death and dumped overboard. He reminded the Europeans that their ancestors had once been uncivilized like the Africans. He blamed European traders for causing many tribal wars between Africans. He was proud that the Ibos were hardy and intelligent with integrity and zeal. The main purpose of his book was to persuade people to abolish slavery. In addition to the obvious human rights violations and the cruelty he witnessed, he argued that the slave trade was not economically viable. Equiano promoted his book and the abolitionist cause by going on lecture tours throughout the British Isles. His book was a financial success, and he married an Englishwoman in 1792. John Wesley liked Equiano's Narrative so much that he had it read aloud to him on his deathbed.
In the Niger delta Ogio was the tenth king of Nembe and began his reign about 1639. During the reign of his son Peresuo, tribes developed the House system. Becoming a member of the sekiapu society depended on developing talent in music, dance, drumming, and understanding drum language. Sekiapu helped administer justice by enforcing a code of conduct on their members, collecting debts, and punishing offenders. Others who punished were the peri ogbo warriors, who had slain an enemy, taken a captive, or killed a dangerous animal. Nembe society divided in two in the mid-18th century when Mingi feuded with his cousin Ogbodo and took his throne at Ogbolomabiri. Ogbodo simply moved across the river and set up his kingdom at Bassambiri. Mingi gained wealth by smithing, farming, and trading slaves. He was succeeded by his three sons Ikata, Gboro, and Kulo, who was said to have ruled until 1830. King Ikata got help from Okpoma ruler Goli in his war against the Kalabari of Bile.
After Elem Kalabari was burned down, wealthy Amakiri of Endeme led the restoration effort. He traded for slaves to restore the population after a war with the Okrika. Amakiri's diplomatic methods of expanding his influence were in contrast to Agbaniye Ejike of Bile. On the shore the Bonny were ruled in the 18th century by Perekule, his son, and grandson Opubo. Wars could be provoked by piracy, head-hunting, and slave raids. The Nembe, Bonny, and Okrika each had a war god; but the primarily deity of the Kalambari was peaceful. The Kalabari Ke used religious sanctions to make peace, in the 19th century letting the British consul be the arbitrator. In the mid-18th century Okrika king Igo attacked and devastated Amakiri's city but died. The Kalambari turned to slave trading to replenish their manpower and used the Koronogbo system to assimilate slaves faster. Delta states trading slaves to Europeans became distribution centers for European merchandise. Tribes gained arms for slaves and became dangerous to their neighbors, who often armed themselves in self-defense. Salt cakes and metals were also highly valued.
The Benin empire of Nigeria was east of the Oyo River. They
settled succession disputes for the Ibo rulers by keeping the
rejected candidate as a sword-bearer and sending back the new
king. The Portuguese founded Christian missions in Benin and Warri
in the 16th century. In the 1640s Benin supplied the Dutch and
British with large amounts of cloth. In the second half of the
18th century Benin opened their ports to slave trading so that
they could import Brazilian tobacco, cowrie shells from the Indian
Ocean, brass pans, and brandy.
West of the Niger River, the Aja felt the impact of Europeans before the inland Yorubas at Oyo. After the Moroccans conquered the Songhay in 1591, the Oyo began moving south toward the coast. Horses helped them conquer the grasslands. The Nupe drove the Oyo from their homes but were defeated by Oyo king Ajiboyede. Oyo expansion in the Yoruba country was continued by kings Abipa and Obalokun. Under Ajagbo's improvement of the military the Oyo cavalry reached the coast, conquering Weme. A series of unpopular rulers led to an army mutiny against Odarawu for carrying on a vendetta.
Early in the 17th century the Dutch put agents in Assim in the Aja kingdom of Allada, and the French sent Capuchin missionaries in 1640. The Allada king even sent an envoy to Paris in 1670, but the Aja would not sign a trade agreement he considered unfair. The French established a trading station at Whydah the next year, giving Allada an economic rival. The English established their factory for slave trading at Allada in 1674 and began trading at Whydah in 1681. The Dutch arrived the next year and Brandenburgers in 1684.
About 1625 a younger brother was forced off the Allada throne and migrated north. His followers killed the local leader Da. Dogbagrigenu still did not have land for a kingdom; but he was succeeded by his son Dukodonu, who conquered enough territory and was crowned Dahomey king. The next king, Wegbaja, reigned from about 1650 for thirty years; he encouraged agriculture, trained his warriors, and used new tactics such as surprise night raids to expand his domain. This new kingdom in the Abomey plateau emphasized merit and service to the king over lineage. Dahomeans turned away Allada slave raiders in 1671 and 1688 and made them negotiate. Akaba ruled Dahomey from about 1680 until 1708, coming into conflict with the Weme people but increasing Dahomey to forty towns.
In 1680 the Oyo went to war against the Aja of Allada and Dahomey for two years. Then Oyo warriors withdrew; but civil wars resulted in which European mercenaries participated, as traders tried to set up favorable kings. In 1698 Allada citizens appealed to Oyo when the basorun was ruling for the young Ayibi. When his messengers told the king of Allada to put his kingdom in order, the king had them killed. This outrage provoked another Oyo invasion, though the Allada king escaped. Whydah was the most important slaving port in the region and was used by the British, Portuguese, Dutch, Brazilians, and the French. In 1703 the Europeans signed a treaty making the port neutral so that it would not be attacked because of European wars, and two years later Allada and Whydah agreed to let each other trade with the Europeans. Unfortunately when Whydah's king Aisan died in 1708, European traders enthroned 13-year-old Huffon (r. 1708-27) in violation of the Whydah constitution, causing a trade war with Allada. In 1712 a Dutch ship attacked a Portuguese trading vessel in the Allada harbor, and the Portuguese declared war on Whydah. The next year Huffon dismissed his advisors and turned to foolish young men, and the war dragged on for a decade.
Meanwhile in 1708 the Dahomey king Akaba was succeeded by his younger brother Agaja Trudo. He trained boys to be warriors by letting them witness battles, armed women as guards, and sent out spies called agbadjigbeto. In 1724 Agaja took advantage of a succession dispute in Allada to occupy the city. Two years later Oyo invaded Dahomey, and peace talks began; but in 1727 the Dahomeans led by Agaja invaded Whydah as the incompetent Huffon fled to the Popo islands. The rainy season ended the negotiations; but the Oyo invaded Dahomey again the next year, only to find that Agaja had burned and evacuated his Abomey capital. After the Oyo soldiers left, the Dahomeans returned and began rebuilding. In 1729 the Oyo army was prepared for this tactic and brought supplies and killed more Dahomeans. The Oyo army returned once again in 1730, and Agaja agreed to pay Oyo an annual tribute. Allada became the Dahomey capital for the next thirteen years, and the new kingdom of Ajase later became known as Porto Novo. Dahomey prince Tegbesu went to Oyo as a hostage, and each king married the other's daughter.
During this war Agaja had made the slave trade a royal monopoly and executed violators. In 1725 Agaja had sent an envoy to England to say he wanted Europeans without slave ships. In 1729 he had an English fort commander executed for opposing him with Whydah collaborators. After signing the 1730 treaty Agaja negotiated with Englishman Edward Deane and agreed to cooperate with European slave traders; but all trading was to be done at Whydah. Dahomey's monopoly on slave trading became its main source of income, and in 1733 Agaja appointed one Yovogan for trading with all the Europeans. The death of Huffon weakened the resistance in Whydah. Agaja had some top officials executed, and others fled. These conflicts caused the Europeans to trade for slaves elsewhere, and Dahomey had trouble meeting its tribute payments to Oyo. After Agaja attacked Badagry in 1737, Oyo invaded Dahomey two years later. Agaja fled his wasted kingdom and died in 1740.
Former hostage Tegbesu won the succession struggle for the impoverished kingdom of Dahomey. He put to death his opponents and sold their supporters as slaves. Pressed for money to pay the tribute, Tegbesu executed the rich; but he let chiefs appoint trading agents and moved the capital back to Abomey in 1743. For the next five years Oyo invaded Dahomey several times until Tegbesu renewed the 1730 treaty. He decreed that only a son could succeed to the throne. In 1751 he designated his oldest son; but the French would not let the prince go to France for an education. In 1754 Tegbesu had himself declared dead to test his new law. He found it worked and reformed Dahomey administration according to Oyo institutions. In 1763 Popo and the old Whydah attacked the Dahomean port of Igelefe, which required assistance from the English fort. Slave trading increased and made Dahomey prosperous, but by 1767 European ships were using other ports. By the time he died in 1774 Tegbesu had expelled four French and four Portuguese directors for being disloyal to him. He believed it is better to trade than to make war and helped refurbish the European trading houses. Tegbesu passed a law to make his subjects sell their slaves.
Tegbesu attacked the Mahi in the mountains and gained sovereignty over them. The mother of his son and successor Kpengla (r. 1774-89) was a Mahi. Kpengla organized war parties, and these policies removed manpower from their kingdom. In 1779 he ordered roads made thirty feet wide and put clan chiefs in charge of their construction. Kpengla's son Agonglo found Dahomey in economic depression when he became king in 1789. He asked the Portuguese for help; but they demanded he become a Christian. When Agonglo announced he was going to be baptized, his subjects objected, and he was murdered in 1797. After a short civil war, Agonglo's son Adandozan gained the throne; but the troubles continued until he was deposed by Gezo in 1818.
In Oyo the basorun Gaha favored military expansion; but the Alafin kings, backed by wealthy traders, wanted to exploit the domestic economy. The Oyo army fought off an attack by 2,000 Asante soldiers in 1764. The Gaha faction was stronger until the trader Abiodun became king in 1770. After Gaha was overthrown in 1774, the export of slaves increased. Within two years Porto Novo had become the leading port for the slave trade. Abiodun kept Oyo free of foreign wars and domestic conflicts until the Bariba subjects revolted in 1783. He sent Kpengla to suppress rebellions and died in 1789. Abiodun's successor Awole (r. 1789-97) also promoted trade; but new revolts broke out every other year. Oyo lost sovereignty over the non-Yoruba provinces in the north after being defeated by Nupe in 1791. Two Alafins failed to gain the throne in 1797.
In 1498 Vasco da Gama reached Mozambique and Mombasa, and the next year he bombarded Mogadishu. Kilwa had long prospered from the gold trade at Sofala and was reached by Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500. Da Gama imposed tribute two years later, and in 1503 Ruy Lourenço Ravasco collected tribute from Zanzibar. In 1505 the Portuguese led by Francisco d'Almeida built a fort at Sofala near the mouth of the Zambezi River before sacking and garrisoning Kilwa; Mombasa, Hoja, and Brava were only plundered. At Mozambique the Portuguese built a hospital, church, factory, warehouse and fort in 1507. Only Mogadishu was strong enough to maintain its independence from these attacks. By 1512 the Portuguese garrison and Franciscans left Kilwa, and Sofala also suffered because of lack of gold. Nuno da Cunha plundered Mombasa again in 1528. The Turks raided the east coast down to Malindi in 1540. By then posts were established at Sena and Tete for gold mining up the river. The Portuguese destroyed the shipping at Mogadishu in 1541. Led by Francisco Barrero, they invaded the Zambezi lowlands in 1571 and massacred Muslim traders. Another Portuguese invasion three years later forced the Uteve ruler to pay tribute to Sofala. Yet the Mutapa state managed to retain its independence on the eastern plateau.
In 1585 Turks led by Emir 'Ali Bey caused revolts from Mogadishu to Mombasa against the Portuguese landlords; only Malindi remained loyal to Portugal. Zimba cannibals overcame the towns of Sena and Tete on the Zambezi, and in 1587 they took Kilwa, killing 3,000 people. At Mombasa the Zimba slaughtered the Muslim inhabitants; but they were halted at Malindi by the Bantu-speaking Segeju and went home. This stimulated the Portuguese to take over Mombasa a third time in 1589, and four years later they built Fort Jesus to administer the region. Between Lake Malawi and the Zambezi mouth, Kalonga Mzura made an alliance with the Portuguese in 1608 and fielded 4,000 warriors to help defeat their rival Zimba, who were led by chief Lundi.
A Portuguese captain made Malindi king al-Hasan bin Ahmad sultan of Mombasa, but arrogant commandants irritated him. In 1614 he went to the Portuguese viceroy at Goa in India to complain. When he returned to Mombasa the next year, he fled to the Nikiya tribe and was assassinated for a Portuguese bribe. The highest ecclesiastical court in Portugal ruled that the king was wrongly murdered and that his son Yusuf bin al-Hasan was his rightful heir. Yusuf was then educated at Goa and baptized as Dom Jeronimo Chingulia by the Augustinian order. He returned with a Portuguese wife to rule Mombasa in 1630. The next year a Portuguese spy saw him praying like a Muslim at his father's grave and reported it to Portuguese captain Pedro Leitao de Gamboa; but the spy also informed King Yusuf about this. Yusuf stabbed the captain as 300 of his followers took over Fort Jesus from the garrison. Some who refused to convert to Islam were killed, and 400 were sold as slaves. A Portuguese fleet with a thousand troops arrived the next year but could not retake Mombasa. Yusuf captured two ships and fled to Pate. Portuguese captain Francisco de Seixas de Cabreira hunted him down there and rejected a bribe of 4,000 paradaos. He punished Pate in 1636 by beheading 200 of their leaders and chopping down 10,000 coconut trees, demanding 8,000 paradaos; Siu and Manda were forced to pay heavy tribute and destroy their defensive walls. Yusuf escaped, but while trying to get Turkish support he died at Jidda in 1638.
Arabs in Oman led by Nasir ibn Murshid rose up against the Portuguese in 1643 by capturing the fort at Sohar. In 1650 they expelled the Portuguese from the trading port of Muscat. They built a fleet and responded to appeals from Mombasa by attacking the Portuguese on Zanzibar in 1652. The Otondo queen of Pemba accepted the imam of Oman and paid tribute. Captain Cabreira from Mombasa quickly arrived to burn her town and attack the Omani ships at Pemba. In 1660 the Omani navy landed at Mombasa and drove the Portuguese into Fort Jesus. Nine years later eighteen Omani ships invaded Mozambique but could not capture the Portuguese fort. In 1678 Portuguese viceroy Dom Pedro de Almeida from Goa assaulted Pate and set up his headquarters in the mosque. The Portuguese were supported by the Faza king who brought a thousand Wagunya allies, though 200 of them mutinied and were massacred. The soldiers raided Pate and the cities of Siu, Lamu, and Manda, and Almeida ordered the four kings of these cities beheaded. After Omani troops from four ships arrived three days later, the Portuguese fled, leaving behind half of their ivory booty.
In August 1686 Joao Antunes Portugal organized political support in Mombasa for an attack on Pate but did not take the island until Arab ships withdrew a year later. The people of Pate did not resist and promised to pay 17,000 crusados. Within a few weeks Portugal arrested the king and twelve elders and sent them to Goa, where they were executed on Christmas Day 1688. A year before that, an Arab fleet from Muscat had arrived at Pate, and Portugal had retreated back to Mombasa. In 1694 the island of Pemba overthrew the Portuguese masters. Two years later the Omani fleet besieged Mombasa as the population of 2,500 fled into Fort Jesus. The Zanzibar queen sent supplies to this last Portuguese bastion in East Africa, but the Portuguese failed to relieve the fort. They held out for 33 months, dying of hunger and smallpox before the last thirteen survivors surrendered to the Arabs. The Omanis then sent garrisons to Pemba, Kilwa, and other cities.
The Omanis governing Mombasa were of the Mazrui lineage. The Portuguese occupied Mombasa once more in 1728. The same year the king of Pate agreed to garrison 150 Portuguese soldiers and give Portugal a monopoly on ivory. After the people of Pate refused to build the fort and burned down half of Pate, the king sold the Portuguese a ship to return to Goa. In Mombasa townsmen joined by Musungulos murdered some Portuguese outside the fort in April 1729, taking the outpost fort at Makupa. Other towns rebelled against the Portuguese also, and in November 1729 the Portuguese abandoned Mombasa for good. The Omani Arabs soon arrived and took over Pate and Mombasa. After Sohar governor Ahmad bin Sa'id founded the al-Busa'idi dynasty of Oman in 1744, the Mazrui leader Muhammad bin Uthman proclaimed himself governor of Mombasa. Soon Pate, Malindi, Pemba, Zanzibar, and Mafia became independent also. In 1745 Bwana Mkuu took power on Pate. The next year Omani agents murdered Muhammad bin Uthman and imprisoned his Mazrui brother 'Ali ibn Athman, who escaped, rallied the people, overthrew the new governor, and executed the assassins. 'Ali (r. 1746-55) proclaimed himself sultan at Mombasa and seized Pemba, but a family quarrel prevented him from taking over Zanzibar. His successor Mas'ud ibn Nasir (r. 1756-73) cooperated with Pate and developed Mombasa's relationship with the inland Nyika, extending Mazrui influence from Pangani to Malindi.
The Portuguese attempts to exploit East Africa for its gold,
ivory, and slaves had little positive effect except for the foods
they introduced from America. Cassava was brought from Brazil
to Mozambique in 1750 and gradually spread. A Portuguese governor
remained at Mozambique and in 1756 sent spies to Mombasa and Muscat.
Another Portuguese attempt to attack Mombasa in 1769 failed. Omanis
had revived Kilwa by developing the ivory and slave trades for
the French, who acquired the Mascarene Islands; but in 1771 the
Omani governor was driven out of Kilwa. Portuguese conflicts with
the Makua disturbed Mozambique, which was competing with Swahili
and Arab merchants. The French had occupied the island of Mauritius
in 1714, and the number of slaves increased steadily. In 1776
French trader Jean-Vincent Morice made an agreement with the sultan
of Kilwa to purchase one thousand slaves a year for twenty piastres
each to supply the French plantations on the islands of Mauritius
and Bourbon. After Oman ruler Ahmad ibn Sa'id died in 1784, Saif
ibn Ahmad claimed the throne. His son Ali conquered Kilwa, but
Zanzibar held out with its governor. Eventually Zanzibar and Kilwa
surrendered to the new Omani ruler.
The Portuguese signed treaties with chiefs in western Madagascar
in 1613, and a Jesuit mission went up the river Manambovo to Sadia
three years later. A civil war broke out and affected the founding
of the Sakalava kingdom of Menabe. In the Luso-Dutch treaty of
1641 the Portuguese claimed western Madagascar; but mostly they
used it to supply slaves to the Dutch East India Company, which
had taken over Mauritius for its timber. The French built Fort
Dauphin in 1643, but they abandoned it in 1674; their governor
Etienne de Flacourt (r. 1648-58) wrote two books about Madagascar.
A census taken at Barbados in the West Indies at the end of the
17th century found that half of their 32,473 slaves were from
Madagascar. In the 18th century Madagascar supplied thousands
of slaves to the French plantations on Mauritius and Bourbon (Réunion).
In the central Imerina Romboasalama overthrew his uncle Ambohimanga
about 1785 and proclaimed himself King Andrianampoinimerina. By
1792 he had eliminated two other local kings and moved his capital
After 1500 Bito kings from Bunyoro sent out raiding parties, and their chiefs took over tribes such as the Haya of Kiziba, Kooki, Toro, Busoga, and Buganda in the region northwest of Lake Victoria. These chiefs set up independent kingdoms; but they became overextended. This region suffered four terrible droughts that began in 1588 and included a five-year famine that ended in 1621. People believed these natural disasters were "sent by God" and so called this period the Nyarubanga, during which many people migrated. About 1650 Ankole defeated the Bunyoro army, and Ganda king Katarega expanded his realm by war west to Mawokota, Gomba, Butambala, and Singo. Bunyoro men were usually busy cultivating the land, since they believed it was wrong for women to do this work. The Ganda ate mostly bananas and could leave the work of supplying food to the women. With a centralized kabaka (king) the Buganda kingdom was more stable. Kabaka Tebandeke (c. 1644-74) increased his royal power by reforming the exploitation of the religious rituals. So as not to be dependent on Bunyoro for iron and smiths, Mawanda (c. 1674-1704) expanded Buganda territory into Singo, eastern Kyaggwe, and Bulamogi. His officials became more influential than the local chiefs. After 1700 Buganda avoided succession struggles by letting two senior officials choose the new kabaka. Junja annexed Buddu and got Kooki to pay tribute. Kabaka Kamanya took Buwekula from Bunyoro and developed a trade route to the coast.
Bunyoro still suffered many succession disputes, and Omukama Isansa (c. 1733-60) persecuted his opponents in Paluo, causing them to migrate to Acholi in northern Busoga. His wars in the south provoked Kooki and the Busongora states of Kisaka and Bugaya eventually to become independent of the Bunyoro empire. Isansa alienated the Cwezi cult by attacking the Wamara palace in Bwera. Because of this sacrilege, people believed that Buganda would swallow up Bunyoro.
Before the slave trade and European guns, most Africans lived and traded more peacefully with each other and the Arabs or Indians on the coast. The Masai tribes east of Lake Victoria were exceptional in that they were trained to be warriors and limited their consumption to the products of their herds. After 1700 the number of slaves captured in the interior of east and central Africa by Omani Arabs and Portuguese increased to about one or two thousand per year by 1750; but the French escalated this to supply their plantation labor on the islands of Mauritius and Bourbon.
Portuguese explorers had reached the kingdom of the Kongo by 1483. Eight years later a Kongo embassy went to Lisbon, and by 1506 the Kongo king was baptized as Afonso I; the Portuguese renamed his Mbanza capital Sao Salvador. The Portuguese tried to impose a feudal hierarchy on this king. They sent an embassy to Ngola in 1520, and Balthasar de Castro was held captive for six years. In 1526 Afonso complained to his "royal brother" in Lisbon that their population was being depleted as people were captured for slavery; but he was not able to expel the Portuguese. Raiding the country for slaves made enemies in Mbundu; four to five thousand slaves were being shipped annually from the Kongo. In 1532 Portugal required that all trade with the Ngola be through the Kongo.
Ngola Inene requested missionaries in 1557, and three years later Jesuits arrived with ambassador Paolo Dias; but the next year the Ngola stopped cooperating with the Portuguese and held the Jesuits captive until 1565. Afonso II became Kongo king that year but was killed at mass. Jaga cannibals invaded the land west of the Kwango River and sacked Sao Salvador in 1568; but the Kongo kingdom was defended by 600 Portuguese musketeers from Sao Tomé, reinstating Kongo king Alvaro I in 1574.
In 1571 the Portuguese chartered the royal colony of Angola (named after the title ngola) around Luanda, and three years later colonizers set out to settle in western Kimbundu. The Jaga turned toward Angola and eventually settled in the area by the Kwango they had conquered from Yaka. The Portuguese also wanted the silver from the Ndongo mountains; a century of wars over this began in 1575, causing Ndongo to become depopulated. Paolo Dias de Novais had tried to found a colony on the coast of Ndongo for mining silver in the Cunza valley; but this failed, and Luanda became a center for the slave trade instead. The Portuguese suffered major defeats by the Ngola in 1585 and five years later by a coalition army of Ndongo, Kongo, Matamba, and Jaga. About 1600 a Luba king named Kibinda Ilunga moved west and founded a new state among the Lunda in the south by the Kasai River. The Portuguese sent reinforcements, and in 1607 Angola governor Manuel Pereira Forjaz was able to make peace with Mbundu for four years; but his successor Bento Banha Cardoso launched campaigns against Mbundu and their ngola. By 1612 the Portuguese were shipping about 10,000 slaves a year from Angola. In 1618 Luis Mendes de Vasconcellos invaded the heartland of the Ndongo kingdom and destroyed the royal compound.
Kongo king Alvaro II (r. 1587-1614) asked for technical assistance from the Portuguese but got little. Alvaro III (r. 1614-22) brought in the Jesuits in 1619, and their influence began to surpass that of the mestizo clergy. Kongo and Angola quarreled over Luanda Island, and in 1622 Angola governor Joao Correia de Souza invaded the Kongo, trying to gain more slaves and territory with mines. Mbundu queen Nzinga Mbande (1580-1663) became the ruler, and the next year she went to Luanda to negotiate peace, trade, and less slave capturing. The Portuguese governor baptized her; but Portuguese troops helping her fight the plundering Imbangala warriors resulted in the Kimbundu fleeing to the east, where she settled in Matamba. The Imbangala established the state of Kasanje in the Kwango valley. The wars between Angola and the Kongo would go on for a half century.
Early in the 17th century the Dutch had developed trade in Sohio, the western province of Kongo, and in 1641 a Dutch slaving fleet captured Luanda. Queen Nzinga protected Matamba from the Portuguese by making an alliance with the Dutch. In 1648 Salvador Correia de Sa came from Brazil and drove the Dutch out of Angola, forcing Nzinga to retreat back to Matamba, which developed into a commercial center that included the slave trade. In 1651 Portuguese king Joao IV exempted Capuchins from laws against foreigners in his empire as long as they asked his permission and sailed from Lisbon. Capuchins and the Jesuits studied Bunda and other native dialects, and Vitralla published a short grammar. In 1655 Nzinga sent warriors to attack a small Christian tribe led by Pombo Somba on the Kongo border; but she repented and made peace with the Portuguese. She persuaded her witchdoctors to accept her Christian faith. Lisbon ratified the treaty in 1657, and Nzinga was baptized again at Luanda. In 1664 Ndongo ngola Ari II by defeating local chiefs took control of trade routes in order to tax caravans between Luanda and the Kongo; but in 1671 the Luanda governor captured the Ndongo royal family and sent them to a monastery in Portugal, building a fort in their last capital.
Garcia II (r. 1641-61) consolidated power over Kongo. He invited Italian Capuchins in 1645. When Georges de Geel was killed in 1653 for interfering with local shrines, Garcia protected the Capuchins. Garcia tried to make peace with Luanda governor Salvador de Sa, but they could not agree. Garcia died and was succeeded by Antonio; but at Mbwila (Ambuila) in 1665 the Angolan army of 360 Europeans and 7,000 Africans defeated and killed Antonio and 400 Kongo nobles. In 1670 another army led by the Portuguese was defeated at Soyo in a failed attempt to conquer Kongo. By then the Kongo region was exporting about 15,000 slaves each year. The Catholics preferred to sell slaves to the Dutch, because they took them to the Spanish Indies, and in 1687 the English Royal African Company complained to the Ngoyo kings they were being charged higher prices for slaves. Two years later when the Soyo army attacked Ngoyo, British marines tried to help defend Ngoyo but lost their artillery. Soyo and Ngoyo made a treaty in 1690, and the British merchants were allowed to stay in Ngoyo.
In 1701 Soyo prince Antonio III wrote to the Pope, asking him to over-rule the Angola bishop and allow them to sell slaves to anyone. The war resumed. An old woman named Mafuto had a vision of the Virgin and claimed that Jesus was angry at the people of Kibangu and Pedro IV for not restoring the city. In August 1704 20-year-old Beatriz Kimpa Vita fell sick and then claimed that she had been taken over by saint Antonio (Anthony). She criticized the greed and jealousy of Capuchin priest Bernardo de Gallo and protested that Pedro did not occupy Sao Salvador and end the war. She preached that God cares more about intention than rituals such as baptism, and her following grew, sending out other Antonios. She modified Catholic teachings to support African saints and a nationalist movement. Although she taught chastity, Beatriz had two abortions and then a son. On July 2, 1706 she and her son were burned to death by order of the royal council; even her bones were burned so that no relics would remain. The wars and slave trade continued, and many of the slaves exported were Antonians. In the next decade British traders exported more than 65,000 slaves from this region. The Kongo kingdom broke up into local chiefdoms until the Kimbangu defeated Joao Manuel II and put Pedro IV on the Mbanza Kongo throne at Sao Salvador in 1709. In 1716 Joao II reclaimed the Kongo throne.
In 1765 the Holo signed a treaty recognizing the sovereignty of the Portuguese, agreeing to allow freedom of religion, access to missionaries, and not to fight against Matamba. During the 18th century the Portuguese exported between 5,000 and 10,000 slaves per year from Luanda. Independent slave trading by people in Ovimbundu through the kingdom of Sela provoked the Portuguese to wage war against Ovimbundu for three years starting in 1774; but the Ovimbundu's Mambari caravans continued to prosper, as they used their military skills to raid for slaves and cattle. In the second half of the 18th century an estimated 50,000 guns were imported into this region.
Joao V (r. 1706-50) had reigned over the Portuguese empire
in relative peace, but changes in Portugal under King José
(r. 1750-77) stimulated Angola to favor large Lisbon companies.
The dictatorial Sebastiao José de Carvalho e Mello wanted
to combine the power of the Inquisition with secular control,
as in England. The Jesuits in Brazil opposed slavery, and in 1758
he expelled the Jesuits from the Portuguese empire, affecting
Angola, the Zambesi, and Mozambique. They had done much good work
educating Bantu tribes and were missed. Tribes in the Inhambe
fields revolted and massacred a town. Francisco Innocencio de
Sousa Coutinho (r. 1764-72) encouraged commerce with Portugal
and Brazil and tried to diversify the Angola economy with an iron
industry, cotton production, a soap factory, and salt pans. He
favored paying both whites and blacks fair wages. Lencastere became
governor in 1772 and implemented Carvalho's order to make sure
all education was in Portuguese and Latin and to destroy all religious
materials in the natives' own language. Finally in 1777 Carvalho
was removed from office, and the Angola chronicle recorded it
as a time of redemption and joy. The new bishop resumed the teaching
of the Kimbundu language in 1784. Although the Portuguese banned
the hunting of slaves by Africans or Europeans, African prisoners
of war and convicted criminals could be sold as slaves. At the
end of the century the slave trade with Brazil still accounted
for 88% of Angola's revenues, while ivory exported to Portugal
provided less than five percent.
On the east side of Africa the Portuguese occupied Mozambique Island in 1507 and built Fort Sao Sebastiao there in 1558, sending settlers up the Zambezi River to Sena and Tete. The Mutapa emperor ordered Conçalo da Silveira killed in 1560, because he believed the missionary had led Portuguese invaders. A year after Sebastiao became king of Portugal in 1568, he sent Francisco Barreto to govern Mozambique and to explore the mineral resources of the mwanamutapa kingdom. In 1573 the Portuguese gained gold mines in a treaty with Nogomo, who wanted a garrison near his capital at Masapa and trade with the coast. In 1585 Portuguese soldiers tried to punish a Makua maurasa (chief) for his ravaging the coastland; but the Makua slaughtered most of the detachment and established their capital at Tugulu (Uticulo), which governed Macuana for three centuries. After mwanamutapa Gatsi Rusere (c. 1589-1627) succeeded Nogomo, the Zimba attacked his territory in the Zambezi valley in 1592. When a tribe attacked his gold fields five years later, a domestic conflict provoked a rebellion led by Matuzianhe. Gatsi Rusere got assistance from Portuguese traders at Masapa, Tete, and Sena, and after 1599 he allowed the Portuguese to enter his kingdom with guns. In 1607 the trader Diogo Simoe Madeira persuaded Gatsi Rusere to cede the mineral wealth of his kingdom to the crown of Portugal.
Luba kings rose to power in the Kongo grasslands in the 16th century. Some of them wandered to Malawi and shared their form of government. The main Malawi chief was called kalonga after a Luba hero who led a migration. Kalonga Mzura sent 4,000 Malawi warriors to help the Portuguese fight the Shona during their invasion in support of mwanamutapa Gatsi Rusere south of the Zambezi in 1608. The same year the Makua helped the Portuguese defend Fort Sao Sebastiao from a Dutch siege. The Portuguese returned the favor by helping the Malawi against Mzura's rival lundu. However, after Gatsi Rusere died, Mzura led the Malawi across the Zambezi, expanding his territory toward the seaboard of Mozambique. In 1628 an army of 250 Portuguese and a reported 30,000 Africans defeated Gatsi Rusere's successor Kapararidze, and the next year they killed many chiefs and took power from the mwanamutapa, making a treaty with Mavura, whom they put on the throne. In 1667 the Portuguese official Manoel Barreto reported that the main reason the gold trade had declined was because violence by the Portuguese against the Africans caused them to leave. In the 18th century the Portuguese believed that the Malawi kalonga had diminished influence also.
Further west the Portuguese did not penetrate the Urozwi of Zimbabwe until after the Nguni invaded in the 19th century. In 1684 their changamire (ruler) Dombo drove the Portuguese out of Sena despite their guns. This enabled the mwanamutapa to invade the western territory of the Urozwi; but in 1693 the mwanamutapa and Urozwi joined together and killed many Portuguese soldiers and settlers at Dambarare. Yet in 1750 Sena governor Francisco de Melo e Castro praised the peace and security of the kingdom ruled by the changamire. Mozambique captain general Baltasar Pereira do Lago (1765-77) supported missions and hospitals but had to build a fort at Mossuril to respond to Makua raids. He said that the changamire treated the inhabitants of Zumbo with the "most civilized justice." Pereira had been exiled to Africa by Carvalho and was ordered to double the duties on ships going from Mozambique to Delagoa Bay, enabling foreign ships to undersell the Portuguese. Carvalho gave extensive instructions but little practical support. Arabs and Banyans were prohibited from entering Mozambique from India.
The Portuguese began trading for ivory from the interior as
far west as Zambia when they founded a market at Zumbo in 1714.
Feira was established across the Dwangwa River in 1732. Portugal
granted prazos (estates) to settlers to encourage colonization,
and these prazeros assumed the power to wage war, impose
tribute, and exploit the labor of the Makua, Manganja, Sena, Kalanga,
Tonga, Tawara, Nsenga, and the Tumbuka. About 1740 they began
mining gold north of the Zambezia in the kingdom of Undi, who
had conquered the Nsenga. As the gold and ivory trade declined,
the Portuguese turned more to the slave trade, which dominated
the Kilwa market after 1770. In 1798 Francis de Lacerda organized
the opening of a trade route from the Zambesi to the chief Kazembe
with the goal of reaching Angola, but he died of malaria along
the way. The chaplain Pinto replaced him, and Kazembe persuaded
them to leave their gifts with him and turn back. Fear of an invasion
by the French or English prevented another expedition for several
South of Zimbabwe lived the Tsonga, Venda, and the Sotho, who believed that their well-being depended on the health of their chief. The Nguni cultivated the soil, and the Khoikhoi kept herds and hunted along the southern coast of Africa. In 1488 Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias met the Khoikhoi, and he named the Cape of Good Hope. In 1500 he erected a cross but died in a storm. De Almeida, the Portuguese viceroy of India, was killed fighting the Khoikhoi in 1510 at Table Bay. The pastoral Khoikhoi were called Hottentots, and the short-statured San, who primarily hunted and gathered, were called Bushmen. The English explorer James Lancaster began bartering with the Khoikhoi in 1594. Cornelius Matelief was the first Dutchman to barter for sheep at Table Bay in 1608. The Khoikhoi bartered cattle for copper and then brass. When the prices went up, a Gorachouqua Khoikhoi named Goree was abducted in 1613 and taken to London. He begged to return to his warm country. In 1617 he persuaded the English to give their convict settlers guns to fight his enemy, the Cochoqua. The outnumbered British withdrew; but Goree got the Dutch to raid the Chochoqua. Goree still preferred the English, and in 1626 Dutch sailors killed him for refusing to trade with them. A Khoikhoi named Autshumao went on a ship to Java about 1631 and learned English. He was called Harry and passed messages to English travelers at the Cape until he died in 1663. The Dutch ship Haerlem was wrecked at Table Bay in 1647, and the sailors built a fortress on the beach.
In 1652 about ninety men led by Jan van Riebeeck established a refreshment station at Table Bay for the Netherlands East India Company (VOC). Vegetables and fruit were cultivated to help prevent sailors from getting scurvy. Riebeeck was forbidden to capture slaves, but they began importing slaves from Angola and Guinea in 1658. That year free farmers went on their first strike against the Company, and the next year Goringhaiqua interpreter Doman led a Khoikhoi rebellion against Dutch encroachment. The Dutch built a stone fort, planted an almond hedge, and brought more settlers. In July 1673 Jeronimus Cruse raided Cochoqua livestock, taking 800 cattle and 900 sheep. This and more land seizure provoked the second Khoikhoi war that lasted four years. Horses imported from Batavia (Java) gave the Dutch a military advantage, and in June 1677 Cochoqua chief Gonnema promised to pay an annual tribute of 30 cattle. By 1679 the European population was up to 259, and Cape governor Simon van der Stel (1679-99) founded Stellenbosch to expand the colony.
In 1685 visiting commissioner Hendrik van Reede noted that 57 children had white fathers; so he decreed that male slaves could buy their freedom for 100 guilders at age 25 and females at 22 if they could speak Dutch and joined the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1688 two hundred Huguenots were granted land, mostly at Franschhoek. Unable to compete in the labor market against slaves, Dutch "trekboers" with Khoikhoi servants began wandering outside of the Company's control to find grazing land and water for their livestock. In 1690 four slaves revolted at Stellenbosch; but three were killed, and the other was imprisoned. Runaways and slaves caught stealing were often hanged. A slave using violence against an owner could be tortured on the wheel that broke bones. Laws against sexual relations between white men and slaves were often broken, and Europeans occasionally married African women. Disobedient slaves could be flogged.
Wheat was exported, and in 1700 the Dutch East India Company permitted grazing cattle outside the settlement. The first lethal clash between Dutch cattlemen and the Xhosa (called Kaffirs) occurred in 1702, and the Company reimposed the ban on trading with the Khoikhoi for two years. The ban was lifted in 1705 until 1727, after which private cattle bartering continued illegally. Farmers complained that Governor W. A. van der Stel (1699-1707), son of his predecessor, and his officials were violating the VOC regulation that forbade their private farming or trading even though anyone who objected to this corruption risked being sent to a penal colony such as Mauritius. In 1707 the seventeen directors of the Company ordered officials not to farm. Every free man between the age of 16 and 60 was enrolled in the militia, which had 513 European men by 1708. In 1713 a smallpox epidemic started from laundry brought by a passing ship. The Africans were decimated, while 110 Europeans also died of the plague. Too much wheat and wine caused a price slump, and by 1717 the Company stopped allowing farmers to immigrate into the Cape colony. The Company maintained a monopoly on all commercial activity and fixed prices.
As the increasing numbers of trekboers let their livestock graze further, the game animals departed, causing the San people to begin raiding the invading herds. Since the trekboers had firearms, the San were easily defeated. The San lost their usual livelihood, as did the herding Khoikhoi, who were reduced to being servants; these people merged and were called the Khoisan. In 1724 the Company opened a slave station at Delagoa Bay, but in the 1730s most slaves were imported from Mozambique and Zanzibar. In 1728 Dutch farmers killed twelve Khoisan while taking back 23 stolen cattle along with 62 Khoisan cattle. The Company directors ignored appeals to return the Khoisan cattle. In 1732 the quitrent system of land tenure was introduced. After the Company prohibited stock bartering in 1738, Estienne Barbier escaped from prison and led ten farmers in violent disobedience for a year before he was arrested and eventually executed. Also in 1739 the trekboers broke their promise to share the spoils of looted cattle with the Khoisan. Swartebooij complained to the VOC directors, who backed down and awarded the Khoisan share to the trekboers. A bloody battle ensued in which Swartebooij and a hundred Khoisan were killed as hundreds of cattle were taken. After 1740 the Khoisan in the colony could no longer herd livestock but had to serve as laborers. The Swellendam district was established in 1745. The continued importation of slaves made them more numerous than the Europeans by 1748.
Cape Town had no newspaper, although Governor Ryk Tulbagh (1751-71) founded a library and promoted the scientific study of plants and animals. In 1754 the Khoisan raided farms in Roggeveld. In 1765 the Meermin left the Cape and purchased slaves from Madagascar. Allowed to work, the slaves got weapons and took over the ship; but most were recaptured at Cape Agulhas, and they were taken to Cape Town. After trekboers crossed the Gamtoos River in 1771, clashes with the Xhosa worsened. The Khoisan, caught between the colonists and the Xhosa, resisted the trekboers. The Xhosa were ruled by Phalo from about 1730 until he died in 1775. His son Gcaleka defeated his brother Rharhabe but died in 1778, succeeded by Khawuta, who ruled only the Gcaleka faction as the conflict continued. By 1778 the trekboers had reached the Great Fish River, and Cape governor Joachim van Plettenberg tried to set the eastern boundaries with Gwali chiefs. Two years later Van Plettenberg took in the Zuurveld even though it was not yet occupied by Europeans. The Gonaqua claimed they occupied the land, and the Gqunukhwebe said they had bought some of it from the Khoikhoi. Commandant Adriaan van Jaarsveld led his commandos in 1781 to evict the Gwali, who believed Van Plettenberg had agreed in 1778 this was their land. When Dange chief Jalamba refused to leave, Van Jaarsveld scattered gifts of tobacco and then had his men open fire on the Dange. Most of the surviving Xhosas left, and the commandos killed many Ntinde who did not. Rharhabe and his heir Mlawu were killed in a war against the Thembu in 1782; his followers divided when the regent Ndlambe came into conflict with the young Ngqika.
In a secret meeting at Cape Town four hundred burghers signed a petition to the governor asking to send a delegation to the 17 directors in Amsterdam with economic proposals. Because officials were underpaid, corruption permeated the Company. Farmers also complained of heavy taxes. The Heren 17 did not respond until 1783, when they exonerated the officials; the only major concessions allowed free trade with foreign ships and the purchase of surplus produce at fixed prices, though after Company demands were met. The Cape exported much wheat to the eastern Dutch empire until war with England stopped this in 1781. The Company complained the Cape colony caused large deficits.
In 1786 Moritz Woeke became landdrost of the new eastern district named Graaff-Reinet after Governor Jacob van der Graaff and his wife Reinet. In 1789 Ndlambe and Langan attacked the Gqunukhwebe, who crossed the Fish River and occupied the land. Woeke let them remain, and conflicts arose. Trekboer Coenraad de Buys abducted the wives of minor chiefs. When Cape authorities refused to aid the burghers in controlling the angry Gqunukhwebe, the farmers led by Barend Linderque made an alliance with Xhosa leader Ndlambe. The battles resulted in many thousands of cattle being stolen, and farmers fled west. Woeke's secretary Honoratus Maynier led the Graaff-Reinet commandos, and the Cape council sent a force from Swellendam. The Gqunukhwebe led by Tshaka tried to flee east but ran into Ndlambe's Xhosa, who killed Tshaka. Maynier's force killed many Gqunukhwebe and made off with 8,000 cattle. Tshaka's son Chungwa agreed to a truce but still claimed that his father had bought the land from Ruiter. By now Ngqika was 15 years old, and he attacked and imprisoned his regent Ndlambe. In these frontier wars during the last ten years of the Dutch East India company's rule to 1795, a reported 2,504 "Bushmen" were killed and 669 were captured, while 276 colonists (mostly Khoikhoi) were slain.
At a meeting in February 1795 burghers calling themselves "patriots" expelled Maynier and other officials from Graaff-Reinet. Cape authorities suspended the supply of ammunition to the district. A commission sent to investigate was expelled by armed burghers for refusing to act against the Xhosa in the Zuurveld. The burghers no longer recognized the VOC; as this rebellion coincided with the overthrow of the Dutch monarchy by the French and the British takeover of Cape Town, they asked the British to appoint magistrates. They could not agree, but lack of gunpowder and lead forced the burghers to recognize the authority of British general James Henry Craig by 1797. Craig replaced the high court commission with a senate of six burghers chosen by the governor. The British increased official salaries and reduced perquisites to reform corruption, and they abolished the brutal tortures used against suspected and convicted criminals.
Two years later Adriaan van Jaarsveld was arrested for forgery in connection with a loan. He was set free by fellow burghers. After General Thomas Vandeleur arrived with a "Hottentot" Cape corps, the rebels led by Marthinus Prinsloo and Coenraad de Buys surrendered and were imprisoned. Maynier was reappointed landdrost and had Fort Frederick built at Algoa Bay. During the first five years of British rule, government attempts to collect annual rents helped provoke these rebellions. In 1800 Ndlambe escaped to the Zuurveld. In trying to bring order to the Zuurveld, Vandeleur persuaded Khoikhoi leader Klaas Stuurman to lay down their arms and move to Algoa Bay, where the governor's secretary John Barrow tried to keep them apart from the trekboer families seeking protection. Chungwa stayed in the Zuurveld, and he was joined by 700 Khoikhoi fleeing the trekboers. Armed burghers objecting to Khoikhoi soldiers in Graaff-Reinet provoked another frontier war that lasted until 1803.
1. Quoted from Adansi oral history in A History of Ghana
by W. E. F. Ward, p. 137-138.
2. Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery by Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, p. 11.
This chapter has been published in the book Middle East & Africa to 1875.
For ordering information, please click here.