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Some African Kings
AFFONSO I KING OF THE KONGO (1506-1540)
Affonso I was a visionary, a man who saw his country not as a group of separate cultures, but as a unified nation fully equipped with advance knowledge and technology. He was also known as the first ruler to resist the most despicable act ever known to man, the European slave trade.
AKHENATON The Creator of Monotheism (1375-1358 B.C)
Akhenaton was the first ruler in recorded history to believe in the concept of One God. He also taught this concept to all his citizens. He built a new city in the desert that was dedicated to religion, art and music. This new city, Akhenaton (now Tell el Amara), with its lush gardens and magnificent buildings is where Akhenaton and his wife Queen Nefertiti changed Kemet's culture so radically that their influence is felt for centuries right up until today. Akhenaton was also the first Pharaoh of whom a true likeness is recorded as shown in the picture to the left.
ASKIA TOURE KING OF SONGHAY (1493-1529)
Askia Toure united the entire central region of the Western Sudan, and established a governmental machine that is still revered today for its detail and efficiency. He divided his country into provinces, each with a professional administrator as governor, and ruled each fairly and uniformly through a staff of distinguished legal experts and judges.
BEHANZIN HOSSU BOWELLE THE KING SHARK (1841-1906)
Behanzin was the most powerful ruler in West Africa during the end of the nineteenth century. He strongly resisted European intervention into his country. This was done with a physically fit army which included a division of five thousands female warriors. He is often referred to as the King Shark, a Dahomeyan surname which symbolized strength and wisdom. He was also fond of humanities and is credited with the creation of some of the finest song and poetry ever produced in Dahomey.
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HANNIBAL RULER OF CARTHAGE (247-183 B.C.)
Hannibal is well known as the greatest general and military strategist who ever lived. He used his overpowering African armies to conquer major portions of Spain and Italy and came very close to defeating the Roman Empire. His audacious moves-such as marching his army with African War elephants through the treacherous Alps to surprise and conquer northern Italy and his tactical genius, as illustrated by the battle of Cannae where his seemingly trapped army cleverly surrounded and destroy a much larger Roman force, won him recognition which has spanned more than 2000 years. His tactics are still being studied in many military schools today.
IDRIS ALOOMA RULER OF BORNU (1580-1617)
He is credited with re-uniting two of Africa's Kingdoms, the kingdoms of Kanem and Bornu. This union lasted many generations with sustain peace becoming a part of the Bornu.
IMHOTEP THE WORLD FIRST KNOWN GENIUS
Imhotep was the royal advisor to King Zoser during the Third Dynasty of Kemet. Regarded as the world's first recorded multi-genius, Imhotep was an architect, astronomer, philosopher, poet and physician. As an architect he was responsible for designing the Step Pyramid and the Saqqara Complex. During his lifetime he was given a host of titles, among them:Chancellor of the King of Lower Kemet, the First after the King of Upper Kemet, High Priest of Heliopolis and Administrator of the Great Palace. As a physcian, Imhotep is believed to have been the author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus in which more than 90 anatomical terms and 48 injuries are described. This is well over 2,200 years before the Western Father of Medicine Hippocrates is born. Some 2,000 years after his death, Imhotep was deified by the inhabitants of Kemet and was known later as Asclepius, God of Medicine, to the Greeks. His very name, Im-Hotep, translates as the Prince of Peace. His tomb near Memphis became a sacred place and the site of pilgrimages for those seeking a cure. As a philosopher and poet, Imhotep's most remembered phrase is: "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we shall die." There still remain many bronze statuettes, temples and sanatoria bearing his name, as is depicted in the picture of the statue above.
JA JA KING OF THE OPOBO (1821-1891)
He was the founder and leader of the territory of Opobo an area near the Eastern Nigeria River. This area was very favorable to trading. This trading route soon attracted the greedy Europeans who seek to capture this trading route. Ja Ja put up fierce resistance to this outside intervention. This resistance lasted for many years until at an older age of 70 he was finally captured by the British and sent into exile to the West Indies. The greatest Ibo leader of the nineteenth century never saw his kingdom again.
KHAMA THE GOOD KING OF BECHUANALAND (1819-1923)
Khama distinguish his reign by being highly regarded as a peace loving ruler with the desire of advancing his country in terms of technological innovations. He instituted scientific cattle feeding techniques which greatly improved his country's wealth and prestige. During his reign crimes were known to be as low as zero within his country. KHUFU The Father Of Pyramid Building (2551-2528 B.C) King Khufu, who is also known by the greek name "Cheops," was the father of pyramid building at Giza. He ruled from 2551 - 2528 B.C. and was the son of King Sneferu and Queen Hetpeheres. Dates Built: c. 2589-2566 B.C. Total Blocks of Stone: over 2,300,000 Base: 13 square acres, 568,500 square feet, or 7 city blocks. The length of each side of the base was originally 754 feet (230 m), but is now 745 feet (227 m) due to the loss of the outer casing stones. Total Weight: 6.5 million tons. Average Weight of Individual Blocks of Stone: 2.5 tons, the large blocks used for the ceiling of the King's Chamber weigh as much as 9 tons. Height: Originally 481 feet (146.5 m) tall, Khufu is now, 449 feet tall as the top stones have since fallen off or been removed. Until early in this century, this pyramid was the tallest building on earth. Angle of Incline: 51 degrees 50' 35" Construction Material: limestone, granite
MANSA KANKAN MUSSA KING OF MALI (1306-1332)
A scholar, a great economists and a true man of the arts, Mansa Mussa is well known for the impact he created with his flamboyant style. In 1324 he led his people on the Hadj, a holy pilgrimage from Timbuktu to Mecca. His caravan consisted of 72 000 people whom he led safely across the Sahara Desert and back, a total distance of 6,496 miles. So spectacular was this event that Mansa Mussa gained the respect of scholars and traders throughout the world. Also during his reign, Mali was one of the most prestigious and wealthiest empires in the world. This empire at this time also contain one of the worlds most prestigious university in Timbuktu.
Menelek II united many independent kingdoms into the United States of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). The feat of pulling together several kingdoms which often fiercely opposed each other earned him a place as one of the great statesmen of African history. His further acomplishments in dealing on the international scene with the world powers, coupled with his stunning victory over Italy in the 1896 Battle of Adwa, which was an attempt to invade his country, place him among the great leaders of world history.
Moshoeshoe was a wise and just king who was as brilliant in diplomacy as he was in battle. He united many diverse groups into a stable society where law and order prevailed. He knew that peace made prosperity possible, so he often avoided conflict through skillful negotiations. Moshoeshoe solidified Basotho defenses at Thaba Bosiu, their impregnable mountain capital.
MUTATO THE GREAT MUTOTA (1440)
The year was 1440. The King was Mutota. In any other European country he would have been known as Mutota the Great. He and his council was quick to see that even the most advance states each standing independently and alone, were doomed to European criminal exploits unless unified into a single nation with a strong central government. This also should be achieve through voluntary association if possible. Mutota and the new leaders understood this very well. Therefore, Mutota, in 1440, began the campaign to carry out his grand design. This was a great plan aimed at nothing less than uniting Africans into a vast empire that cut across South Africa below the Limpopo river, and covered Zimbabwe with an indefinite boundary beyond the Zambezi River in Zambia, and on over Mozambique to the Indian Ocean, sweeping southward again to re-posses the entire coastline fronting the New Empire. This area contained the majority of the world precious metals such as gold, copper, tin and iron held in over 4000 mines. After 30 years of struggle, unity was finally achieve in 1480 into the Empire of Monomotapa.
NARMER THE FOUNDER OF DYNASTIC KEMET (3200 B.C.)
Narmer or Aha was called Menes by the Greeks. Regarded as the founder of Dynastic Kemet, he led an army from Upper Kemet in the south to conquer Lower Kemet in the north around 3200BC. Upon victory Narmer united Upper and Lower Kemet into one nation after which thirty dynasties would follow. It was at this time that hieroglyphic writing or any type of writing in the world for that matter, made its first appearance, in the tombs and treasures of the pharaohs. One of Narmer's first tasks was to build a city on his newly conquered lands. Here he was met with a difficult task as the Delta region was covered by an immense swamp. To remedy this situation, Narmer drained the swamp by actually diverting the course of the Nile River. Upon this new land he built a city which he named Men-Nefer:The Good Place. This city served as the capital of Kemet for several centuries. An Arab traveler writing as late as the Middle Ages reported the city "stretching a day's journey in every direction." The Greeks would rename Men-Nefer "Memphis," a name that even today honors an African king who lived nearly 5,000 years ago.
OSEI TUTU KING OF ASANTE (1680-1717)
Osei Tutu was the founder and first king of the Asante nation, a great West African kingdom in what is now Ghana. He was able to unite over six different nations under his leadership. The Golden Stole became a sacred symbol of the nation's soul, which was especially appropriate since gold was the prime source of Asante wealth. During Osei Tutu's reign, the geographic area of Asante tripled in size. The kingdom became a significant power, that with his millitary and and political prowess as an example, would endure for two centuries.
SAMORY TOURE King of the Sudan (1830-1900)
The ascendance of Samory Toure began when his native Bissandugu was attacked and his mother taken captive. After a persuasive appeal, Samory was allowed to take her place, but later escaped and joined the army of King Bitike Souane of Torona. Following a quick rise through the ranks of Bitike's army, Samory returned to Bissandugu where he was soon installed as king and defied French wicked exploits in Africa by launching a conquest to unify West Africa into a single state. During the eigthteen year conflict with France, Samory continully frustrated the Europeans with his military strategy and tactics. This astute millitary prowess brought him respect world wide.
SENWORSERT I PHARAOH OF THE 12TH DYNASTY
Senwosert I was a Twelfth Dynasty King of Kemet (1897BC). Also known as Kepre Kare Senwosert I, he was known to the Greeks as Kekrops and Sesostris. Interestingly enough Herodotus, Greece's Father of History, reported that Greece had once been conquered by a king named Sesostris. Greek mythology also indicated that the legendary founder of Athens was an Egyptian named Kekrops.
SHAKA KING OF THE ZULUS (1818-1828)
A strong leader and military innovator, Shaka is noted for revolutionizing 19th century Bantu warfare by first grouping regiments by age, and training his men to use standardized weapons and special tactics. He developed the "assegai" a short stabbing spear, and marched his regiments in tight formation, using large shields to fend off the enemies throwing spears. Over time, Shaka's troops earned such a reputation that many enemies would flee at the sight of them. He built the Zulus into a nation of over a million strong. He was also sucessful in uniting all the ethnic groups in South Africa against the despicable vestiges of colonialism.
TAHARKA KING OF NUBIA (710-664 B. C.)
Taharka is probably one of the most famous rulers of Napatan Kush. He was 32 when he became king and was heir to a kingdom that included not only Kush but KMT(Kemet) as well. He is said to have commanded military campaigns in Western Asia as far away as Palestine and led expeditions all the way to Spain. Mention of his great campaigns can be found in the Bible (Isaiah 37:9, 2 Kings 19:9). During his reign, Taharka controlled the largest empire in Ancient Africa. He was able to initiate a building program throughout his empire which was overwhelming in scope. The numbers and majesty of his building projects were legendary, with the greatest being the temple at Gebel Barkal in the Sudan. The temple was carved from the living rock and decorated with images of Taharka over 100 feet high.
TENKAMENIN KING OF GHANA (1037-1075)
The country of Ghana reach the height of its greatness during the reign of Tenkamenin. Through his careful management of the gold trade across the Sahara desert into West Africa, Tenkamenin's empire flourished economically. But his greatest strength was in government. Each day he would ride out on horseback and listen to the problems and concerns of his people. He insisted that no one be denied an audience and that they be allowed to remain in his presence until satisfied that justice had been done. His principles of democratic monarchy and religious tolerance make Tenkamenin's reign one of the great models of African rule.
THUTMOSE III PHARAOH OF KEMET (1504-1450 B.C.)
Thutmose III was a member of one of the greatest families in the history of royalty anywhere in the world, the 18th Dynasty of Kemet (Ancient Egypt). He is credited with strengthened the sovereignty of Kemet and extended its influence into Western Asia.
TUTANKAMUN BOY PHARAOH OF KEMET
Tutankhaten became pharoah after the death of Smenkhkare, and became one of history's most famous royalty. Tutankhaten's story has since come out, and we know more about this boy-king than we do about any other person in the Kemartic period. Tutankhaten became pharoah at the age of nine . He married Ankhesenpaaten and ruled from Akhetaten. Four years after he became king, Tutankhaten moved his capital back to Memphis, and changed his name to Tutankamun, in honor of the God Amun. Tutankamun, ruled for nine years, until he was 18. The mummy discovered in the Valley of the Kings has an injury to the skull, and it is believed that Tutankamun was either the victim of an accident or he was assasinated. His tomb is one of very few that have been discovered almost untouched by theives.
RAMSES II THE GREAT Ramses II (the Great)
was one of the most prolific builders of ancient Egypt. Hardly a site exists that he did not initiate, add to, complete, or build entirely himself. Some of the greatest monuments on any tour of Egypt bear his stamp: Abu Simbel, Karnak and Luxor Temples, the Ramesseum, and many others. He also commissioned the largest monolithic statue ever, a seated statue of himself at the Ramesseum. Now lying in pieces, the giant red-granite statue inspired many.