Recent and ongoing events in the Sahel by way of food crises, religiously based conflict, ethnically based conflict, and military coups are intertwined. They are the most recent iterations of interdependent political, economic, religious, social, and cultural changes that have been taking place for upwards of two millenia in west Africa.
The Sahel of West Africa has been the home of numerous small states that can be traced back by means of written arabic records beginning in the 9th Century AD, and earlier, by archaeology, to the stone settlements of Tichitt (also written Tichit) and other sites that are located on the caravan routes in southern Mauritania:
The Library of Congress in the U.S. has developed several pages that provide information on the ancient manuscripts of the Sahel. Here are links to a couple:Islamic Manuscripts from Mali – Library of Congress Ancient Manuscripts for the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu – Library of Congress
The following example of a colophon comes from the collection of Arabic Manuscripts of Health, at the National Institute of Health (U.S.A.) This is a wonderful resource for Arabic mss. that is not widely known.
The end of a plague tract that, according to the colophon shown above, was completed on 19 Rabi‘ II 944 (= 26 September 1537). The author is apparently the same as the Malakite theologian Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥaṭṭāb al-Malikī al-Ru‘aynī who died in 1547/954. The undated copy appears to have been made during the author’s lifetime and is possibly in his own hand.Source: Islamic Medical Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine of the National Institute of Health – MS A 80, fol. 40b
Related blog entries – The links below are blog entries on or about city-states – in the Sahel, as well as those in East Africa. I am in the process of revising them – as well as this blog (especially attributions for photos)- any suggestions would be most welcome! :