Home Region:  West Africa (Africa)

Bamana kingdom

D G SC WF HS PT EQ 2020  ml_bamana_k / MlBaman

Preceding:
1650 CE 1712 CE Segou Kingdom (ml_segou_k)    [continuity]
Add one more here.

Succeeding:
No Polity found. Add one here.

The Bamana Kingdom was founded in 1712 by Biton Kulibali [1] and became part of the Tukulor (or Toucouleur) empire in 1861, when El Hajj Umar Tall seized the capital, Segu. [2] This polity derives its name from its dominant ethnic group, [3] and because an alternative name for this group is ’Bambara’, some sources will refer to the ’Bambara kingdom’. [4] Because this was not the only Bambara kingdom at the time, it is often known as the Bambara Kingdom of Segu, from the name of its capital. French spellings of some of these names are also commonly found in the literature ‒ for example, Kulibali is sometimes spelled Coulibaly and Segu is sometimes spelled Segou. [5]
The kingdom was located in the Niger Bend, in West Africa. Between 1725 and 1751, under Biton’s leadership, the Bamana of Segu conquered the whole of Bamana territory (including the Beledugu region, Jenne, and Timbuktu), and took Niani, the capital of the Mali Empire. [6] After a series of weak successors, Ngolo Diarra (1766‒1790) strengthened the kingdom’s hold over Timbuktu and Macina and conquered part of Dogon country. [7] The Bamana Kingdom reached its greatest size under the rule of Monson Diarra (1792‒1808), who extended Segu power from San to Timbuktu, and from the Land of the Dogons to Kaarta. [8]
Population and Political Organization
The Bamana kingdom was ruled by single leader, known as the faama, who also led the army and was advised by an assembly of 40 men, including warriors and holy men. This assembly was based on a pre-existing Bamana institution known as fla-n-ton or ton, that is, an association of young men who had undergone circumcision together. With exceptions like Biton Kulibali and Ngolo Diarra, it seems that most faama were weak and ineffectual, at the mercy of the assembly. Stronger rulers, however, were able to govern with few constraints. [7]
It is also worth noting that slavery was an important institution in the Bamana kingdom: the trade in slaves for guns and horses lay at the heart of the power of this nascent ’warrior-state’. [9]
No official population estimates could be found for the Bamana Kingdom. However, the kingdom covered about half the territory of modern Mali, Guinea and Senegal, and the total population of these three countries in 1960 was around 12 million. [10] [11] [12] No reference could be found to a population crash between 1800 and 1960, but demographic growth was probably slower in the 19th century than in the 20th century. The population of the Bamana Kingdom in 1800 may have numbered three or four million people.

[1]: (Brett-Smith 2002, 940) Sarah C. Brett-Smith. 2002. ’Bamana Identity, State Formation, and the Sources of Bamana Art’. American Anthropologist 104 (3): 939-52.

[2]: (Oloruntimehin 1972, 141) B. Olofunmilayo Oloruntimehin. 1972. The Segu Tukulor Empire. London: Longman.

[3]: (Brett-Smith 2002, 939-952) Sarah C. Brett-Smith. 2002. ’Bamana Identity, State Formation, and the Sources of Bamana Art’. American Anthropologist 104(3): 939-952.

[4]: (Izard and Ki-Zerbo 1992, 329-338) Michel Izard and Joseph Ki-Zerbo. 1992. ’From the Niger to the Volta’ in "General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries", edited by Bethwell Allan Ogot. London: Heinemann.

[5]: (Brett-Smith 2002, 940) Sarah C. Brett-Smith. 2002. ’Bamana Identity, State Formation, and the Sources of Bamana Art’. American Anthropologist 104(3): 939-52.

[6]: (Izard and Ki-Zerbo 1992, 333) Michel Izard and Joseph Ki-Zerbo. 1992. ’From the Niger to the Volta’, in General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries, edited by Bethwell Allan Ogot, 327-67. London: Heinemann.

[7]: (Izard and Ki-Zerbo 1992, 333-34) Michel Izard and Joseph Ki-Zerbo. 1992. ’From the Niger to the Volta’, in General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries, edited by Bethwell Allan Ogot, 327-67. London: Heinemann.

[8]: (Izard and Ki-Zerbo 1992, 334) Michel Izard and Joseph Ki-Zerbo. 1992. ’From the Niger to the Volta’, in General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries, edited by Bethwell Allan Ogot, 327-67. London: Heinemann.

[9]: (Brett-Smith 2002, 941) Sarah C. Brett-Smith. 2002. ’Bamana Identity, State Formation, and the Sources of Bamana Art’. American Anthropologist 104 (3): 939-52.

[10]: (World Bank 2016) World Bank, World DataBank. 2016. ’Mali: Population, total’ [dataset]. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=ML&view=chart.

[11]: (World Bank 2016) World Bank, World DataBank. 2016. ’Guinea: Population, total’ [dataset]. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?end=1960&locations=GN&start=1960&view=chart.

[12]: (World Bank 2016) World Bank, World DataBank. 2016. ’Senegal: Population, total’ [dataset]. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?end=1960&locations=SN&start=1960&view=chart.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
30 P  
30 Q  
Original Name:
Bamana kingdom  
Capital:
Kaarta  
Alternative Name:
Segou kingdom  
Segou state  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
1,800 CE  
Duration:
[1,712 CE ➜ 1,861 CE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Succeeding Entity:
Toucouleur Kingdom  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Preceding:   Segou Kingdom (ml_segou_k)    [continuity]  
Degree of Centralization:
unitary state  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Mande  
Language:
Bambara  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
30,000 people 1796 CE
Polity Territory:
[350,000 to 450,000] km2  
Polity Population:
[3,000,000 to 4,000,000] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
4  
Religious Level:
3  
Military Level:
5  
Administrative Level:
5  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
present  
Professional Priesthood:
present  
Professional Military Officer:
present  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
unknown  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
unknown  
Judge:
inferred present  
Formal Legal Code:
inferred present  
Court:
inferred present  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Irrigation System:
unknown  
Food Storage Site:
unknown  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
present  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
unknown  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
unknown  
Script:
unknown  
Nonwritten Record:
unknown  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Sacred Text:
present  
Religious Literature:
inferred present  
Lists Tables and Classification:
inferred present  
Fiction:
inferred present  
Calendar:
inferred present  
Information / Money
Token:
present  
Precious Metal:
inferred present  
Paper Currency:
unknown  
Article:
present  
Information / Postal System
Courier:
unknown  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
inferred present  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
inferred present  
  Modern Fortification:
inferred absent  
  Moat:
unknown  
  Fortified Camp:
inferred present  
  Earth Rampart:
inferred present  
  Ditch:
inferred present  
  Complex Fortification:
unknown  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
unknown  
  Iron:
inferred present  
  Copper:
present  
  Bronze:
unknown  
Projectiles
  Sling:
inferred present  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
present  
  Handheld Firearm:
present  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
inferred absent  
  Crossbow:
inferred present  
  Composite Bow:
unknown  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
inferred present  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
unknown  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
inferred present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
present  
  Elephant:
inferred absent  
  Donkey:
inferred present  
  Dog:
inferred absent  
  Camel:
unknown  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
present  
  Shield:
inferred present  
  Scaled Armor:
inferred absent  
  Plate Armor:
unknown  
  Limb Protection:
unknown  
  Leather Cloth:
inferred present  
  Laminar Armor:
inferred absent  
  Helmet:
unknown  
  Chainmail:
inferred present  
  Breastplate:
unknown  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
inferred absent  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
unknown  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Bamana kingdom (ml_bamana_k) was in:
 (1712 CE 1818 CE)   Niger Inland Delta
Home NGA: Niger Inland Delta

General Variables
Identity and Location

Original Name:
Bamana kingdom

Capital:
Kaarta

"The Bambara established two major military kingdoms at Segou and Kaarta". [1]
1712-1766: Segu-Koro; 1766-1861: Segu-Si-Koro. Ngolo Diarra, who ruled between 1766 and 1790, moved the capital from Segu-Koro to Segu-Si-Koro, though the source does not provide an exact year [2] .

[1]: (Keil 2012, 108) Sarah Keil. Bambara. Andrea L Stanton. ed. 2012. Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa: An Encyclopedia. Sage. Los Angeles.

[2]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Alternative Name:
Segou kingdom

[1]

[1]: S.C. Brett-Smith, Bamana Identity, State Formation, and the Sources of Bamana Art (2002), in american Anthropologist 104(3): 939-952

Alternative Name:
Segou state

[1]

[1]: S.C. Brett-Smith, Bamana Identity, State Formation, and the Sources of Bamana Art (2002), in american Anthropologist 104(3): 939-952


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
1,800 CE

1712-1755; 1766-1790; 1792-1808 Biton Coulibaly (1712-1755), Ngolo Diarra (1766-1790) are both described as "strong figures", exceptions in a sequence of weak rulers; and Monson Diarra (1792-1808), too, "made the power of Segu felt from San to Timbuktu and from the land of the Dogon to Kaarta" [1] .

[1]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Duration:
[1,712 CE ➜ 1,861 CE]

The polity was founded by Biton Coulibaly in 1712 [1] , and was engulfed by the Toucouleur kingdom in 1861 [2] .

[1]: S.C. Brett-Smith, Bamana Identity, State Formation, and the Sources of Bamana Art (2002), in american Anthropologist 104(3): 939-952

[2]: (Oloruntimehin 1972, 141) B. Olofunmilayo Oloruntimehin. 1972. The Segu Tukulor Empire. London: Longman.


Political and Cultural Relations
Succeeding Entity:
Toucouleur Kingdom

[1]

[1]: S.C. Brett-Smith, Bamana Identity, State Formation, and the Sources of Bamana Art (2002), in american Anthropologist 104(3): 939-952


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

Biton Coulibaly, founder of the Bamana kingdom, is traditionally believed to have descended from the Segu kingdom’s rulers, and, even if this were not true, he belonged to their same ethnic group, the Bamana or Bambara [1] .

[1]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Preceding Entity:
Segou Kingdom [ml_segou_k] ---> Bamana kingdom [ml_bamana_k]

[1]

[1]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Degree of Centralization:
unitary state

[1]

[1]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Language

Language:
Bambara

Inferred from the name (Bambara and Bamana mean the same thing) [1] .

[1]: K.C. MacDonald, A Chacoun son Bambara, encore une fois: History, Archaeology and Bambara Origins, in F.G. Richard and K.C. MacDonald, Ethnic Ambiguity and the African Past: Materiality, History, and the Shaping of Cultural Identities (2014), pp. 119-144


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
30,000 people
1796 CE

Inhabitants. Scottish explorer Mungo Park estimated this to be the population of the capital when he visited it in 1796 [1] .

[1]: R.A. Bravmann, Islamic ritual and practice in Bamana Ségou, in J.P. Colleyn (ed.) Bamana: the art of existence in Mali (2008), pp. 35-43


Polity Territory:
[350,000 to 450,000] km2

in squared kilometers
Spread between parts of modern day Mali, Guinea and Senegal in that order only just reaching the inland delta region.


Polity Population:
[3,000,000 to 4,000,000] people

People.
Landlocked territory split between modern day Mali, Guinea and Senegal in that order only just reaching inland delta region.
We can place an upper limit at 11.5 million which was the population of Mali, Guinea and Senegal in 1960 (no reference to a population crash between 1800 and 1960). However, Bamana kingdom covered less than 50% territory of these countries, so we can halve this to 5.5 million upper limit. It is likely the population of this region grew between 1800 and 1960 but at a much slower rate than that achieved in modern times. A reasonable estimate could be between 3-4 million for 1800 CE.
Google data for population by country:
Mali population in 1960: 5 million
Senegal population in 1960: 3 million
Guinea population in 1960: 3.5 million.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
4

levels. Lack of data. Estimate as with earlier polities.
1. Capital
2.3.4.


Religious Level:
3

levels.
Islam. Earlier polities coded 3.


Military Level:
5

levels. [1]
1. Fama
The polity leader.
2. Kèlè tigiGeneral, appointed by the Fama to lead the army when he could not lead it himself.
3. Tònjòn KuntigiOne for each of the army’s two "arms".
3. Other TònjònThe army’s elite, which formed its "chest" and "feet" (the latter being a special reserve).4. Other Tònjòn
The army’s elite, which formed its "chest" and "feet" (the latter being a special reserve).
5. KèlèbolowThe army’s "arms", apparently made up entirely of simple soldiers.

[1]: S.A. Djata, The Bamana kingdom by the Niger (1997), pp. 16-17


Administrative Level:
5

levels. No good data. However, administrative levels usually correlates with military levels so have used the military levels as an estimate.
1. Fama [1]

[1]: S.A. Djata, The Bamana kingdom by the Niger (1997), pp. 9-25


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

[1]

[1]: S.A. Djata, The Bamana kingdom by the Niger (1997), p. 16


Professional Priesthood:
present

Islamic clergy [1] .

[1]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Professional Military Officer:
present

[1]

[1]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
unknown

Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown

Law
Professional Lawyer:
unknown


Formal Legal Code:
present

Islamic



Specialized Buildings: polity owned


Transport Infrastructure

At least one road, connecting Timbuktu and the port of Kabara on the Niger [1] .

[1]: N. Levtzion, North-West Africa: From the Maghrib to the Fringes of the Forest, in J.D. Fage and R. Oliver (eds), The Cambridge History of Africa (1975), pp. 142-222


Special-purpose Sites

Information / Writing System



Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Sacred Text:
present

Qur’an


Religious Literature:
present

Islamic.


Lists Tables and Classification:
present

Used by government.




Information / Money

Cowrie shells [1] .

[1]: T. Ring, R.M. Salkin, and S. La Boda, International Dictionary of Historic Places: Middle East and Africa, Volume 4 (1994), p. 692


Precious Metal:
present

Gold.




Information / Postal System

Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
present

Reference for pre-colonial African warfare: in the 16th century the Kano people used stockades. There are other/later examples of palisades. [1] Reference for pre-colonial African warfare: "stockades (or palisades) were perhaps nearly as common, sometimes combined with walls, sometimes as the main defence." [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 100) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown

Closest relevant data: the capital of the Hausa kingdom of Kebbi, Surame, had "substantial" stone walls. [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 101) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Stone Walls Mortared:
unknown

Closest relevant data: the capital of the Hausa kingdom of Kebbi, Surame, had "substantial" stone walls. [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 101) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

Reference for pre-colonial African warfare: some towns were strategically sited. [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 99) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Modern Fortification:
absent

Siege cannon not established in this period.


Closest relevant data: in the 19th century the Yoruba capital Ketu had double walls and a moat. [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 111) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Fortified Camp:
present

Reference for pre-colonial African warfare: "The formation of a fortified camp, distinct from the parent town or towns, was usually the first step taken by a West African army when it advanced into the field. ... the leaders were sheltered by tents or by walls of matting while the soldiers slept under such shelter as they could find... But on arrival at the point chosen by the commander as the base of operations, the practice was to throw up an earthern wall surrounded by a ditch (the excavation from which the wall had been built)." [1] Present. [2]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 100) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: S.A. Djata, The Bamana kingdom by the Niger (1997), p. 17


Earth Rampart:
present

Reference for pre-colonial African warfare: mud walls often surrounded towns. [1] Reference for pre-colonial African warfare: "The formation of a fortified camp, distinct from the parent town or towns, was usually the first step taken by a West African army when it advanced into the field. ... the leaders were sheltered by tents or by walls of matting while the soldiers slept under such shelter as they could find... But on arrival at the point chosen by the commander as the base of operations, the practice was to throw up an earthern wall surrounded by a ditch (the excavation from which the wall had been built)." [2]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 99) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 100) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Reference for pre-colonial African warfare: "The formation of a fortified camp, distinct from the parent town or towns, was usually the first step taken by a West African army when it advanced into the field. ... the leaders were sheltered by tents or by walls of matting while the soldiers slept under such shelter as they could find... But on arrival at the point chosen by the commander as the base of operations, the practice was to throw up an earthern wall surrounded by a ditch (the excavation from which the wall had been built)." [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 100) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Complex Fortification:
unknown

Closest relevant data: in the 19th century the Yoruba capital Ketu had double walls and a moat. [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 111) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Military use of Metals


Military leaders wielded battle axes made of special metals, including copper [1] .

[1]: S.A. Djata, The Bamana kingdom by the Niger (1997), p. 17



Projectiles

Reference for pre-colonial West African warfare: projectile weapons included the sling. [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 64) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Arrows. [1] Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: "conventional weapons (as opposed to firearms) continued to play an effective role in West African warfare until as late as the middle of the last century." (i.e. 19th century). [2] Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: self bows. [3] "The self or simple bow consists essentially of a bent stave of pliant wood and a bowstring of a sufficient elasticity. Most West African types may be characterized as shortbows, being from about two and a half to five feet in height ... however, Wilhelm Muller describes the war-bows which he saw in the Fetu country (near Elmina) in the mid-seventeenth century as being ... nearly six feet." [4] "Their effective range was some 50 to 75 yards, compared with some 250 yards for the longbow". [4] Present. Bow type not specified. [5]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 79) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[3]: (Smith 1989, 74) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[4]: (Smith 1989, 72) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[5]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: "conventional weapons (as opposed to firearms) continued to play an effective role in West African warfare until as late as the middle of the last century." (i.e. 19th century). [1] Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: throwing spears or javelin. [2]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 64) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Handheld Firearm:
present

Blunderbusses. [1] , flintlock muskets [2] On a very small scale in this period: "By the end of the eighteenth century, Mande blacksmiths were repairing imported firearms ... and in the nineteenth century Samory’s smiths were able to copy the main types of weapons ... Modern breech-loading rifles reached West African markets during the 1870s". [3] "By the end of the eighteenth century, Mande blacksmiths were repairing imported firearms". [3] According to the Kano Chronicle muskets introduced in the early eighteenth century. [4] Firearms first introduced into West Africa "on a very small scale" in the 15th century. [5] By the end of the 17th century firearms "had been widely adopted on the Gold and Slave Coasts, were beginning to penetrate the forest states, and had reached Borno, Hausaland and elsewhere in the Sudan." [5]

[1]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367

[2]: S.A. Djata, The Bamana kingdom by the Niger (1997), p. 17

[3]: (Koenig, Diarra and Sow 1998, 42) Dolores Koenig. Tieman Diarra. Moussa Sow. et al. 1998. Innovation and Individuality in African Development: Changing Production Strategies in Rural Mali. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor.

[4]: (Smith 1989, 79) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[5]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent

Not in this period: "By the end of the eighteenth century, Mande blacksmiths were repairing imported firearms ... and in the nineteenth century Samory’s smiths were able to copy the main types of weapons ... Modern breech-loading rifles reached West African markets during the 1870s". [1]

[1]: (Koenig, Diarra and Sow 1998, 42) Dolores Koenig. Tieman Diarra. Moussa Sow. et al. 1998. Innovation and Individuality in African Development: Changing Production Strategies in Rural Mali. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor.


Present but rarely used? Crossbow "was apparently in use among only a few of the forest peoples and seems to have been unknown in the savannah. No descriptions of this weapon have been found in the accounts of West African armament given by the early European and North African travellers, but a missionary report of a military review at Ijaye in 1861 refers to the carrying of ’great crossbows’ by some of the troops". [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 74) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Composite Bow:
unknown

Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: "conventional weapons (as opposed to firearms) continued to play an effective role in West African warfare until as late as the middle of the last century." (i.e. 19th century). [1] "In warfare bows and other missiles were mainly infantry weapons, as in Europe and the Middle East, but some cavalry - for example, that of the Oyo and of the nineteenth-century Adamawa - seem to have used bows, presumably shorter and more compact than those used by the infantry. Barth mentions seeing (to his surprise) a Borno archer on horseback, and both Benin and Yoruba sculpture show mounted archers." [2]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 70) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


New World weapon.


Handheld weapons

Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: "conventional weapons (as opposed to firearms) continued to play an effective role in West African warfare until as late as the middle of the last century." (i.e. 19th century). [1] Reference for pre-colonial West African warfare: "Among shock weapons, those decisive instruments in war, were the sword, club, lance, dagger, and fighting bracelet." [2]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 64) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Swords. [1] Reference for pre-colonial West African warfare: "Among shock weapons, those decisive instruments in war, were the sword, club, lance, dagger, and fighting bracelet." [2] Carried by military leaders. [3]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 79) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 64) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[3]: S.A. Djata, The Bamana kingdom by the Niger (1997), p. 17


Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: "conventional weapons (as opposed to firearms) continued to play an effective role in West African warfare until as late as the middle of the last century." (i.e. 19th century). [1] "the lance was an integral and in some cases the major part of the weaponry of West African cavalry." [2] Carried by military leaders. [3] Carried by military leaders [3]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 68) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[3]: S.A. Djata, The Bamana kingdom by the Niger (1997), p. 17


Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: "conventional weapons (as opposed to firearms) continued to play an effective role in West African warfare until as late as the middle of the last century." (i.e. 19th century). [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: "conventional weapons (as opposed to firearms) continued to play an effective role in West African warfare until as late as the middle of the last century." (i.e. 19th century). [1] "Apart from swords, the warriors of West Africa carried a variety of similar but shorter weapons for stabbing, including European-style daggers." [2]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 68) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Battle Axe:
present

Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: "conventional weapons (as opposed to firearms) continued to play an effective role in West African warfare until as late as the middle of the last century." (i.e. 19th century). [1] Present. [2] Is there any more detail for this reference - for example, is it specific for this polity?

[1]: (Smith 1989, 80) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: M. Izard and J. Ki-Zerbo, From the Niger to the Volta, in B.A. Ogot (ed), General History of Africa, vol. 5: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 327-367


Animals used in warfare

Horses. [1] "After the Moroccans defeated Songhay, others, for example, the Bambara, began to adopt Moroccan fighting methods (Abitbol 1992, 312)." This included making greater use of cavalry. [2] "In warfare bows and other missiles were mainly infantry weapons, as in Europe and the Middle East, but some cavalry - for example, that of the Oyo and of the nineteenth-century Adamawa - seem to have used bows, presumably shorter and more compact than those used by the infantry. Barth mentions seeing (to his surprise) a Borno archer on horseback, and both Benin and Yoruba sculpture show mounted archers." [3]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 89) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Koenig, Diarra and Sow 1998, 42) Dolores Koenig. Tieman Diarra. Moussa Sow. et al. 1998. Innovation and Individuality in African Development: Changing Production Strategies in Rural Mali. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor.

[3]: (Smith 1989, 70) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Not mentioned in discussion of "Horses and other animals used in war" for pre-colonial West Africa. [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 89-91) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


"As well as horses, there was some use of camels by the armies of the West and Central Sudan. ... They supplanted, or more probably supplemented, the droves of oxen, ponies, mules, and donkeys previously used for transport in Borno ..." [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 91) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Not mentioned in discussion of "Horses and other animals used in war" for pre-colonial West Africa. [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 89-91) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


"As well as horses, there was some use of camels by the armies of the West and Central Sudan. ... They supplanted, or more probably supplemented, the droves of oxen, ponies, mules, and donkeys previously used for transport in Borno ... Camels were also well-adapted to scouting and skirmishing in the desert and semi-desert parts of the region as well as to carrying baggage ..." [1] Mercenaries?: "the desert Taureg were sought-after allies in the wars of the Sudan." [1] Seems unlikely, unless used as mercenaries.

[1]: (Smith 1989, 91) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Armor
Wood Bark Etc:
present

Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: at least until the introduction of firearms cavalry and infantry used shields which could be made from "hide, wood, and basketwork" and sometimes also covered in copper plate (Gold Coast region). [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 79) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


"Armour was apparently little used in the Western Sudan, though the Mossi cavalry for protective purposes assumed as much clothing as possible and provided leather and copper shields for the vulnerable parts of their mounts." [1] Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: at least until the introduction of firearms cavalry and infantry used shields. [2]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 78) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 79) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Scaled Armor:
absent

"Armour was apparently little used in the Western Sudan". [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 78) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Plate Armor:
unknown

"Armour was apparently little used in the Western Sudan". [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 78) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Limb Protection:
unknown

"Armour was apparently little used in the Western Sudan". [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 78) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Leather Cloth:
present

"Armour was apparently little used in the Western Sudan, though the Mossi cavalry for protective purposes assumed as much clothing as possible and provided leather and copper shields for the vulnerable parts of their mounts." [1] "In the late sixteenth century the Wolof cavalry were described as wearing a form of armour made from twisted cotton cloth which was resistant to arrows and spear thrusts." [1] Padded clothing. [2]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 78) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 64) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Laminar Armor:
absent

"Armour was apparently little used in the Western Sudan". [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 78) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


"Armour was apparently little used in the Western Sudan". [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 78) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Chainmail:
present

"No reliable tradition of the manufacture or systematic repair of mail seems to be preserved in West Africa, and it can be assumed that the whole supply came from outside the region." [1] Imported by Kanem during the 13th CE (Dunama Dibalemi) and by Mali in the 14th CE (Mansa Musa). According to tradition quilted and mail armour was first introduced by Sarki Kanajeji (c.1390-1410)." [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 79) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Breastplate:
unknown

"Armour was apparently little used in the Western Sudan". [1]

[1]: (Smith 1989, 78) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Naval technology
Specialized Military Vessel:
absent

Landlocked state.


Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present

Founder of the Bambara Empire, Mamary Coulibaly, used war canoes to fight and patrol the Niger River. [1] Reference for pre-colonial West African warfare: "Mobility was provided by the horse and other animals and by the canoe". [2] Reference for pre-colonial West Africa: The largest dug-out canoes could carry 100 men as well as their provisions. Others carried a few men, or a couple of dozen. [3]

[1]: (Blauer and Lauré 2008, 29) Ettagale Blauer. Jason Lauré. 2008. Cultures of the World Mali. Marshall Cavendish. New York.

[2]: (Smith 1989, 64) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.

[3]: (Smith 1989, 91) Robert Sydney Smith. 1989. Warfare & Diplomacy in Pre-colonial West Africa. Second Edition. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison.


Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
unknown


Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions