Kingdom of Bamum

Bamum Kingdom was an african Kingdom located in the grassland of western Cameroon.


Bamun Kingdom was founded by Prince Nshare who with his two other brothers fled the Kingdom of Tikar to form their own kingdom, during the 1600s. Nshare conquered the Mban people and declared himself king and founded a new kingdom and people, the Bamun. He established the kingdom's capital  at Fumban. The king would have very large harems, producing a large royal family. King Mbuembue expanded the kingdom's territory. 

Organization and Economy

The king beared the title of mfon or fon. The nobility called kom ngu ruled over the land and rented its use to others for a percentage of produce. Later, land owned by nobles would be farmed by slaves called kpen. Slaves were war captives. Numerous secret societies existed like the ngiri, for princes and mitngu for the general population. The kingdom imported raffia indigo royal cloth called ntieya from Hausaland, cotton cloth, salt, and copper. Bamum was engaged in much farming and mild slave trading.

Colonial Period

The Germans arrived in 1902. King Njoya was the ruler at that time. Under King Njoya, the Bamum Script was constructed and the kingdom converted to islam. The relationship between the Germany and the kingdom was mutually beneficial. The French took over after World War I and tried to destroy the Kingdom. They exiled King Njoya. Njoya died in exile. His son Njimoluh(1933-1992) inherited the throne and preserved much of the heritage of the Bamun, including all sacred relics discarded by the French.

Works Cited

California Academy of Sciences. Africa, One Continent Many World. Who are the Bamum? -retrieved 13-4-2011
Ashante, Molefe K. and Mazama, Ama(2009).Encyclopedia of African Religion. Sage, ISBN1412936365, 9781412936361