10 Exciting Historical Places to Visit in Nigeria

Nigeria Travel Guide: 10 Historical Places in Nigeria

Nigeria Travel Guide: Nigeria is no doubt one of the most beautiful countries on the African continent for it is blessed with mesmerizing details of nature from water falls to mountains as well as beautiful rocks. It is a country which has a lot of history in form of places, artifacts and many other things which makes a very amazing nation. We’ve decided to put together a few historical places which might suit your interest in this article because Nigeria is a place where lots of events and happenings have occurred which shaped it into one of the most popular countries in the world.

Travelling to Nigeria, and looking at the best places to visit in your holiday destination? From the Oduduwa shrine to UNESCO World Heritage sites, here’s our top 10 recommendations for exciting historical places to visit in Nigeria. This is a little history and travel guide to Nigeria’s historical sites.

Badagry

Nigeria Historical Sites: Marina Badagry, Lagos
The 1st storey building in Nigeria (Marina Badagry, Lagos). © dayoadedayo/bestofnigeria/instagram

Badagry, a coastal town lying between the Lagos city and Benin border, is an historical settlement which has a significant history between Nigeria, Europe and America. This is as a result of the slave trade existing in Africa during the old times, of which an estimate of 550,000 black slaves were sold and transported abroad from this town. Asides being an Avenue for slavery, Badagry was the first place a storey building was ever erected in Nigeria. Today, the town houses a slave museum which exhibits items such as slave chains, drinking pots, and slave statues which has various tourists from all spheres of the world trooping into Badagry so as to take a step back into era of slave trade. Places of interest include the palace of Akran of Badagry, the first storey building in Nigeria, slave chains in the mini museum of slave trade, the Vlekte slave market and the slave port established for the shipment of slaves.

Ogbunike Caves 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ogbunike Caves
A tunnel into the Ogbunike caves. © adedotunajibade/instagram

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Ogbunike, Anambra State. This is a popular tourist site in the southeastern state of Enugu accessible via a walkway of about 317 steps, known to have been discovered by “Ukwa” a hunter back in the early times. The caves which houses a number of bats of different sizes is surrounded by a tropical rainforest and is known to have a massive open chamber which leads to different tunnels within the caves. It is said that anyone going into the caves has to remove their shoes and women going through their monthly cycle are not permitted entry into the caves unless done with their periods. A festival tagged “Ime Ogba” elebrated annually in commemoration of the discovery of the cave.

Olumo Rock

Nigeria Historical Places: Olumo Rock
Olumo rock, Abeokuta – © jbdodane/flickr

Olumo Rock: is a solid piece of monument located right at the center of Abeokuta (meaning under the stone) the capital of Ogun state. This monument which today is a one of the most visited historical sites in Nigeria, served as a hiding place for the ‘Egba people’ during the intertribal wars in the 19th century. It is said that one can get to see the whole city of abeokuta from a top the rock. Today, the rock now has an elevator which goes all the way up above the rock which tourists exploring the monument can access if they can’t manually find their way up. A few number of sculptures from the 19th century can be found within Olumo rock, which are all well labeled in English captions, including the spot where the Egba people took refuge. A tour of Olumo rock today costs 700 naira for adults while it is 1000 naira for children, both with a tour guide to show them around and tell the tales behind massive monument. A visit to the city of Abeokuta is incomplete without visiting the Olumo Rock – one of the major rocks in Nigeria and a very popular tourist destination, sits in the ancient city centre of Abeokuta – a name which means “Under the rock”; it has a height of 137 metres above sea level.

Ancient Kano City Walls

Nigeria Historical Sites: Ancient Kano City Walls
Ancient Kano City Walls, Nigeria (1941) – © Majorshots/flickr

The Ancient Kano City Walls (Hausa: Kofar Na’isa). Construction of this popular tourist site located on the south of the Sahara was kicked off during the reign of Sarki Gijimasu between 1095 and 1134 and completed during the reign of Zamnagawa to protect the inhabitants of the Kano City. Though most parts of the walls are in a sorry state today, it serves as a significant landmark on the northern part of Nigeria and has been tagged as one of the most spectacular monuments in Africa. The Ancient Kano City Walls were described as “‘the most impressive monument in West Africa”.

Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, Osun

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove
Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove – © jbdodane/flickr

This sacred historical forest lies in the heart of osogbo, the capital of Osun state in the south western part of Nigeria. The forest which serves as home to a number of sculptures, shrines and local works of art, used to be an abandoned sacred forest which prohibited fishing, hunting and other activities meant meant to keep forest alive. Not until the arrival of a foreigner “Susanne Wenger” who revived the historical sacred site with the help of the locals. The historical site is today annually visited by tourists from within the African continent and abroad so as to tap into the history and culture of the Osun people. In 2005, it was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its yearly festival brings thousands of spectators, tourists and Osun worshippers from around the world.

Arochukwu Long Juju Slave Route, Abia

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Arochukwu Long Juju Slave Route
Arochukwu Long Juju Slave Route – © NaijaSpills

This is the home of the shrine of Ibin Ukpabi with a domineering cult statute of Kamalu- ‘The Ancient Warrior god’ still standing. This sacred altar located in Arochukwu the third largest city in Abia state, served as a supreme court during the early times. It is said that every judgement made at this altar is final and no form of appeal can be accepted once a perpetrator has been sentenced. Once sentenced, the perpetrator walks in through the gully leading into different tunnels within the sacred temple and if guilty, never walks back outside alive as a river near the tunnel would be covered in blood, signifying the death of the sentenced. But if they walk back alive, it simply shows the one sentenced was innocent in the first place. It also said that some victims end up being blindfolded and transported to Calabar as slaves before being transferred to “ala bekee“. There are lots of myths about this area which was listed in 2007 on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Oke-Idanre Hill, Ondo State

Nigeria Historical Places: Oke-Idanre Hill
Oke-Idanre Hill – © bestofnigeria/instagram

This spectacularly mind-blowing land scape encloses the Idanre town located in Akure, the capital of Ondo state in the southwestern part of Nigeria. The ancient tourist center which once served as a home to the Idanre community for over a 100 years, today receives tourists in thousands annually, who one way or the other have heard about the wonders of the historical land. Oke Idanre hills which is 3000 ft above sea level promises to leave a nostalgic souvenir in the hearts of her visitors as provides a clear view of Idanre town from above the hills. It was listed in 2007 on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is a tourist attraction centre that brings thousands of visitors all through the year.

Oduduwa Shrine and Grove (Ile-Ife)

Nigeria Historical Places: Oduduwa Shrine
Oduduwa Grove World Temple – © Afro Tourism

It is located in Ile-ife, Osun state. The site is notable for being the point where Oduduwa, the legendary progenitor of the Yoruba race landed with a chain. He founded Ile-life which became his final resting place, at this location, a statute of Oduduwa with the chain and staff can be found. This place has attracted so many tourists and researchers over the years.

Erin-Ijesha/Olumirin Waterfall

Nigeria travel guide to it's historical sites: Olumirin Waterfall
Olumirin Waterfall – © jujufilm/flickr

Olumirin means “another deity”. The Olumirin waterfall located in Erin-ijesha Osun state was discovered in 1140AD by Akinla, a granddaughter of Oduduwa, when the people of Ife were migrating to Erin-ijesha town. An interesting historical and tourist attraction said to have been discovered by Oduduwa’s daughter which is located in Osun state, Nigeria. It has seven stages which is accessible by steps, though slippery, leading right to the top of the waterfall which is why each tourist climbing the waterfall is advices to put on a pair comfortable sneakers. One can’t run away from getting splashed by pure drops of water which falls from above while climbing up the falls. The environs of the falls are beautifully surrounded by lush trees, sounds of birds chirping in the distance and rocks which is snaked by the water from above. This impressive tourist destination is sometimes used by movie producers and if lucky, one can find locals who beats drums to the hearing of interested visitors while they dance. A fair price of 200 naira is all it costs for a tour through the waterfall with a guide providing details about the site.

Surame Cultural Landscape, Sokoto

Nigeria travel guide to it's historical sites: Surame Cultural Landscape
Surame Cultural Landscape, Sokoto – © dailytrust

Surame is an ancient city in Sokoto State, created in the 16th Century by Muhammadu Kanta Sarkin Kebbi and abandoned in the `1700. It is regarded as one of the world’s wonders of the human civilization, ingenuity and creativity. Its wall is made of massive stones and has a Palace of the Hidi; the chief of the village. It was declared an ancient Nigeria’s National Monument in 1964 and added in the Cultural and Natural category of the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2007.

It is obvious from the list of historical sites above, that Nigeria truly has a lot of history behind it’s name which in various ways has shaped it into the state it is today. And though we couldn’t name other significant ancient sites Nigeria beholds, we challenge you our readers to take a solo tour to one of these places and see how much interesting things you would find out about the rich history, cultures and ethics of Nigeria. If you’ve been to one the sites listed above, don’t hesitate to share details about your experience with us in the comments section below.

Have you visited any of these places? Tell us your experience in the comment section. Don’t forget to share with your friends using any of the share buttons below.

A Brief History of the Benin People

History of Nigeria: Benin empire and Benin people

History of Nigeria: The Benin people of Nigeria hail from the formally called Benin Empire pre-colonially located in what is now southern Nigeria. The Benin Empire was one of the oldest pre-colonial empires with capital Benin City. The origin of the Benin people seem to have been lost with myths and folktales as many stories have come up over the years as to how the Benin people came to be, even to the point that some historians claim that the Binis originated from the lower river Nile area in Egypt due to the similarities between Egyptians and the Binis such as hairstyles of titled chiefs, queens and artwork. In Benin mythology, Osanobu and olokun are associated with health, wealth, life and every good thing while Oguiwu is associated with evil. Death, mourning. The significance of both come from ancient stories and tales of the cosmological account of the origination of the Benin Empire.

History of Nigeria: Benin empire and Benin people
benincity ‘The Ancient City of Benin’ by @fadagee Location: King Square, Benin City – © benincity/instagram

The original founders and people (Binis) of the Benin Empire and rulers or kings (monarchs) were commonly known as the Ogiso or Ogie-iso meaning king from heaven or king of the sky, the king Oba having a verbal formidable monarchy authority ruled the Empire. Benin City was the seat of power of the ancient Benin Empire and was one of the most powerful empires in Africa during the 15th 16th century. Generally speaking, the traditional leadership of the Benin Empire evolved over the centuries in the 15th century, the twelfth Oba Ewuare the great reigned and it was during his regime that Ubine known as Benin City was formed.

The Benin Empire where the first to get into contact with foreigners. In 1485 Joao Afonso de Aveiro a Portuguese explorer was the first foreigner to make contact with the Bini people and built a strong trade relationship trading tropical products such as pepper, ivory and palm oil for European guns, manila and so on. The king of Portugal sent Christian missionaries next and in the 19th century some Bini’s could speak fairly and understand Portuguese the trading relationship between the people of Benin and the Portuguese was a favorable one. However the British visited the Binis on their first expedition in in the 1550’s and hit off a trade relationship and in the 1880’s, when the Oba suspected the British of colonial tendencies, all communications with the British explorers and traders ceased. Not long after that in the 1890’s the Benin Empire was attacked by British troops which looted, burned and captured them, bringing the Empire to ruins.

The fall of the Benin Empire came as a result of the advent of British colonialism and after Nigeria gained her independence in 1960, restructuring the country became very important, therefore, Edo state was coined out of Bendel sate which comprised of a region of the now Delta and Edo State, Benin City however remained the capital and seat of power as the monarchy and political systems of governance continue till date, the Oba of Benin and his council of Chiefs have a palace located in Benin city and festivals and rituals such as coronations and so on still take place till date. The traditional religion is still very much practiced in present day Benin alongside the Islamic and Christian religions.

History of Nigeria: Benin empire and Benin people
benincityA 15th century Commemorative Bronze Piece of a Benin Monarch by @charleswhourde at an Art gallery in Paris, France – © benincity/instagram

The culture, customs and traditions of the Benin people live on till present day Nigeria and is still displayed to its fullest during wedding ceremonies, coronations, festivals such as the Igue festival and so on. Coral beads which is synonymous to the Edo people is still widely purchased and adorned, also, the traditional attires, the Bini bronze, brass, terracotta, ebony wood and ivory depict the lifestyle of the ancient and also the modern Benin Empire.

Igbo people: Historic Events That Proved The Ingenuity Of The Igbos

ojukwu

Igbo People: The Igbo tribe is an ethnic group dominant in both the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria in West Africa. They are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa and can be found throughout the rest of the world. They are renowned for being hard working, industrious and are generally peace loving and generous. The first Nigerian Billionaire, Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu was Igbo and the father of Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the late leader of the secessionist Biafra.

In 1967, the then military administrator of the former Eastern region, Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu advised Igbos living all over Nigeria to return to the East because of the massacre of thousands of Igbos in North due to feelings that the Military coup of 1966 was an Igbo coup. The Federal Military government failed to intervene and this led to feelings of neglect and the Igbos questioned their allegiance to the Nigerian cause. After due consultations Col. Ojukwu declared the Eastern region the Federal Republic of Biafra and this led to the Nigerian civil war; and with the help of the British, Nigeria defeated Biafra and regained her former territory. The Nigerian civil war is commonly known as the Biafra War. This war led to the destruction of the Eastern region and death of several millions of Igbos. Although the Military government adopted a “no victor, no vanquished” policy, it was mere propaganda because all bank accounts of the Igbos were nullified and each Igbo given a paltry 20 pounds to restart their lives. They were also marginalized politically. According to the victims of this policy, it was like starting life all over again but this time more difficult than ever. Even after all these, like the proverbial phoenix the Igbos have risen from the ashes and rebuilt the Eastern region with minimal government assistance and is currently one of the most developed zones in Nigeria.

There is even a proverb, popular in Nigeria about Igbos which says “if you visit anywhere and you can’t find an Igbo man, pack your bags and run away”. Here are some historic events that have proved the ingenuity and industrious nature of the Igbos:

Construction of Uli Airstrip

Nigerian civil war. Biafra
© weapons and warfare

Without any technical assistance from foreigners the Igbos built the Uli airstrip and when it was bombed by the Nigerian military, it was repaired in record time in the most difficult working conditions with crude implements. This was a truly amazing feat.

Refining Crude Oil

This was a period when the British preached that the Igbos couldn’t refine their own crude oil. The Igbos rubbished this falsehood when they refined their own petrol and even diesel. They also improvised with non-fossil fuels. This was no mean feat at the time.

Manufacture of Local Missiles

Nigerian civil war. Biafra
Ogbunigwe Launcher – © National war museum, Umuahia/flickr

The Igbos didn’t have access to advanced weapons due to activities of the British so they resorted to producing theirs. They produced surface to air missiles and later improvised to surface to surface missiles which was called Ogbunigwe.

Weaponizing Commercial Planes

The Igbos converted commercial planes into fighter jets and successfully thwarted Nigeria’s attempts with series of victories against their opponents until the British started intervening for the Nigerian Military.

Red Devil

Nigerian civil war. Biafra
BIAFRAN RED DEVIL Type A1 – © National war museum, Umuahia/flickr

This was the first armored personnel carrier manufactured in black Africa and the Igbos built it. The Igbos were disappointment when the Nigerian Military, around 2012, rolled out “Igirigi” and called it the first armored personnel carrier.

Rebuilding of The Eastern Region

Even after the destruction caused by the civil war and the obnoxious policies administered to cripple the Eastern region, the Igbos have successfully rebuilt their region which is currently one of the most developed in Nigeria.

The CIA World Fact Book puts the population of the Igbos at about 32 million. That’s about 18% of the total Nigerian population. So now we all know a little something about the Igbos. Cheers.

What do you think? Have we missed anything? Drop your comments below. Please share with your friends.

African People and Culture: The Cultural Diversity

African People and Culture

The African Cultural Diversity: “The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery.” – Chinua Achebe. This ideology stresses on the need for collective self-reliance for Africans that would compel a reallocation of global resources, creating fierce competition with already established powers like the European Union and the United States of America. African People and Culture: Pan-Africanism based its ideas from socialist principles and is opposed to foreign involvement in both political and economic activities on the African continent.

However, the major setback of this ideology remains the cultural diversity of Africans.
Africa is home to almost three thousand ethnic groups and by far the most culturally diversified continent in the world. With neo-colonialism causing more harm than good, we however believe the African continent is well on its way to recovery. Even with the obvious differences in the cultures of the continent, one similarity of all of them remains the socialist tendencies of traditional African societies. Fidel Castro once said “They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?” Has capitalism been successful on the African continent? We’d prefer you answer that yourself. With that said, here are some criteria showing the cultural diversity of Africa.

Clothing

african prints. vlisco
African prints. © BoschVertrekt@Senegal/Flickr

From Egypt to South Africa, from South Africa to Ethiopia, from Ethiopia to Nigeria, there are different traditional attires displayed. None more beautiful than the other and each unique its own way.

Religion

Although, Islam swept over Africa before the arrival of Christian missions. The different traditional societies had their different gods and different ways of worshipping them. In fact, some of them bore similarities to their European counterparts. Example, Sango of the Yoruba people was the equivalent of the Norse god Thor etc. Even now, Africa is still divided with Islam and Christianity taking large proportions while a handful still practice their original African religions.

Arts and Crafts

African arts and crafts
© Jamesjoel/Flickr

Africa is said to have birthed modern civilization but how it ended up backward remains a story to be told another time. From popular traditional masks of Benin, Nigeria to the statuettes of Bambara, African arts are crafts are very diverse but then again, so is that of the rest of the world.

Food

african foods. jollof rice
Jollof rice – a popular rice dish in many West African countries. © Kokunfoundation/Instagram

In recent times there has been healthy debates about which country has the best jollof rice and even a contest which Senegal or Gambia I can’t really remember. However, many fail to realize that rice is actually not a traditional food in most parts of Africa. Examples is the Arhiche of Morocco, akara of Nigeria, Babute of Congo and so many more and yes they are all delicious.

Music

African Music. Zulu Dancers
Zulu dancers. © Photographer695/Flickr

Even England and France no matter how close do not have the same type of music so why should Africa? Bougarabou, Djembe, Kosika, Ngoma etc and evem artistes like the late Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba and so many more. No matter which one you listen to, African music is truly beautiful.

Language

Language is communication and communication is key. With the presence of so many ethnic groups in Africa languages are also as many. Hausa, Swahili, Arabic, Igbo, Zulu and so many more but most regions in recent times have a common language. This is a positive for colonization. Even with the apparent diversity, our common interests should overshadow all our differences and that is what we must do in order to achieve true greatness. Unity in Diversity. Long Live Africa.

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6 of Traditional African Gods and Their Roles

African Mythology. african gods

I just finished watching the most complicated series I have ever seen in my life. I know of so many people that gave up on it after about two episodes but since mystery has always been my thing I held fast till the end. American gods, I’m sure some of you who have seen this series can attest to its complexities but one god struck me most… Anansi. I realized how little I knew about African traditional gods so I decided to do a little research. African deities: Here are 6 traditional African gods that are slowly being forgotten.

Libanza

Libanza is an African creator god of the earth and moon. When it was time for the people of the earth and moon to pay homage to him in heaven, the moon people quickly arrived in flocks and were rewarded with immortality. That is why after the moon dies, it is reborn. The people of Earth however, were sluggish and arrived late and Libanza saw this as a sign of disrespect and rewarded them with death. However, he allowed the earth people into heaven after death if they lived good lives. I really don’t know much about the moon people though.

Heitsi-Eibib

He is an African god of nature and animals. He had a pretty weird birth and on a scale of 1-10, I’d give him 11. Here’s why. According to legend, his mother was a cow that ate some magical grass which turned out to be filled with a lot of testosterone. She became pregnant and Heitsi was the product. Humans are his best animals and according to folklore he is an awesome shape shifter. He is worshipped by the Xhosa people of South Africa, Khoikhoi people and Nama people of Namibia.

Bumba

The African creator god of vomit. Lol and no I am not kidding. In the beginning all was dark and out of the dark appeared a pale skinned figure Bumba. He had been alone for millions of years and this solitude had made him ill. Troubled by a serious belly ache, he vomited the sun, moon and stars and finally with one serious effort threw up the earth. What a sick world we live in. To conclude the vomiting saga he threw up nine animals, different humans and a pile of diced carrots and watched them evolve to every living thing on earth. Bumba is a Congo god and so far as I know his stomach has not troubled him again.

Olorun

The god of peace justice and the Yoruba way. He is the great king of the universe and the pinnacle of the Yoruba culture. Like the Hebrew Yahweh he is also three in one God comprising Olorun (god of heaven), Olodumare (the ultimate creator) and Olofi (the messenger). As a supreme deity his fame has reached even the Caribbean. He is regarded as one of the greatest African Gods by the yorubas.

Engai

Engai is the supreme Maasai tribe sky god. According to the Maasai people, in the beginning Engai lived on earth harmoniously with his cattle but one day a catastrophe occurred suspected to be a volcanic eruption sent him and his cattle packing into the sky. When he realized there wasn’t enough grass to feed his cattle in the sky he called out to a human called Nateiru-Kop and gave him all his cattle. Naiteru-Kop was pleased and founded the Maasai tribe. The Maasai believe that they own all the cattle in the world and this is a perfect excuse to rustle cattle from neighbouring villages. To them it’s not cattle rustling but cattle rescuing. Preposterous!!!

Anansi

Anansi in the Akan language means spider. West Africans originally held Anansi as the creator of the world and gave his full name as Kweku Anansi. The Kweku in his name meaning Wednesday as the day his spirit first appeared. Anansi is one of the most popular african gods. As well as being a trickster he is also believed to have made the sun and moon and had the original novel idea of day and night. He is also known as a great story-teller. Guess this spider does spin tales.
These are just a few of them in a rank of so many but look out for more and maybe Anansi can help us spin our own African version of American gods. Cheers.

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Mansa Musa I of Mali: The Richest Man of All Time

richest man in history

Who was and still the richest man of all time? It wasn’t John D. Rockefeller. It wasn’t Baron Rothschild. It wasn’t William the Conqueror and it’s certainly not Bill Gates. It was Mansa Musa I of Mali. Musa Keita I was the tenth King of the great Mali Empire of West Africa. During his reign Mali was the world’s largest producer of gold at a period of ever increasing demand.

Mansa Musa
King Mansa Musa I mansa, meaning “king of kings”, of the Malian Empire. in the 14th century AD – © Cool Art/flickr

Musa Keita didn’t inherit his throne from his father rather, after the then King, Mansa Abubakari Keita II embarked on an expedition to explore the limits of the Atlantic Ocean failed to return, he was crowned King. As was the practice when a King goes on a pilgrimage or exploration, his deputy would be appointed heir to the throne. According to the Arab-Egyptian scholar Al-Umari, when it became obvious the King wasn’t going to return Mansa Musa said:

“The ruler who came before me did not believe that it was impossible to reach the extremity of the ocean that encircles the earth (the Atlantic Ocean). He wanted to reach that (end) and was determined to pursue his plan. So he prepared two hundred boats full of men, and a lot of others full of gold, water and provisions sufficient for several years. He ordered the captain not to return until they had reached the other end of the ocean, or until he had finished their provisions and water. So they set sail on their journey. They were absent for a long period, and, at last just one boat returned. When questioned, the captain replied: ‘O Prince, we sailed for a long period, until we saw in the midst of the ocean a great river which was flowing massively. My boat was the last one; others were ahead of me, and they were drowned in the great vortex and never came out again. I sailed back to escape this current.’ But the Sultan would not believe him. He ordered two thousand boats to be prepared for him and his men, and one thousand more for water and provisions. Then he conferred the regency on me for the term of his absence, and departed with his men, never to return nor to show he was alive.”

Mansa Musa was a devout Muslim and when he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca his fame increased across Northern Africa and the Middle East. To him Islam was the gateway into the modern world of the Eastern Mediterranean. For his pilgrimage Mansa Musa had a procession which included over 60,000 men, 12000 of which were slaves who carried gold and heralds who dressed in silk bearing gold staffs, organized the horses and handled bags. He fed and catered for all members of this procession. Musa gave the gold he carried to the poor he met on his journey. He also traded some gold for souvenirs. His generosity eventually affected the economies of the regions he passed through for almost a decade. To rectify this, on his way back he borrowed all the gold he could carry at high interest rates. He virtually controlled the price of gold in this part of the world.

richest man ever
Mansa Musa – © Cool Art/flickr

Mansa Musa embarked on large building projects during his reign and the University of Sankore was built during his reign. It was said that he built a mosque every Friday. Timbuktu the capital soon became a powerful trade Centre and merchants from other African kingdoms flocked in

The date of his death is highly debated among scholars but according to most of the accurate figures, he died in 1337. Remember this, the richest man that has ever lived was from Africa.

What do you think? Do you know anything about Mansa Musa or the Malian Empire? Let us know in the comments section. Don’t forget to share this post with your friends by clicking any of the social buttons below.

All You Need Know About The Maasai Warriors

Maasai

The Maasai Warriors: Interesting Facts about the Maasai Warriors. The Maasai tribe is an ethnic group inhabiting Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya. The Maasai has turned into a symbol for the wealth and diversity.  Their customs, beliefs and routines have changed little since the beginning of history. The way they live now, even as so much is changing around the world, the way their society is organized, the pride that ties them and keeps them strong, these still remain very similar to that of their ancestors. Their lifestyle is still bears a striking resemblance to that of their ancestors, their society is structured in the same way and modernity has not influenced them much yet. They’re semi-nomads: their livestock is their source of livelihood. Their entire society revolves around their cows, sheep and goats, as it did their ancestors.

masai
Maasai Warror – © annieandbradbrown | Flickr

Warriors. All the young men in their community, are responsible for protecting animals from wild predators and enemies, and, nowadays, of taking cows too far away fields during the dry season. Women and kids take care of goats and sheep and the stronger animals can stay close to the home also during the dry season in this way continually giving milk and meat to their families. Elders keep peace and settle disputes in their society, settling debate, managing peace, consulting with neighbouring tribes and nowadays with the local administration. Being a warrior is cool and fun, it has many benefits yet also numerous obligations. A significant number of them remember those times as the best in their lives-which is by no means an easy task. To become a warrior they need to exhibit their bravery: they need to be circumcised before the entire community, without wincing or squinting their eyes or giving some other sign showing pain. All things considered, if they can’t stand fearlessly such tolerable pain, how might they persuade the older men that they will risk their lives to secure their animals and their community?

Maasai tribe
Maasai People – © David Berkowitz | Flickr

After circumcision they have an entire month to heal. They dress up in black, and each residence they visit has to butcher a sheep to feed them and honour them. They spend their days chasing young ladies, in a more literal sense than what you think: they need to pursue them to get special rings that they make for the warriors, and the more they have the better. This activity helps them recover. Once the circumcision time frame is over, they become full warriors. They now have a place with an age group, a group of peers with whom they share obligations and duties. They have strict rules to adhere to: They can’t eat meat at home, rather they need to go out to hunt and slaughter an animal with other warriors-this is to prevent them from eating the meat meant for the family; they can’t eat or drink alone, with not less than one or more warriors-so that even the poorest warriors can also be well fed and help amid fights or battles; they can’t drink alcohol or take any medication: they should always be ready and prepared to spring to action without hesitation to safeguard their livestock or secure their tribe; they collect fines for the entire age group if any of them is disrespectful to a senior, or they abuse animals, or some other terrible behaviour. They need to help each individual from the group when their cows are lost. They need to take their families’ cattle to greener pastures during the dry season-this also implies spending about 3-4 months in the bush, a long way from home and from any town. Be that as it may, in the rainy season, when the cows are at home and the young men can care for them, the warriors spend their days resting and heading off to the numerous ceremonies that happen in the community-circumcisions, weddings, graduations. They move and sing, and jump.

After around 15-20 years from when the age group is formed, another group of warriors begins to shape, their age groups are closed and they graduate to junior elders. They pass the symbol of their power to the warriors to come, and begin learning the skills of the elders. Life becomes noticeably simpler, they can invest more energy at home with their family, but they usually think back with eagerness to their days as warriors.

5 Inspiring Impacts Of Women In Islam That Prove They Are Not Lesser Beings

Influential Muslim Women

Powerful Muslim Women: 5 Powerful Women in Islam and Their Inspiring Impacts. The world of today is one in which the biggest stages are being dominated by men. They are seen as natural leaders who are superior and born to rule over women. The socio-economic, political and organizational sectors are naturally headed by men.

Africa which is a deeply patriarchal society is greatly characterized by this practice and hence attach more value and importance to a male child than to a female child.

This traditional African value system coupled with some Islamic doctrine is believed to limit women from participating in world changing acts. This believe which hovers in the mind of many women of today make them nurture an inferiority complex and make them think of themselves as lesser beings.

It is noteworthy to mention that being a woman is not a limit to achieving great things as recorded in various medieval and early modern history where women achieved great feats in different aspect of world civilization.

Islam further confirms that both men and women are equal in the sight of God as stated in the Quran that, “…indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you” (Q49:13).

He further stated that, “To whoever, male or female, does good deeds and has faith, We shall give a good life and reward them according to their best of actions” (Q16:97)

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also declared that the pursuit of knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim – male and female. This is well buttressed by the numerous recorded engagement of women companions of the prophet in many activities which further stamped the existence of the Islamic religion.

In the world of business, Khadija Bint Khuwaylid who was the first wife of the Prophet (PBUH) was an elite and central figure. She was a successful merchant who was well known in Mecca for her exceptional business skills.

In the world of education and knowledge, Aisha Bint Abu Bakr – another wife of the prophet was known to be one of the most influential scholars of Islam.

After the death of the prophet, she continued to play a major role as a transmitter of Islamic teachings.

Nusayba Bint Ka’b Al-Ansariyya, Khawla Bint Al-Azwar, Zaynab Bint Ali amongst others are names of great women who participated in wars and took leadership roles across different phases of Islamic religion establishment.

Women of today have lost that confidence and self-esteem to step into the big scene and rise up the pedestal. They are victim of social stereotyping and oppressive rule. This post however brings up 5 amazing impacts of women in Islam which can inspire the modern women to take a bold step, be belligerent and broaden their tent.

1. Sabiha Gökçen

Inspiring Muslim women
Sabiha Gokcen (steemit.com)

Sabiha Gökçen was a Turkish aviator. She was the first Turkish female combat pilot at age 23. She was only 12 years old when she expressed her wish to study aviation in a boarding school.

As at that time, girls were not being accepted by the War College in Turkey so Sabiha was provided with a personalized uniform and attended a special 11 months education program as ordered by her adopted father who was the head of aviation.

She received her flight patents (diploma) and trained to become a war pilot. She improved her skills by flying bomber and fighter planes.

Throughout her career, she flew 22 different types of aircraft for more than 8,000 hours, 32 hours of which are active combat and bombardment mission.

She was recognized as the first female combat pilot by the Guinness Book of World Records and was elected as the only female pilot for the poster of the “The 20 greatest Aviators in History” published by the United States Air force in 1996.

The Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Istanbul is named after her. She remains an inspiration to young Muslimahs who would be looking to build a career in Aviation.

2. Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman

Inspiring Muslim women
Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (pininterest.com)

Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman is a Yemen Journalist, politician and human right activist who became the second youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date. She is the second muslim woman to win a Nobel prize.

She leads the “Women Jiurnalists Without Chains” which she co-founded in 2005. She became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that is part of the Arab spring uprisings.

She has been called the “Iron Woman” and the “Mother of Revolution” by Yemenis. She lead series of protests and many peace building works. She co-received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize along with Ellen Johnson and Leyman Gbowee for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights for full participation in peace-building work.”

She was a leader and a confident representative of her people in the face of oppression and stampeding of their human rights. She was able to achieve these great feats without violence and was geared by her great self confidence and boldness.

3. Ibtihaj Muhammad

Heroic Muslim Women
Ibtihaj Muhammad (rollingstone.com)

Ibtihaj Muhammad is an American sabre fencer, who is of African-American descent. She is a member of the United States fencing team and is best known for being the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympics.

In individual sabre at the 2016 Summer Olympics , She earned the bronze medal as part of Team USA in the Team Sabre, becoming the first female Muslim-American athlete to earn a medal at the Olympics.

In 2014, Muhammad and her siblings launched their own clothing company, Louella, which aims to bring modest fashionable clothing to the United States market.

She is also a sports ambassador, serving on the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sport Initiative. She has traveled to various countries to engage in dialogue on the importance of sports and education.

Who would have ever thought Muslim women would take their turn in fencing until Ibtihaj Muhammad set the ball rolling for others?

4. Maïmouna Guerresi

Muslim Women Activists
Maïmouna Guerresi (globalarchivephotography.com)

Maïmouna Guerresi is an Italian multimedia artist working with photography, sculpture, video, and installation. She was born in Italy to a religious Catholic family but converted to Sufi Islam in 1991.

Her work presents an intimate perspective on the spirituality of human beings and their relationship to their inner mystical dimension. Guerresi’s images are delicate narratives with fluid sequencing, and an appreciation of shared humanity beyond borders – psychological, cultural, religious and political.

Through her hybrid visual language she communicates the discomfort and beauty of cultural diversity and contemporary multiracial issues. Her photographic work often depicts the mystical figures of Islamic Africa

Guerresi lives and works in Verona, Milan, Italy, New York City and Dakar, Senegal. As of February 2016, she lives in Dakar, Senegal.

Through her art, she propagates in depth the beauty and culture of Islam in Africa and hence is a source of inspiration to young Muslimahs who are planning to ply the road of artistry.

5. Dalia Mogahed

powerful Muslim Women
Dalia Mogahed (youtube.com)

Dalia Mogahed is an American scholar of Egyptian origin. She was selected in 2009 as an advisor by U.S. President Barack Obama on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships becoming the US’ first Muslim woman in the White House.

She is the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) in Washington, D.C. She is also President and CEO of Mogahed Consulting, a Washington, D.C.-based executive coaching and consulting firm specializing in Muslim societies and the Middle East.

Mogahed is former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, a non-partisan research center that provided data and analysis to reflect the views of Muslims all over the world.

With the current events regarding western involvement in the Middle Eastern conflicts, governmental influence on our lives is now bigger than it has ever been and to have a Muslim woman influence a part of this is an achievement.

As a renowned speaker and writer, objective and credible in her speech and actions, she continues to inspire young Muslimahs to create an identity, make impact and stay true to their passion.

I hope this beautiful compilation will serve as a tilt to gearing young Muslim females out there to brush off the idea of being a lesser being. To inspire them to take on the big stage and make it their own.

What are your thoughts? Comment and let us know. If you find this article interesting, share it with your friends using the social buttons below.

Greatest African Leaders of Modern Times

Africa's Greatest Leaders

African Leaders Of Modern Times: Africa the motherland is a continent that has seen many leaders. Presidents and rulers who have a different flair and ability to influence a whole lot of other people. In government, and philanthropy, and all over Africa and the globe, these men and women have made transformations and some of these leaders have successfully impacted lives and their communities. We check out Africa’s greatest leaders of recent times.

Patrice Lumumba

black history
© Velvet Film

According to Patrice Lumumba “For this independence of the Congo, even as it is celebrated today with Belgium, a friendly country with whom we deal as equal to equal, no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that it was by serious fighting that it has been won, a day-to-day fight, an ardent and idealistic fight, a fight in which we were spared neither deprivation nor suffering, and for which we gave our strength and our blood. We are proud of this struggle, of tears, of fire, and of blood, to the depths of our being, for it was a noble and just struggle, and indispensable to put an end to the humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force.” This was an impromptu speech that reminded his audience that the independence of Congo was not granted magnanimously by Belgium. It shocked the European journalists present and after that the Belgians regarded Patrice Lumumba an implacable political threat. The first Prime Minister of Congo. He was later killed by Mobutu with assistance from both the Belgian and US governments.

Thomas Sankara 

powerful African presidents
© Face2Face Africa

Thomas Sankara once said “The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We cannot talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or out of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the revolution to triumph. Women hold up the other half of the sky.” He was commonly referred to as Africa’s Che Guevara. Sankara was one of the most iconic African rulers. He seized power at age 33 and within the short 4 years of his rule, he shattered the imperialistic lie that Africa could not survive on its own without foreign aid. He effectively allocated mineral wealth and resources for the benefit of his people. Of course the west wouldn’t have this so his assassination was carefully orchestrated with Blaise Campaore leading the march.

Jomo Kenyatta

© Kenya Stockholm Blog

According to Jomo Kenyatta “When the foriegn missionaries arrived in Africa, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.” Jomo Kenyatta was the first Prime Minister of Kenya from 1963-1964 and subsequently her President from 1964 till his death in 1968. He was an intellectual giant and continues to be remembered as a Pan-Africanist. He is the father of Uhuru Kenyatta, the current President of Kenya.

Kwame Nkrumah 

Influential African Leaders
© Encyclopedia Britannica

According to Kwame Nkrumah “I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born inside of me.” Kwame Nkrumah led the fight for the independence of Ghana and served as her first Prime-Minister and President until he was deposed in 1966. He sought to liberate Africa from White domination and preached a vision of a democratic United States of Africa. He was a founding member of the Organization for African unity and winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962. He died of prostate cancer in 1972.

Julius Nyerere 

Greatest African Leaders
© Encyclopedia Britannica

Julius Nyerere said “African nationalism would be very meaningless, dangerous, and anachronistic, if it is not, at the same time, pan-Africanism.”- Julius Nyerere. Julius Nyerere was well respected for his integrity and selflessness. He led Tanzania to independence without a single bloodshed or war. He advocated for an African form of socialism rooted in Ujamaa, the traditional extended family found in rural Africa. It was his emphasis on national over tribal identity that has made Tanzania free of political strife and stability that has plagued many African nations. Even when some of his policies failed in 1977, he publicly rebuked himself and changed course. He stepped down from the Presidency in 1985. He died in 1999.

Nelson Mandela 

Powerful african Leaders
© Lasanta.com.ec/Flickr

Popularly called Madiba, Nelson was one of the most infulencial African Presidents. He once said “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or maybe his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.” – Nelson Mandela. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013) was elected President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the principal South African president to be chosen in a completely representative democratic race. Prior to his administration, Mandela was anti-apartheid, and the head of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was captured and indicted of different charges, and condemned to life in jail. Mandela served 27 years in jail, spending a significant number of these years on Robben Island. Following his discharge from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela drove his gathering in the arrangements that prompted multi-racial vote based system in 1994. As president from 1994 to 1999, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation. He died on the 5th of December 2013.

Ancient African Civilization

 

Ancient African Civilization

African Civilization

Ancient African Civilization: When the early and ancient African civilization are discussed the Egyptian empire dominates most of these conversations. However in African history, there were many more intimidating and powerful empires that controlled trade routes, built beautiful cities and great architectural monuments that still stand today. From the Kingdom of Kush to the Songhai Empire. Here are some of the great African Empires and pre-colonial states in the history of Africa.

The Kingdom of Kush

African History
Sudan – the black pharaohs. © Retlaw Shellac Photography/Flickr

This kingdom was a regional African power for thousands of years although it was overshadowed by its Egyptian neighbor. It ruled over a large expanse of territory along the Nile River in what is now Sudan. Almost all knowledge about Kush comes from Egyptian sources indicating it was an economic Centre trading lucratively in ivory, incense, iron and most importantly gold. The kingdom was both a trading partner and military rival of Egypt and in fact ruled Egypt as the 25th Dynasty. The area surrounding Meroe the ancient Kushite capital houses ruins of over 200 pyramids more than in all of Egypt.

The Land of Punt

The land of Punt was a very mysterious civilization. Historical records of the kingdom date at around 2500 B.C when it appears as a “Land of The Gods” rich in ebony, gold and exotic animals. In the 15th century during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut Egypt sent huge caravans on trade missions to Punt yet they never revealed where it was located. The site of this mysterious kingdom is now a hot debate among scholars. The Arabian Peninsula and Levant have both been proposed as potential sites but most believe it to have existed on the red sea coast of East Africa. Although researchers have tried their best the true location of the Land of Punt remains unknown.

Carthage 

Carthage was Rome’s most popular rival during the Punic Wars. It was a North African commercial hub that flourished for more than 500 years. The city-state began its life in about the 8th or 9th century as a Phoenician settlement in present day Tunisia but it later transformed into an intimidating seafaring empire that dominated trade in textiles, gold, silver and copper. Its influence later spread into Spain and the Mediterranean and this threatened the Roman Empire. This eventually led to their clash in three bloody Punic wars with the near annihilation of Carthage. In African history, ruins of this great ancient empire can still be seen in Tunis.

The Mali Empire 

African Empires
Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali. © Wondermondo

The rise of the Mali Empire can be traced back to the 1200’s. A ruler named Sundiata Keita popularly called the Lion King led a revolution against a Sosso King and united his subjects into a new state. Under Keita and his successors, the empire flourished and grew rich in trade. The most important cities were Djenne and Timbuktu, both were revered for their elaborate mosques and Islamic schools. Timbuktu’s Sankore University was one of such institutions with a library of over 700,000 manuscripts. At its peak, it was one of the jewels of Africa and was known for its wealth and luxury before its eventual disintegration in the 16th century. There was a legendary tale about Mansa Musa who made a stopover in Egypt during the 14th century pilgrimage to Mecca. According to contemporary sources Mansa Musa gave out so much gold that led to the plummeting of its value in Egyptian markets that it took several years to recover.

The Songhai Empire 

Ancient African Civilization
Askia Muhammed Toure. Painting by Leo Dillon

When it comes to size very few states in African history can be compared to the Songhai Empire. It began around the 15th century with some of the former regions of the Mali Empire. This empire was larger than Western Europe. It was separated into provinces each ruled by its own governor and prospered thanks to vigorous trade policies and sophisticated bureaucratic system. In the early 16th century under the leadership of King Muhammad I Askia who formed an alliance with Egypt and established hundreds of Islamic schools in Timbuktu. The Songhai Empire later crumbled after a civil war left it vulnerable to an invasion by the Sultan of Morocco.