Pre-Colonial Time period Essay


The part of Senegambia was known for its rich history with antediluvian provinces that predated the Westphalia modern province. The antediluvian provinces were organized through a really stratified societal system based on caste that defines each groups through birth. Islam came to the part through trade therefore, it was non the faith of the bulk but instead a minority, and it was traveling to be the faith of the bulk until the coming of Gallic colonisation. With the coming of colonisation a new component was added to the image and the societal order is traveling to be changed with the popularity of the Sufi Murids in contrast with the nobility that lost its legitimacy due to its nexus to the colonisers. The research paper will analyse the organisation of the antediluvian provinces by comparing them to the Sufi orders in footings of facets that changed and those that persisted within the new order. The comparing will be based on the Book “ God Alone is King ” : Islam and Emancipation in Senegal every bit good as the film Guimba the Tyrannt that portrays the male monarch of Pre-colonial land of Sitikali in Mali. The first portion is devoted to the organisation of the antediluvian provinces, the 2nd to the reaching of Islam and the last one to the alterations brought by the Murid orders.

The Organization of Archaic States during the Pre-Colonial Time period

An of import facet of the pre-colonial antediluvian provinces is the stratification of the society through two groups: guur and neeno. [ 1 ] The former are those who had right to set down while the latter belong to the unfree category, who are dependent on the guur for work, in other words they are craft people. Within these two groups it exists farther differentiations. First in the Guur group there are three more groups: the buur who are the aristocracy, the ceedo who are the warriors and the baadoolo who are the provincials. Second, in the neeno group there are: blacksmiths, jewelry makers, weavers, woodsmans, leatherworkers and griots. This societal system was preserved and kept in order by censoring the matrimony from both categories. [ 2 ] The relation between those groups is non merely based on economic benefit per see but besides on societal and political functions. [ 3 ] For case, sing the griot although deemed from the low category, are extremely of import as they represent the “ the intellectual of the Wolof tribunal ” [ 4 ] their basic business is to follow their maestro in order to witness and blandish by subscribing about them through a verse form. [ 5 ] The ground for taking a vocal has to make with its relaxation to retrieve. They regard themselves as the “ defenders of honor ” [ 6 ] . In the Malian land of Sitikali, the griot Coulibaly accompanies Guimba to witness his actions, the basic intent of the griot is like the media today as it was the lone dependable beginning for the people to acquire information about the workss of his maestro. Therefore they have an of import function of bring forthing legitimacy to a peculiar regulation and in maintaining the history of the events.

The Ceddu category is “ the professional warriors of the Wolof tribunals ” [ 7 ] they are defined as powerful entities in the setup of the province as they served as warriors and are known for their wont of imbibing, loot and force. [ 8 ] In contrast to the baadoolo who had no power as they predominately work on agribusiness. The buur maintained their power through the distribution of “ lands and rubrics as wagess for baronial birth and loyal service. “ [ 9 ] In the Wolof kingdom it was the armed forces that has the upper manus as the land is “ dominated by a military nobility, ” [ 10 ] due to their power, warfare was prevailing as it was a beginning of their support. They profited largely from the trigon trade through the Atlantic Ocean by selling slaves in exchange for arms, apparels, spiritss and vino. In add-on to the Europeans, they besides engaged in trade with African states. [ 11 ] For case, Morocco during the reign of king Ismail exchanged ointments for Equus caballuss, fundamentally 10 ointments for a Equus caballus to the extent that L.A. Webb stated that the figure of slaves sold to Senegal through the Sahara and North Africa was more than the Atlantic 1. [ 12 ] This economic trust of the ceddo on slave trade meant that they no longer depended on the buur, who owned land, to boot the slaves were more regular than land in footings of their grosss ; this meant that warfare is a agency of their life as it allowed them to acquire slaves while peace is non good for their manner of life. In the Sitikali land in Mali, the warrior category did non accomplish this position due to its dependance on the buur but they besides owned guns which they got through trade with Europeans.

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The Equus caballus is an of import portion of the Wolof land as it is describe as “ Cavalry States, ” [ 13 ] nevertheless “ Wolof ground forcess depended on pieces far more than on Equus caballuss. “ [ 14 ] But still it was a symbol of aristocracy. [ 15 ] Likewise, in the Pre-colonial land of Sitikali in Mali, horses served the same intent with Guimba holding the 1 with the finest bridle and saddle as he is the male monarch.

In the land of Sitikali in Mali, the same form of stratification is evident. The male monarch and his boy abused their powers by holding sex with any adult females from the land. Jangine was promised to get married Kani, who belonged to the Diarra household but the boy reneged from his determination and wanted her female parent Meya alternatively. The job occurred when the male parent of Kani refused to disassociate his married woman to be married by the boy of Guimba, Jangine. Because he was of a baronial line of descent hence he had the power to decline otherwise he would hold divorced her out of his will. He sought safety among the society of Godon huntsmans headed by Seriman that ousted the legitimacy of the male monarch finally through the counter thaumaturgy used by Kani. Both Seriman and Guimba are of the same kin based on the huntsman brotherhood and the fact of having Equus caballuss shows their baronial line of descent.

The dictatorship of the nobility was rooted in the fact that the male monarchs were mistreating their powers. For case, the authorities of Kajoor in instance its returns can non afford it to obtain spirits, gun and apparels resorted to non merely take the ownership of their people but besides to enslave them. [ 16 ] Just like the buurs in the Wolof lands, Guimba was besides a autocrat who ruled his land in a despotic manner. He traces himself to the line of descent of the aristocracy ; he was cruel to the extent that in his tribunal he beats the individual who loses in the wrestling.

The Arrival of Islam

The Wolof involvement in Islam has to make with political and spiritual grounds, because the Sereer did non acknowledge the system of caste. [ 17 ] The coming of Islam created a new category called s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; “ a instructor, person who could read and learn the Quran, ” [ 18 ] the Marabout became powerful and achieved liberty for their metropoliss. The trade was that “ the coroneted churchmans were expected to help in the defence of their districts and serve as the mediators between their communities and the monarchy. In exchange, the monarchy granted the Muslims rule over the land they controlled and the populations who inhabited it. “ [ 19 ] The monarchy wanted to win the support of Muslims and the Muslims accepted to be independent and to non contend the monarchy so that they could transport on their instruction, the major metropoliss built by Murid are: Darou-Salam, Touba, Mbacke-Bari. [ 20 ] The Muslim set up their independent metropoliss as a reaction to the uninterrupted warfare indulged by the ceddu which entered the land into civil wars. The relation between the ceddo and the new category of s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; was based on giving gifts such as cowss, land and slaves for the s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; in return for rites and legitimacy for the ceddo, [ 21 ] what made the Muslims independent is their freedom from revenue enhancement, neutrality and freedom from captivity.

However, the Muslim represented a challenge to the monarchy as they asked for Islam jurisprudence to be followed chiefly in response to the imbibing facet of the ceddo and their trust on force as a manner of life. [ 22 ] Due to the failure of Islam rebellions, many Muslims turned into peaceable manner of defying the ceddo alternatively of jehad, a opposition that is traveling to rule the country of colonial period. [ 23 ] Although Amadu Bamba was repulsed by the deficiency of attachment to Islam patterns by the Wolof society in add-on to their engagement in old wonts that predated Islam, “ The Murid order rejected the Jihad of the blade ” [ 24 ] and alternatively focused on a peaceable opposition to both the nobility and the Gallic colonisation.

The thaumaturgy is an of import facet that shows how Guimba controlled his land to the extent that when he chased Kani, the girl that his boy is supposed to get married, seeking safety with the huntsmans that hosted her male parent. A twosome of huntsmans followed him but he succeeded in doing an occultation through his thaumaturgy. His thaumaturgy was a strong arm against his oppositions even when they besides used thaumaturgy. However, Kani was able to utilize thaumaturgies on him and to strip him of his legitimacy. In Wolof kingdom the usage of appeal can be seen through the relation between the ceedo and s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; which was based on exchange of gifts for appeals ( teere ) . [ 25 ] Sing the pattern of Islam in the land of Sitikali, it can be seen through the vocalization of such words as besemellah and merhaba in the film Guimba the Tyrannt. But it was non respected, as people were imbibing in public and even the married woman Kani suggested that she could get married any adult male who is courageous regardless of his faith deducing the possibility of the huntsmans of Godon, who were non Muslim, to get married her.

The Changes brought by the Murids

The s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; are traveling to be an of import group by the coming of French of colonisation that outlawed bondage, hence striping the ceddo from their beginning of income while the s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; had land, instruction and trade as beginnings of income. Ceddo became excess as the footing of their economic system was lost ; in contrast the Buurs were utile for the Gallic to govern Senegal indirectly. Buurs became French educated and served the colonisation by roll uping revenue enhancements and assisting with the enlisting of soldiers. However, by being associated with the Gallic the buur were no longer popular among their people and hence lost their legitimacy. As a consequence, The Gallic educated blue bloods was attacked both from the citizens as “ feudal users and autocrats. “ [ 26 ] And as it is affirmed by James F. Searing, “ the Gallic reforms accelerated the victory of Islam that was already apparent by 1903, when Amadu Bamba was arrested and exiled for a 2nd clip to protect the prestigiousness of Mbakhane Diop, the boy of Lat Joor ” [ 27 ] merely like in 1895. The 2nd clip he was sent to Mauritania more peculiarly to the Sufi leader of Qadiri order, Shaykh Sidiyya Baba who was non an opposition of Gallic regulation. The Gallic idea that by directing him to Mauritania he would back up the Gallic regulation, but it did non work. [ 28 ]

The s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; is the category that benefited most more from the colonisation as they gained legitimacy, particularly in rural countries ; although they did non defy the coloniser through armed opposition, at least they offered rational resistance to the colonisation in contrast to the buurs. The Murid concentrated in the rural countries [ 29 ] chiefly in the part of Bawol, [ 30 ] those Sufi orders attracted non merely the provincials and slaves but besides some sections of the ceddo and buur, a fact that foreshadows the prostration of the old order of the antediluvian provinces. Murids emerged as a incorporate force under Amadu Bamba who became popular among the people due to his non- association with either the nobility or the Gallic. His independence was resented by both the Gallic which forced to expatriate three times every bit good as the nobility as it threatened their position quo and legitimacy.

The new relationship brought by the Murids in contrast with the pre-colonial monarchies can be seen through the s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; and their followings:

The s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; provided spiritual way for the community, instruction, theoretical protection from captivity, and a hope for Eden in the hereafter, in portion due to the presence of Baraka ( Muslim grace or approval ) in the organic structure and instructions of the s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; . In return, his followings, whether pupils or provincials, contributed their labour or portion of their crops to the marabou stork ‘s family and accepted his authorization. [ 31 ]

Therefore, even though the societal order changed it remained the same as both provincials and pupils have to lend through labour to the Murids. “ The Murid order was non a “ metempsychosis ” of the blue party, but a new embodiment of Wolof Islam ” [ 32 ] and “ the blue bloods and ceddo who joined the order did non specify its significances. “ [ 33 ] What made the order attractive for assorted societal categories in Senegal is non merely rooted in its independency from the Gallic regulation but besides to its forsaking of the caste system as “ the new societal order was based on communal autonomy and difficult work, turning its dorsum on the differentiations of category and birth that dominated the old government. “ [ 34 ] [ 35 ] Furthermore, although the mass support of the Murids comes from two categories: the provincial and slaves, inclusion of all the categories irrespective of their yesteryear strengthened the order ; as it is stated by James F. Searing: “ the new order was for all, even those with a doubtful yesteryear. “ [ 36 ] For case, shaykh Ibra Fall, a converted ceddo from the tribunal was allowed in the Murid order but his responsibility is traveling to differ from the other followings, as the basic regulation of the order is non to give instruction to everyone but instead to tie in the work of a peculiar follower harmonizing to his caste in the old government. For case, the griot following the order could alter their mission from being the bard of the tribunal to utilizing “ his life narrative to exemplify the thought that work can break than survey. “ [ 37 ]

The Murids do non acknowledge the violent way to freedom but instead through peaceable opposition, they merely recognized “ the jehad of the psyche, ” [ 38 ] this fact distinguished Ahmed Bamba from Mabba that used slaves in war. [ 39 ] War is non accepted by the Sufi order because the jehad of Mabba ended up perverting Muslims as he allied with Lat Joor [ 40 ] “ the last independent male monarch of the Wolof Kingdom of Kajoor. “ [ 41 ] Furthermore, the transition of the governing household in Senegal did non allow the struggle between the nobility and Muslims to disappear as the portraiture of the converts from Lat Joor household are portrayed “ to learn lessons in humbleness ” [ 42 ] and “ the new dependence is a penalty for past misbehaviors. “ [ 43 ] Another significance that is embodied behind the transition of the buur is the generousness of the Murids and their ability to forgive. [ 44 ]

The apprehension of Amadu Bamba showed the fright of both the Buur and Ceedo of the turning popularity of the Murid orders among the provincials that threatened their position quo of being the swayers and in fact the apprehension of Amadu Bamaba could non hold been facilitated without the ceddo and buur. As it is stated by James F. Searing, “ Wolof heads in Kajoor and Njambur engineered the apprehension of Amadu Bamba. “ [ 45 ] Furthermore, the Gallic resisted the Murid because they “ constituted a province within a province ” [ 46 ] by holding the provincials work for them and vie with them in peanut production. [ 47 ] But, the Gallic protest was non based on the fact that Murid is a “ divergence ” [ 48 ] that is development of the provincials in the name of faith but instead it was a manifestation of the protests of the ceddo and buur. As it is affirmed by James F. Searing, “ Gallic belligerencies to the order echoed the protests of established Wolof elites, who lost control over migrators. It besides echoed the ill will of Gallic merchandisers, who saw the autonomy of Murid small towns as a hurt to French commercialism. “ [ 49 ] Therefore, the Murid order was response to the peanut production and the loss of legitimacy by the nobility which made the societal order autumn to the benefit of the Murid. The new societal order did non go from the characteristic of the old order so the provincials and slaves that fled from the rough conditions under which they worked went to work for new Masterss, nevertheless this clip the servitude is voluntary.


During the pre-colonial archaic states the stratification of the population through caste was enforced through birth and the prohibition on assorted matrimony. By the coming of Islam the new category of s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; appeared and challenged the legitimacy of the buur and ceddo through their neutrality and independency from the colonisers. Therefore, Social organisation has been Islamized as the s & A ; euml ; Rhode Island & A ; ntilde ; became powerful by pulling non merely provincials and slaves but other categories as good. However, the relationship that existed during the period of antediluvian provinces remained the same as the footing of the Murid-disciple relationship is based work in return for instruction. So, politically, the Murid took the legitimacy from the buur and ceddo, economically achieved autonomy which allowed them to hold independent metropoliss and socially, many facets of the pre-colonial monarchies were changed to accommodate to the new order of Murids such as the possibility of inter matrimony between the castes.


    Glover, John. Sufism and Jihad in modern Senegal: the Murid order. mBoydell & A ; Brewer Limited: Suffolk, 2007.

    Searing, James F. “ God Alone is King ” : Islam and Emancipation in Senegal. ( Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann ) , 2002,

    Sissoko, Cheick Oumar, dir. Guimba, un autocrat, un & A ; eacute ; poque ( Guimba the Tyrannt ) . With Falaba Isaa Traore, Baba Mousa Keita, and Habib Dembele. Kora Films an dKino Vidoe, 2004.