Black People : West and West Central African contributions to the world

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Knowledge Seed, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Knowledge Seed

    Knowledge Seed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is sort of a follow up on my last thread. I really want to look zero in on some of the accomplishments of those people that make up the ancestry of what we now call African Americans.

    I'm a firm believer that we don't have to look very far to find the greatness that is African American ancestry.

    Let's look at the Mande people, for example. They are a very large group that is more so known for their subgroups(Mende, Bambara, etc). They made up nearly a quarter (24%) of the slaves who arrived on US shores. The Mande produce two global , historical figures: Sundiata Keita and Mansa Musa.

    Besides founding the Songhai Empire, Keita's life was the basis for Disney's legendary Lion King movie.

    Mansa Musa is regarded as one of the greatest rulers of all time. Not only did he bring the first global, modern university to the world (University of Timbuktu), Forbes magazine has recently announced that, adjusted for inflation, he is the richest person of all time(and he was very generous with his wealth).
     
  2. Knowledge Seed

    Knowledge Seed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Bakongo represented about a quarter of the people who arrived in the US destined for a life of slavery. They created one of the largest kingdoms in history, the Kingdom of Kongo which encompassed what is now the Republic of Angola, The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville.

    The 6th king of Kongo, Alfonso I, was possibly the first king in all of West Africa (and West Central Africa, as well) to convert to Christianity. His attempts to spread Christianity throughout his kingdom were usually unsuccessful amongst the general populous, but he is remembered for being the only African king to actively oppose the slave trade.
     
  3. Kadijah

    Kadijah Banned MEMBER

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    The only African "king," perhaps, but Queen Nzinga of Angola not only waged war on the invading enslavers, she liberated POWs on their march to the sea, giving them the option of returning to their villages or joining her army. There is no royal figure of greater stature when it comes to fighting the good fight against Europe/America than the warrior queen, Nzinga.
     
  4. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The Voyage from Ndongo

    Far from romanticizing Africans who participated in slave trading....


    Between 1618 and 1620, thousands of Africans were enslaved during the war between King Alvaro III of Congo and his uncles, and sold into slavery. There was also the war between the Portuguese leader Endes de Vascondes and a band of marauding mercenary soldiers called Imbangala, against the Kingdom of Ndongo.The Portuguese were sitting back watching and in 1618 they decided that this region of Africa was ripe for the taking. So they supplied the Imbangala with guns to attack the African villages including the village of Ndongo in the Angola region. These were the same villages where they had taught Christianity.

    http://project1619.org/2.html
     
  5. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ndongo continued to suffer attacks from Portuguese forces, and in 1624 Queen Njinga Mbandi (also known as Nzinga) took over as ruler of that country. She continued the war unsuccessfully against Portugal and was forced to flee the country in 1626 and then again in 1629. During her second flight Njinga entered Matamba and her forces routed the army of Matamba's ruler, Queen Mwongo Matamba, capturing her and taking her prisoner. From at least 1631 onward, Njinga made Matamba her capital, joining it to the Kingdom of Ndongo.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Matamba
     
  6. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Mali's success resulted from the strategic location of its capital on the Upper Niger River and its extensive use of rivers for communication, empire building, and trade. Gold was an especially important resource for the empire, and much of Mali's wealth came from control of the Boure gold fields located in the empire's heartland. The Niger River, with its major cities Djenne-Djeno (Djenne), Timbuktu, and Gao, lay at the center of Mali's mercantile enterprise and provided the kingdom with the means for transporting trade goods such as gold, copper, salt, cola nuts, spices, and slaves. Mali's trading system brought the empire into contact with diverse peoples in the Sudan and North Africa, including the Akan, Hausa, and Songhai, as well as with Moroccan and Arab merchants. Most of Mali's traders, called Dyula or Wangara after the major gold mining districts, were Muslim and provided an important link in the spread of Islam within Mali's as well as to other areas of Sudanic West Africa.

    http://www.fofweb.com/History/MainPrintPage.asp?iPin=EAHI230&DataType=AmericanHistory&WinType=Free
     
  7. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    According to Kamissoko—whose discourses have been corroborated by many other initiated griots since his divulgence, the real factors that led to the formation of the empire revolved around the issue of slavery and the slave trade that was rampant in thirteenth century West Africa. Sundiata Keita, the first emperor of Mali, led a revolution in the region to put an end to the slave trade and the institution of slavery and then united the various ethnic groups under the laws of the Manden Charter and Constitution. The Manden Charter eloquently defines the basic rights of human beings, depicts the horrors of slavery and the slave trade and proclaims its abolition throughout the empire. Some African scholars are now claiming that this document represents perhaps one of the world’s earliest and most beautifully composed proclamations against slavery.

    The fact that slavery continued and reached another peak during the Atlantic Slave Trade raises certain questions that will be the focus of our discussion. What were the sociopolitical conditions in West Africa that precipitated the emergence of the Mali Empire? Why was the Manden Charter, which was a solemnly sworn oath made by all nations within the empire, broken? What were the consequences for breaking the oath?
    Why did the griots collectively decide to efface the Manden Charter from the official history? What impact did the Manden Charter have on the creation of the African Diaspora?

    http://citation.allacademic.com/met...ml?phpsessid=4436673bf8bfa0811c06a47453cf81e2
     
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I am loving this thread. I find it fascinating that the discussion has started with the Mande and West Central Bantu populations. As Knowledge Seed pointed, both groups were significantly represented among the African captives transported to the United States.

    The South Carolina plantation economy centered on rice production. The people of the Senegambia, such as the Mande, were routinely used to work these plantations due to their expertise in rice cultivation and harvest. Of course, the white folks knew nothing about growing rice and all that they did learn eventually came by of our West African ancestors like the Mande.

    Another African phenomenon generally associated with the American West is the cowboy. Some of our ancestors had been pastoralists and/or fine horsemen in Africa like the Fula and Songhai peoples. In infamous South Carolina, this time further away from the coast where the rice plantations were, some of our ancestors were used to herd cattle. They used the same method(s) they did in Africa to herd cattle in South Carolina. Those methods went on to be used, in turn, by white cattle herders in the American West called cowboys. Some historians are of the opinion that the term "cowboy" began in South Carolina as a reference to our cattle herding ancestors. "Oh, that's my cowboy."

    When we look at the groups like the Mande and the Fula, those peoples who lived in Western part of West Africa, we also see a substantial legacy that began over some 4000 years ago in a region in present-day Mauretania known Dhar Tichit. Dhar Tichit was a cultural horizon developed by the ancestors of many West African peoples, most notably the Mande, the Serer and related groups. At Dhar Tichit, in the 3rd millennium BCE, our ancestors had developed a stratified society based on the production of millet and constructed stone masonry cities with a intricate layout of narrow streets and open plazas. By 1400 BCE, our ancestors were proficient in metallurgy. Also around this time, the people of Dhar Tichitt began to abandon the locale for places further south like present-day Mali, Senegal and Gambia. The origins of ancient Ghana (Wagadogou) can be found in the Dhar Tichit cultural horizon. Looking at the timeline we can see that Dhar Tichit was a contemporary of ancient Kmt; the people of both societies shared a common ancestry in the present-day Sahara over 6000 years ago during the African Holocene era.

    In West Central Africa, our ancestors who were broadly classified as "Congo" or "Angola" had their origins. The term "Congo" was applied to the many and various Bantu speaking people who were transported from the slave ports on and around the Congo River basin. Not all were actually Bakongo in ethnicity, as many were Vili, Yombe, Luba, etc. The term "Angola" was used for those people that came through the slave ports near present-day Benguela. The term "Angola" comes from the Ngola kingdom of the Mbundu people.

    As a native of Louisiana, I am particularly fond of the West Central African group - the Congo and Angolan peoples. These people contributed greatly to the culture of Louisiana and the spirit of the Black folks there. You can find the use of the Bantu languages in the name of one of Louisiana's greatest musical exports, jazz, or in the name of one of the state's most famous dishes, gumbo. Not too far from where I am from, there is a place named Melrose Plantation nearby the town of Natchitoches, Louisiana that holds the distinction of housing the only surviving example of Congo-inspired architecture in the United States in its old slave quarters.

    As far as I can reason, a personal ancestor of mine had ties to the old African states of Ngola and Matamba because this ancestor was Mbundu. Hence the reason for my own spiritual path. Also in regards to spirituality, the Bantu peoples had a very developed and sophiscated cosmology that has influenced a magical tradition in the Black community in the United States known as hoodoo or rootwork.

    One of the most compelling details their cosmology which has some implications, symbolically, for African-Americans is the concept of Kalunga. Kalunga, according to Bakongo cosmology specifically, can be either the body of water one crosses over after dying before arriving at the abode of the ancestors or the actual abode of the ancestors. Imagine how some of the ancestors of that extraction might have perceived the journey across the Atlantic on boats of death navigated by the pale skinned harbingers of death. Quite terrifying to say the least.

    .... Nsala malekum
     
  9. skuderjaymes

    skuderjaymes Contextualizer Synthesizer MEMBER

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    Here's a Mande connection to The Americas far before the Slave Trade.. this is a repost from the "When Rocks Cry Out" thread:

    Peace Fine1952, Raptor,

    I haven't been following this conversation.. but I heard "Van Sertima".. and thought I'd add some support.

    Here is one of his more powerful presentations:

    And here are some scraps from my own research of Van Sertima's assertions:
    In, "African Language Structures (1973)", the author mentions some linguistic linkeage between the Mayan languages of Central America and Mande languages of West Africa. The Author arrogantly dismisses the links as a "coincidence" but when you consider what we know of the Southern Equatorial Current and also the evidence mentioned by Keita about the Tobacco and Cocaine being found in Kemet, it appears rather more likely that the Mande and Mayan languages are indeed connected.
    [​IMG]
    To go along with that.. here is an excerpt from a Maritime publication describing The South Equatorial Current that connects West Africa to Central America..

    [​IMG]
    And here is a chart of the ocean currents between Africa and the Americas.

    [​IMG]

    And here is a side by side depiction of Mayan and Egyptian Hieratic Alphabet.

    [​IMG]
    (I'll post the book I got this last piece from when I find it..​
    I did this screen shot quite a while ago)​
     
  10. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    More on Ndongo...

    The Mbundu-speaking region was known as the land of Mbundu, and according to late sixteenth-century accounts, it was divided into 736 small political units ruled by sobas. These sobas and their territories (called murinda) were compact groupings of villages (senzala or libatas, probably following the Kikongo term divata) surrounding a small central town (mbanza).

    These political units were often grouped into larger units called kanda and sometimes provinces. Larger kingdoms may have emerged in earlier times, but in the sixteenth century most of these regions had been united by the rulers of Ndongo. Ndongo's capital city was called Kabasa, located on the highlands near modern-day N'dalatando. This was a large town, holding as many as 50,000 people in its densely populated district.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Ndongo
     
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