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CrazyFruits » WELCOME TO CRAZY FRUITS BOOK CLUB » LIMBA KING: Almamy Suluku of Sierra Leone, C.1820-1906

LIMBA KING: Almamy Suluku of Sierra Leone, C.1820-1906

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BOBmarleyADMIN

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Almamy Suluku was a powerful Limba ruler who maintained his independence as long as possible through brilliant political
manoeuvring.
He was the son of Sankailay, chief of the Biriwa country, with its capital of Bumban, near modern Kamabai. As a young man, Suluku became the Kurugba, or war captain; and under his military leadership, Biriwa became one of the largest kingdoms in Sierra Leone. Suluku was crowned Gbaku (King) over a kingdom that now covered almost ten percent of the Sierra Leone hinterland.
But Suluku was not satisfied with territory alone, and he set out to make his country wealthy as well. He fostered the trade in gold, ivory, hides, and foodstuffs that passed through Bumban on the way southwest to Freetown; and he gave effective police protection to the traders in his realm. His progressive rule impressed the British administration in Freetown, which sent him annual gifts throughout the 1880s. When Samori Toure's Mandinka forces occupied Biriwa in 1884, Suluku pretended to co-operate while sending urgent messages to the British warning of a disruption in trade if the Mandinka did not withdraw. The British accepted Suluku's arguments, persuading the Mandinka to leave Biriwa country. Thus, while other Sierra Leonean kings suffered costly defeats in futile military resistance, Suluku managed to have his way through political strategy alone.
In the 1890s, as British power increased, Suluku pursued his own independent policy.   He sent frequent messages of friendship to the British Governor and entertained royally every British delegation that arrived in Bumban, but did exactly as he pleased. 


When the 1898 Rebellion broke out, Suluku sent warriors and weapons to Bai Bureh; but when the British complained, he sent them a letter expressing his support for their position and offering his services as mediator After the Protectorate was established, the British wanted to break up Suluku's kingdom into small chiefdoms,  but Suluku's subjects refused to cooperate as long as the old Gbaku was still alive. When he was very aged, a British official asked Suluku to name his successor under the new and tightly controlled colonial  structure. The old Gbaku's reply: "Suluku will never die".

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Almamy Suluku of Sierra Leone, c.1820-1906: Dynamics of Political Leadership in Pre-colonial Sierra Leone

pimpdom


Nice article on the zumba king. I definately will read the book.

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