chapter  [5]
19 Pages

Archers, Musketeers, and Mosquitoes: The Moroccan Invasion of the Sudan and the Songhay Resistance (1591–1612)

WithLansiné Kaba

This chapter examines the Moroccan invasion and the causes of its failure mainly from a West African point of view. It focuses on the twenty-one years of Songhay resistance from 1591 until 1612 when the Moroccan commander 'Ali-ben-Abdallah-et-Talamsānī first refused to give battle to the Songhay forces, and then deposed the legitimate military governor. The chapter predicts on the view that Morocco's commercial relations with Europe in part spurred the Sultan al-Manṡūr's dreams of an empire stretching from the Mediterranean to the River Niger. The Sultan al-Maḣdi's successors alternately followed policies of aggressiveness, co-operation or compromise with European states and with the Muslim Askiya dynasty of Gao in the Sudan. The Sa'did placed the Sahara and the Sudan at the centre of their plans because of the pivotal role of the trans-Saharan trade in North Africa's economy. The chapter reinterprets the invasion of Songhay by the Sa'did Sultan Mulāy al-Manṡūr's mercenaries led by the Pasha Judar.