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Chapter One Sudanese Style Mosques and their Little Known Relatives in Futa Toro (15th–mid 19th century)

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Chapter Summary

The body of documentation written by Arab geographers such as al-Bakri and al-Idrisi, 11th- and 12th centuries respectively, provides little in the way of architectural description in view of their primary interest in geography and trade. One of the reasons why the Europeans delayed exploration of the interior was the difficulty of sailing up the River Senegal due to strong currents and winds. 'Sudanese' style describes a fairly homogenous family of building technology using mud. The mosques of Futa Toro with their square plans and massive volume should therefore be viewed in the context of the combined mosque and fort. Defensive tatas derives from the Mande term, which designates a clay fence of a defensive character. The Futa Jallon in the highlands of Guinea received its wave of Fulbe Jihadists in the late 17th century when the Fulbe Confederacy was formed in Timbo.

Keywords:Arab geographers; defensive tatas; Fulbe Jihad; Futa Toro; Senegal; Sudanese style mosques



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