The Kanem Empire
(ca. 600 BCE - 1380 CE) was located in the present countries of Chad
. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but also parts of southern Libya
), eastern Niger
and north-eastern Nigeria
. The history of the Empire is mainly known from the Royal Chronicle or Girgam
discovered in 1851 by the German traveller Heinrich Barth
. Barth, Travels
, II, 15-26, 581-599.
There are two views concerning the foundation of Kanem. The majority view is that the state was founded by local Zaghawa. A minority view held by historian Dierk Lange asserts that the Kanem state was founded by immigrants, however, this view is not widely accepted.
State founding by immigrants from the collapsed Assyrian Empire: c. 600 BCE
The information contained in the prologue and the first section of the Girgam
provides evidence for the founding of Kanem by refugees from the collapsing Assyrian Empire: the names of biblical patriarchs point to Israelites, the names of ancient Mesopotamian kings indicate Babylonian contributions and the names of the last Assyrian kings bear witness of immigration in consequence of the fall of Assyria. Lange, , , 589-597; id.,
, 84-100. The royal titles offered by the Girgam
and the origin-chronicles support the idea of mass immigration of various people formerly dominated by the Assyrians in consequence of the... Read More