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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 3: 1400-1800$
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José Rabasa, Masayuki Sato, Edoardo Tortarolo, and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199219179.001.0001

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Islamic Scholarship and Understanding History in West Africa before 1800

Islamic Scholarship and Understanding History in West Africa before 1800

(p.212) Chapter 10 Islamic Scholarship and Understanding History in West Africa before 1800
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Paul E. Lovejoy

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how Africans perceived history in the period before 1800. The tradition of scholarship paralleled the traditions of the Maghreb and Middle East, connected by literacy, pilgrimage, trade, and migration. The strong influence of Andalusia on sub-Saharan Africa should be noted; the influences across the Mediterranean and Sahara went both ways, reflecting the vitality of linkages rather than isolation because of the vast desert. Moreover, in the sixteenth century, the consolidation of Ottoman control as far west as Algeria extended new influences across the Sahara, especially to Borno. The autonomy of the Ibadi enclaves, along with the influence of Andalusia, and the Ottoman penetration, provided the context for a dynamic local tradition of historical writing and scholarship, not only in Timbuktu but ultimately in scores of towns in the sahel and savanna, in which Muslims were to be found in great numbers.

Keywords:   African historical writing, historiography, West Africa, historical scholarship, Ottomans, Muslims

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