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Capital Settlement on Morfil
Languages Serer,[1][2] Fula
Religion Islam, Traditional African religions

(Serer religion[3][4])

Government Monarchy
 -  1030s War Jabi
Historical era Middle Ages
 -  Established 800s
 -  Islam 1030s
 -  Conquered by Mali Empire 1285

Takrur, Tekrur, or Tekrour (c. 800 – c. 1285) was an ancient state of West Africa, which flourished roughly parallel to the Ghana Empire.


Takrur was the name of the capital of the state which flourished on the lower Senegal River. Takruri was a term, like Bilad-ul-Sudan, that was used to refer to all people of West African ancestry.[5][6][7][8]

The formation of the state may have taken place as an influx of Fulani from the east settled in the Senegal valley.[9][10] John Donnelly Fage suggests that Takrur was formed through the interaction of Berbers from the Sahara and "Negro agricultural peoples" who were "essentially Serer".[11]

Center of Trade[edit]

Located in the Senegal Valley, along the border of present-day Senegal and Mauritania, it was a trading center, where gold from the Bambuk region, salt from the Awlil, Sahel grain were exchanged. It was rival of the Ghana Empire and the two states clashed from time to time with the Soninké usually winning. Despite these clashes, Takrur prospered throughout the 9th and 10th centuries.

Adoption of Islam[edit]

The kings of Takrur eventually adopted Islam. Sometime in the 1030s during the reign of King War Jabi, the court converted to Islam, the first regent to officially pronounce Orthodoxy in the Sahel, establishing the faith in the region for centuries to come. In 1035 that War Jabi introduced Sharia law in the Kingdom. This adoption of Islam greatly benefited the state economically and created greater political ties that would also affect them in the coming conflicts between the traditionalist state of Ghana and its northern neighbors.[12]

Ghana Empire[edit]

The king of Takrur sided with the Berber and Tuareg tribes of the Almoravids in their political intervention of the Ghana Empire.[citation needed] The Fulani of Tarkur became independent after Ghanaian power faded. Takrur in turn set out to conquer the kingdom of Diara, which was a Ghanaian province before. Then in 1203, Takrur leader Sumanguru took control of Kumbi Saleh, the capital of Ghana. Thus, Takrur became the sole power in the region.[13] Integration of Takrur with the Almoravids meant that some of these troops reached all the way to Andalusia (Spain) with the Almoravid expansion.

Ghana successor map 1200.png

[citation needed]


Among these were the Susu who carved out the sizeable though short-lived Kaniaga. Waalo, the first Wolof state, emerged out its south. By the time Mandinka tribes united to form the Mali Empire in 1235, Takrur was in a steep decline. The state was finally conquered by the usurper emperor Sabakoura of Mali in the 1280s.

Takrur was later conquered by Mali, it was also conquered by Jolof in the 15th century.[14] Although Koli (a Fula rebel) did finally managed to regain Takrur and named it Fouta Toro in the 15th century thereby setting up the first Fula dynasty (Denanke), that dynasty also did not last and in 1776 at the Fouta Revolution, who were Muslim clerics entered the kingdom and brought down the house of Denanke.[15]


Later Islamic Takrur states are often called Toucouleur, after a French corruption of "Takrur." The Denanke Kingdom, and Imamate of Futa Toro all followed creating powerful Fulbe states over the same general area once ruled by ancient Takrur.[dubious ][citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charles Becker et Victor Martin, « Rites de sépultures préislamiques au Sénégal et vestiges protohistoriques », Archives Suisses d'Anthropologie Générale, Imprimerie du Journal de Genève, Genève, 1982, tome 46, no 2, p. 261-293
  2. ^ Trimingham, John Spencer, "A history of Islam in West Africa", pp 174, 176 & 234, Oxford University Press, USA (1970)
  3. ^ Becker
  4. ^ Gravrand, "Pangool", pp 9, 20-77
  5. ^ 'Umar Al-Naqar (1969). "Takrur the History of a Name". The Journal of African History 10 (3): 365–374. JSTOR 179671. 
  6. ^ http://www.islamandafrica.com/ Islam and Africa – History
  7. ^ Alik Shahadah Linguistics for a new African Reality : Language and African Agency 12-2005 (updated 5/2012) Language African Reality
  8. ^ Ibn Khalikan, op. cit. vi, 14.
  9. ^ Hrbek, I. (1992). General History of Africa volume 3: Africa from the 7th to the 11th Century: Africa from the Seventh to the Eleventh Century v. 3 (Unesco General History of Africa (abridged)). James Carey. p. 67. ISBN 978-0852550939. 
  10. ^ Creevey, Lucy (August 1996). "Islam, Women and the Role of the State in Senegal". Journal of Religion in Africa 26 (3): 268–307. doi:10.1163/157006696x00299. 
  11. ^ Fage, John Donnelly (1997). "Upper and Lower Guinea". In Roland Oliver. The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 3. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521209816. 
  12. ^ http://books.google.com/books/about/Muslim_societies_in_African_history.html?id=jZEL3kdcQggC Muslim societies in African history
  13. ^ Davidson, Basil (1965). A History of West Africa (PDF). University of Lagos, Nigeria: Longman. ISBN 0684826674. 
  14. ^ Leyti, Oumar Ndiaye. Le Djoloff et ses Bourba. Nouvelles Editions Africaines, 1981. ISBN 2-7236-0817-4
  15. ^ Ogot, Bethwell A. General history of Africa: Africa from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. University of California Press, 1999, ISBN 0-520-06700-2, p 146 [1]


  • J. F. Ade Ajayi, Michael Crowder (eds.). History of West Africa. Columbia University (1972) ISBN 0-231-03628-0
  • J. Hunwick. "Takrur", Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden 2000, X, 142-3.
  • Mary Antin, Nehemia Levtzion. Medieval West Africa Before 1400: Ghana, Takrur, Gao (Songhay) and Mali. Translated by Nehemia Levtzion. J. F. Hopkins: Contributor. Markus Wiener Publishing, New Jersey (1998). ISBN 1-55876-165-9
  • J. D. Fage (ed.). The Cambridge History of Africa, vol. II, Cambridge University Press (1978), 675-7.
  • H. T. Norris. "The Wind of Change in the Western Sahara". The Geographical Journal, Vol. 130, No. 1 (Mar., 1964), pp. 1–14
  • D.W. Phillipson. African Archaeology, Cambridge University Press (Revised Edition 2005). ISBN 978-0-521-83236-6
  • Leyti, Oumar Ndiaye. Le Djoloff et ses Bourba. Nouvelles Editions Africaines, 1981. ISBN 2-7236-0817-4
  • Ogot, Bethwell A. General history of Africa: Africa from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. University of California Press, 1999, ISBN 0-520-06700-2, p 146.
  • Oliver, Roland. The Cambridge history of Africa: From c. 1600 to c. 1790. Cambridge University Press, 1982. ISBN 0-521-20981-1, p484

External links[edit]