A fortified trading city in the Sahara along the routes towards Libya: dating back some 800-1,000 years ago. Who built it? the settlement seems to be constructed from both mudbrick and stone ,if I’m not mistaken. Does anyone else think it looks like something out of a fantasy epic?
Niger, officially the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River.
Considerable evidence indicates that about 60,000 years ago, humans inhabited what has since become the desolate Sahara Desert of northern Niger. Later, on what was then huge fertile grasslands, from at least 7,000 BCE there was pastoralism, herding of sheep and goats, large settlements and pottery. Cattle were introduced to the Central Sahara (Ahaggar) from 4,000 to 3,500 BCE. Remarkable rock paintings, many found in the Aïr Mountains, dated 3,500 to 2,500 BCE, portray vegetation and animal presence rather different from modern expectations.
As the Sahara dried after 2000 BCE, the north of Niger became the desert it is today, with settlements and trade routes clinging to the Air in the north, the Kaouarand shore of Lake Chad in the west, and (apart for a scattering of oases) most people living along what is now the southern border with Nigeria and the southwest of the country.
North Africa enjoyed a fertile climate during the subpluvial era; what is now the Sahara supported a savanna type of ecosystem, with elephant, giraffe, and other grassland and woodland animals now typical of the Sahel region south of the desert. Historian and Africanist Roland Oliver has described the scene as follows:
[In] the highlands of the central Sahara beyond the Libyan desert,… in the great massifs of the Tibesti and the Hoggar, the mountaintops, today bare rock, were covered at this period with forests of oak and walnut, lime, alder and elm. The lower slopes, together with those of the supporting bastions — the Tassili and the Acacus to the north, Ennedi and Air to the south — carried olive, juniper and Aleppo pine. In the valleys, perennially flowing rivers teemed with fish and were bordered by seed-bearing grasslands.
Population: 17.83 million (2013) World Bank
Currency: West African CFA franc
Official language: French
A 2002 UNESCO published study suggested that iron smelting at Termit, in eastern Niger may have begun as early as 1500 BC. This finding, which would be of great importance to both the history of Niger and the history of the diffusion of Iron Age metalworking technology in all of sub-Saharan Africa, is as yet contentious. Older accepted studies place the spread of both copper and Iron technology to date from the early first Millennium CE: 1500 years later than the Termit Massif finds
Dabous giraffe carvings – Agadez. World’s largest single petroglyph. Unique life-sized rock carvings of two giraffes created some 8 – 10 thousand years ago. The quality and detail of carvings is exceptional. Largest giraffe is 5.4 m tall. The site contains hundreds of other petroglyphs. Niger is very rich with prehistoric cliff art and there are countless sites with petroglyphs, including very interesting and somewhat mysterious round-headed people in Tageuit.
Niger was an important economic crossroads, and the empires of Songhai, Mali, the Dendi Kingdom, Gao, and Kanem-Bornu, as well as a number of Hausastates, claimed control over portions of the area. During recent centuries, the nomadic Tuareg formed large confederations, pushed southward, and, siding with various Hausa states, clashed with the Fulani Empire of Sokoto, which had gained control of much of the Hausa territory in the late 18th century. The area eventually became known as the Bornu Empire, which ended in 1893.
The new gold rush
Humans have lived in what is now Niger from the earliest times. 2 to 3.5 million-year-old.
Archeologists in Niger have much work to do, with little known of the prehistory of the societies that inhabited the south, the home of the vast majority of modern Nigeriens. The deserts and the mountains of the north, though, have garnered attention for the ancient abandoned cities and pre-historic rock carvings found in the Aïr Mountains and the Ténéré desert.
By at least the 5th century BCE], Carthage and Egypt became terminals for West African gold, ivory, and slaves] trading salt, cloth, beads, and metal goods. With this trade, Niger was on the route between the empires of the Sahel and the empires of the Mediterranean basin.
Trade continued into Roman times. Although there are Classical references to direct travel from the Mediterranean to West Africa (Daniels, p. 22f), most of this trade was conducted through middlemen who inhabited the area and so were aware of safe passages through the drying lands.
Recent archaeological discoveries at Bura (in southwest Niger) and in adjacent southeast Burkina Faso have documented the existence of the iron-age Bura culture from the 3rd century CE to the 13th century CE. The Bura-Asinda system of settlements apparently covered the lower Niger River valley. But further research is needed to understand the role this early civilization played in the ancient and medieval history of West Africa.
The franc was introduced to the French colonies of West Africa in 1945, and since then has remained the single currency of most countries even after they became independent. This coin is not a circulation coin, however, but a non-circulating coin that belongs to a series of proof coins issued in the 1960s.
The Niger is the third-longest river in Africa, exceeded only by the Nile and the Congo River (also known as the Zaïre River). The river begins in Guinea and runs east through Benin, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.
The modern nations of Nigeria and Niger take their names from the river, marking contesting national claims by colonial powers of the “Upper”, “Lower” and “Middle” Niger river basin during the Scramble for Africa at the end of the 19th century.
Centuries BEFORE the coming of Islam and before the days of the Songhay, Mali and Ghana Empires (and thus before Timbuktu was built), there were some massive cities in the Niger basin region which rivalled those of Mesopotamia.
Current decorated home in Niger
1062219. The ruins of a salt city in Djado. | National …