West Africa’s Niger River provided bigger and better harvests than the Nile.
According to Major Felix Dubois, a pioneering French scholar on the Songhai Empire: ‘What the Nile has done for Egypt, the Niger has accomplished for the Sudan (i.e. In the course of a year we witness the same striking and opposed pictures.
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Among them is the kingdom of Maraw which is extensive, whose king has a capital called al-Haya; and the kingdoms of Murdiya, al-Harbar, Sanhaja, Nadhkarir, Al-Zayanir, Arwar, Taqarut.
However, Professor Diop cautions that with the rise Islam in West and Central Africa, later African chroniclers began to alter the genealogies of African dynasties and create legends to tie them to an Arabian or Yemenite origin.
The important point was to connect the dynasty to the lineage of the Prophet Mahomet by any means.
The evidence suggests that the people lived peaceably over many centuries.
According to archaeologists, in Old Djenné, the earliest inhabitants cooked and ate perch and catfish, and supplemented this with the flesh of crocodiles, tortoises and waterfowl. According to Al Yaqubi writing in 872 AD: ‘Kawkaw is the greatest sovereignty of the Negroes, the most important and influential, to whom all the kingdoms pay allegiance …