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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - African Anthropologist
Title A Concise Historical Survey of the Bamum Dynasty and the Influence of Islam in Foumban, Cameroon, 1390-Present
Author(s)
Volume 16
Issue 1&2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 69-92
URL https://www.ajol.info/index.php/aa/article/viewFile/87547/77226
Abstract
The Bamum (locally pronounced Pamom) are found in the Western
Province of the Republic of Cameroon and occupy principally the
Noun Division. The present Bamum population is composed of
people from two different backgrounds. The dominant ones are the
people of Sudanic origin who broke away from the Tikar, at Rifum
and then moved southwards to Njimom, and finally to their present
site of settlement. There are also those of Bamileke origin who were
found living in the present-day Bamum country and who were
conquered and partially assimilated by the Bamum invaders.
Foumban,1
the capital of the Bamum Kingdom, is without doubt the
cultural showpiece of traditional civilisation in the Republic of
Cameroon. Since its foundation, the Bamum Kingdom has gone
through an excitingly creative evolution. Bamum is one of the rare
African kingdoms to have invented an indigenous writing system
of its own, as well as a printing press and a machine for grinding
grain. With the advent of colonialism, Bamum was one of the
kingdoms in Cameroon that collaborated closely with the German
colonisers. In this way, the Bamum were permitted so much
autonomy that the incidence of colonialism only slightly upset the
traditional structure of the society until 1916 when the French
replaced the Germans.
The prime objective of this article is to investigate how Islam
changed the lifestyle of the Bamum. It also takes a close look at the
activities of early Bamum kings, especially the outstanding
achievements of Sultan Njoya and a detailed investigation into the
influence of Islam in the Bamum Kingdom. The article argues strongly
that Islam has influenced the political, economic, social, religious
and cultural life of the Bamum.

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