The Sea & Red Men in Africa



by, Harry Bourne,



Beginning this article feeds into something that has long taken my attention. This is the maritime history western parts or Atlantic-facing Europe but most especially that of the maritime Celts. However, on looking for information about what was happening on Atlantic coasts of west Africa, there seemed little to find to find and this triggered my series of papers on the maritime history of west Africa and related matters. They include three on the website hosted by Salim Khalaf.

The Phoenicians are probably the best known of any ancient non-African people to have reached Africa by sea. They are said to have had skin-tones variously described as copper, bronze or red. Various articles include those on the already noted, Who Were the Phoenicians by Nissim Ganor, Wikipedia entries on Canaan plus Phoenicia, etc. Between them, they probably provide most of the clues as to the geography plus sources of the Phoenicians.

On the site called Seafaring in Ancient India there are comparisons of Sanskrit Asura and the Semitic Assyria, Sanskrit Chola and Semitic Chaldaea, Sanskrit Pani and Semitic Phoenician, etc. One meaning of Sanskrit Asura is “those that are drunk” ad that as far away as the western province of Ireland called Connacht, it seems the Pre-Connachta name is Ol’Necmacht (in Irish)/ Nagnatae (in Latin) and it too may mean Drunkards. This would reinforce notions of Asura/Assyria as the name of a people/nation. The written form of the Sanskrit Pani seems close to the Poeni/Puni that is the earliest Latin label for the Phoenicians, but later used for the Phoenicians settled at Carthage (hence such terms as Phoenico/Punic, Punic, etc). Moreover, Puni seems to mean trader and whether seen as Phoenicians, Poeni or other spellings, they too were pre-eminently were traders.

Assyria being entirely Semitic and derived from the god-name of Assur with the related Semitic language of Hebrew giving a meaning for assur as happy, the etymology is purely Semitic owing nothing to Sanskrit. The earliest rise of the Cholas in eastern India at ca. 2300 before Common Era (= BCE = before c. 500 on common era/CE dates) is significant. However, it is far too late for the emergence from the Canaanite of the Phoenicians and the great Chola imperial expansion is very definitely totally far too late to be relevant for the antecedents of the Phoenicians.

If a word meaning drunks can be removed as showing the forebears of one Semitic people, a Sanskrit word meaning thieves as well as traders probably means it too should be removed as marking the ancestry of the Phoenicians. The word of Eskimos derives from a word in a language of neighbours who were a people of the severally named Native Americans, Redskins, American Indians, Amerindians Amerinds or just “Americans” in “The American Discovery of Europe” by Jack Forbes (2007). That Amerind language was Algonquin and in it, Eskimo apparently means thief and it is no surprise the Inuit want to be known by another name. The Pacific islands once named by the Spanish as the Ladrones (= Islands of Thieves) was unsurprisingly renamed by them as the Marianas when the Spaniards established a permanent colony there. So we may well regard it as unlikely that the Phoenicians would want their ancestors to have been called by a word meaning thieves.

For Herodotus (ca. 450 BCE Greek) that homeland was in that he apparently held was called what was called the Red Sea but is now called the Persian Gulf. What for Pliny (ca. 50 BCE Roman) was mainly the Sea of Azania stretching from Sudan to Mozambique has its northern part in what is now the Red Sea. However, telling against the Persian Gulf and Red Sea connection would be genetics placing the Phoenician antecedents in or near what was Anatolia but is now mainly most of Turkey. It is generally agreed the sequence from Canaanite to Phoenician occurred in the Canaan stretching from Anatolia/Turkey to Iraq with what became Phoenicia only a section of that part facing the east Mediterranean.

Flinders Petrie (the Making of Egypt 1939) is followed by David Rohl (in the Test of Time books) in looking for a group from the Persian Gulf. This group goes under the several names of the Square-boat People, Fon/Pon/Pun, the Eastern or Dynastic Race, Proto-Phoenicians, etc. These are among the efforts to regard Phoenicians as having been early non-Africans exploiting Zimbabwean gold via the Biblical mentions of such as Havilah, Sheba, Ophir, etc. A further argument on this came from messrs. Lacroix (Africa in Antiquity 1998) and Chami (The Unity of African Ancient History 2006). Routes north would connect this to Opone (= Hafun, Somalia) and Punt in north Somalia/Djibouti/Eritrea. The end of this Square-boat/Dynastic Race movement was the conquest of Egypt.

My comments are in Africa, Egypt & Prehistory (online) plus Egypt & the Sea in Antiquity (online). There the opinion followed is given that the Dynastic Race, the conquest of Egypt, the Proto-Phoenicians, etc, is wrong.

A more famous example of the Phoenicians in Africa comes from what is written by Herodotus. He wrote that the Egyptian Pharoah Necho/Necos sent a fleet crewed by Phoenicians to circumnavigate all Africa. It would be reinforced if more such roundings of Africa could be shown. Such Classical or Greco/Roman authors as Pliny, Martianus Capella, etc, held that Hanno of Carthage achieved this. Chami (ib.) felt this was shown by the Phoenico/Punic vessel that messrs. Cary and Warmington (The Ancient Explorers 1963) placed at Cape Delgado (Tanzania).

It should be said Herodotus seriously challenged this and there are some modern writers of the same opinion. Even more doubt the Pliny/Martianus thesis that the Carthaginians led by Hanno did circumnavigate Africa. More Phoenicians settled outside Phoenicia/Lebanon were Gaditanians from Gdr/Gadir (= Gades in Latin & Cadiz in Spanish) and the Phoenico/Punic vessel found by Eudoxus at Cape Delgado is assumed to be one of the hippoi that sailed regularly for days from Gadir to Lixos (in south Morocco) and they fished for days in the same Atlantic conditions.

These Phoenico/Punic traces by Hanno, Necho(?), the Eudoxus-found hippos, etc, are taken by Felix Chami (ib.) to indicate these voyages were rather more frequent than generally supposed. Certainly, a major factor in supporting views that the Necho-funded voyage occurred was that the Phoenicians on it reported the sun was on the right for part of their journey. This prompted the Herodotian doubts about the Phoenician reports were genuine but is a major factor in  the modern belief that this event happened. There is also the matter of the length of time involved. This is the same whether involving the Voyage of Necho or the trips to Tarshish on the behalf of Solomon of Israel. In both cases, the length of time was three years.

Herodotus records that Necho’s Phoenicians planted and harvested crops en route. Knowing when to plant and harvest somewhere in seasons opposite to their own: knowledge of where to plants and harvest; being able to do so without presumably incurring hostility; all speak for Chami’s argument. The establishment of cities in coastal locations by the Phoenicians with their most famous colony at Carthage (near Tunis) tells for being clearly for commerce.

After their Phoenician/Lebanese homeland was taken up into conquests by the Assyrian Empire, those at Carthage became the main Phoenico/Punic centre. At around ca. 600 BCE Phoenicians sailed down the east African coast and on Carthage sent Himilco to west European coasts plus Hanno to west African coasts.

The Periplus of Hanno (= Voyage of Hanno) records this journey and says that he came with 30,000 would-be settlers. It is assumable that this slots alongside what was written by Strabo about the 300 settlements founded by the Phoenico/Punics led by Hanno. Unfortunately, there are very few remains of these Phoenico/Punic colonies. This of itself surely tells for very little by way of a major Phoenician or Phoenico/Punic component among the Red Men of Africa. The more so given the suspicion that most of the would-be colonists purportedly settled in northwest Africa were probably thoroughly Africanised by the time of Hanno.



Opening this article feeds into something that has long been of interest to me, that is of early maritime history on Atlantic coasts but of rather later being that of the maritime Celts and was my first interest some 40/45 years ago. This time, the discussion begins with the Solutrean Culture. It represents what techno-culturally for European man is the Late Upper Palaeolithic (= Old Stone Age) of much of what today are parts of Iberia (= Spain & Portugal) and France and its type-site was at Le Solutre (France). There is also an overlap with what geologically is called the Late Pleistocene or Holocene era.

Some of the earliest signs of movement on the Atlantic Ocean would be demonstrated by archaeologists theorising that groups moved across it as early as the Holocene/ Upper Palaeolithic. The suggestion is that they skirted the edge of the remnants of the last Ice Age or Pleistocene glaciation in boats in pursuit of prey that most notably means seals. According to these theories, this involved a spread from the Iberian Peninsula (= Spain & Portugal) to parts of the east coast of North America to become ancestral to at least some of the variously called Native Americans, American Indians or Amerinds.

The basic hypothesis is discussed by several academics. Among them is Jack Forbes (Africans and Native Americans: The Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples 1993: The American Discovery of Europe 2007). The Solutrian Culture is the Late Upper Palaeolithic of Iberia plus the southwest of France and the discussion revolves around its leaf-shaped spearheads. These projectile-heads are made using what archaeologists the bifacial technique and thought to have been taken by the Solutrean seal-hunters progressing along the northern edge of the above-noted Late Pleistocene/Holocene glaciation in their boats.

Unfortunately, this presents several problems. Not the least of these is the gaps in dates between the circa (= ca.) 20,000/ca. 17,000 BCE of the Solutrean and the 13,500/13,000 BCE for the Clovis Culture of North America. The connection seems based on the single fossil-type of the bifacial spearheads also the fluting characteristic of the Solutrian projectile-heads are scarce on those of the Clovis Culture. The wind-patterns of parts of the Atlantic make it problematic for those wanting to sail on the ocean in simple types of vessel that would include rafts and skin-boats. They fit alongside such other early forms as the dugout-canoe plus the reed-boat that are all likely to antedate planked vessels.

The enthusiasts for the theory would answer that much of the evidence attesting the transition from the Solutrean to the Clovis Culture lies under now-flooded North American coasts. This submerged material would also indicate sites that might illustrate how the date-gap might be bridged. It turns out that the bifacial spearheads are not the only connection between the Solutrean and the Clovis Cultures.

Crucial here is whether the Solutrean technology allowed boat-building. This is suggested on the site titled Solutrean Boats and Magical Water. There it is supposed by Bill Dayholos (online) that boats are depicted on the walls of the cave of El Castillo (Iberia/Spain). It is also claimed that more indirect evidence of Solutrean boats seems shown by cave-art at Cosquer (Marseilles, France), El Pendo (Spain), etc. This includes catching of seals (with one at Le Cosquer shown with a spear in it), deep-sea fishes and flightless birds as Great Auks caught on islands, etc.

Various works by Graham Clark tell us that skin-boats were used by Mesolithic hunter/gatherers of west Scotland to approach skerries quietly before basking could scatter into the sea. Clark further paid attention to the boats light enough to get across whirling waters to the Lofoten Islands (off Norway) to obtain stone for axes. In both cases, the light watercraft were of the skin-boat forms probably further depicted in rock-art in Norway plus elsewhere in Scandinavia also shown by that of the currach class called the Brendan taken successfully across the Atlantic by Tim Severin (The Brendan Voyage 1978). The point about the skin-boats suggested to have taken the Solutreans also over the Atlantic is that they would have to cope with conditions akin to those in which pack-ice either crushed or trapped heavy vessels but the Brendan apparently simply bobbed above it.

A feature of the photographs posted by Dayholos (ib.) has further relevance. Alessandra Nibbi (Revue d’Anthropogie 1993) plus Dayholos (ib.) have argued for what appear to be skin-boats in Egypt and Iberia respectively. Paul Johnstone (The Sea-craft of Prehistory 1980) further cites the literary source of a French traveller in Ireland named Gabriel Beranger (18th c.) noting a feature of the Irish currach. Johnstone (ib.) further shows rock-art in Norway and in particular, a photograph of an Inuit/Eskimo umiak in Canada. What is held in common by these skin-boats is that with the sunlight behind them, they look glass-like with the ribs of the vessel shown. This is clearest in the just-cited photograph and all reinforces that there were Solutrean sea-going vessels.

As the Late Palaeolithic gave way to the Mesolithic, there were environmental improvements by the time the Mesolithic emerged but there were few cultural advances. Forbes (2007) has it that there were North American tool-types found in Scandinavia and that at the opposite end of west-facing Europe were the Brazilian-type axes that Forbes says were found in Spain plus Portugal. The absolute case put forward by Forbes (ib.) is of Amerinds being capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe in quite large numbers.

He drew attention to the vessel containing two bodies that were neither African nor European reported by Peter Correa (Governor of Graciosa & brother-in-law of Christopher Columbus) as having been found in the Azores. In it were two bodies that looked neither African nor European. Another claimed Amerind vessel is described by Forbes (ib.) as having reached Galway in the west of Ireland. More Amerinds were evidently described by such Classical writers as Cornelius Nepos, Pomponius Mela, etc, in the story of “Indios” wrecked in west Germany and sent on by the German tribe of the Suevi to the Roman Governor of Gaul (= mainly France). Going the other way, what may be another such incident that in this case saw the “Indios?” sent on to Lubeck (Germany). Possible signs of “Indios” in Europe include a depiction at Pompeii (Italy) and a bronze head now in the Louvre (Paris, France).

More could be added to this but then we come to an interesting point. There is a long line of academic sceptics ready to pounce on any suggestion that Africans in Pre-Columbian times were capable of being sailors in their own right. This is especially so for Africans sailing the Atlantic and Africa-centred/Afrocentric is the normal label for this. As part and parcel of the anti-Afrocentricism, we find consistent denials that there were black elements in ancient Egypt or ancient Mexico.

It would appear that we are supposed to believe that Egypt was/is severed from the continent it is physically part of; that there is no River Nile nor Red Sea stretching from what is called Sub-Saharan/Black Africa; no sources telling of west Africans crossing the Sahara to Egyptian Pharoahs. As said in another article of mine, if you are predisposed not to find evidence, you not do so or will be ignored if it is found. Put simply, the location of Egypt means that it will have received influences from a wide variety of sources by sea, river, overland, etc and that this will have included much from Black Africa.

An African element in Pre-Columbian Mexico is discussed in Yorubas and the Sea; West Africa & the Sea in Antiquity; West Africa & the Atlantic in Antiquity; Abubakri II: Who He? Numerous references are given there. They include the much-quoted articles by messrs. de Montellano, Haslip-Viera and Barbour and who would dismiss notions of Africans trading between west Africa, the Cape Verde Islands and the Americas. To them can be added what is written by Forbes (1995; 2007).

He has described the reports by Columbus about black traders in the Caribbean as no more than Caribbean Amerinds that had painted themselves black but with little to explain they would have done so. The generally accepted fact of Africans migrating towards Europe and adapting through the years to colder climes seems questioned by Forbes (2007) when doubting that groups from colder climes could so adapt to the reverse that would be called for by north/south migrations. It has been seen that he seeks extensive west/east movement across the Atlantic but wants to do so only towards Europe. Forbes (2007) cites expert opinions saying that it was almost impossible to traverse west/east across the north Atlantic in Pre-Columbian days.

The last would preclude such as the return of such as Brendan from any part of North America that he supposedly reached with some at least of this realised by the re-created currach named the Brendan (see Severin ib.). Nor does Forbes (ib.) think much of notions of Pre-Columbian voyages using the currents of what later became called the Middle Passage.

Having so assiduously tracked Amerinds to Atlantic-facing Europe in what is likely to remain the standard work on the subject for years to come, it is especially noteworthy that Forbes (2007) evidently regards it as unlikely that any reached west Africa. On the other hand, he cites John Heaviside (The New World the Old, The Old the New 1868; reprint 2009) with approval and it was Heaviside’s (ib.) opinion that there were Amerind sources for Egyptian civilisation. Douglas Peck (Yucatan: From Prehistory to the Great Maya Revolt 2005, Origin & Diffusion of Maya Civilisation 2007, etc) described Maya legends of their god named Kukulkan.

He is depicted as a Feathered-snake and as leaving towards the rising sun (= the east). Peck (ib.) also says that devout Maya went seeking the homeland of Kukulkan (= the Aztec Quetzalcoatl), so links with Jonah Lissner (Evidence for the Ancestors of the Guanches as Founders of Pre-Dynastic Egypt online) linking the Kukulkan image with carvings on Fuerteventura (Canary). Gordon Kennedy (The White Indians of Nivaria online) takes this further when comparing such guan-words/names as Guantanomo (Caribbean), Guanahini (Caribbean), Guanaboca (Caribbean), Guanche (Canaries), Canarian placenames, etc. This may feed into the strange map shown by Kennedy (ib.) of the Canaries merging into Caribbean islands to represent Pre-Colombian opinion of how close the two island-groups were with this only dispelled after the Columbus voyages.

Logs of Californian redwood have long been known to have gone over considerable distances over the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii where they were turned into canoes. There are also suggested Polynesian words from Hawaii in Amerind tongues in California. Other American timber is the spruce logs that are held to be shown by Sir Lindsay Scott (as Forbes ib.) to occur in buildings in the Western plus Northern Isles of Scotland. Massive bamboos also of American origin and further drifting across the Atlantic too, again took the attention of many in Pre-Columbian days.

Peck (ib.) has reported how highly skilled were the Amerind canoe-builders of the Maya and some of the timbers just mentioned as having caught the attention of Europeans in the days of Columbus were worked. None of the worked timbers were complete as the boat reaching the Azores with two bodies in it that we saw was reported to Columbus. Another American timber was that too was turned into canoes an ocean away from the American continents.

This was the American silk-cotton tree that Roger Blench (The intertwined history of the silk-cotton and the baobab online) says became the African silk-cotton tree. Blench (ib.) further wrote the African oil-palm tree became the American oil-palm tree and cites French opinion saying these were not the only examples of such exchanges. The earliest dugout-canoe known in Africa is that of Dufuna (Nigeria) at ca.8500 BCE (based on carbon-14 dates of 7670 +/- 110 & 7264 +/- 55 B.C.). It being of wood that was of African mahogany may stand as the timber of the earliest African canoes but at some stage, it was mainly replaced by silk-wood as the timber standard for west African canoes.

That stage would have been somewhere on a horizon when some Niger/Congo tongues were becoming ancestral to the Proto-Bantu languages according to Blench (ib.). This would be ca. 7000 and 5000 BCE (depending on which opinion is followed). The blunder on the part of Columbus that led to the inhabitants of the Americas as Indians is too well known to need much comment but the best known are probably those called Redskins via Hollywood films called Westerns. It is just possible that Indian-type vessels on the African and American coasts may explain how crews from India got to western parts of Europe

The “American Discovery of Europe” by Jack Forbes was seen to be the most likely explanation of “Redskins” in west Europe. The Forbes book is likely to remain the standard work on the subject for years to come and on the Forbes (ib.) arguments; “Redskins” from the Americas will not have reached west Africa. This will further mean that the interchanges between west Africa and Meso-America was in the hands of Africans not Amerinds.

AFRICANS: Some not so Red

It can be observed the earliest Africans on waterways owe nothing to such interchanges. The more so given the conditions waterways that once existed at opposite ends of the continent of Africa. It is thought that a super lake once stretched across much of southern Africa. This body of water was Lake Makgadikgadi. The area it once covered is thought to be shown by the distribution of the ancestor of a fish called cichlid. Cichlids are to be found in the Rivers Limpopo, Zambezi, Okavango, Congo, etc. These rivers are entirely separate from each other but the theory is that they all once connected with the lake that is now mainly represented by the Kalahari Desert in southwest Africa.

At the opposite end of Africa, a series of wet and dry periods gave rise to what John Sutton (JAH 1970; Antiquity 1974) defined as the Aqualithic but sometimes called the Great Wet Phase. However, this too ended in another dry phase leading to what has become termed as the Magreb (= north Africa west of Egypt) drying out to mainly become what the Arabs simply labelled as Sahara (= desert).

The remnants of once massive lakes plus mighty rivers have been shown by aerial and satellite photographs. They attest that the lakes are now playas (=dry lake-beds) plus wadis (= dry riverbeds). A good example is the once Lake Mega-Triton known to the Greeks as Lake Triton and is mostly the Chotts of south Tunisia. Another is Lake Mega-Chad that is now the much reduced Lake Chad. More evidence comes in the form of scenes painted on rocks known from the Eastern (= Kushite or Nubian) Desert to as far west in the Magreb/Sahara as Algeria.

This rock-art shows scenes of “swimmers”, crocodiles, hippopotami, water-bucks, beds of reeds, boats made from the reeds, men fishing from the boats, etc. On what seems to have the western edge of Lake Mega-Chad was found the Dufuna (Nig.) dugout-canoe already seen to date to ca. 8000 BCE. Clyde Winters (Proto Saharan Religions online) regards it as likely there was a trans-Saharan cult of a deity called Maa. The half-fish/half-man form of Maa not only fits the benign fishing way of life under discussion but also possibly with the rock-art showing the “Great Fish-god of Sefar”.

Overlapping with some of this would be such as the c. 15,000/10,000 BCE for the rise of the severally called Afrasiatic, Afrasian, Afrasan, Hamito/Semitic, Erythraic, Lisramic, etc, tongues put forward in online studies by Patrick Ryan. So too with another linguistic family in Africa already seen above as the Niger/Congo (= N/C) group of languages said by Larry Hyman (The Macro-Sudan Belt & Niger Reconstruction online) to have emerged between ca. 12,000/10,000 BCE. A date based on carbon-14 (=C14) dates was those seen for the Dufuna dugout-canoe with the reed-boats depicted in the Saharan rock-art held to be of roughly the same period.

Uncertain efforts at dating the Saharan rock-art based on perceived dominant motifs have also been made. Thus Bubaline (based on buffalo/wild cattle); Bovidian (= based on domesticated cattle); Equidian (based on horse-drawn chariots). In “What Happened to the Ancient Libyans: Chasing Sources across the Sahara from Herodotus to Ibn Khaldun”, Richard Smith (Journal of World History 2003 & online) attempted a tentative sub-division of the later rock-art.

Smith (ib.) thus sub-divides as Bovidian into Tibbu/Teda other spellings); eastern Equidian/Garamantes/Tuaregs; western Equidian/Gaituli/Mauri (= Moors). The uncertain nature of the Smith scheme is perhaps made somewhat more definite by the mapping of the Equidian/chariot-trails by messrs. Oliver and Fage (A Short History of Africa 1962) plus others into again eastern and western routes. That of the east probably links with trade with Libya but more certainly with the Garamantes at Garama (= Djerma & the Garamantian capital) for one fork and Ghadames (= Cydamus) for another and before merging, the now single trail leads towards the Niger. The western chariot-route also bifurcates with one section leading from very close to the Atlas foothills, the other from the Wadi Dra and merging give a combined trail that again ends near the Niger but further to the west.

Both trails not only finish very close to the River Niger but also to Timbuctoo (Mali). The date of the chariot-routes may be shown by the occurrence of the “flying-gallop” motif. This may be shown by those known in the Aegean Bronze Age of the Minoan Crete plus the Mycenaeans of the Aegeo/Greek islands plus Mainland Greece. On the other hand, the flying-gallop is widespread in Africa and depicts many other animals. Nonetheless, the date is probably akin to that of association of certain types of defences seen across the Mediterranean plus the Magreb.

Those across the Mediterranean begin earlier than the activities of so-called “Sea-Peoples” in the east Mediterranean, who then dispersed across that sea and which seems to have led to the increase of such as the tower-like nuraghi (Sardinia), torri (Corsica), talayots (the Balearics), etc. In the Magreb, the repulse of the Sea-Peoples plus their Libyan allies in the conquest of Egypt may have led to an ever-growing number of the walled-villages called ksour (= the plural of kour).

These villages appear to begin in the time of the Dar Tichitt Culture but it seems the resources giving rise to the increase are unlikely have been purely local. Also having been defeated in their attempted conquest of Egypt, the Lybico/Berber attention evidently turned westwards and it should be recognised there was something that attracted their unwanted attention. Those resources most probably attach to commerce across the region.

Movement to east and west may be further shown by the cult of the above-noted Maa perhaps reflected by Maasai (= Children of Maa?) in east Africa plus Mande (= Children of Maa) in west Africa. Clyde Winters (The Spread of Cattle Domestication among the Mande-speaking People: Cattle Domestication & the Proto-Mande Dispersal online) cites various authorities on this Proto-Mande spread. He cites them saying Saharan domestication of ovicaprids (= sheep & goats) was underway by ca. 8500/8000 BCE. Also that domestication of cattle in the Sahara had begun by ca. 7000 BCE and seen to have been tied to the Mande dispersal to the west by Winters (ib.).

West-to-east would be shown by the sources tapped by the compilers of the Tarikh es-Sudan (= Chronicle/History of Sudan) according to Flora Lugard (A Tropical Dependency 1906 & 1997). They tell of the tradition of west African priest/magicians being called on by Egyptian Pharoahs. Another Islamic source is al-Masudi (9th c. Iraqi). He wrote that “that Nubians went left (= east) and the Kushites went right (= west)” to indicate Kushites going west across the Sahara.

The chariot-routes seen to have run south/north across the desert sands appear to parallel the north/south journey of Nasamones recorded by Herodotus also across the Sahara. The Blacks that captured the Nasamones are described as magicians by Herodotus and if this occurred near the Bend of the Niger, perhaps northwest/southeast is more correct. The Garamantes were related to the Nasamones and Marinus of Tyre (via Pliny) has it that a Garamantian king was accompanied by a Roman general named Julius Maternus to the south.  Likewise, Mago of Carthage is reported as having gone north/south on several occasions across the Saharan sands by Athanasius (ca. 1750/1700 B.P. Greek).

The Nasamones and the Garamantes can be related on several other counts. In the Argonautika, Apollonius Rhodius (ca. 250 B. P. Greek) says Amphithemus and Garamas (ancestor of the Garamantes) were one and the same with him further seen as father of Nasamon (ancestor of the Nasamones). Pausanias wrote of the Nasamones as related to the Atlantes/Atarantes on the far side of the Magreb. Presumably something similar is implied when Virgil (ca.1950 B.P. Roman) wrote of Garamantian territory seemingly being endless.

Charles Meek (Journal of African History = JAH 1960) felt Nasamones meant Negroes of Amon and wrote that Amon, Amin, Amun and variants. Their main shrine of Amon/Ammon was at Siwa (Egypt). These variants were widespread as part of African names stretching from Kush/Egypt westwards. Kush or Nubia (= north Sudan). Material culture also known in Kush has again led to comparison with that identifying the Garamantes.

Henri Lhote (cited by Meek ib.) and Henry Parker (Journal Royal Anthropological Institute 1923) were among those noting the names in a list of Garamantian conquests by the Romans compiled by Pliny (ca. 1950 B.P. Roman). In particular, they call attention to Dasibari, Barracum, Balsacum, Alasi, Galla, Tapsacum, etc. Lhote (ib.) regarded that Songhai (a Mande-speaking people) Da Isa Bari (= River of the Great God = the Niger) was Latinised as Dasibari. Parker (ib.) held the same about Mande Barakunda (= Boat-town) as Lat. Barracum; Mande Lasikunda (= Closed village) as Lat. Alasi; Mande Balsakunda (= Goat-town) as Lat. Balsa; Mande Gala (= Assembly/Market-place) as Lat. Galla; Mande Tabusakunda (= Market of the Tabu [= Fig] Tree) as Lat. Tapsacum.

It has been seen that at some stage, the eastern chariot-routes became tied to the Garamantes with a more direct link shown by the piece of rock-art carved at Wadi Zarza in the Garamantian heartland of Phazania (= Fezzan, Libya) showing a chariot. It is of the quadriga type that Herodotus that directly associated with the Garamantes. Such light chariots would not been used as freight vehicles but their users may have acted as guards for traders involved with “The Garamantes & Trans-Saharan Enterprise in Classical Times (by Robin Law in JAH 1967). The linkage of Garamantian town-names with market-trade has just been shown and with Wa nGara/Wangara (= Children of Gara) shown by Mohammed Yakin (Almanac of African Peoples & Nations 1999) to mean both trader plus the Mande. This fits with Parker (ib.) saying Mande words render Garamantian town-names shows the Mande and Gara-mante were one and the same. It can be further noted that interchanges between t and d occurs widely across Africa.

It has been seen the Nasamones were probably a sub-tribe inside the Garamantian confederacy and may not be the only one that can still be identified, as emerges from many sources. One tells us the Berbers use Gara of the Tibbu/Tibu naming the Tibesti Mountains (Chad) and this is part of what many regard as tying the Garamandes/Garamantes to the Tibbu who are further seen as the Aethiopes chased by the Garamantes in their chariots. What this says is the Garamantes had a black component recognised certainly as early as King Ptolemy II of Egypt (= P. Philadelphus) describing the Garamantes as aethiopes; Lucan (ca. 50 CE.) as perusti; Arnolius (ca. 350 CE.) as fustus; Anthologia Latina referring to Garamantes as nigri. These are words meaning black/very dark with that of aithiopes/aethiopes being one of the many Greek terms for Africans, so fits with the link with those who are very definitely black Africans.

That this was not the only example of such a confederacy in the Sahara is proven by Smith (ib.) citing ibn Hawkal (10th c. Turkish Kurd) noting the Banu Tanamak consisted of 22 Black and 19 Tuareg clans. The circumstance of lighter-skins lording it over dark-skins is mirrored across the world by cases where mulattos dominate dark-skins and still occurs in the Magreb with the lighter-skinned Betin/Bedin and blacks called Haratin. The latter still form a slave class according to  nreports by the United Nations cited in the British media.

Something of the claimed ancient links of parts of the Garamantian grouping was shown by the linking of the Nasamones plus the Garamantes and further west in the Magreb. If Law (ib.) is correct, something of this would be that some of the names in the list of places conquered in the Magreb by Roman armies compiled by Pliny are Gaitulian not Garamantian. Gaituli is held by Smith (ib.) to probably mean “from the south”. This being so, there is Winters (ib.) as one of those noting the Egyptian term of nsw (= n y swt = “From the south”). The significance of this is the Egyptians were describing their black neighbours from Kush/Nubia (Sudan). In general, “From the South” still tends to indicate Black Africans and leads to the conclusion that Gaituli attests African Blacks.

The Gaituli, Maurusioi plus other groups are coupled by Procopius according to “African Moors: The Appearance of the According to European Perceptions” (online) and in “Golden Age of the Moors” (ed. Ivan Van Sertima 1992) by Dana (Reynolds) Marniche. Richard Hakluyt (15th c. English) is cited by James Brunson and Runoko Rashidi (in Golden Age of the Moors ed. Van Sertima ib.) as taking this a little further when grouping the inhabitants of Africa “As Aethiops, Nigritae … Moores & Negroes”. The point is made when we recall that Gaituli marks Blacks so do Maurusioi, Mauri, Maures, Moors, etc. In Nigritae plus Aithiops/Aethiops we recognise the same.

Gabrinius (ca. 350 CE) listed the horse-rearing, care of teeth plus nails, wearing of gold ornaments, etc, of the Nasamones. Reynolds (ib.) says this compares with descriptions of the Gaituli on the far side of the Magreb/Sahara. Reynolds further cites Silius Italicus (ca. CE) describing the Noba as “blackened by the sun”, so matches Herodotus describing the Atarantes. The Noba were originally of the “Western” Desert (= Egyptian Sahara), whereas the Atarantes were of the far or western side of the Magreb/Sahara.

A people of the Garamantes grouping appear to have been variously called the ahul Gara (Berber), Garamande/tes (a Hellenised form), Teda/Tibbu (modern scholars), etc. Gustav Nachtigal is cited by Rhys Carpenter (AJA 1956; Beyond the Pillars of Hercules 1973) as saying the Tibbu do not appear to have personal names and this too matches something written by Herodotus. By the latter is meant Herodotus saying the Atarantes also do not appear to have had personal names. This again has us looking at traits of across the Saharan sands.

In “A Caravan Route in Herodotus”, Rhys Carpenter (American Journal of Archaeology = AJA ib.) is one of those noting the Herodotian confusion of Atarantes and their neighbours called the Atlantes. He says most ancient manuscripts of Herodotus have Atlantes where modern editors insert Atarantes. However, this has also prompted such as Smith (ib.), Michael Skupin (The Carthaginian Columbus online) plus many others to state they are one and the same. What we will see here as the Atlantes/Atarantes were seen to have complained about skin and faces burnt by the sun. Silius Italicus and Herodotus are not known to have used the term of Aithiopes/Aethiopes of the Noba plus Atlantes/Atarantes respectively but the burnt faces take us to the probably most common ancient Greek term for Africans.

The relevant term is that of Aithiopes/Aethiopes and derives from a compound of the Greek words of aithios (= burnt) plus opes (= face). As seen already, Aithiopes equates with Nigritae plus Negro. So despite no known description of the Atlantes as Aithiopes, it seems highly probable they were. The region they inhabited was known to the Greco/Roman authors variously as Dyris or Atlas. It seems Dyris comes from Daras who is known to hold the four quarters of the world together. A similarity with Atlas is that he was originally held to have held the four pillars of the world or sky together. In addition, there is the approximate sharing of the region they named.

A good number of modern writers connect Atlas with the Berber peoples stretching away to the east but at the same time there is good evidence for western associations. Tales of giants turned to rock bracket west Africa from Umlindi at Table Mountain (Cape Town, western South Africa) to the Atlas Mountains (Morocco). The “daughters” of Atlas were severally named as the Hesperides (= Western Islands) and/or Atlantides. Even more stressing of western connections is, of course, the name of the ocean called the Atlantic usually translated as Sea of Atlas.

The black inhabitants of Dyris/Atlas are confirmed by Strabo informing us that to as late as his time, that Aithiopes held the west African coast and included Dyris. Separately, Palmer (ib.) is one of those showing Mante/Mande titles in the Canary Islands. Skupin (ib.) brings to attention to related matter of the River Lixos usually identified with the Oued (= River) Draa.

Dra/Draa is a name for the River Senegal in the Wolof language of the country named by that river according to Lacroix (ib.). He further linked this to the Wolof words for St-Louis. We find N’Der/N’dar as the Wolof for St-Louis itself on the Isle-Nder and fronted by the Guet N’dar. The many spellings of the Dara/Dra (= the Senegal) are directly echoed by that of the Oued Draa, itself the largest river in Morocco.

This means that rivers called Dra/Draa bracket what was once known as Gannaria/Ganaria or Cannaria/Canaria. Lacroix (ib.) shows this was once Wolof territory. The name occurs in the Ganaria extremis (= Cape Ganari/Canari = Cape Blanc = Ras Nouidibh, Mauritania/Morocco) plus the Canary Islands. This is a more plausible etymology than the widespread attribution to the packs of wild dogs that this normal attribution calls for. Doubts about this attribution certainly date to as far back as the 18th c., as confirmed by George Glas (The History of the Discovery & Conquest of the Canary Islands 1764). Glas also looked to inhabitants of the Ganar Coast.

As to the ancient people that the Periplus (= Voyage of Hanno) called the Lixitae and being named by the River Lixos identified as the Oued Draa, we return to Skupin (ib.). He was of the opinion that that the Lixos/Draa was a river of Aithiopia not Libya. The Aithiopian linkage is furthered by much of the Mauritanian coast still being inhabited by black Africans called Bafurs who appear to be the same people that their Berber neighbours label as Imraguen (= fishermen).

AFRICANS: Some “Redder” Skins in Africa.

In Early America Revisited, Ivan Van Sertima (1998) has stated that one of the main bugbears bedevilling studies of the African past is the insistence that all Africans are of a single physical type. Nor are all jet-black that again is a simplistic categorisation. This has been convenient for opinions based on wanting to separate the north from the rest of continent. The several volumes of Basil Davidson show him as one seeing how some writers have tried to float off Egypt plus the Magreb from the rest of Africa and regard this as merely as an extension of west Asia/Near East.

It can be readily recognised that the simplistic division of Saharan and Sub-Saharan considerably adds to this unrealistic simplification. However, it has been retained in my papers for reasons of convenience plus clarity of terminology. Moreover, the terms of Saharan/Magrebi and Black/Sub-Saharan in terms of northern and southern portions respectively are used by some writers following Africa-centred/Afrocentric arguments.

It is generally held that a hallmark of the development of the human intellect came with the desire to beautify the human body. A very early attempt at this was the painting of the body using red ochre paint with the first known efforts coming from material found in excavation of several cave-sites in mainly South Africa. This is not the only material used as body-paint but a reason why red ochre looms so large in this kind of thinking may be suggested by the red ochre being derived from haematite (= iron oxide) itself named by Greek haema (= blood).

If this is correct, red body-paint remained important in southern Africa and here too are the people most probably representing the descendants of the earliest Homo sapiens (= Thinking Man). They are given a variety of names but described as Khwe in these pages and they continued/continue the use of the red-ochre body-paint.

Repeating the adorning of humans with red ochre is the painting with red ochre on the human form echoed by an example of what archaeologists have called Venus figurines found at Tan-Tan (Morocco).

This means the body-painting using red ochre was practiced at opposite ends of the continent of Africa. In east Africa, this is still known most notably from Tanzania/Kenya to Ethiopia/Somalia. By far the best known for instance of this are the Maasai/Masai of Kenya. Rebecca Binkley is cited by Cynthia Perry (The Identity of Ancient Egypt [Egypt] online) as saying there is depiction of men as red-brown to indicate they were primarily of outdoors, whereas women were painted as yellow to attest they mainly stayed indoors. Thus with Ta-neter (= Land of the Gods) or Punt generally but not universally accepted as being some part of east Africa north of the Horn of Africa between north Somalia/Djibouti and Eritrea, there are the paintings on the walls of the tomb-complex at Deir el-Bahari (Egypt).

They attest the east African men of Punt as little different from the Egyptians but the Puntite queen plus her daughter are painted as typically African. Google gave started to describe their extracts from books as “snippet views”. One such is an “Etymological dictionary of Egyptian Part I, Volume 48” by Gabor Takacs. He cites several expert opinions saying the Egyptian term of mns.t most probably indicates knowledge of red ochre in ancient Egypt. On the other hand, Catherine Cartwright-Jones (Developing Guidelines on Henna: A Geographical Approach online) states that this being probably the case, the red colouring of humans (usually women) is achieved by staining with henna that leaves behind a red stain.

In west Africa, there are more females painted in red. This basically means the southwest that primarily means what today is Namibia. Here are the Himba people. The women are famously coloured red but is done using red ochre again. In “Red Men of Nigeria”, James Wilson Haffende (1967 [as Google]) refers to the Bakongo who named the River Congo plus the republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (=DRC). He also adds the Urhobos, Efiks plus Ibibios of Nigeria as staining themselves red but here the staining is achieved using a dye obtained from the camwood tree.

Easily, the most famous specimens of people dyeing themselves red in Nigeria are undoubtedly were sections of the people variously described as Igbo/Ibo/Eboe, etc. This primarily is because of the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano (aka Gustavus Vassa) published in the 18th c. Not only does it share this with the Poems of Ossian by James MacPherson but also that it has drawn challenges as to authenticity. In the way that “Ossian” was doubted by mainly critics from south of the border between England and Scotland and defended mostly north of that border, so there is another point of comparison with Equiano’s book.

The challenge to this book comes mostly from outside Africa and those defending it are very often from Africa that especially means Nigeria. A leading light in this is Catherine Acholonu. She has written not only a biography of Equiano but also the Before Adam series. Unfortunately, the latter comes with a single-source for all civilisation, a difficult chronology, plus theories of the present state of the Sahara being due a nuclear war being due to space-beings in UFOs fighting wars on Earth millions of years ago.

On the other hand, as an African scholar she has brought attention to problems of African prehistory arising from European interpretations of the African past. She is very definitely a champion of the viewpoint that Equiano was not just an African from Nigeria but more specifically, that he was an Ibo. He wrote about the stout men that he says had mahogany-coloured skins. Equiano tells us that he lived to the northeast of these men that he called Oye-Eboe (= Red men living at a distance).

The suggestion by Acholonu (ib.) is that the Oye-Eboe was a section of the Igbo called the Aro. They appear to have been traders between coastal groups and those of the interior of southwest Nigeria. This was long before the arrival of the earliest Europeans but they readily took to slave-trading acting as intermediaries between Europeans on the coast and inland groups passing on those slaves.

Their red/mahogany skins are thought to result from use of dyes obtained from camwood. In “Dyes & Tannins” (2005), messrs. Jansen & Cardon (Google extract online) refer to the word of camwood as originating in the Temne or Bulom languages of Sierra Leone. Also that camwood dyes were used to decorate humans in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, etc. There was presumably once an even wider tradition in Africa. This may what emerges from a find of a primitive sculpture of the human of the type that archaeologists have called Venus figurines. This particular example was that found at Tan-Tan. Its acceptance as a Venus figurine is controversial but if this stands, it belongs here as it apparently was once painted red in haematite.

The Tan-Tan find is some what isolated in both time and from most of the rest of what is cited in these last few pages. The date put forward of ca. 400,000 years ago would put it into the very earliest period of human adornment. Further to be noticed is that it seems to repeat the steatopygia of that oldest known strand of humanity otherwise known as the Khwe/Khwe-types of eastern plus southern Africa.

Rather later in east Africa were the Oromo of Ethiopia. Whatever else is shown by Donnelly’s “Atlantis: The Antediluvian World”, there is a useful rundown of the shades of skin-tone in Ethiopia that probably stands for most of east Africa of around the Horn of Africa. He wrote that those shades ranged from near-white to very black and that the darker skins frequently come close to a bronze/copper colour.

This presumably this tells for the same among the Oromo. However, Abba Bahrey (16th c. Ethiopian of Amharic stock) has it that the Oromo came by sea via the Indian Ocean, Madagascar, Mombasa (Kenya), the Red Sea then what is now called Eritrea into what today is Ethiopia.

The Oromo consider this to be an attempt at denying that they have any right to be in Ethiopia. They also regard this is to be put alongside the Amharic term of Galla for the Oromo that includes the term of slave among its definitions. Even more of an insult in their eyes is that the Galla term also involves a meaning of from the water that it is suggested indicates that they are not to be regarded as human.

However, against the Bahrey/Amharic argument is that this would have to happen very much earlier than the Amharic scholars would have us believe. In “The Making of Egypt”, Flinders Petrie 1939) points to the sphinxes attesting the Oromo/Galla in Dynastic Egypt at the time of the 12th Dynasty (ca. 1970-1780 BCE). From what is written by Petrie, these Oromo-type statues were purloined by Pharoahs of the Hyksos (= 15th) Dynasty for the adornment of their tombs. This at the very least speaks for the Oromo presence in parts of easy plus northeast Africa approximately at ca. 1970- 1780 BCE, so decidedly antedates the Bahrey attribution to the 15th c. CE.

The Petrie/Rohl books lead us to a related oddity. Their thesis tells of the groups severally labelled Square-boat People, Dynastic Race, Proto-Fon/Pun, Eastern Invaders, etc, leaving Sumeria (= Ancient south Iraq) at the head of the Persian Gulf. Their path would be marked by such Persian Gulf island-names as Arad (= Muharrack), Tylos (Bahrein) plus Sur in Oman. Passing the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, this attaches to Himyar (= Aden). Others have seen a spread along the coast of east Africa to as far south as Mozambique. Petrie/Rohl tie this to the name of Punt seen in those of Opone (= Hafun, Somalia south of the Horn of Af.), Punt (east Africa between the Horn & Eritrea), the island called Punt (= one of the Dahlaks?), etc.

There followed arrival in and conquest of Egypt. Petrie (ib) regards this as shown by the scenes painted in Tomb 100 at Nekhen/Hierankopolis (Egypt) plus what is engraved on a knife-handle found at Gebel el-Arak (Egypt). He made a comparison of this knife with its finely crafted blade with the swords presented to messrs. Nelson plus Wellington for their British victories. A further comparison made by Petrie (ib.) was of the Gebel el-Arak handle with the Bayeux Tapestry as records of conquest in Egypt and England respectively. Ships play a large part in this and have not only led to the name of the Square-boat/ship People but with this echoed by the Phoenicians as among the great sailors of antiquity plus the island-names already seen are also found in the Phoenician homeland of Lebanon. This has Arad as Arvad plus Tylos as Tyros.

The particular point here is the name of Phoenicians oft-given as Red-men; Himyarites/Homeritae meaning the same; further echoes in the place-names of Opone, Punt plus an island of the Red Sea (?) mentioned in the Egyptian text of the Shipwrecked Sailor.  For Petrie (ib.), the Tomb-100 wall-art is a record of the supposed conquest of Egypt but that they were being defeated by native blacks. Other details opposing this are cited in “Egypt and the Sea in Antiquity” but it seems difficult to square this wall-art showing the Red-men being defeated as equally showing it was a successful battle for the conquest Egypt by the Red-skinned Fon.

There are many other anomalies about peoples having a maritime component included that would look unexpected at first glance. This will be seen to concern yet another part of Africa plus an example from outside that continent. Nancy Sandars (The Sea Peoples: Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean 1985) points up something arising from the motley groups making those that have become known as the Sea- Peoples. This was already seen to involve Egypt and do so on more than one count.

The term of Sea-Peoples arising from Egyptian label of “the Peoples of the Isles of the Sea”. This apparently takes us in the general direction of the islands of the Aegean Sea. My opinion on this have long been that they most probably the dispossessed of that general direction. This is, of course, the east Mediterranean. Conditions here were extremely troubled ca. 1250- ca. 1150 BCE. Probably the most famous instances of this are the collapse of the Hittite Empire of Anatolia (= most of modern Turkey) plus the Mycenaean regime(s) of the Late Bronze Age of the Aegean islands plus mainland Greece.

So in this way, those dispossessed are most likely to have been from Hittite Anatolia and Mycenaeans from the Aegean and Greece. There are theories about locales more specific than Anatolia/most of Turkey and the Greeks of the mainland plus the islands. Thus Sardis (Anatolia/Turkey) and the Sherden of the Egyptian texts; Sagallasos (Anatolia) and the Shekelesh of the Egyptian texts; Lycians (= mid-Anatolians) and the Lukka of the Egyptian texts; Taruisha (= Troy?) and the Teresh of the Egyptian texts; Achaeans (= Mycenaean Greeks) and the Ekwesh of the Egyptian texts; Teucri of the Troad (Anatolia) and /or Teucer of Cyprus and the Tjekri of the Egyptian texts; Capthor (= Philistines) from Crete(?) as the Peleset/Pulesati of the Egyptian texts.

Something of how this may have affected westwards across the Magreb plus the Mediterranean has been touched on. It was suggested that this was possibly shown by types of defensive structure of both the Magreb and the west Mediterranean that antedate the Sea-Peoples but may increase in number on the defeat of the attempts at conquering Egypt. This came in the form of their attention turning west.

Again, this was shown for the Magreb. In the mid to west Mediterranean, the tower-like structures already shown by tower-like structures of Sardinia, Corsica plus the Balearics. This would be underlined by the Shekelesh as the Sikels naming Sicily, the Teresh as the Tyrsenoi (later called the Etruscans), the Sherden naming Sardinia, etc. Others would add the Sherden-like swords carved statue-menhirs of Corsica as showing the Sherden there too. It may also be worth comparing the Sardinian tribes of the Corsi plus Balari and the island-names of Corsica and Balearic respectively.

One group of “The People from the Midst of the Sea”/People from the Isles of the Sea” not touched on so far are those called the Danuna or Denyen by the Egyptians. They would appear to represent those that the Greeks as far back as Homer called the Danaans or Danioi. Their immediate relevance is shown by Sandars (ib.). She shows the curious position of the Tribe of Dan relative to the rest of the 12 Tribes of Israel. She shows several differences between these Danites and the other tribes of the Israelites.

Particularly salient here emerges from that section of the Old Testament called Book of Judges. Here within are the chapters giving us the Song of Deborah. There was a call to battle at Mount Tabor (Israel) against the Canaanites that was intended to rally all the Twelve Tribes against Canaan. However, despite the battle-call going out to all the tribes, “Dan stayed in his ships”. This is interpreted by Sandars (ib.) as indicating that “Dan”/the Tribe of Dan/Danites had a maritime component that for the early Israelites was unusual to say the least.

This is not really offset by Raphael Patai’s “Children of Noah: Jewish Seafaring through the Ages” (1999) and is interpreted by Sandars as showing that “Dan”/the Tribe of Dan/Danites was anomalous relative to the rest of the tribes making up the Israelites/Proto-Hebrews. Nor should it be overlooked that this maritime component would have come via a Sea-Peoples element in Palestine/Israel that Sandars shows was not alone. Also not to be ignored is that this is an indication of a sea-based people that was otherwise forgotten when the Danites joined the ancient confederation that became known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Another such anomaly may have involved a people of Africa. The vessel-types involved are not as difficult as might appear at first sight. If nothing else, my articles on the maritime history/(ies) and the expert opinions cited there demonstrate differing parts of Africa had/have a well developed seafaring tradition. As to the forms of sea-craft known in Africa, a brief survey will have do here as the other material already referred means there is ready access to what is written there.

The seaworthiness includes what would seemingly be categorised as very simple classes. They include rafts that messrs. Haddon and Hornell (ib.) suggest took the early Indo-Malays/Austronesians from Island Southeast Asia (= mainly Indonesia) eastwards to the islands of Micronesia in the west Pacific and westwards to the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Among other types of raft the those sailed by Indians to the east and the islands they Indianised as Indonesia (= Indian/Indianised Islands), those that along with Indonesian ones were held to have been capable of rounding Africa with echoes on the far side of the Atlantic in South America.

The simple forms also seen to have been successfully taken on the Indian or Atlantic Oceans include reed-boats. Likewise, types of skin-boats were seen to be among the sea-going vessels in which crossings of the Atlantic were achieved. So too were canoes to evidently be seen going both ways over the Atlantic and were also the type the Germans used to ferry passengers from ship-to-shore to their colony at Swakopmund in what was German-ruled Southwest Africa but is now Namibia. This class is that praised by James Hornell (Mariner’s Mirror 1928; Water Transport 1946) as the Kru type of Sierra Leone plus Liberia and that taken across the Atlantic Ocean by Hannes Lindemann (Alone at Sea 1958).

It was shown the oldest dugout-canoe seemingly is of roughly the same period as the reed-boats depicted in Saharan rock-art. Likewise, the raising of cattle appears to happen in the same last “wet” phase before the desiccation towards the present aridity occurred. Besides the west-spreading Proto-Mande, there are traits tying the origin of the Proto-Fulani to the Saharan region before the out-of-the-Sahara migrations already noted began according to many writers but who appear to mainly take this from Hampate Ba (see Afro-Asiatics: Fulani By Dana Marniche online).

From Ba (ib.) came comparisons of igloo-like huts depicted in Saharan rock-art and those of the much later Fulani. The paintings of the Saharans were seen to attest cattle-raising to the degree that this named the “Bovidian” phase of this rock-art and this also typifies the Fulani. The Saharan rock-art at Tin Tazarift (Algeria) has been compared with the Fulani rites of Silatagi (= mysteries of pastoralism) and Lotori (= yearly muster of cattle).  Ba further held that a Saharan finger motif related with that in a myth about Kikala (the ancestor Fulani herdsmen). The hair-styles and the head-gear of figures of some Saharan depictions have also been seen as akin to those of the modern Fulani. Tin Felki (Algeria) has a rock-painted design showing a semi-precious stone called a carnelian of hexagonal shape that Ba related to the Agadez (Niger) Cross of the Fulani.

This would indicate that the Proto-Fulani are a part of the Pre-Migration complexes of the Sahara. Since the migration(s) from a presumed Nile Valley origin via the Sahara to parts of west Africa, the Fulani reached the Atlantic-facing coasts of west Africa. In “West Africa & the Sea in Antiquity”, it was shown there was a substantially understated maritime tradition in west Africa but the attaching of the Fulani to this will be a considerable surprise to many. The notion of the Fulani having any kind of seafaring history seems unlikely.

On the other hand, it has already been shown there are analogies elsewhere for this elsewhere. Also that but for an incidental record, this would be lost forever. It may be that this is what lies behind the Yoruba phrase of “eyaoibi ni Fulani” (= the Fulani are from the sea). It can be observed that this could apply that the Yorubas themselves had no history of seafaring yet it is just one those incidental traditions by the Ga of Ghana that may attest otherwise.

What is not beyond doubt is that the Red/Pastoral Fulani owe absolutely nothing to outside elements. Not only do they appear to have had a presence in the Sahara dating back to the last wet phase there but it is easy to accept their skin-colour results from the environment they inhabit and it is this same environment that in more extreme form gives us what we have already seen the Arabs described as simply the Sahara or desert. There is definitely no need to attribute the “Red” skins of the Fulani to the Amerinds or Phoenico/Punics or the even more dubious Caucasian or Hamito/ Semitic sources.

Harry Bourne (2011)



Photos courtesy of magnolia box & quotes gram (here) & wikipedia

Leave a Reply