4 pre-colonial African armies that couldn’t be cracked for centuries

Farida Dawkins September 28, 2018

4 pre-colonial African armies that couldn’t be cracked for centuries

Nubia and the Powerful Kingdom of Kush…Ancient Origins

Kush Army

The Kingdom of Kush was located in Nubia, modern-day Sudan and Southern Egypt. It existed from 785 BC after the collapse of the New Kingdom of Egypt, until 350 AD.

4 pre-colonial African armies that couldn’t be cracked for centuries

The fortress Gala Abu Ahmed in lower Wadi Howar, Sudan…University of Cologne

According to Derek A. Welsby, the Kush army was a “major power” since the 8th century BC ruling an empire that encompassed central Sudan, the borders of Palestine and Egypt during the 25th Dynasty. The army built thick walls of defence that surrounded places like Kawa and Dangeil. The army also possessed fortresses like the ones at Gala Abu Ahmed and Jebel Sahaba.

4 pre-colonial African armies that couldn’t be cracked for centuries

The Kush ruins…Social Studies for Kids

One powerful entity was the “Candaces” or Kandake – a collection of eight Queen Mothers in the Meroitic Kingdom of Kush who commanded a powerful 33,000-member army.

Queen Amanishakheto was an instrumental force in battles with the Roman army.

The Kush Kingdom was centered in Napata and then Meroë during the Classic Antiquity phase of history. The span of the empire was along the Nile River, the White Nile River, and the Blue Nile River.  They also reigned over Southern Egypt. When Piye controlled the Kush, they gained control of all of Egypt up to the shores of the Mediterranean for the duration of one century. When the Assyrians attacked Egypt, the Kush lost their reign over Egypt but still held control over the middle Nile for 1,000 years.

The Kush army was comprised of meshwesh spearmen, heavy chariots, cavalry, bowmen, and slinger skirmishers. Kush army personnel were known as expert archers. The bows used in battle were recorded as being six feet in length. Arrows were poisoned at the tip for an added lethal effect.

Even the Egyptians called the land where the Kush inhabited Ta-Sety which means “the land of the bow.”

The Kush army used elephants in war. It is said that they trained elephants and horses. The former for war and the latter for trade purposes. It is speculated that they might have been the first to use elephants in war.

The army also used clubs, swords, pikes and hatchets as weapons for battle.

It is said that the Kush Pharaohs fought alongside their army men.

The Kush army fought wars against the Egyptian army, the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Kingdom of Aksum and the Roman Empire in 1st Century BC.

The Kush Kingdom eventually disintegrated due to internal strife. The Kingdom of Aksum took advantage of this and overtook the Kush in the 4th century AD.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: September 28, 2018


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