Kanuri - History and Cultural Relations

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Although there are semilegendary views about early Kanuri roots in Yemen, little is known of the earliest phases of Kanuri culture. Contemporary Kanuri are the descendants of the ruling Saifawa family of the Kanem Empire. As a result of civil war, this family left Kanem in the fourteenth century and, after nearly a century of internal strife, established a new empire southwest of Lake Chad. This empire was and is known as Bornu, although Borno is now its official name. The area to which the Saifawa moved was inhabited by various peoples about whom little is known. Now they are known collectively as the Sau—reputedly a race of giants. For a period of several centuries, the efforts of the Saifawa to consolidate their power and expand their kingdom's boundaries led to the incorporation of many distinctive groups within Kanuri society. This process has not ended. Intermarriage, commerce, politics, and other factors have combined to produce a people who are culturally heterogeneous.

The Kanuri have had a strong influence on surrounding peoples, which include the Budum of Lake Chad, the Mandara and Kotoko (or Mogori) who live southeast of the Kanuri, the Marghi of the Damboa district, the Babur in the hills south of the Kanuri, the Bolewa located southwest of the Kanuri, and the Bede of Gashua, within the Kanuri territory. All of these groups have acquired various aspects of Kanuri culture, mainly the Kanuri language and Islam. Many, including the Hausa, were at one time subjects of the Kanuri Empire.

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Jan 19, 2010 @ 3:03 am
I want to know about the cultures of the Ngwaa people and their origin
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Oct 12, 2011 @ 10:22 pm
Hello there is no any commend, im a student presentily in university of Maiduguri, Maiduguri Bornu State Nigeria. I'm foculty of Art Departement of History so plase i need more detail on origine of Kanuri where their came from. Thank you
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Jan 19, 2012 @ 3:15 pm
What exactly does Semi-Legendary mean? The Common Haplogroups of the Kanuri people are present in Yemen. Which affirm a past connection.
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Apr 11, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
I liked this article! It was so very super awesome! :-{D
Abdulrahman Atiku
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Nov 3, 2012 @ 3:15 pm
since kanuri came from yemen, are they Arabs or not?
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Jan 10, 2013 @ 5:05 am
A point of correction for CManga; the prevalence of Semitic DNA in the Kanuri is a relatively recent development (as an effect of their Islamization), it not an ancient genetic component. The Kanuri have more of a genetic affiliation with other Afro-Asiatic groups from the Chadic as well as Berber branches (namely the Hausa, Mafa, and Tuareg respectively) as well as Nilo-Saharans such as the Songhai.

One thing about this article however is that it fails to mention how the Kanuri and their brother ethnic groups (ie Kotoko) descend from the Sao Civilization (found near lake Chad by Cameroon/Chad border). Studies show that the site flourished around the 6th Century BCE; and was inhabited long before that. It has even been concluded by some that the Sao civilization is the legendary country known as "Agisymba" to Greek scholars/geographers such as Ptolemy. Apparently, Sao/Agisymba was subdued by the Garamantes empire established by the Berbers after prolonged fierce battles. The Kanuri were NOT influenced by Arabs. They are purely INDIGENOUS/NATIVE in every sense of the word. Please avoid 'Arabizing' Black civilizations, it gets us nowhere and it doesn't pay credit where it is properly due!
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Oct 26, 2016 @ 6:06 am
The Kanuris trace their origin to the kanem-Barnu empire in the 16th and 17th century that spanned most of middle Africa until colonization. Presently,they can be found in Borno state, Niger state as well as part of Chad and Cameroon.

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