Our Top 5 East African Kingdoms

WRITTEN BY: MALIK BRADLEY

Top East African

Welcome back to our assessment of the greatest Kingdoms in African history. In our last entry, we covered who we believed to be the greatest Kingdoms throughout West African history. Please keep in mind that I am by no means summing up the entirety of Africa and its people because African history itself has been greatly undermined, misrepresented, and ignored throughout history. Many of her people’s accomplishments are only just now being recognized. This is due to the recent resurgence of knowledge that has either been kept away from Africans about who they are or by the uncovering of knowledge through technological development.

East Africa in particular has the most extensive historical documentation out of any other region in Africa. This is due largely to this region being the birthplace of humanity, as well as writing, religion, and Mathematics. Making this entry was extremely tough because the volume of history in this region can hardly be done justice in this one article but hopefully this will help serve as a source of knowledge for those willing to seek it and where to look. Again we will be observing the Who, What, When, Where, and How these kingdoms are ranked as our top. Observing their culture, accomplishments, military, and infrastructure we will see which one of these kingdoms uphold the greatest of African ideals as well as how effective they were in fighting off foreign invaders. 

5. Ancient Nubia

ancient nubia

Nubia not only deserves to be on this list due to its renown throughout history and its undeniable achievements. Nubia is one of the main Ancient Black civilizations we have to thank for leaving so much evidence behind that they were black that even to this day more evidence is still being uncovered thousands of years later. With all the unnecessary controversy surrounding Egypt and who its original people were, the Nubians can time and again be looked upon as undeniable evidence of Dynastic Black rule in Egypt existing well before any renowned European civilization. 

The Nubian Civilization is so ancient that their original tribe’s name has been long forgotten. Archaeologists  have named this group of people “A-Group” signifying their originality in that region. A-Group was the earliest group who developed a system of hierarchy with strong rulers forming out of the Neolithic tribes and cultures of the Nile River Valley. A-Group was greatly known for its burials, burial rites, cemeteries, artifacts, and rock art which to this day can be found all along the Nile River Valley especially in a region of the valley called Kubaniyyaa. The A-Group was heavily a trading society connecting the entirety of NorthEastern Africa to the Levant. With its prime location it had access to gold from the east, Carnelian (a mineral of Quartz or glassy stone) from the Western Desert, and exotics like Ivory, Incense, and ebony from further south along the Nile. 

Although historians still attempt to argue that at the time of Ancient Nubia’s height Egypt was still an emerging state. A-Group formed into a civilization known as “Ta-Seti” meaning “The Land of the Bow”. This was an ancient Egyptian name for Nubia; In many ways the Nubian kingdom fathered the world renowned Egyptian civilization as it is known today. The A-Group continued to flourish as a civilization until around 3100 B.C when emerging Egypt turned upon Nubia and it was utterly destroyed by the Pharaohs of the First Dynasty of Egypt. Nubians still continued to exist regardless as was evident later on in the Dynasty of Egypt. 

4. The Sultanates of Somalia

The Sultanates of Somalia

Following the decline of several of the great ancient era African Trading Kingdoms of East Africa including but not limited to the Kingdom of Punt, the Kingdom of D’mt, and The Kingdom of Axum in Ancient Ethiopia; the new availability of trade routes opened up greatly to many kingdoms emergent out of the Horn of Africa. One of these emergent trading kingdoms that reached true greatness and power during and throughout the middle ages in Africa was a conglomeration of Sultanates in Somalia known as The Sultinates of Somalia. 

From the early middle ages all the way up to the time of European domination in that region, the Horn of Africa experienced a cultural development that transformed the region into a reputable and feared trading conglomeration. However at no point throughout history was the region ever ruled as one centralized state. Throughout the era Somalia experienced the rise and decline of several trading sultanates whose cultures were deeply rooted in Islam unlike the previous kingdoms in Ethiopia who were up until this point mostly Christian and African Animist. 

One of these powerful Sultanates was known as The Sultanate of Mogadishu. The Sultanate of Mogadishu was an important trading empire that lasted from the 10th century to the 16th century. It maintained a vast and highly aggressive trading network which dominated regional gold trade and also even minted its own Mogadishu currency. Their lustor was evident through the extensive architectural works left as a legacy still existent in present-day Southern Somalia. 

The Ajuran Sultanate emerged between the 13th and 17th centuries. They rightfully maintained their aggressive stance over the local trade of gold and other resources off the coasts of the Horn of Africa. Their stance towards invaders was noticeably more aggressive during this time citing several wars with the Oromo peoples of Ethiopia as well as effectively resisting a Portugese naval invasion with their own navy! The Ajuran Sultanate defeated Portugal twice decisively at the battles of Benadir and Barawa. 

Around this time also existed The Warsangali Sultanate centralized in northeastern Somalia, this Sultanate was known as one of the largest ever established in the area. Also existing at this time was the Sultanate of Ifat led by the Walashma dynasty, its centers were the cities of Zelia and Shewa. This Sultanate was perhaps the greatest of the dynasties, at its height holding territories of what is now eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Northern Somalia.

3. The Aksumite Empire

The Aksumite Empire

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Author: Man-Sa

Singer/Songwriter/Musician - Self-Proclaimed Historian - Voice-Over Actor - Aspiring Video Game Developer - Video Game Enthusiast- Fitness Enthusiast - Blogger - Producer - Innovator

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