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Conversion to Islam
Main Cities: N'jimi Time: 700-1380 AD
Language: Kanuri; Kanembu; Tebu
Personage: Dunama Dabbalemi
Related Country: Chad;
Nigeria Brief History:
I have included only a few items concerning the history of this kingdom. A good source for more details can be
found on Wikipedia or in history books.
Click Map to Enlarge
Circa 300 AD, Kanembu
nomads migrated southwest into fertile lands surrounding
The Duguwa Dynasty built a capital city and founded the Kanem Empire. Some historians
believe Kanem was called "Agisymba" in the writings of
During the late 12th century AD, the Kanembu moved into the area of modern
They settled down, established a capital at N'jimi and
formed an empire through military conquest.
REIGN OF DUNAMA DABBALEMI:
Mai (king) Dunama Dabbalemi of the Sayfawa Dynasty converted to Islam in the mid-13th century AD and
became a zealot who declared jihad against neighbors. He expanded Kanem territory
and established a hostel in Cairo
to aid pilgrims going to Mecca.
Kanem reached its zenith during his reign (1203-1243 AD). Dunama reputedly commanded over
40,000 cavalry and was a skilled warrior. Numerous slaves captured during his wars were sold
to trans-Saharan merchants.
Internal conflict weakened the empire by end of the 14th century AD. The Sayfawa relocated to
near Lake Chad. Intermarriage resulted in an amalgam group called the Kanuri.
The Bornu Empire replaced the Kanem in 1380 AD.