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THE LONGEST EMPIRE IN AFRICAN HISTORY The empire of Kanem-Bornu finds its roots between Lake Chad

THE LONGEST EMPIRE IN AFRICAN HISTORY The empire of Kanem-Bornu finds its roots between Lake Chad and the Bahr el-Ghazal in the region of Kanem (modern-day Chad). It was based on the state of Kanem created around the 8th century and was ruled by the Duguwa, an aristocracy who chose a king among themselves (Barkindo 1985: 230). Gathering together agriculturalists and pastoralists, this kingdom consisted of various ethnic groups able to use iron-working techniques and horsemanship. These different populations gave birth to the Kanembu ethnic group who spoke a Nilo-Saharan language. Located at the crossroads between northern Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, this region benefited from trade contacts with different parts of Africa (Barkindo and Lange 1988). The early history of Kanem is not well known but it appears that Kanem sought to control

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