Saturday, March 7, 2009

Africa and America 30-BC 1453

BECK index

Africa and America 30 BC-1453

Toltecs and Aztecs
North America


Let us begin this volume in the cradle of humanity in Africa. Egypt and North Africa in 30 BC were part of Mediterranean culture and the Roman empire and so will be discussed later. About two thousand years ago the spread of iron-working gradually brought Africa south of the Sahara desert out of the stone age. Farming could be done more easily, although the tsetse fly in central Africa prevented the use of draft animals for plowing. Population began to increase especially among those speaking Bantu languages. The coast around the horn of eastern Africa was described by a Roman official from Alexandria in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea about 100 CE. Goods were traded for ivory and tortoise shells at Adulis, the port city for Axum, and along the coast to the south slaves, incense, and Indian cinnamon could be obtained. Natives at Rhapta were described as pirates of great stature ostensibly under Arab rule. Bananas and yams were brought to Africa by Indonesian traders, who settled on the island of Madagascar about the second century CE. With the exception of Bushmen and a few others in central and southern Africa who continued to hunt and herd, by the 8th century CE the iron age had spread throughout Africa.

Strabo wrote that Ethiopia was so peaceful that the Romans only needed three cohorts there. However, when the Roman army in Egypt was busy with a war in Arabia, the Ethiopians (Kushites) took over Syene, Elephantine, and Philae, pulling down statues of Augustus Caesar. In retaliation for this raid near the Nile's first cataract, a Roman army led by Petronius plundered the Kushite city of Napata in 23 BC, sending a thousand prisoners to Caesar. In the next generation Kushite king Netekamani and his queen Amanitare built temples at Naga, and King Sherkarer, probably their son, commemorated a military victory with an inscription. Ethiopian civilization founded a new dynasty of kings at Axum soon after 50 CE.

In the 4th century CE the Axumites conquered Kush. After Himyarite king Dimnos massacred some Greek merchants in revenge for the Roman empire's ill treatment of Jews, Abyssinian king Andas invaded Yemen and killed Dimnos. Andas had vowed if he were victorious, he would become a Christian; in reponse the Roman Emperor sent a bishop from Alexandria. Christianity was made the state religion when his successor King Ezana was converted by the captured Syrian Frumentius, who had become his tutor and later was appointed bishop of Axum by the bishop of Alexandria. Axum king Ezana devastated the once powerful empire of the Meroitic Kush. Apparently the royal family and military class of Meroites exploiting the masses of workers had not proved stable. Desiccation caused by over-grazing and soil erosion was another factor in the decline of Meroe, as the desert expanded. The army of Axum under Ezana made the caravan trade routes safer, destroying his enemies by sacking cities, taking prisoners, ruining crops, and confiscating livestock. Ezana was succeeded by his son Elesboas.

Another Jewish Himyarite named Dhu Novas overcame the Ethiopian garrison and proclaimed himself king in 519. He persecuted Christians and tried to exterminate all Ethiopians who would not accept Judaism. In 523 a siege of Nejran resulted in the massacre of 280 Christians. Two years later Axum king Ela Atzbeha led a large army of Abyssinians to defeat and kill Dhu Novas, establishing a tributary Christian king named Esimiphaios. In 531 Roman emperor Justinian sent Julian to ask the two Red Sea kingdoms of Ela Atzbeha and Esimiphaios for help against the Persians, but they did little. The Ethiopian church followed the Egyptian Copts in adhering to the Monophysite doctrine. When their trade routes to Yemeni, Jewish, and Greek merchants were cut off by Muslim invaders in the 7th century CE, the Ethiopian economy stagnated. In 702 Muslim Arabs occupied islands off the Eritrean coast to attack pirates.

As Isis worship at the Philae temple had been ended by imperial decree, Christianity grew rapidly in Nubia after Byzantine empress Theodora sent the Monophysite Julian there in 543; she and the Egyptians made sure that the rival Melkite mission was delayed even though her husband Emperor Justinian opposed the Monophysites. Thus the Nobadae (Nubians) and their king Silko became Monophysite Christians, and with the help of a Byzantine general they made the Blemyes adopt the same faith. Julian's work in Nubia was continued by Philae bishop Theodoros; Longinus went as far as 'Alwa, where he baptized the king and his people in 580.

The Mukurra kingdom was attacked by Arabs in 641, and in the peace treaty of 651 the Nubians agreed to tolerate a Muslim mosque and provide 360 slaves annually to the Muslim imam in exchange for some supplies not mentioned in the treaty, which enabled Nubians to co-exist next to Muslim Egypt peacefully for six centuries. The Nubian church was greatly strengthened when Merkurios became king in 697. When Copts were persecuted in Egypt about 745, Nubian king Kiriakos demanded that imprisoned Alexandrian patriarch Khael be released and, according to a Christian author, invaded. In 836 Nubians made a treaty with the Caliph of Baghdad, and they occupied southern Egypt in 962. At the end of the 10th century the Ethiopian king, because of a conflict with the patriarch of Alexandria, asked Nubian king George II to send a bishop, while many Christians from Egypt fled to Nubia.

In 1171 Nubians attacked Egypt and were counter-attacked two years later by Saladin's brother Turan-Shah. A century later in 1272 Nubian king Dawud captured the Arab trading post at 'Aydhab; this also resulted in attacks by Mamluk Egypt which captured prominent Nubians and helped Shakanda defeat Dawud II in a struggle over the Nubian throne. Shakanda agreed to pay annual tribute to the Egyptian sultan; Nubians not becoming Muslims had to pay a poll tax; and it was reported that 10,000 captives were sent to Egypt as slaves. Conflicts in Mukurra with Mamluk troops engaged 40,000 tribesmen seeking booty, and in 1290 Nubian king Shamamun captured the Mamluk garrison at Dunkula; Sultan Kala'un, busy with the last crusaders, agreed to a treaty. When Sanbu became king at Dunkula, Mukurra officially converted to Islam and made the cathedral a mosque in 1317. Despite Nubian efforts to regain their independence led by Kanz al-Dawla and Banu 'l-Kanz, Dunkula was destroyed, and the monarchy collapsed before the end of the 14th century; by the next century 'Alwa had also been overrun by pastoral Egyptian Arabs.

Ethiopian expansion led to conflicts in the 10th century,

Who are the Copts?
The word Copt is an English word taken from the Arabic word Gibt or Gypt. The Arabs after their conquest of Egypt in 641 A.D. called the indigenous population of Egypt as Gypt from the Greek word Egyptos or Egypt. The Greek word Egyptos came from the ancient Egyptian words Ha-Ka-Ptah or the house or temple of the spirit of God Ptah, one of the major ancient Egyptian Gods. The word Copt or Coptic simply means Egyptian, however the Muslim population of Egypt calls themselves Arabs. In contemporary usage, the word Copt or Coptic refers to the Christian population of Egypt.
The Coptic people are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians. The known history of the Copts or Egypt starts with King Mina or Menas the first King, who united the northern and southern kingdoms of Egypt circa 3050 B.C. The ancient Egyptian civilization under the rule of the Pharaohs lasted for approximately 3000 years. Many Copts accepted the teachings of Christianity, possibly because the ancient Egyptian religions believed in life after death. This is evidenced by their elaborate efforts to preserve the bodies of the dead by embalming or mummification. Like other early Christians throughout the Roman Empire, the Copts suffered from the persecution perpetrated against the new religion. Many Copts shed their blood in testimony for Jesus Christ. Saint Mina or Menas is one of the major Coptic saints. He was martyred 309 A.D. The Copts history continues through the present as Father Mina the Anchorite led the Coptic Orthodox Church, who was named as Pope Cyril the 6th 1971 A.D. He is considered to be a contemporary saint and among the great leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Coptic or Egyptian history continues from circa 3050 B.C. through the present. Many cotemporary Copts continue to carry ancient Egyptian names such as Mina, Ahmos, and Ramesses for men, Isis, Nofert, Nefertiti, and Nitocris for women. Two examples are noteworthy about the influence of the ancient Egyptian civilization on the western civilization. The first example is that the present western or Gregorian calendar has its roots in the solar ancient Egyptian calendar. The second is that the modern name of the science of Chemistry gets its name from the ancient name of Egypt, or "Chimie" in the Coptic language.

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots
Marcus Garvey

H.R.H. Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV,
reigning Omukama of Toro

The accession of King Oyo to his father's throne marked the beginning of a challenging and exciting period for the people of Toro. At the infant age of three-and-one half years old, King Oyo of Toro earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest reigning monarch.
King Oyo with his mother, Lady Best K. Olimi, and his
Princess Royal, Nsemere Komuntale.
Being a minor, King Oyo was aptly placed under the guardianship of several capable individuals, to ensure his smooth maturation into his role as cultural leader of his people. Among his guardians are H.E. Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda; Prince James Mugenyi, his paternal uncle, Princess Elizabeth N. Bagaaya , his paternal aunt and Godmother; and the other kings.
King Oyo with his uncle and guardian, 
Prince James Mugenyi.
King Oyo in the Empango (moon) Ceremony.
A relaxing moment: King Oyo playing 
with his puppy that was given to him by 
Mrs. Janet Museveni, wife of 
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
King Oyo's kingdom, still suffering the devastation of 26 years of nonexistence and desecration, is in dire need of total reconstruction in all cultural, economic and human aspects. An ambitious development plan is in effect, encompassing several major development and restoration projects.
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots
Marcus Garvey

Black History 365

1 comment:

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