Timeline of Serer history

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This is a timeline of the history and development of Serer religion and the Serer people of Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania. This timeline merely gives an overview of their history, consisting of calibrated archaeological discoveries in Serer countries, Serer religion, politics, royalty, etc. Dates are given according to the Common Era. For a background to these events, see Roog, Serer religion, Serer creation myth, Serer prehistory, Lamane, States headed by Serer Lamanes, Serer history and Serer people.

Prehistory[edit]

  • The Takrur period represents the prehistory of the Serer people. The Senegalese, Namandiru and Waalo period inaugurates Serer history.[1]

Medieval era (The Golden Age of West Africa)[edit]

9th century[edit]

  • 800 AD : John Trimingham lists states on the Senegal:"800 States on the Senegal: Sanghana (Serer), Takrur, Silla, and Galam (Soninke).2 [2]

Many of the Serer village and town names they have founded still survives today.

  • 850 AD : A state centered around Tekrur may have developed at this time, either as an influx of Fulani from the east settled in the Senegal valley.[3][4] or according to John Donnelly Fage formed through the interaction of Berbers from the Sahara and "Negro agricultural peoples" who were "essentially Serer".[5]

11th century[edit]

"Today, the Serer retain much of their old culture, customs and traditions. In fact, it's not uncommon to hear how Serer culture has survived through the centuries in spite of all the forces which tried to destroy it."

Godfrey Mwakikagile,[6]

This era marks the exodus of the Serers of Tekrur. Those who survived the wars and refused to convert migrated southwards to what later became known as the Serer Kingdoms of Sine, Saloum and previously Baol, rather than convert to Islam. In the south, they were granted asylum by their distant Serer relatives, endorsed by the Great Council of Lamanes, the highest court in Serer country. Trimingham notes that, Tekrur was the first in the region to adopt Islam but lost completely its Serer identity.[8] War Jabi died in 1040 and was succeeded by his son Leb (or Labi), also a major ally of the Almoravids.[9] Leb is reported to have been fighting for the Almoravids in 1056[10] probably as a result of the subjugation of Tekrur by the Almoravids in 1042 and a well enforced Sharia law.[11] Economically, the Kingdom of Tekrur benefit with the introduction of Islam. It also created political ties with the North. Many Fulanis/Toucouleurs were part of the Almoravid army that conquered parts of Europe.

13th century[edit]

14th century[edit]

Main articles: Guelowar and Kingdom of Sine
  • 1350–1400 : The Kingdom of Sine renamed. The Guelowar period starts from 1350. Maad a Sinig Maysa Wali Jaxateh Manneh elected first Guelowar king to ever rule in one of the Serer countries (Kingdom of Sine). Nominated and elected by the Serers of Sine and the Great Council of Lamanes whose Council he served as legal adviser for 15 years and gave his sisters and nieces to in marriage. Maysa Wali ruled in 1350–1370. The marriages between the descendants of the ancient Serer Lamanic class and the Guelowar women created the Serer paternal dynasties and the Guelowar maternal dynasty which lasted for over 600 years. Some members of the Serer nobility were opposed to the nomination and election of Maysa Wali, in particular Lamane Pangha Yaya Sarr (many variations: Penga Yaye Sarr, etc.), because Maysa Wali did not have a Serer father nor a Serer mother in spite of his assimilation into Serer culture, long service to the Great Council and coming from royalty himself. None of Maad a Sinig Maysa Wali's descendants ruled in any of the Serer kingdoms after him. The children and descendants of the Serer men and Guelowar women became Serers with loyalty to Serer religion, the Serer people, the Serer countries, culture and language, and all ties with Kaabu were severed. In this period, the old Serer paternal dynasties survived but the old Wagadou maternal dynasty collapsed in Sine and later Saloum, except in Baol and other places. The Guelowar period is the last of Serer dynastic periodization[14]
  • 1360 : Oral tradition reports that Ndiadiane Ndiaye (also called Bourba Jolof Njajaan Njie) founded the Jolof Empire, an empire founded by a voluntary confederation of states.[15][16] John Donnelly Fage suggests although dates in the early 13th century (and others say 12th century) are usually ascribed to this king and the founding of the empire, a more likely scenario is "that the rise of the empire was associated with the growth of Wolof power at the expense of the ancient Sudanese state of Takrur, and that this was essentially a fourteenth-century development."[17] Maad a Sinig Maysa Wali was said to be instrumental in the founding of this empire, nominating Njajaan Njie to lead the Jolof Empire and called for the other states join this condederacy under Njajaan which they did according to the epics of Njajaan and Maysa Wali. The Maad a Sinig thus took the Kingdom of Sine to this confederacy. Though the establishment of this empire was voluntary, its disestablishment was not.[citation needed] This era marks the deterioration of the Mali Empire as it began to loose some of its former vassal states. Although it did not collapse completely, Imperial Mali was not as powerful as it once was.[18]

15th century[edit]

Main article: Kingdom of Saloum
  • 1446 : The Portuguese slave trader Nuno Tristão and his party attempted a slave raiding expedition in Serer territory. They all succumbed to Serer poisoned arrows except five young Portuguese (or less). One of them was left to charter their caravel back to Portugal. Nuno was amongst those killed.[19][20]
  • 1455 : the Venetian slave trader and chronicler Alvise Cadamosto having bought Wolof slaves in Cayor, decided to stop his ship at the Serer community living on the border of Wolof Cayor. Alvise wrote how these Serer community looked menacing and unwelcoming. He then went on to say that, after seeing their ship approaching, this Serer community stood guard at the beach. The captain of the ship gave the order for no one to come off the ship and the ship was parked further away from the beach. Alvise Cadamosto sent his Wolof interpreter to go and negotiate slave terms with this Serer community whilst he (Alvise) and his Portuguese party remained in the ship. The Wolof interpreter was killed on the spot by these Serers for bringing slave traders into their territory. None of Alvise's party came off, instead, the ship departed and headed towards the Gambia. Alvise also corrupted the Kingdom of Sine by calling it the Kingdom of Barbaçim and the Serer people of Sine as Barbacins among other names which many Europeans of this era referred to the Serer people as in their old maps (See : Kingdom of Sine).[21][22]
  • 1493 : Maad Saloum Mbegan Ndour, King of Saloum succeeded to the throne.[23]

16th century[edit]

  • 1549 : The Battle of Danki, Amary Ngoneh Sobel Faal assisted by his first cousin Prince Manguinak Joof (var : Manguinak Diouf, a member of the old Joof dynasty of Baol), both nephews of Teigne Njuko Njie (the last member of the Serer paternal dynasty to rule Baol), defeated the King of Jolof Lele Fuuli Faak Njie and disestablished the Jolof Empire. Lele Fuuli was killed at Danki. Amari Ngoneh united the old Baol and Cayor temporarily,[24] Manguinak Joof was honoured with the title Ber Jak of Cayor (equivalent of Prime Minister). With the disestablishment of the Jolof Empire, member States of the confederacy such as the Kingdom of Sine, Kingdom of Saloum, Waalo, Baol, etc., returned to independent States.[25][26] The Faal family are not Serers.[27] The Njie (or Ndiaye)[28] and Joof family are.
  • 1567 : Maad Saloum Malawtan Joof, the longest reigning King of Saloum (45 years on the throne) succeeded to the throne.[23]

Early modern period[edit]

17th century[edit]

  • 1678 : The Serers of Sine and Baol refused to welcome the French merchants who have settled on the Petite Côte and thus lodge a complaint to their respective kings (the Maad a Sinig (king of Sine) and the Teigne (king of Baol). That year, the king of Sine and Baol with their armies sacked the French post. The following year, Admiral du Casse launched a revenge attack and defeated them.[29]

18th century[edit]

Modern history[edit]

19th century[edit]

19th century war drum called junjung in Serer language. Played when Serer kings and warriors went to war. From the Kingdom of Sine.
  • 1816 : The British named the Gambian city Bathurst (now Banjul) after Lord Bathurst of Britain.
  • 1848 : El Hadj Umar Tall (the 19th century jihadist) in addressing his disciples, told them :
"The noble qualities are found in Serer countries, though they only lack Islam..."[29]
Plan of the Maad a Sinig's residence in Joal.
  • 1857 : Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof (the King of Sine) granted Teigne Chai Yassin Faal (var : Thiés Yacine Fall, King of Baol) asylum after he was defeated and exiled by the French at the Battle of Pouri.[31]
  • 18 May 1859 : The Battle of Logandème, Louis Faidherbe, the French governor of Senegal defeated the Serer people of Sine and Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof at Logandème.
  • 1859-1865 : Faidherbe made Cayor and Baol (the former Serer State) protectorates.
    • The Battle of Nandjigui (1859) : The King of Saloum – Maad Saloum Kumba Ndama Mbodj (var : Coumba Ndama) killed by the Muslim Marabout forces in a jihadic expedition in Saloum. The jihad led by Maba Diakhou Bâ.[32]
  • 1861 : The great Jogomay Tine of Gorom[33] was displeased when Damel Majojo Faal[34] (the French-backed puppet king of Cayor[35]) conceded his province to the French governor – Louis Faidherbe. Damel-Teigne Lat Jorr Ngoneh Latir Jobe who had now form good relations with the French was invited by the French to occupy the region including Jogomay Tine's province. Majojo was declared too incompetent by the French.[35] Jogomay Tine refused to submit to neither Lat Jorr nor the French, and refused to authorise the Serer population of his province to part take in the 1863 census. In April 1863, governor Émile Pinet-Laprade of France authorized the French forces to enter his province. He was killed by the gun shot.[29]
    • Disgruntled members of the Muslim jihadic movement (the Marabouts) such as Sambou Oumanneh Touray, assisted by Cheikhou Jobe and Manjie Khoreja led a jihad in Sabakh and Sanjal and killed the last Farank Sabakh and Farank Sanjal.[36] Sambou annexed both States and called it Sabakh-Sanjal. After the Muslims' victory in these two States, they launched jihad in Kaymor and killed the Buumi Kaymor – Biriama Jogop who refused to submit to Islam. Waly Nyang, the griot and advisor to the Buumi, beat his tam-tam and called for martyrdom in accordance with the Serer principle of Jom rather than succumbing to Islam. Jom in Serer means "honour". The Serer religion permits suicide only if it satisfies the Jom principle (see: Serer religion).[37][38]Maba Diakhou Bâ, leader of the Muslim marabouts was not involved in the attack of Kaymor. The attack on Kaymor was done by the disgruntled three without his authority.[37]
  • 1862 : The Battle of Tchicat, Maba Diakhou Bâ launched jihad in the Serer Kingdom of Saloum at Tchicat against Maad Saloum Samba Laobe Latsouka Sira Jogop Faal.[32][39] That same year, he launched jihad against the Kingdom of Baol.
    • 6 October 1862 : At the Battle of Gouye Ndiouli, the King of Saloum – Samba Laobe Latsouka Sira Jogop Faal (son of Princess Latsouka Sira Jogop Mbodj of Saloum) – had to battle his own father Ma Kodu Joof Faal[40] the King of Cayor, who previously rejected the throne of Saloum in favour of Cayor until he was defeated and driven out of Cayor by the French. When he tried to reclaim the throne of Saloum after his defeat, the Great Jaraff[41] and his Noble Council refused to crown him king of Saloum. The young king of Saloum (Samba Laobe) defeated his father, paternal uncle and their armies, and drove them out of Saloum.[32]
  • July 1863 : The Serers massacred the French soldiers at the garrison of Pout. The French sergeant barely escaped with his life. Pinet Laprade (the French governor in Senegal) within few days exercised reprisals for the massacres and built the first fort in Thies.[29]
  • c. 12 January 1864 : Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof (King of Sine) granted asylum to Lat Jorr Ngoneh Latir Jobe (King of Cayor) after he was defeated and exiled by the French governor in Senegal (Émile Pinet-Laprade). According to Serer oral tradition, Lat Jorr was well received in Sine just as El Hadj Umar Tall was well received when he visited Sine. However, Lat Jorr they say betrayed the Kingdom of Sine when he sided with Maba Diakhou Ba at "The Surprise of Mbin o Ngor" and at The Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune.[42][43]
  • 1867 : The surprise of Mbin o Ngor – the Muslims surprised the Serer people of Mbin o Ngor, a small village in the Kingdom of Sine.
  • 18 July 1867 : The Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune (also known as the Battle of Somb), Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof (King of Sine) defeated the Muslim marabouts and Maba Diakhou Bâ the renowned jihadist was killed and dismembered.
  • 1881–1914 (World War I) : The Scramble for Africa. the European imperial powers divide Africa. The Serer countries affected and the old open borders ceased to exist.
  • July 1890 : The sacred stone of Mpal (also known as "the Stone of Mame Kantar") was built and worshipped by the local Serer population as well as the Lebou people for many generation, destroyed by Limamou and his Muslim disciples.[44]

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gravrand, Henry, "La civilisation Sereer, Cosaan", p 62
  2. ^ Trimingham, John Spencer, "A history of Islam in West Africa", Oxford University Press, USA, 1970, p 234
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ 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. JSTOR 1581646. 
  5. ^ Fage, John Donnelly (1997). "Upper and Lower Guinea". In Roland Oliver. The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 3. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521209816. 
  6. ^ Mwakikagile, Godfrey, "Ethnic Diversity and Integration in The Gambia: The Land, The People and The Culture," (2010), p 241, ISBN 9987932223
  7. ^ Page, Willie F., "Encyclopedia of African history and culture: African kingdoms (500 to 1500)", p209. Vol.2, Facts on File (2001), ISBN 0-8160-4472-4
  8. ^ Trimingham, John Spencer, "A history of Islam in West Africa", pp 174, 176 & 234, Oxford University Press, USA (1970)
  9. ^ Page, Willie F., "Encyclopedia of African history and culture: African kingdoms (500 to 1500)", p 676, Vol.2, Facts on File (2001), ISBN 0-8160-4472-4
  10. ^ Niane, Djibril Tamsir, "General History of Africa: Africa from the twelfth to the sixteenth century", pp 119–120, UNESCO, 1984, ISBN 9231017101 [1]
  11. ^ Abdur Rahman I. Doi, "Islam in Nigeria", Gaskiya Corp., 1984, p 9
  12. ^ Nnoli, Okwudiba, "Ethnic conflicts in Africa", p 241. CODESRIA, 1998. ISBN 2-86978-070-2
  13. ^ "La famille Juuf" [in] « L'épopée de Sanmoon Fay », in Éthiopiques, no 54, vol. 7, 2e semestre 1991
  14. ^ For the old Serer paternal dynasties such as the Joof family or Diouf and the Wagadou maternal dynasty, see : (English) Phillips, Lucie Colvin, "Historical dictionary of Senegal", Scarecrow Press, 1981, pp 52–71 ISBN 0-8108-1369-6; (English) Clark, Andrew F. & Philips, Lucie Colvin, "Historical Dictionary of Senegal", Second Edition (1994); & (French) Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire. Bulletin de l'Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire, Volume 38. IFAN, 1976. pp 557–504. For the Guelowars, see : (French) Sarr, Alioune, "Histoire du Sine-Saloum", Introduction, bibliographie et notes par Charles Becker, BIFAN, Tome 46, Serie B, n° 3-4, 1986-1987, p 239 (p 21) – *
  15. ^ Diouf, Niokhobaye, "Chronique du royaume du Sine" par suivie de Notes sur les traditions orales et les sources écrites concernant le royaume du Sine par Charles Becker et Victor Martin. Bulletin de l'Ifan, Tome 34, Série B, n° 4, 1972. p 706
  16. ^ Charles, Eunice A., "Precolonial Senegal: the Jolof Kingdom, 1800-1890", African Studies Center, Boston University, 1977. pp 1–3
  17. ^ Fage, John Donnelly (1997). "Upper and Lower Guinea". In Roland Oliver. The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 3. Cambridge University Press. p. 484. ISBN 978-0521209816. 
  18. ^ Conrad, David C., "Empires of Medieval West Africa", p 12, Infobase Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1-4381-0319-0
  19. ^ Hair, Paul Edward Hedley, "The Use of African Languages in Afro-European contacts in Guinea : 1440-1560", [in] "Sierra Leone Language Review", no. 5, 1966, p. 13 [2]
  20. ^ Hair, Paul Edward Hedley, "Africa encountered: European contacts and evidence, 1450-1700", Variorum, 1997, pp 213-15 & 248, ISBN 0-86078-626-9
  21. ^ It was a corruption by Alvise, see : Boulègue, Jean, "Le Grand Jolof, (XVIIIe – XVIe Siècle)", (Paris, Edition Façades), Karthala (1987), p 16
  22. ^ Alvise Cadamosto, the 15th century explorer in modern day Senegambia had never set foot in Serer country. His ship proceeded to the Gambia after one of his Wolof interpreters sent to negotiate slave terms with the local Serer community living in the Cayor border was killed on the spot by this Serer community. Neither Alvise nor any of his party left the ship. The ship proceeded to the Gambia. Since Alvise had never entered Serer country, most of his opinions about the Serers were coming from his Wolof interpreters. The Wolofs of Cayor were in constant war with Serer community living on their border and were fearful of these Serers as narrated by Alvise himself. In Kerr, Alvise refer to the Serers as without kings. However, these Serers were those living on the Wolof Cayor border and refused to submit to the kings of Cayor. Alvise did not know that the Kingdom of Sine was actually a Serer kingdom, where the Barbacini – (a corruption of the Wolof "Bur Ba Sine" which means "king of Sine") took residence. See : (French) Boulègue, Jean, "Le Grand Jolof, (XVIIIe – XVIe Siècle)", (Paris, Edition Façades), Karthala (1987), p 16. Also : (English) Kerr, Robert, "A general history of voyages and travels to the end of the 18th century", pp 238–240, J. Ballantyne & Co. 1811; (French) Verrier, Frédérique, "Introduction. Voyages en Afrique noire d'Alvise Ca'da Mosto (1455 & 1456)", p 136, Chandeigne, Paris, 1994; (English) Russell, Peter E., "Prince Henry 'the Navigator" : a life, New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2000, pp 299–300
  23. ^ a b Ba, Abdou Bouri. Essai sur l’histoire du Saloum et du Rip. Avant-propos par Charles Becker et Victor Martin. Publié dans le Bulletin de l’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire. pp 10–27
  24. ^ A mission which had eluded the Faal (var : Fall) dynasty from the 16th to the 19th centuries. See Fall.
  25. ^ Fall, Tanor Latsoukabé, Recueil sur la Vie des Damel, Introduit et commenté par Charles Becker et Victor. Martin, BIFAN, Tome 36, Série B, n° 1, janvier 1974
  26. ^ Boulègue, pp 169–180
  27. ^ They are not Wolofs either. They were originally Black Moors (Naari Kajoor meaning Moors of Cayor), however, they became Wolofized and adopted Wolof culture.
  28. ^ Diop, Cheikh Anta, Modum, Egbuna P., "Towards the African renaissance: essays in African culture & development", 1946–1960, p 28
  29. ^ a b c d (French) Ndiaye, Ousmane Sémou, "Diversité et unicité Sérères: L'exemple de la Région de Thiès", Ethiopiques, n°54, revue semestrielle de culture négro-africaine, Nouvelle série volume 7, 2e semestre 1991 [3]
  30. ^ Diouf, Niokhobaye, "Chronique du royaume du Sine", Suivie de notes sur les traditions orales et les sources écrites concernant le royaume du Sine par Charles Becker et Victor Martin. (1972). Bulletin de l'Ifan, Tome 34, Série B, n° 4, (1972). pp 722–733
  31. ^ a b (French) Diouf, Mahawa, "L’INFORMATION HISTORIQUE : L’EXEMPLE DU SIIN", Ethiopiques n°54. Revue semestrielle de culture négro-Africaine. Nouvelle série volume 7. 2e semestre 1991 [4]
  32. ^ a b c Sarr, "Histoire du Sine-Saloum", pp 33–5
  33. ^ Variation : Diogomay (French spelling of Jogoymay in Senegal).
  34. ^ French spelling in Senegal : Madiodio Fall
  35. ^ a b Klein, Martin, "Islam and Imperialism in Senegal, Sine-Saloum", p130
  36. ^ Titles of the Chief of Sabakh and Sanjal respective. Both States were tributary to the Kingdom of Saloum
  37. ^ a b Klein, pp 74–75
  38. ^ Camara, Alhaji Sait, [in] GRTS programmes, "Sunu Chossan"
  39. ^ Variations : Samba Laobé Fall or Samba Laobé Latsouck Sira Diogop Fall
  40. ^ Variation : Mang Codou
  41. ^ Head of the noble council of electors responsible for electing the kings from the royal family. He was equivalent to a Prime Minister in Serer country.
  42. ^ Sarr, pp 37–38
  43. ^ Diouf, Niokhobaye, pp 726–727
  44. ^ Kesteloot, Lilyan; Mbodj, Chérif; Ba, Seydou, Contes et mythes wolof (critic), (editors : Lilyan Kesteloot, Chérif Mbodj), Nouvelles Éditions Africaines, 1983, pp 15, 111, 179–80
  45. ^ John D. Tuxill, Gary Paul Nabhan, World Wide Fund for Nature, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, "People, Plants, and Protected Areas: A Guide to in Situ Management", p 50
  46. ^ a b Klein, Martin A. "Islam and Imperialism in Senegal Sine-Saloum, 1847–1914." Edinburgh University Press (1968). p XV
  47. ^ Le Soleil (Senegal)
  48. ^ Diallo,Ibrahima, "The Politics of National Languages in Postcolonial Senegal"
  49. ^ See Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof. Abstract printed on The Point Newspaper : "Message to the Founding Fathers of the OAU at their First Conference at Addis Ababa, 1st May 1963", (2006).
  50. ^ Meredith, "The Fate of Africa", p 367, Public Affaires (2005)

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Further reading[edit]

  • Sonko-Godwin, Patience, "Ethnic groups of the Senegambia Region, Sunrise Publishers Ltd (2003), ISBN 9983-9900-6-2
  • Sonko-Godwin, Patience, "Leaders of the Senegambia Region", Reaction to European infiltration 19th-20th Century, Sunrise Publishers Ltd (1995), ISBN 9983-8600-2-3
  • Faye, Louis Diène, "Mort et Naissance le monde sereer", Les Nouvelles Edition Africaines (1983), ISBN 2-7236-0868-9
  • Crousse, Bernard, Le Bris, Émile & Le Roy, Étienne, "Espaces disputés en Afrique noire : pratiques foncières locales", Karthala, ISBN 2-86537-146-8
  • Gastellu, Jean-Marc, "L'égalitarisme économique des Serer du Sénégal", ORSTOM, Paris, 1981, ISBN 2-7099-0591-4 (Thèse de Sciences économiques soutenue à l'Université Paris 10 en 1978)
  • Cyr Descamps, Guy Thilmans et Y. ThommeretLes tumulus coquilliers des îles du Saloum (Sénégal), Bulletin ASEQUA, Dakar, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, 1979, n° 54
  • Kalis, Simone, "Médecine traditionnelle, religion et divination chez les Seereer Siin du Sénégal", (La connaissance de la nuit), L'Harmattan (1997), ISBN 2-7384-5196-9
  • Ngom, Pierre, Gaye, Aliou, & Sarr, Ibrahima, "Ethnic Diversity and Assimilation in Senegal: Evidence from the 1998 Census", University of Pennsylvania – African Census Analysis Project (ACAP), (February 2000)