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Home Forums African Royalty THE WARRIOR KING IDRIS ALOOMA OF KANEM-BORNU DYNASTY

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    Fatima Kuje
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      As the 54th ruler of the Sefawa dynasty, Idris Alooma was the Mai (King) who ruled the Kanem-Bornu Dynasty in the 15th century, precisely from 1564 to 1596. Idris Alaoma oversaw the Kanem-Bornu empire, which included what is now Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria. He goes by the name of his mother, Idris Amsami, or Idris, son of Amsa, in several of his works although his name is rightly written as Idris Alawma or Idris Alauma.

       

       

      Alooma is a posthumous qualifier given to him in honour of the location, Alo or Alao, where he was laid to rest. At the age of 25 or 26, he was proclaimed king.

       

       

      His main enemies were the Hausa in the west, the Tuareg and Toubou in the north, the Bulala in the east, and the Sao in the Bornu region (whom Alooma’s military operations would destroy). His triumphs in more than 1,000 battles and 330 wars are lauded in one epic poem.

       

       

      His inventions included the deployment of prolonged sieges, armored horses and riders, Kotoko boatmen, iron-helmeted musketeers, established military camps with walls, constant sieges, and scorched earth tactics where soldiers destroyed everything in their way. His diplomatic activities included dealings with Tripoli, Egypt, and the Ottoman Empire, which dispatched a 200-person ambassadorial mission to Alooma’s palace at.

       

       

      Idris was a great leader who brought the Kanem-Bornu civilization to the height of its strength. He is revered for his Islamic devotion, administrative reforms, and military prowess. During his rule, Idris built his palace in Gambaru, 5 km from the capital Ngazargamu, along the Yo river (Komadugu Yobe).

       

       

      The city’s walls were red, which inspired a new building with red bricks that became a hallmark of his reign. Idris Alooma was referred to as Mai for a king in Kanuri.

       

       

      Under Alooma, Kanem-Bornu was powerful and affluent. Taxes on goods and involvement in trade were two sources of income for the government, together with tribute (or loot, if the rebellious people had to be subdued).

       

       

      One of the most practical ways to get over the Sahara desert passed via his dominion. Natron (sodium carbonate), cotton, kola nuts, ivory, ostrich feathers, perfume, wax, and hides were among the many goods exported to the north, but the slave trade was the most lucrative. Salt, horses, silk, glass, muskets, copper, and other items were imported.

       

       

      Idris Alooma was mortally wounded during a battle in the Baguirmi, and as a result, he perished. He was later buried near Lake Alo, south of Maiduguri proper, hence the name Alooma.

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