Tikar people

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Tikar
Tikar1.jpg
GAH II Ibrahim, the Chief of Bankim, standing near the crowned lake named "SEM SEM".
Total population
Possible over 1,000,000, less than 100,000 living in Cameroon
Regions with significant populations
 Cameroon 100,000 (possibly 1,000,000 in the Afrikan Diaspora)
Languages

Tikar Language

Religion

Islam Afrikan Spirituality

The Tikar People are a Cameroonian ethnic group that that are mostly concentrated 3 regions. The Western Region, the Adamawa region and the Northwest Region. They have a population reaching well into the hundreds of thousands. The Ma'afa had a particularly disastrous impact on them reducing their population from well into the millions to it's present day level of about 100,000.

History

The oral history, told by the Tikar Griots state that they originated in present day central Sudan, near the ancient kingdom of Kush. They also tell of another group that existed in Sudan at the same time that were the ancestors of the Fulani people of Nigeria today. During the great exodus of Afrikans from the Nile region, the Tikar moved from Sudan to present day Adamawa Region of Cameroon. They called the first village that they established “Ngambe”, which is in present day Bankim District. The Tikar intermarried with some of the groups that were there, shared technology and eventually built a thriving community. In time, a powerful king (known to them as Fon) rose amongst the Tikar that they were able to bring most of present-day northern and central Cameroon under their rule. After the death of the Fon, his three children, spread to different parts of the land and started new Tikar Fondoms.

Empire

At it's height, the Tikar Empire consisted of 15 separate communities, with Ngambe being the largest and most powerful of them. Each community was lead by a Fon, who supervised nobles, large farm producers, military leaders, merchants, and town leaders. All of the future leaders and noble people of the empire would come from Ngambe. The Tikar were very skilled at warfare due to the use of superior weapons, and the use of horses, which most Afrikans at the time did not use. The Tikar were well known for their sophistication in government, war, and the arts - including a bronze casting process for making masks.

Civilian Life

Most of the people who lived in the Tikar Society learned a trade from a particular caste of workers. Boys would generally learn a trade most likely is some form of creative arts, namely, craft-making, woodcarving, mask carving, music, dancing, acting, writing, and bronze sculpting. [1]

Map of Tikar Territory

Contact with europeans - Decline

The Tikar were so powerful, they controlled a vast network of trade routes between between the Hausa and Fulani lands to the north, in present-day Nigeria and the coastal lands to the south. Their wares were highly valued by those that they traded with. By 1800, because of such a high standard of living, their empire reached more than 1,000,000 people. With such a large population, the Tikar government was able to control many lands and people around the empire. Those non-Tikar peoples that lived in and around the empire were heavily taxed. Because these peoples no longer wanted to live under the rule of the Tikar Empire, many groups joined with europeans to fight against the empire. The europeans noticed several things about the Tikar that made them likely candidates for enslavement. They were known to be very quick learners that adapted to different circumstances, they had a very dense population, and finally, they were hated by the many ethnic and cultural groups that lived in and around their lands, which allowed them to become isolated. Sanctioned from trade the Tikar were never able to obtain the weapons of the time and were thus surrounded by enemies with superior abilities. europeans to the south-west, Hausa-Fulani to the north and various other small groups surrounding, they had to escape from their open grassland territories and move to smaller village groups that could be better protected. One strategy they utilized was digging moats around their villages, in order to keep outsiders out. This strategy didn't work so well and many Tikar were taken and enslaved on the plantations of the Americas.

Ma'afa

Being defeated by an alliance of many different Afrikans, and europeans, like so many other ethnic groups whole generations of the brightest, strongest and fittest people were snatched and shipped to the west. Being greatly crippled by the enslavement wars, the Tikar became very vulnerable to neighboring peoples, and their population and lands shrunk even more. Today there are less than 90,000 Tikar living in Cameroon, and they live in small isolated villages, separated from each other.

Tikar People Today

Tikar Mask

With such a massive depopulation, it's possible that more than 75% of the Tikar people are scattered throughout North America, South America, the Caribbean and europe. Because most Afrikans in the diaspora do not know where their ancestors came from, many exist without knowledge of their historical greatness and culture. Due to a rise in Afrikan Consciousness, and technology to assist, Tikar Diasporans are once again linking with their distant relatives on the Afrikan continent. In Cameroon, they are known for the great detail shown on their artifacts, such as masks, instruments and furniture. The children are also known for scoring amongst the highest grade in school.

notes

  1. http://www.sfu.ca/archaeology/museum/ndi/History.html
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