As I already told you about Nubia, and the Meroitic civilization which dominated Egypt for over 3 centuries, I also have to add that there are more pyramids in Nubia, modern-day Sudan, than in the whole of Egypt. Remember the great queen Amanishakheto and King Taharqa who ruled over Egypt.
Enjoy the video below, made by a BBC journalist to get acquainted with Sudan’s rich history and pyramids!
What comes to mind as you say the name of the capital of Sudan, Khartoum? Well, for me, I imagine the great Nubian Empire with its queen Amanishakheto or King Taharqa; I imagine big sand dunes, and of course history… so much history, the history of one of the greatest African kingdoms, one which dominated ancient Egypt for centuries. So how far am I from the real meaning of the name Khartoum?
The origin of the word, “Khartoum“, is uncertain. There are many interpretations. One of them states that the name khartoumis derived from the Arabickhurṭūm(tusks, trunkor hose) for elephant tusks, or it could be referring to the narrow strip of land extending between the Blue and White Niles [not sure how trunk or hose could be thought to be a strip of land].
Captain J.A. Grant, who reached Khartoum in 1863 with Captain Speke‘s expedition, thought the name was most probably from the Arabic qurtum(قرطمsafflower, i.e., Carthamus tinctorius), which was cultivated extensively in Egypt for its oil to be used as fuel [not sure why a city in Sudan will be named for a plant which is cultivated in its neighbor’s country]. Some scholars speculate that the word may be derived from the Nubian word, Agartum (“the abode of Atum“), the Nubian and Egyptian god of creation. Other Beja scholars suggest “Khartoum” is derived from the Beja word, Hartoom(“meeting“). Additionally, the dream interpreting magicians in Genesis 41:8 are referred to as חַרְטֻמֵּ֥י (Khartoumei) [as you can see Black Africans are in the Bible everywhere].
So, which one of these interpretations is the most accurate?
The city as it is known today was established in 1821, 24 kilometers north of the ancient city of Soba, by Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Egypt‘s ruler, Muhammad Ali Pasha, who had just incorporated Sudan into his realm. Originally, Khartoum served as an outpost for the Egyptian Army, but the settlement quickly grew into a regional center of trade. It also became a focal point for the slave trade. Later, it became the administrative center of Sudan and official capital.
Khartoum is located in the middle of the populated areas in Sudan, and is part of the tri-cities composed of Khartoum proper, and linked by bridges to Khartoum North and Omdurman to the west, with an overall population of 5 million inhabitants. Khartoum and Sudan as whole, were the home of several ancient flourishing civilizations, such as Nubia, the Kingdom of Kush, Kerma, Nobatia, Alodia, Makuria, Meroë and others, most of which flourished along the Nile. During the pre-dynastic period Nubia and Nagadan Upper Egypt were identical, simultaneously evolved systems of Pharaonic kingship by 3300 BC. Khartoum is home to amazing museums, including the largest museum of Sudan, the National Museum of Sudan, where one can be immersed in the rich culture of Sudan and the different eras of its history. Among the exhibits are two Egyptian temples of Buhen and Semna, originally built by Queen Hatshepsut and Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, respectively, but relocated to Khartoum upon the flooding of Lake Nasser.
Well, if you visit Khartoum, don’t forget to visit the National Museum of Sudan, and learn of the great African civilizations that flourish there, reclaim your history, African history, and above all enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the people of Khartoum!
Great women are often left out of history. Rarely do we hear or read about African queens. It is already hard enough to read about great African men and leaders in history books, but as for African women… it is more like impossible. How many have heard of the great warrior queen of Nubia, Amanishakheto, who defeated a Roman army? Who has heard of this great queen whose pyramid/tomb was leveled to the ground by an Italian treasure hunter, Giuseppe Ferlini, in 1832? Who has heard of this woman who led her people with a strong arm, and built pyramids in Meroë? Who has heard of this great candace, whose daughter Amanitore, also queen of Nubia, is mentioned in the Bible (Acts 8:27) … yeah the Queen of Sheba is not the only African queen mentioned in the Bible!
Well, let me tell you about the great Candace (Kandake or queen) of Nubia (present day Sudan), Amanishaketo (also written Amanishaket, or Amanikasheto or Mniskhte in meroitic hieroglyphs) who reigned from around 10 BC to 1 AD. Candace Amanishaket was an extremely wealthy and powerful queen. She succeeded to Candace Amanirenas who was also a great warrior queen (and will be the subject of another post). She built considerable pyramids and temples at Wad Ban Naqa, where she was buried with great treasures. Her residence and several temples were based there. Her palace is one of the largest treasures identified at Wad ban Naqa. It was 61 m long, and covered an area of 3700 m2with the ground floor made up of over 60 rooms. The palace originally had a second floor as indicated by the remains of columns found on the ground floor, and may have contained an atrium or other structure. Inside Amanishakheto’s grave, the Italian treasure hunter Ferlini discovered an amazing quantity of golden artifacts such as armlets, necklaces. The treasure found (or what has been recovered) contained ten bracelets, nine shield rings, sixty seven signet rings, two armbands, and an extraordinary number of loose amulets and necklaces, especially made for queen Amanishakheto created by Nubian artists from her kingdom. Some of her treasures (stolen by Ferlini) are now on display at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, and at the Egyptian Museum of Munich.
Amanishakheto defeated a Roman Army sent by the first emperor of the Roman empire, Augustus, (who broke a peace treaty) to conquer Nubia. She was a strong, and powerful woman, and a great pyramid builder. Her tomb at Meroë was one of the largest ever built. She is often depicted on pyramid murals as a massive, powerful woman, covered with jewels, elaborate fringed, tasseled robes, and carrying weapons in one hand, preparing to lead her army against others. Enjoy the video below on Amanishakheto, the great warrior queen of Nubia, and do not forget to check out The Treasures of Queen Amanishakheto.
The general public is familiar with Egypt and the pharaohs, but is not so aware that there was a highly important, sophisticated, and independent ancient civilization in Nubia, which is south of Egypt in present-day Sudan. For over a century, Nubian pharaohs dominated Egypt, and their kingdom extended from Lake Chad and well into the middle east. The conquest of Egypt started with Pharaoh Piye of Nubia, and continued with Taharqa who launched the most audacious building campaign of any pharaoh since the New Kingdom (around 1500 B.C.). Under Taharqa, the capitals were Napata and Thebes, and Jebel Barkal the holy mountain.
Nubia is a kingdom with 3 times as many pyramids as Egypt. Their language still needs to be decoded, and archaeologists are searching for a Rosetta stone similar to that discovered by Champollion which allowed the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Nubians were well known for their military genius, and Egyptian pharaohs will sometime hire Nubian mercenaries to fight their battles. Theirs was a civilization of strong queens such as Amanishaket, and Amanitore. One of these queens Candace Amanirenas defeated the roman army of Augustus Caesar.