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Discovering The Lost Assyrian Colony In Kebbi, Nigeria, In Africa

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Discovering The Lost Assyrian Colony In Kebbi Nigeria In Africa

Assyrians have contributed to modern human civilization and development. Their civilization gave birth to the first types of writing (cuneiform), the first complete libraries, astrology, irrigation, and combat strategies. Outside of Mesopotamia, commonly known as the “Cradle of Civilization,” the Assyrians were able to exert control over huge expanses of land.

Through the Neo Assyrian Empire, Asia Minor, Persia, the Levant, and Egypt were encompassed. Internal strife accompanied the empire’s rapid expansion. Within the empire, civil conflicts, usurpations, and rebellions shattered the empire. Nineveh, the empire’s capital, would eventually fall to a Babylonian-led coalition in 612 BC.

Kanta National Museum, Argungu, Kebbi State. Photo: Kanta National Museum Argungu
Kanta National Museum, Argungu, Kebbi State. Photo: Kanta National Museum Argungu

Surviving Assyrian refugees who had not already been enslaved and subdued escaped to western Africa after the fall of Harran in 609 BC. Around 600 BC, a group of Assyrians settled in Kebbi, which is today the Nigerian state of Kebbi.

During the fall of the Neo Assyrian Empire, refugees embarked on a potentially years-long trek that left a trail. They marched from Upper Mesopotamia across the Levant, Egypt, and the interior of Africa to modern-day Nigeria. Although it is unknown whether Kebbi was the city’s old Assyrian name, it has been used as the name for the modern state for thousands of years.

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The migration of Assyrians to Kebbi from Nineveh. Map by Dierk Lange JSTOR.
The migration of Assyrians to Kebbi from Nineveh. Map by Dierk Lange JSTOR.

According to archeological records and documents found in the Hausa state of Kebbi, the city’s history began with the capture of Assyrian refugees from Mesopotamia. The archaeological tablets demonstrate that the cities of Kabawa and Madayana, which were mentioned repeatedly by many tribes, were indeed the historical Assyrian cities of Assur and Nineveh.

The papers also provide the names of 33 Near Eastern kings. It is devoid of any African kings, emphasizing the Assyrian migration’s beginnings in West Africa. The names of monarchs from the Akkadian Period to the late Neo-Assyrian Period are listed in chronological sequence.

The last Assyrian monarch, Ashur-uballit II, and the founder of the Neo Babylonian Empire, Nabopolassar, are both referenced in the texts, which verifies the Assyrian migration. Though Egyptian and Sudanese sources prominently portray Assyrian history in Africa, the history of Kebbi demonstrates their tremendous influence and that their civilization flourished in Africa.

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