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African DominionA New History of Empire in Early and Medieval West Africa$
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Michael A. Gomez

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196824

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196824.001.0001

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The Rending Asunder: Dominion’s End

The Rending Asunder: Dominion’s End

(p.355) Chapter Fourteen The Rending Asunder: Dominion’s End
African Dominion

Michael A. Gomez

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes how, between Askia Dāwūd's death in 990–91/1582–83 and the Battle of Tondibi in 999/1591 that marked the beginning of Morocco's occupation, the empire endured the tumultuous reigns of four askias, the depravations of famine, and a civil war so destructive that Timbuktu's religious elites felt compelled to intervene. Less than ten years following the death of Askia Dāwūd, imperial Songhay lay in utter ruin, never more to rise. It is no small irony that an enslaved official was at the epicenter of exigency, nor that slaves were strategically positioned to influence events, nor that those events prominently featured enslaved soldiers. Elites, whether political actors or shaykhs, were therefore as dependent on as they were dominant over slaves. The Moroccan invasion would arrive at a most unpropitious time.

Keywords:   Askia Dāwūd, Battle of Tondibi, Moroccan invasion, famine, civil war, religious elites, Timbuktu, imperial Songhay, slaves

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