The Dahomey Amazons
The Dahomey Amazons were a Fon all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey. They were so named by Western observers and historians due to their similarity to the legendary Amazons described by the Ancient Greeks.
King Houegbadja (who ruled from 1645 to 1685), the third King of Dahomey, is said to have originally started the group which would become the Amazons as a corps of elephant hunters called the gbeto. During the 18th century, the king had some of his wives trained as royal bodyguards.
Houegbadja’s son King Agadja (ruling from 1708 to 1732) developed the female bodyguard into a militia and successfully used them in Dahomey’s defeat of the neighbouring kingdom of Savi in 1727. European merchants recorded their presence, as well as similar female warriors amongst the Ashanti. For the next hundred years or so, they gained reputation as fearless warriors. Though they fought rarely, they usually acquitted themselves well in battle.
The group of female warriors was referred to as Mino, meaning “Our Mothers” in the Fon language by the male army of Dahomey.
From the time of King Ghezo (ruling from 1818 to 1858), Dahomey became increasingly militaristic. Ghezo placed great importance on the army and increased its budget and formalized its structures. The Mino were rigorously trained, given uniforms, and equipped with Danish guns (obtained via the slave trade). By this time the Mino consisted of between 4000 and 6000 women, about a third of the entire Dahomey army.
The Mino were recruited from among the ahosi (“king’s wives”) of which there were often hundreds. Some women in Fon society became ahosi voluntarily, while others were involuntarily enrolled if their husbands or fathers complained to the King about their behaviour. Membership among the Mino was supposed to hone any aggressive character traits for the purpose of war. During their membership they were not allowed to have children or be part of married life. Many of them were virgins. The regiment had a semi-sacred status, which was intertwined with the Fon belief in Vodun.
The Mino trained with intense physical exercise. Discipline was emphasised. In the latter period, they were armed with Winchester rifles, clubs and knives. Units were under female command. Captives who fell into the hands of the Amazons were often decapitated.
Conflict with France
European encroachment into west Africa gained pace during the latter half of the 19th century, and in 1890 King Behanzin started fighting French forces in the course of the First Franco-Dahomean War. According to Holmes, many of the French soldiers fighting in Dahomey hesitated before shooting or bayoneting the Mino. The resulting delay led to many of the French casualties. Ultimately, bolstered by the Foreign Legion, and armed with superior weaponry, including machine guns, the French inflicted casualties that were ten times worse on the Dahomey side. After several battles, the French prevailed. The Legionnaires later wrote about the “incredible courage and audacity” of the Amazons. The last surviving Amazon of Dahomey died in 1979.
100 things that you did not know about Africa - Nos.1 - 25
1. The human race is of African origin. The oldest known skeletal remains of anatomically modern humans (or homo sapiens) were excavated at sites in East Africa. Human remains were discovered at Omo in Ethiopia that were dated at 195,000 years old, the oldest known in the world.
2. Skeletons of pre-humans have been found in Africa that date back between 4 and 5 million years. The oldest known ancestral type of humanity is thought to have been the australopithecus ramidus, who lived at least 4.4 million years ago.
3. Africans were the first to organise fishing expeditions 90,000 years ago. At Katanda, a region in northeastern Zaïre (now Congo), was recovered a finely wrought series of harpoon points, all elaborately polished and barbed. Also uncovered was a tool, equally well crafted, believed to be a dagger. The discoveries suggested the existence of an early aquatic or fishing based culture.
4. Africans were the first to engage in mining 43,000 years ago. In 1964 a hematite mine was found in Swaziland at Bomvu Ridge in the Ngwenya mountain range. Ultimately 300,000 artefacts were recovered including thousands of stone-made mining tools. Adrian Boshier, one of the archaeologists on the site, dated the mine to a staggering 43,200 years old.
5. Africans pioneered basic arithmetic 25,000 years ago. The Ishango bone is a tool handle with notches carved into it found in the Ishango region of Zaïre (now called Congo) near Lake Edward. The bone tool was originally thought to have been over 8,000 years old, but a more sensitive recent dating has given dates of 25,000 years old. On the tool are 3 rows of notches. Row 1 shows three notches carved next to six, four carved next to eight, ten carved next to two fives and finally a seven. The 3 and 6, 4 and 8, and 10 and 5, represent the process of doubling. Row 2 shows eleven notches carved next to twenty-one notches, and nineteen notches carved next to nine notches. This represents 10 + 1, 20 + 1, 20 - 1 and 10 - 1. Finally, Row 3 shows eleven notches, thirteen notches, seventeen notches and nineteen notches. 11, 13, 17 and 19 are the prime numbers between 10 and 20.
6. Africans cultivated crops 12,000 years ago, the first known advances in agriculture. Professor Fred Wendorf discovered that people in Egypt’s Western Desert cultivated crops of barley, capers, chick-peas, dates, legumes, lentils and wheat. Their ancient tools were also recovered. There were grindstones, milling stones, cutting blades, hide scrapers, engraving burins, and mortars and pestles.
7. Africans mummified their dead 9,000 years ago. A mummified infant was found under the Uan Muhuggiag rock shelter in south western Libya. The infant was buried in the foetal position and was mummified using a very sophisticated technique that must have taken hundreds of years to evolve. The technique predates the earliest mummies known in Ancient Egypt by at least 1,000 years. Carbon dating is controversial but the mummy may date from 7438 (±220) BC.
8. Africans carved the world’s first colossal sculpture 7,000 or more years ago. The Great Sphinx of Giza was fashioned with the head of a man combined with the body of a lion. A key and important question raised by this monument was: How old is it? In October 1991 Professor Robert Schoch, a geologist from Boston University, demonstrated that the Sphinx was sculpted between 5000 BC and 7000 BC, dates that he considered conservative.
9. On the 1 March 1979, the New York Times carried an article on its front page also page sixteen that was entitled Nubian Monarchy called Oldest. In this article we were assured that: “Evidence of the oldest recognizable monarchy in human history, preceding the rise of the earliest Egyptian kings by several generations, has been discovered in artifacts from ancient Nubia” (i.e. the territory of the northern Sudan and the southern portion of modern Egypt.)
10. The ancient Egyptians had the same type of tropically adapted skeletal proportions as modern Black Africans. A 2003 paper appeared in American Journal of Physical Anthropology by Dr Sonia Zakrzewski entitled Variation in Ancient Egyptian Stature and Body Proportions where she states that: “The raw values in Table 6 suggest that Egyptians had the ‘super-Negroid’ body plan described by Robins (1983). The values for the brachial and crural indices show that the distal segments of each limb are longer relative to the proximal segments than in many ‘African’ populations.”
11. The ancient Egyptians had Afro combs. One writer tells us that the Egyptians “manufactured a very striking range of combs in ivory: the shape of these is distinctly African and is like the combs used even today by Africans and those of African descent.”
12. The Funerary Complex in the ancient Egyptian city of Saqqara is the oldest building that tourists regularly visit today. An outer wall, now mostly in ruins, surrounded the whole structure. Through the entrance are a series of columns, the first stone-built columns known to historians. The North House also has ornamental columns built into the walls that have papyrus-like capitals. Also inside the complex is the Ceremonial Court, made of limestone blocks that have been quarried and then shaped. In the centre of the complex is the Step Pyramid, the first of 90 Egyptian pyramids.
13. The first Great Pyramid of Giza, the most extraordinary building in history, was a staggering 481 feet tall - the equivalent of a 40-storey building. It was made of 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite, some weighing 100 tons.
14. The ancient Egyptian city of Kahun was the world’s first planned city. Rectangular and walled, the city was divided into two parts. One part housed the wealthier inhabitants – the scribes, officials and foremen. The other part housed the ordinary people. The streets of the western section in particular, were straight, laid out on a grid, and crossed each other at right angles. A stone gutter, over half a metre wide, ran down the centre of every street.
15. Egyptian mansions were discovered in Kahun - each boasting 70 rooms, divided into four sections or quarters. There was a master’s quarter, quarters for women and servants, quarters for offices and finally, quarters for granaries, each facing a central courtyard. The master’s quarters had an open court with a stone water tank for bathing. Surrounding this was a colonnade.
16 The Labyrinth in the Egyptian city of Hawara with its massive layout, multiple courtyards, chambers and halls, was the very largest building in antiquity. Boasting three thousand rooms, 1,500 of them were above ground and the other 1,500 were underground.
17. Toilets and sewerage systems existed in ancient Egypt. One of the pharaohs built a city now known as Amarna. An American urban planner noted that: “Great importance was attached to cleanliness in Amarna as in other Egyptian cities. Toilets and sewers were in use to dispose waste. Soap was made for washing the body. Perfumes and essences were popular against body odour. A solution of natron was used to keep insects from houses … Amarna may have been the first planned ‘garden city’.”
18. Sudan has more pyramids than any other country on earth - even more than Egypt. There are at least 223 pyramids in the Sudanese cities of Al Kurru, Nuri, Gebel Barkal and Meroë. They are generally 20 to 30 metres high and steep sided.
19. The Sudanese city of Meroë is rich in surviving monuments. Becoming the capital of the Kushite Empire between 590 BC until AD 350, there are 84 pyramids in this city alone, many built with their own miniature temple. In addition, there are ruins of a bath house sharing affinities with those of the Romans. Its central feature is a large pool approached by a flight of steps with waterspouts decorated with lion heads.
20. Bling culture has a long and interesting history. Gold was used to decorate ancient Sudanese temples. One writer reported that: “Recent excavations at Meroe and Mussawwarat es-Sufra revealed temples with walls and statues covered with gold leaf”.
21. In around 300 BC, the Sudanese invented a writing script that had twenty-three letters of which four were vowels and there was also a word divider. Hundreds of ancient texts have survived that were in this script. Some are on display in the British Museum.
22. In central Nigeria, West Africa’s oldest civilisation flourished between 1000 BC and 300 BC. Discovered in 1928, the ancient culture was called the Nok Civilisation, named after the village in which the early artefacts were discovered. Two modern scholars, declare that “[a]fter calibration, the period of Nok art spans from 1000 BC until 300 BC”. The site itself is much older going back as early as 4580 or 4290 BC.
23. West Africans built in stone by 1100 BC. In the Tichitt-Walata region of Mauritania, archaeologists have found “large stone masonry villages” that date back to 1100 BC. The villages consisted of roughly circular compounds connected by “well-defined streets”.
24. By 250 BC, the foundations of West Africa’s oldest cities were established such as Old Djenné in Mali.
25. Kumbi Saleh, the capital of Ancient Ghana, flourished from 300 to 1240 AD. Located in modern day Mauritania, archaeological excavations have revealed houses, almost habitable today, for want of renovation and several storeys high. They had underground rooms, staircases and connecting halls. Some had nine rooms. One part of the city alone is estimated to have housed 30,000 people.
By Robin Walker
The Kandakes of Kush.
Kentake, also known as Candace or kendake was the title for queens and queen mothers of the ancient African Kingdom of Kush, also known as Nubia and Ethiopia.
They were known as Nubian warrior queens, queen regents, and Ruling queen mothers. They controlled what is now Ethiopia, Sudan, and parts of Egypt.
Reliefs dated to about 170 B.C. reveal kendake Shanakdakheto, dressed in armor and wielding a spear in battle. She did not rule as queen regent or queen mother but as a fully independent ruler. Her husband was her consort. Reliefs found in the ruins of building projects she commissioned, Shanakdakheto is portrayed both alone as well as with her husband and son, who would inherit the throne by her passing.
The “Kandakes/Candaces” serve as examples of women as powerful figures or clever strategists in their roles as queens, as warrior queens, or as romantic figures, They have had great appeal in times past, and will continue to do so in this present era of feminist or humanist interest in the subject.
References: Nubian Queens in the Nile Valley and Afro-Asiatic Cultural History - Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Professor of Anthropology, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston U.S.A, August 20-26, 1998
Nsibidi is an ancient system of graphic communication indigenous to what is now southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon in the Cross River region. The origin of nsibidi is most commonly attributed to the Ejagham people of the northern Cross River region, mostly because colonial administrators found the largest and most diverse nsibidi among them. It is also used by neighboring Ibibio, Efik and Igbo peoples. Aesthetically compelling and encoded, nsibidi does not correspond to any one spoken language. It is an ideographic script whose symbols refer to abstract concepts, actions or things and whose use facilitates communication among peoples speaking different languages. Nsibidi crossed ethnic lines and was a uniting factor among ethnic groups in the Cross River region.
Nsibidi comprises nearly a thousand symbols that can be drawn in the air (as gestures), on the ground, on skin (as tattoos), on houses and on art forms, such as masks and textiles. It continues to inspire the work of many Nigerian contemporary artists such as Victor Ekpuk, whose lyrical, densely-scripted works are on view in the exhibition shown here.
Before the British colonisation of the area, nsibidi was divided into a sacred version and a public, more decorative version. Aspects of colonisation such as Western education and Christian doctrine drastically reduced the number of nsibidi-literate people, leaving the secret society members as some of the last literate in the symbols. Nsibidi was and is still a means of transmitting Ekpe symbolism. Nsibidi was transported to Cuba and Haiti via the Atlantic slave trade, where it developed into the anaforuana and veve symbols.
The secrets hidden in the pyramids of Egypt
there you go.
Dope video on the use of electro-magnetic technology in ancient Kemet.
African people must focus on where the slave ships picked us up from rather than where they dropped us off.
Dr. John Henrik Clarke (via black-culture)
i remember learning about this from a book by Karanga and its fucking fascinating and hella on-point…
This controversial book by Ivan Van Sertima, the Guyanese historian, linguist, and anthropologist, claims that Africans had been to the New World centuries before Columbus arrived there in 1492. Citing—among other things—the huge Negroid-looking Olmec heads of Central Mexico and the similarities between the Aztec and Egyptian calendars and pyramid structures, Van Sertima pieces together a hidden history of pre-Columbian contact between Africans and Native Americans. He also puts forth the possibility that Columbus may have already known about a route to the Americas from his years in Africa as a trader in Guinea. The ideas in this book have been debated and discussed since its first publication in 1976; even those who choose not to believe Van Sertima’s theories should take his argument seriously.
Argument summarized below
This jawn is a flat out classic. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Van Sertima and hearing him speak at an ASCAC meeting when I was 13 (an elder from the neighborhood took me). He signed my copy of Golden Age of The Moor (someone stole it later!) RIP Dr. Van Sertima. We Love You.
Archaeologists working in Egypt have discovered the tomb of a female singer in the Valley of the Kings.
The tomb was found by a team from the University of Basel in Switzerland who came across it by chance.
The woman, Nehmes Bastet, was a temple singer during Egypt’s 22nd Dynasty (approximately 945 - 712BC), according to an inscription in the tomb.
The coffin found in the tomb contains an intact mummy from almost 3,000 years ago.
Professor Susanne Bickel of the University of Basel told the BBC that the coffin was opened on Monday and she was able to see the “nicely wrapped” mummy of the woman who was buried in the tomb.
The opening of the coffin was carried out by Prof Bickel and her Basel colleague, field director Elina Paulin-Grothe, together with the Chief Inspector of Antiquities of Upper Egypt, Dr Mohammed el-Bialy and inspector Ali Reda.
Prof Bickel said that the upper edge of the tomb was found on the first day of Egypt’s revolution, on 25 January 2011. The opening was sealed with an iron cover and the discovery was kept quiet.
Last week, after the start of this year’s field season, the feature was identified as a tomb - and one of the very few tombs in the Valley of the Kings which have not been looted.
Elina Paulin-Grothe said that the tomb was not built for the female singer, but was re-used for her 400 years after the original burial, according to AP.
There are other non-royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Prof Bickel said, which mostly date from the 18th Dynasty (1500 - 1400BC).
The woman in the coffin was the daughter of the high priest of Amon, Egypt’s Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim told AFP.
The discovery was important because “it shows that the Valley of the Kings was also used for the burial of ordinary individuals and priests of the 22nd Dynasty”, he added.
Egyptian news site Ahram reports that the wooden sarcophagus was painted black and decorated with hieroglyphic texts.
This tomb is only the second found in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922, and is referred to as KV64 in the naming system used to label tombs in the valley. It is one of a cluster of tombs without any wall decoration found near the royal tomb of Thutmoses III.
A tomb found in 2006, known as KV63, had seven coffins in it but none of them contained any mummies - it seems to have been used as a burial cache.
This is Signs & Symbols of Primordial Man, one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Signs and Symbols was written n 1911 by Albert Churchward, a grand master mason and the disciple of the scholar Gerald Massey. Churchward traces human mythology as well as Masonic rites, rituals, hand gestures and symbology back beyond classical Kemetic Civilization and identifies the pre-historic Twa (Pygmy) peoples of Central Africa as the original architects of this early symbolic mytho-technology. He also makes a convincing argument for the whole of humanity’s spiritual & mythological history as a vast and ever-evolving, transmission of core concepts, rituals and symbols, flowering from an unfathomably ancient African source. Pretty iLL shit to be written by an Englishman over 100 years ago. This is one of my favorite jawns I got stashed in the War chest, but I think you’d dig it, soo I’d let you borrow it if you ask nicely ;-)
World’s languages traced back to single African mother tongue: scientists.
New Zealand researchers have traced every human language — from English to Mandarin — back to an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.
Scientists say they have traced the world’s 6,000 modern languages — from English to Mandarin — back to a single “mother tongue,” an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.
New research, published in the journal Science, suggests this single ancient language resulted in human civilization — a Diaspora — as well as advances in art and hunting tool technology, and laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures.
The research, by Quentin Atkinson from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, also found that speech evolved far earlier than previously thought. And the findings implied, though did not prove, that modern language originated only once, an issue of controversy among linguists, according to the New York Times.
Before Atkinson came up with the evidence for a single African origin of language, some scientists had argued that language evolved independently in different parts of the world.
Atkinson found that the first populations migrating from Africa laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures by taking their single language with them. “It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of,” Atkinson said, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Atkinson traced the number distinct sounds, or phonemes — consonants, vowels and tones — in 504 world languages, finding compelling evidence that they can be traced back to a long-forgotten dialect spoken by our Stone Age ancestors, according to the Daily Mail.
Atkinson also hypothesized that languages with the most sounds would be the oldest, while those spoken by smaller breakaway groups would utilize fewer sounds as variation and complexity diminished.
The study found that some of the click-using languages of Africa have more than 100 phonemes, or sounds, whereas Hawaiian, toward the far end of the human migration route out of Africa, has only 13, the Times reported. English has about 45 phonemes.
The phoneme pattern mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity as humans spread across the globe from sub-Saharan Africa around 70,000 years ago.
*it’s literally retarded to think that homo sapien populations spent decades migrating out of Africa into the rest of the world without any sort of language to organize them, that’s just racist scientists not wanting to believe that their culture’s have any ties to black people.
A nesting site for dinosaur eggs found in South Africa is 100 million years older than the previous oldest site.
Palaeontologists found 10 separate nests, each containing clutches of up to 34 eggs measuring 6-7cm.
The fossils are of the prosauropod Massospondylus, a relative of the long-necked sauropods such as Diplodocus.
They suggest that Massospondylus returned to the site repeatedly, laying their eggs in groups in the earliest-known case of “colonial nesting”.
The 190-million-year-old finds also included embryonic dinosaur skeletons, and are described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They were found in a 25m stretch of rock in South Africa’s Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
The researchers suggest that many more sites remain embedded in the rock, which will be exposed as natural weathering processes continue.
But the current find already vastly extends what is known about dinosaurs in their earliest days on Earth.
“Even though the fossil record of dinosaurs is extensive, we actually have very little fossil information about their reproductive biology, particularly for early dinosaurs,” said David Evans, associate curator of vertebrate palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum.
“This amazing series of 190-million-year-old nests gives us the first detailed look at dinosaur reproduction early in their evolutionary history, and documents the antiquity of nesting strategies that are only known much later in the dinosaur record.”
Idia: The First Queen Mother of Benin
The kingdom of Benin (in present-day Nigeria) was plunged into a state of turmoil at the end of the fifteenth century when oba Ozolua died and left two powerful sons to dispute succession. His son Esigie controlled Benin City while another son, Arhuaran, was based in the equally important city of Udo about twenty miles away. The ensuing civil war severely compromised Benin’s status as a regional power and undermined Benin City’s place at the political and cultural center of the kingdom. Exploiting this weakness, the neighboring Igala peoples sent warriors across the Benue River to wrest control of Benin’s northern territories. Esigie ultimately defeated his brother and conquered the Igala, reestablishing the unity and military strength of the kingdom. His mother Idia received much of the credit for these victories as her political counsel, together with her mystical powers and medicinal knowledge, were viewed as critical elements of Esigie’s success on the battlefield. To reward and honor her, Esigie created a new position within the court called the iyoba, or “Queen Mother,” which gave her significant political privileges, including a separate residence with its own staff.
As mother of the king, Idia and later iyobas wielded considerable power. Until recent times, the iyoba, who bore the oba’s first son, had no other children and devoted her life to raising the future ruler of the kingdom, a role she was destined to play even before her own birth. Queen Mothers were therefore viewed as instrumental to the protection and well-being of the oba and, by extension, the kingdom. Indeed, obas wore carved ivory pendant masks representing the iyoba during ceremonies designed to rid the kingdom of malevolent spiritual forces.
^^^Classic Jawn right here. Keep it on the bookshelf and teach your babies.
The Yoruba Diaspora in Latin-America: Concept, Keywords and Limitations
The present research takes as its point of departure the concept of a mundialized Yoruba identity observable in the Americas. In his doctoral research which concentrated mainly on the Yoruba Diaspora in Brazil, Dr. Félix Ayoh’OMIDIRE referred to this identity as the concept of YoruBaianidade. This concept was defined as the spirit of ethnic, ideological, political, symbolic, cultural and religious affiliation of contemporary Latin-American subjects to what Matory (1994) called the Yoruba Atlantic Complex, a world in which predominates the worldview as well as the philosophy of life of the Yorubas. The Yorubas themselves are a people of African descent who originated in the Gulf of Benin in West-Africa, from where they have spread to the different diasporas of the Afro-Atlantic world, where they have constituted, since the 19th Century, the most significant component in the construction of cultural, social and religious identities of diverse Afro-Latin-American societies such as Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, among others.