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Wangara













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WANGARA, the Hausa name for the Mandingo, a people of West Africa; used also as the name of districts in the western and central Sudan. The Wangara are also known as Wangarawa, Wongara, Ungara, Wankore and Wakore.. According to Idrisi (writing in the 12th century), the Wangara country was renowned for the quantity and the quality of the gold which it produces. The country formed an island about 300 m. long by 150 in breadth, which the Nile (i.e. Niger) surrounded on all sides and at all seasons. This description corresponds fairly accurately with the tract of country between the Niger and its tributary the Bani. Idrisi's account of the annual inundation of the land by the rising of the Niger agrees with the facts. He states that on the fall of the waters natives from all parts of the Sudan assembled to gather the gold which the subsiding waters left behind. In the closing years of the 18th and the opening years of the 19th century the discoveries of Hornemann, Mungo Park and others revived the stories of Wangara and its richness in gold. Geographers of that period (e.g. Major Rennell) shifted the Wangara country far to the east and confused Idrisi's description with accounts which probably referred to Lake Chad. Gradually, however, as knowledge increased, the Wangara territory was again moved westward, and was located within the Niger bend. The name has now practically disappeared from the maps save that a town in the hinterland of Dahomey is named Wangara (French spelling Ouangara). Idrisi's account as to the richness in gold of the upper Niger regions has basis in fact; though the gold brought in considerable quantities to the European trading stations on the Gambia and Senegal in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries appears to have come largely from Bambuk.



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