By Evette D. Champion
When you think of kingdoms throughout history, you may automatically think of the English kingdom, Egyptian and Roman Empire, the Incas and Mayans. For whatever reason, kingdoms in Africa never get as much attention as other great civilizations.
Here are some African kingdoms that you should know about.
Civilization of Sao
From as early as the 6th century B.C and all the way until the later part of the 16th century, the Sao people thrived in Middle Africa. They lived near the Chari River, which is south of Lake Chad. This area would later become absorbed into Cameroon and Chad. Artifacts found in the area from the civilization shows that the people were skilled in working with bronze, copper, and even iron.
From 1075 until 1220, the Mapungubwe kingdom was located in southern Africa near the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers just south of Zimbabwe. The people of the kingdom constructed stone walls to designate areas of importance and they were the first people that would later create the kingdom of Zimbabwe in the 13th century. Although this short lived kingdom only had 5,000 people, they should be recognized because of the links they had to Rhapta and Kilwa Kisiwani, thanks to the gold trade.
The Ajuran empire started in the 13th century and spanned 400 years. The Somali Muslim people ruled large areas of the Horn of Africa during the Middle Ages. Because they were around for so long, they have left an impressive architectural imprint on the land, thanks to their masterful skills of castle and fortress construction.
Between 1665 and 1887, the area known today as the Democratic Republic of Congo, the northeastern Angola and northwestern Zambia was once the place of the Lunda Empire. The empire had 175,000 citizens early on, but by the 19th century, they had control of 300,000 square kilometers and the population had grown exponentially.
The Wadai Empire was located to the east of Lake Chad in the areas that are now known as Chad and the Central African Republic. The empire was quite wealthy, thanks to the strategic location along the trans-Saharan trade routes. The Wadai were very military oriented and they battled against the French to resist domination. The Wadai finally lost the battle on June 6, 1909; however, they continued to resist the French rule until 1912.