ALTERNATE NAMES: Moose, Moshi, Mosi
LOCATION: Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire
POPULATION: 5 to 6 million in Burkina Faso, 1.2 million in Côte d'Ivoire
RELIGION: traditional religion (3 main components: creator, fertility spirits, ancestors)
The Rise & Fall of The Powerful Mossi Kingdoms
From the Kingdom of Kush to the Songhai Empire, Africa has an abundance of powerful pre-colonization empires and kingdoms. But none were more powerful than the Mossi Kingdoms. Sometimes referred to as the Mossi Empire, the nation ruled from 11th to 19th century in modern-day Burkina Faso and Ghana, and became one of the biggest and most powerful kingdoms in Africa.
The story of the Mossi Kingdoms is a complicated one with an amazing uprising and ruling of West Africa. Made up of a group of 20 states and kingdoms, the Mossi Kingdoms retained their independence until the arrival of the French upon its shores in 1896.
The Origin of The Mossi Kingdoms
Before colonization, the history of the Mossi Kingdoms was mostly told via oral stories. This made it almost impossible to assign precise dates to many events and periods. The kingdom began somewhere between the 11th and 15th centuries when a Mamprusi princess from Gambaga defied her father and married a hunter from an immigrant tribe. The couple had a son called Ouedraogo, who went on to conquer his grandfather's tribe and established the Mossi Kingdoms.
Source: Global Security[/caption]
Why Was the Kingdom So Powerful?
The Mossi Kingdoms were dominant as they consisted of five great kingdoms, including Ouagadougou, Tenkodogo, Fada N'gourma, and Zondoma and Boussouma. Each individual kingdom had domestic power and independence but shared family, military, and rituals with each other. Additionally, each kingdom was set up in a similar way and was made up of kings, ministers, and other officials.
Because the kingdom had so much land, they learned to master horses, which helped them to create a booming empire, and keep the peace throughout their land. In the 1400s, the Mossi Kingdom had grown powerful enough to go to war with other states including the Mali Empire and Islamic states like the Songhai kingdom and Sokoto Caliphate. Until the 1800s, Mossi kingdoms very famous for defied Arab and European slave trade and raids. Unfortunately, the expansion of the Mossi Kingdoms ended in the 19th century when the French colonized the area.
The French Conquest
In 1896, the French entered Mossi Kingdoms' ruled area and denounced the treaty of protection to conquer the land. By this time, the French had already conquered all kingdoms surrounding the Mossi Kingdoms, making it hard for the nation to win a losing battle. At the end of the fight, the French and British agreed on the boundary between their colonies.
The Mossi Kingdoms Today
Today, the majority of descendants of the Mossi Kingdoms live in Burkina Faso, with smaller groups living in Ghana and Ivory Coast, and has a growing population of approximately five million.
The story of the Mossi Kingdoms is one resilience, nerve, and power that was used to uplift African people. But at the end of the day, like many other African empires, fell victim to European domination.