Kanem-Bornu Sultanate (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: The Kanem-Bornu Empire paved the way for the rise of the Fulani kingdoms throughout western Sudan.
Kanem was the first state in the northern Sudan to be well documented. Thanks to Arab historians, the history of Bornu is well documented from about the ninth century onward. Lake Chad, much larger at the time, attracted large populations around its basin and acted as a stimulus for trade.
A pastoral group, ancestors of the Kanuri, established a centralized state over those referred to collectively as the Bulala, or Sao. By 1000, the Kanuri, originally a loose confederation of tribes, had settled in Kanem. Initially, Kanem established trading links as far east as Egypt and the Nile Valley. Kanem appears to have made contact and established ties with the Christian kingdoms of Nubia. These ties ended when Muslims took control of Kanem, including its ruling family, in the eleventh century. The new rulers used Islamic law to consolidate and strengthen their power. Under their Muslim rulers, Kanem dominated areas to the south and west of the lake. Although successful in trade, the Kanem Empire failed to maintain a long period of peace. By the twelfth century, they came under attack from the Sao and moved their capital to the region west of Lake Chad, losing control of most of the original territory of Kanem.
In the thirteenth century, the Kanuri began to conquer the surrounding...
(The entire section is 690 words.)
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