Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By 1500 AD, in order to defend themselves from Ottoman and European attacks, some African kingdoms were adopting the military techniques of West Asia, India, and Europe. Generally, if you lived closer to international traders, you were richer and could build a better army, but at the same time you were in more danger of being attacked and needed your army more. The Funj of North Sudan, who shared a border with the Ottoman Empire, defended themselves with a standing army made up of the richest men, who wore chain mail and fought as cavalry, from horseback, using swords.

The shilluk people, further south, fought on foot, with larger but less well trained armies.

Learn by doing: make chain mail
More about gunpowder

Bibliography and further reading about African warfare:

More about gunpowder
More about Africa and colonization home