Two successive major African states in the Lake Chad region between the 11th and the 19th centuries. Ethnically and linguistically the peoples were mixed. They include Arab, Berber, and other African elements, and were mostly Muslims. An Islamic sultanate of Kanem, ruled by the Seyfawa family, existed by the 11th century, which, under Dunama (1221–59), came to extend from Fezzan and Wadai to the Niger, and included Bornu. Following civil wars this empire collapsed in 1398, but a member of it created a new state of Bornu with N'gazargamu as capital, and Kanem as a province. Idris Aloma (ruled 1571–1603) was the most powerful of the Bornu rulers; he introduced firearms into the army and Bornu reached the peak of its power under his rule. A long period of stability followed until 1808, when the Fulani sacked N'gazargamu. Muhammad al-Kanemi, a leading chief, restored the titular kings, retaining effective power himself. The last Mai, or titular king, was executed in 1846.
Subjects: World History.