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About the African People, Kingdoms and Kanuri Language

About the African People, Kingdoms and Kanuri Language

Kanuri language has 4 million speakers in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, Libya and the Sudan's. Nigeria has the largest population of Kanuri.

In the African Kanuri language the elders say, Angalte simlan gani kdrgd, kdldlan kdrgd, translated to English meaning wisdom is not in the eye, but in the head.

Wisdom is not in the eye, but in the head ~African Proverb

About the African People, Kingdoms and Kanuri Language.

The Kanuri language has around 4 million speakers in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, Libya and the Sudan's. Kanuri is used as a medium of instruction in primary schools in Nigeria and Niger, and it is possible to study Kanuri up to PhD level.

Kanuri also is known as the Bornu language is associated with the Kanem-Bornu Empire that existed in modern-day Chad and Nigeria from 1380 to until around 1893. Kanuri includes several subgroups and dialect groups, some of whom feel distinct from the Kanuri. Most trace their origins to ruling lineages of the Kanem-Bornu Empire provinces.

The largest populations of Kanuri reside in the northeast corner of Nigeria, where the ceremonial Emirate of Bornu traces direct descent from the Kanem-Bornu Empire, founded sometime before 1000 CE.

In southeastern Niger, where they form the majority of the sedentary population, the Kanuri are commonly called Bare Bari. The Kanuri became Muslims in the 11th century.

Kanem became a center of Muslim learning and the Kanuri soon controlled all the area surrounding Lake Chad and a powerful empire called Kanem Empire, which reached its height in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Kanuri is the language associated with the Kanem and Bornu empires that dominated the Lake Chad region for a thousand years.

The distribution and numbers of Central Saharan language speakers have changed dramatically since independence. The Chadian Civil War and the Chadian-Libyan conflict have disrupted life in the northern part of the country.

Also, the rise to power of two heads of state from the far north, Goukouni Oued dei and Hissein Habré, may have inspired the migration of northerners to the national capital and greater integration of the region into the life of the country.

Teda and Daza are related languages in the Central Saharan group. Teda is spoken by the Toubou people of the Tibesti Mountains and by some inhabitants of nearby oases in northeastern Niger and southwestern Libya.

Daza speakers live south of the Toubou in Borkou Subprefecture and Kanem Prefecture, between the Tibesti Mountains and Lake Chad. Despite their shared linguistic heritage, the Toubou and the Daza do not think of themselves as belonging to a common group.

Moreover, each is further divided into subgroups identified with particular places. Among the Toubou, the Teda of Tibesti are the largest subgroup. Daza speakers separate themselves into more than a dozen groups. The Kreda of Bahr el Ghazal are the largest. Next in importance is the Daza of Kanem. Smaller and more scattered subgroups include the Charfarda of Ouaddaï; the Kecherda and Djagada of Kanem; the Doza, Annakaza, Kokorda, Kamadja, and Noarma of Borkou; and the Ounia, Gaeda, and Erdiha of Ennedi.

About one-third of the Teda are nomads. The remainder, along with all of the Daza, is seminomadic, moving from pasture to pasture during eight or nine months each year but returning to permanent villages during the rains. In general, the Teda herd camels and live farther north, where they move from oasis to oasis.

Little is known about Chad before the beginning of the second millennium A.D. At about that time, the region gave birth to one of the great societies of Central Africa, the Kanem Empire. It was formed in the ninth century A.D. to the northeast of Lake Chad from a confederation of nomadic peoples who spoke languages of the Teda-Daza (Toubou) group.

During the tenth century, Islam penetrated the empire, and later the king, or mai, became a Muslim. Kanem benefited from the rule of several effective mais. The most significant of these was Mai Dunama Dabbalemi, who reigned from about 1221 to 1259.

By the end of the 14th century, internal struggles and external attacks had weakened the empire and forced it to uproot and move to Borno, an area to the southwest. The combined Kanem-Borno Empire peaked during the reign of Mai Idris Aluma, who ruled from about 1571 to 1603 and who is noted for his diplomatic, military, and administrative skills.

In the early 19th, unable to defend against Fulani invaders, Kanem-Borno was in decline, and by the end of the century it was overtaken by Arab invaders.

Another great empire was the kingdom of Bagirmi, which arose to the southeast of Kanem-Borno in the sixteenth century. This Islamic kingdom experienced periods of strength and weakness; when strong it aggressively expanded its territory, but when weak it was subjugated temporarily by neighboring states.

Wadai was a non-Muslim sultanate or kingdom that emerged to the northeast of Bagirmi in the 16th as an offshoot of Darfur, Darfur Province in present-day Sudan. By the 17th century, it had converted to Islam, and around 1800 it began to expand under its sultan, Sabun.

A later ruler, Muhammad Sharif, attacked Borno and eventually established Wadai's hege mony over Bagirmi. By the end of the 19th century, most of the great empires had been destroyed or were disappearing. 

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