Islam In West Africa

Islam is a religion which follows the teachings and principles of a holly book known as Quran / Koran and puts Allah as the creator.

how was islam introduced and spread in west africa

  • Through the Trans Saharan trade.
  • From person to person.
  • By Muslim scholars (writers)
  • Through the activities of rulers in Western Sudan i.e. Askia Muhammed, Mansa Musa.
  • Through the establishment of mosques.
  • Forceful Islamisation of non Moslems.
  • Through Inter marriages.
  • Through bribes i.e. giving commodities.
  • Through Jihad movements
  • Through the ways of dressing which attracted non – believers. Through teaching the principles of Islam.

Which impact did islam have on west africa?

  • It promoted brother hood.
  • Led to effective administration.
  • Pilgrimages led to the growth and development of states.
  • It brought people into contact with technology.
  • Introduced literacy and Moslem education.
  • Introduced a cord of law i.e. sharia law.
  • Increased wealth of prosperity.
  • Enabled states to establish diplomatic relationship with outside world.
  • Enabled rulers to write inviting judges in their empires.
  • Arabic language was introduced in West Africa.
  • Islamic literacy or education helped in the preservation of the history and oral tradition of some states in the books.
  • Led to urbanization in West Africa.
  • Islam displaced traditional religious beliefs.
  • Led to development of infrastructure e.g. Roads, mosques.
  • The standard of living in West Africa increased since Islam was introduced together with trade.

The Hausa States (Forest States) Of West Afric

The Hausa lived between the Kanuri in the East and Songhai in the West. The states that were in the forest region included Oyo, Benin, Dahomey and Asante.

The Oyo

  • It was founded by the people known as the Yoruba and that is why it is at times called the Yoruba kingdom in the forest region of West Africa.
  • It was founded by Oranmiyan who was the grandson of Oduduwa the great Yoruba ancestor.

Origin of oyo kingdom.

  • It was the earliest and biggest of the Hausa states in West Africa
  • It is said to have been founded between 1388 – 1438.
  • It was founded by Oranmiyan who was the grandson of Oduduwa the great Yoruba ancestor.
  • The capital was at ile lfe the ancestral state of all the Yoruba’s.
  • Oduduwa’s eldest son Okambi died and left seven children,
  • it is said that the seventh son Oranmiyan founded Oyo and became its first Alafin (king)
  • Oduduwa’s sisters and brothers founded other Yoruba states ie Owu, Popes, Ketu etc.
  • Originally Oyo was a small state to the northern boarders of the Yoruba near R. Niger.
  • From the 16th century, Oyo fought wars of expansion south wards
  • Oyo was located in the fertile savanna which enabled agriculture and easy defence against foreign attacks.
  • Therefore Oyo’s location, climate, participated in trade, by 18th century had extended as far as R. Niger, south to the gulf of Guinea, West to modern Togo and East to the state of Benin.

Factors that led to the rise and expansion of oyo kingdom.

  • It was located in the fertile savannah belt.
  • It participated in trade and got a lot of wealth.
  • The Yoruba were highly united because of the same origin.
  • The kingdom had a strong army for defence.
  • It had strong leaders e.g. Oranmiyan, Sango etc.
  • There were no succession disputes as the system was clear.
  • Good system of administration i.e. centralized.
  • The desire to expand the state by its leaders led to its rise.
  • The introduction of horses from Sudan eased transport.
  • Got revenue from the conquered states.
  • The good climate favoured economic activities which led to its rise.
  • The Yoruba skills of iron working enabled them to make weapons and tools were made for defence and expansion.
  • Oyo’s industrial and craftsmanship skills i.e. wearing, decorative arts led to its rise.

Describe the political, social, economic organisatin of oyo kingdom.

  • Oyo was headed by the king who had the title Alfin.
  • The king had both political and religious powers in the empire.
  • The king was assisted by ministers in the administration.
  • The position of the king (Alfin) was appointed by a body of seven king makers known the Oyo – Messi.
  • The seven members were led by the prime ministers known as Basho run.
  • This body of Oyo Messi checked in the powers of the king i.e. they could remove him if he became weak.
  • The Prime ministers (Basho run) could present to the king (Alafin) an empty calabash or the parrots e.g. to show that his people and the earth have refused him and had to commit suicide.
  • The Alafis (kings) first son was not to succeed his father but instead forced also to committee suicide to avoid succession disputes.
  • There was also a secret body of old and experienced members known as Ogboni that checked on the works of the Oyo Messi and the Alfin.
  • The Empire was divided into two i.e. Metropolitan (original) Oyo and provincial (conquered states).
  • The metropolitan Oyo was directly ruled by the, minor or the chiefs but paid tribute to the king or Alafin and miserable to him.
  • Oyo had a strong standing army for defence and expansion.
  • Economically, he participated in trade i.e. trans-Saharan trade and trans- Atlantic trade.
  • Agriculture was greatly practiced and grow crops like millet, yams, maize pepper etc.
  • Animal rearing was carried out in Oyo.
  • Local industries funds and wearing, craft man ship existed in Oyo.
  • Oyo imposes taxes on farmers and traders who came to the kingdom.
  • The kingdom also got tributes from the conquered states.
  • Socially, the Yoruba were highly united due to the same ancestral origin.
  • They were highly civilized as seen in their arty of products i.e. giving sculptures.
  • They believed in traditional religions and their god was oluron and believed, in life after death.
  • They had annual festivals called beer festival where people feasted and celebrated.
  • Oyo was divided into classes i.e. aristocrats or royalists

The Yoruba Civil Wars (1821-1893)

  • These were wars fought within the Yoruba states of Ibadan, lilorin, Ekoti, Egoba and Ijebu.
  • These wars occurred after the weakening of the Oyo Empire.

What were the out comes of the yoruba civil wars in west africa?

  • The decline of Oyo’s administration and army led to wars in Yoruba land.
  • Love and power by some army commanders i.e. Kakanfo Aforia who organized revolt independence led to civil wars.
  • Some organizers followed Kakanfo Afonja’s examples to break away their states i.e. Ijiebu, Egba, Owu etc led to fighting hence civil wars.
  • The external aggressive by the Fulani from North led to civil wars. They attacked the pagan Yoruba states which included Oyo hence the civil wars.
  • The desire to dominate on another by the leaders led to civil wars.
  • The Fulani played off one king against the other which increased the civil wars.
  • The death of capable leaders like Alfin Atiba led to civil wars.
  • Constitutional disagreements led to civil wars as some leaders like Kakanfo Karumi refused to recognize the elected Aremo Adelu as the new Alafin after the death of Alafin Atiba in 1659.
  • The expansion policy of Dahomy towards Oyo led to civil wars in1821.
  • State raiding of one another for slaves led to civil wars,
  • European support of some states led to civil wars i.e. the British supported Ibadan against others.
  • The desire to control trade routes by some states led to war i.e. between Abeokuta and Ibadan.

QN. What were the results/ effects of the Yoruba civ wars?

  • Led to the capture of llorin by the Fulani in 1831.
  • Oyo lost her independence as the Fulani captured the metropolitan Oyo.
  • The wars led to misery and suffering among the Yoruba people
  • The Yoruba unity was destroyed by the wars as they fought each other
  • The wars weakened the traditional beliefs of the Yoruba.
  • The civil wars created a good environment for Christianity and western civilization.
  • Slave raiding increased.
  • Led to displacement of many people.
  • Led to famine as agriculture was on stand still due to wars.
  • Led to loss of properties and lives as many people died during the war.
  • The war led to the under development of the area due to destruction of properties and loss of lives.
  • Led to British intervention to end fighting and introduced legitimate trade.
  • Led to the signing of treaties between the British with Abeokuta, Oyo and Ibadan in 1893 which led to peace.

Factors for the decline of oyo kingdom.

  • The kingdom had become too big for effective control.
  • The death of capable leaders like Alfin Abiodin.
  • The stopping of slave trade affected its revenue and led to its collapse.
  • The rise of weak leaders led to its collapse.
  • Break away of the vassal states like Dahomy in 1821 led to its collapse.
  • The poor supervision of governors had a lot of freedom who sometimes declared their states independent.
  • Political mist abilities created by ambitions Basho runs led to its decline.
  • The policy of forcing the defeated commanders in wars to commit suicide discredited Oyo among the soldiers and led to its collapse.
  • The Fulani Jihads attack weakened Oyo and supported vassal states.
  • The army had become weak due to over fighting.
  • Outbreak of famine since agriculture had been neglected during the fighting.
  • The shifting of the trade from North to South affected Oyo.
  • Disunity which developed later among the Yoruba led to its decline.
  • The final below came from the British who annexed Oyo in 190’s hence making the end of the once mighty Oyo that had existed for long.

Why did the empire of oyo last for so long?

  • It was located in fertile savannah area that ensured supply of food.
  • It participated in trade and got all of wealth.
  • Slave trade made Oyo accumulate a lot of wealth.
  • Conquered states paid tributes to the Oyo kingdom.
  • Strong army led to long existence.
  • The system of checks and balances i.e. of Alfin by Oyo Messi led to long existence.
  • Weak neighbors in early days led to her long existence.
  • It had stable economy due to economic activities.
  • String king (Alfins) kept the Empire together.
  • The Yoruba were highly united in early day’s hence long existence.