The Black African kingdoms of Arabia
Ogu Eji Ofo Anu
The Himyarites: Yemen, Hadramaut, Oman
Yemen is one of the oldest inhabited portions of the Arabian Peninsula. It includes the entire southwest quarter, which possesses many advantages in climate and soil. Yemen was a colony of early Black Africans until the Arabized Arabs who are described in the preceding paragraph gradually infiltrated it. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Himyarites/Yemenites (and Hadramutians) are the same group of peoples as the African Ethiopians.
They are genetically, linguistically, and physically identical with Ethiopians. This may perhaps explain the reason why the ancient Greeks and Roman writers believed that Arabia was a political extension of Ethiopia Kush. (See Catholic Encyclopedia: Arab)
Even today, the similarity is so striking that one cannot fail to observe the clear connectedness between the Ethiopian tribes who live on both sides of the Red Sea.
Encyclopedia Britannica states that: “Yemenis of â€œnorthernâ€ origin are thought to have descended from Mesopotamians who entered the region in the 1st millennium BC (mixed breed Arabized Arabs). The â€œsouthernâ€ group represents the South Arabian stock (original African Ethiopian peoples), and the Arabic of the rural areas of former South Yemen is still heavily influenced by the ancient African Semito/Cushitic (i.e.South Arabian) languages.
The two groups maintain disparate genealogies and historical traditions concerning their roles and origins: The northern Yemenis trace their ancestry to Isma’il (Ishmael) through his descendant ‘Adnan, whereas their southern countrymen claim descent from Qahtan (the biblical Joktan).” As has been amply demonstrated, a branch of the Cushitic Ethiopian people whom later historians named the Sabeans settled South Yemen. They are a kindred nation of the Ethiopian Amharas, Tigreyans, and Eriterians (with possible addition from the Oromos) sharing a similar language, culture, architecture, religion, literature and written scripts.
Migrating from Ethiopia Kush, those Africans first settled in extreme southern west of the Peninsula. They then spread northward and eastward over Yemen, Hadramaut and Oman. Those Black Africans were later called the Himyarites after the name of one of their more famous states. The word Himyar is a synonym for dark or dusky, indicating the racial origin of these ruling peoples of early Arabia.
The Black Ethiopians were renowned international maritime traders of the ancient times. In the 1st century BC the coastal Himyarites, with control of the sea routes, established their dominion over Saba, and over the other south Arab kingdoms during the 1st century AD. They effectively monopolized supply of both indigenous resins (frankincense and myrrh â€“ sought after by every temple of the ancient world) and imports of spice, textiles and ivory from India and East Africa.
The Ethio-Yemenite/Himyarites were a highly cultured people, masters of engineering and architecture. They were also a highly literate society that exhibited a great love for literature and written records. The Himyaritic language had a written script which for the most part is lost, but the few discovered fragments of the script suggests that it is African in origin and character. Its grammar is almost identical with the written Semitic languages of Ethiopia.
According to older versions of the Encyclopedia Britannica: “The institutions of Yemen bear a close resemblance to African types. The inhabitants of Yemen, Hadramaut, Oman and the adjoining districts, in the shape of the head, colour, length and slenderness of limbs and scantiness of hair, point to an African origin.” Even in these modern times, these Himyarites (Yemenites) still identify culturally with the Black (so-called sub-saharan) people of African Ethiopia. Arabia Kush and Arabia Musri
Even today, it is accepted that a common tread of language, culture, religion and physical human type occur in the Arabia as well as East Africa. Hack writers and imperialists intelligentsia have tried to explain away these very phenomena because they destroy the foundation of their racialist assumptions. Yet, some obnoxious racist historians and their unsupported lies cannot erase 50,000 years of African ownership of the Arabian Peninsula.
To further buttress the thesis of this article, it appears that they were two principalities in Arabia known as Kush or Ethiopia and Musri or Misraim. The two names are synonyms of very famous nations that existed in Africa from the dawn of time. Mizraim refers to Egypt whilst Kush refers to modern day Sudan and Ethiopia.
Ancient Assyrian, Greek, and Roman writers regularly referred to Arabia as part of Ethiopia populated by the same race of people. Assyrian, Greek and Roman texts also confirm that at least two Kingdoms of Arabia were denoted similarly as two of the most prominent undeniably African countries. Although not much is known about these principalities of Arabia Kush and Musri, there are sufficient snippets of information gathered from different ancient fragments including Assyrian text to give one an idea of these principalities.
In 1320 BC Shalmaneser I, began ruling Assyria. He subjugated many tribes and brought them within the political sway of Assyria. His records have him as having marched against the land of Musri (i.e. Arabia Musri or Mizraim also known as Arabia Egypt), in Northern Arabia. This is a clear reference to a polity in Arabia that shared certain deep connections with Egypt in Africa.
Assurbanipal a king of ancient Assyria also repeatedly spoke of his various successful expeditions into and conquests in the lands of Musri, Magan, Meluhha, and Kush in Arabia. This is another very important reference source on the existence of a Kushitic political establishment in ancient Arabia.
About 1120-1110 B.C. Tiglath-pileser I, became King of Assyria in place of his father Asshur-resh-ishi. Tiglath-pileser also recorded his exploits against the Musri or Mizraim of ancient Arabia. See “A Brief Overview Of Assyrian History From Early Beginnings To Sargon II” by Lishtar: Gateway
However one sees it, the ancient African Arabian connection cannot be escaped. In those days, it was the Black Africans that set the initiate and determined the agenda.
Their colonization of Arabia is obvious from the fact that they knew to name those settlements in Arabia after the names of the African regions from where they originated.
Important Kingdoms of Arabia
The two most important kingdoms of ancient Arabia were that of the Mineans and that of the Sabeans. An African Kushitic branch of people who migrated from Ethiopia established those two principalities and many others which we shall presently consider.
The Minean Kingdom seems to have flourished in southern Arabia as early as 1200 B.C., and from the various Minean inscriptions found in northern Arabia they seem to have extended their power even to the north of the peninsula. Their principal cities were Main, Karnan, and Yatil. The Sabeans, after two centuries of repeated and persistent attacks, succeeded in overthrowing the rival Minean Kingdom and thence became the central power in Arabia.
The memories of the Queen of Saba retainÂ some of the greatest national legends and inspirational themesÂ of the modern Ethiopian state. The Queen of Sheba was actually a real historical queen of Ethiopia known as Makeda. She was the founder of the last Ethiopian dynasty, which began with Menelik the First and ended with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in 1974. Her dynasty lasted for more than three thousand years and her name is etched in gemstones in Ethiopia.
Whereas the memory of Empress Makeda is so pervasive and dominant in Ethiopia’s historical and cultural consciousness, there is virtually no living memory of this great Empress in Yemen. People of Yemen have no living traditions on the Queen of Sheba nor of any dynasty based on this great Empress of Africa. Thus Ethiopia appears to be the more plausible center of her historical empire.
According to tradition, and the Kebra Negast, this Empress had inherited a farflung and powerful empire from her father Anagbo and built it to greater extents. Its reaches stretched from Arabia to India. Her capital was located on the Ethiopian mainland, and ruins of her palaces are top line tourist attraction for anyone who has ever visited Ethiopia.
Sheba/Saba appears to have been one of her principalities that was established in Arabia. It also served as a major trade center for the caravan route.
Without doubt, the Sabans were as black-skinned as the Ethiopians whom the Greeks thought were the blackest people in the world. The Shebans were an Ethiopian people, who had long lived in fertile parts of the Arabian Peninsula close to the coast of their African homeland. Sheba was as much a part of Ethiopia as Scotland is a part of Britain.
The Sabean, or Himyaritic, Kingdom (the Homeritae of the classics) is thought to have become increasing independent of Ethiopia and to have flourished either contemporaneously (D. H. Mueller) or after (Glaser, Hommel) the Minean Kingdom.
Its administrative center was Marib (the Mariaba of the Arabian classics) famous for its dam, the breaking of which is often mentioned by later Arabic poets and traditions as the immediate cause of the fall of the Sabean power. Saba, however was still prominent till about 300 A.D., when it was regained by the African Ethiopians.
A third kingdom was that of Kataban, another Black African established principality, which gave rise to the modern Oman. The capital of Kataban was named Timna and was located on the trade route which passed through the other kingdoms of Hadramaut, Saba and Ma’in.
The chief diety of the Katabanians was Amm, probable connected with Ammon or Amun the chief God of Ancient Egypt and the people called themselves the “children of Amm” hence the modern day Arabic name Oman a cognate of the name Ammon.
Oman is one of those Gulf States still predominantly African in phenotype despite years of miscegenation. The Katabans were shrewd international traders of spices and perfumed which were primarily sourced from Ethiopia and Mozambique.
Together with their neigbours in Hadramut and Saba and Ethiopia, Kataban was known as the land of spices. The Sabeans destroyed the Katabanian state, with its capital, Timna, around the second century after Christ.
Hadramut and Habashah
A fouth Kingdom, Hadramaut, is also a very closely connected with Ethiopia and Somalia. Ethiopian/Kushitic Arabs built another kingdom called Habashah. The nexus between Habashah and Ethiopia is demonstrated by the fact that in Ethiopia there is a tribe of people known as Habashah who are kindred to the Habashas of South Arabia.
Tradition holds that the Ethiopian Habashah crossed over to Yemen and established the principality of Yemeni Habashah. These two Habashahs still maintain very close cultural links and there is virtually no difference between the Habashahs of Arabia and the Habashahs of Ethiopia.
The African Axumites and the Black Arabs:
The land of Punt was recognized by the ancient Egyptians as the land of the gods, of spices of incense and sweet perfumes. It was said the gods loved to be in that land due to its aromatic pungency. Punt was in those days the most prolific and ancient source of spices and incense. Punt was not only a sacred land it was also a country of great wealth which came from its ancient maritime trade through which it supplied incense and spices to the world.
The land of Punt was said to be located somewhere in the current modern state of Ethiopia. It was located just across the Red Sea close to the Bab-El-Manden. It was peopled by Black African Kushites. Many principalities rose on the surge of itâ€™s pre-eminence.
One must note that Axum was neither the first nor the greatest Ethiopian civilization. Adulis (a famous sea-port of great antiquity), for instance had an older existence than Axum. Moreover, there are archaeological discoveries illustrating pre- Axumite civilization and culture, located at Coloe (some 20 km from Adi Qeyih), Yeha (near Axum), Tokanda (near Coloe). Axum is an indigenous African civilization which harmoniously blends in the proto-Afro-Semitic cultural complex of Ethiopia with the Afro-Cushitic Ethiopian cultural strain.
The Cushitic/Semitic- Black African Axumites had long dominated the coastal Red Sea trade before the establishment of the first Black Arab principality. They had grown successful off the lucrative ancient trade in spices and perfumes. Frankincense and myrrh, cinnamon, precious stones and metals were indigenous to their country. International trade was second nature to them since Punt was one of the oldest, if not the oldest maritime capital of the world.
The civilizations of Ethiopia was characterized by the practice of agriculture via irrigation and terracing. Ethiopians had knowledge of wheat and barley long before 1000 B.C. Soft wheat cultivation was concentrated around the centers of Axum, Harar and Addis Ababa. “The farmers of Arwe used the plough and the hoe or digging stick to prepare their fields for cultivation.” From here the plough was taken to South Arabia. (Winters, 2006).
Moreover, the expertise developed by the Southern Arabian monumental stone builders could have only been worked out in Ethiopia because in Ethiopia was the nearest and the most abundant stone quarries of the region, whereas Arabia being mostly desert and coast had little source of natural stones. It is logical to assume that stone building traditions must have developed in a region that had abundant stones even though it may later have dispersed to outlaying areas.
The African Ethiopian-Axumites, began ruling parts of Himyar (e.g. the Tehama/Tihama district) way before 1000 B.C. although grudge-filled western historians with an agenda against Black Africans would only concede A.D. 378 as the beginning of the over lordship. Yet there is repletion of evidence suggesting Ethiopia’s historical overweening influence over Arabia.
According to Fattovich: during the late 2nd millennium BCE, a cultural complex arose in the Tihama region of Yemen and northern Ethiopia and Eritrea (specifically Tigray Region, central Eritrea, and coastal areas like Adulis). Based on the profusion of archeological, cultural and textual evidence an African origin has been posited. (Fattovich, Rodolfo 1997)
By 525, when the Black Ethiopian Axumites regained dominance in Arabia, overthrew the upstart Himyarite power, and destroyed its fledging ambition, Ethiopia-Axum was entering into its waning period of political dominance in the region.
In 568 the Black Ethiopian-Axumites were lost their political dominance in Arabia. Political power became more localized and the native Yemenites gradually replaced the Ethiopian aristocracy. Eventually this nascent kingdom was again conquered by the Persians, and it became a vassal kingdom of the Persian Empire until the year 634, when it was absorbed, together with all the other Arabian States, by the Mohammedan conquest.
To be continued.
January 22, 2007