Takrur, Tekrur, or Tekrour (c. 800 - c. 1285) was an ancient state of West Africa, which flourished roughly parallel to the Ghana Empire.
The area that would become the kingdom of Takrur was inhabited by Berber
tribes as early as the 6th century
and possibly even earlier. The formation of the state came about as an influx of Fulbe noble clans from the east settled after the formation of the Soninké
state of Ghana.
Center of Trade
Located in the Senegal Valley
, along the border of present-day Senegal
, it was a trading center, where gold
from the Bambuk
from the Awlil
grain, and slaves from the south all passed. 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
Adoption of Islam
Unlike Ghana to its east, 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. This adoption of Islam greatly benefited the state economically and would also affect them in the coming conflicts between the traditionalist state of Ghana and its northern neighbors.
War with Ghana
The king of Takrur sided with the Berber
tribes of the Almoravids
in their war with the Ghana Empire. When the Ghana Empire was finally conquered in 1076, Takrur was left as the sole power in the region. Integration of Takrur with the Almoravids meant that some of these troops reached all the way to Andalusia
(Spain) with the Almoravid expansion.
Takrur would not enjoy its place in the sun very long, however. The Almoravids were quick to leave and many anti-Muslim tribes were eager to take its place. 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
, Takrur was in a steep decline. The state was finally conquered by the usurper emperor Sabakoura
of Mali in the 1280s.
Later Islamic Takrur kingdoms are often called Toucouleur
, after a French
corruption of "Takrur." The Denanke Kingdom
, and kingdom of Fuuta Tooro
all followed creating powerful Fulbe states over the same general area once ruled by ancient Takrur.
- J. F. Ade Ajayi, J F AJAYI, Michael Crowder. History of West Africa. Columbia University (1972) ISBN 0231036280
- 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 1558761659
- Desmond J. Clark, Roland Anthony Oliver, J. D. Fage, A. D. Roberts. The Cambridge History of Africa. Cambridge University Press (1975)
- 'Umar Al-Naqar. Takrur the History of a Name. The Journal of African History, Vol. 10, No. 3 (1969), pp. 365-374
- 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 9780521832366