List of Mais (kings) of Kanem-Bornu

Kanem Empire


Sayfawa Dynasty

Dugu-c.785
Fune-c.835
Aritso-c.893
Katuri-c.942
Ayoma-c.961
Bulu-c.1019
Arki-c.1035
Shu-c.1077
Abd al-Djelfl-c.1081

1085 The kingdom converts to Islam under the influence of Zaghawa.

Hume-1085 - 1097
Dunama I-1098 - 1150
Biri I -1150 - 1176
Bikoru- 1176 - 1193
Abd al-Djel Selma 1193 - 1210
Dunama II Dabbalemi 1210 - 1224
Kade 1224- 1242
Kachim Biri-1242 - 1262
Djil-1262
Dari-1262 - 1281
Ibrahim I Nikale-1281 - 1301
Abdullah I-1301 - 1320

1314 Increased aggression from Egypt and internal discord leads to the collapse of the neighbouring kingdom of Dongola in Nubia.

Selma- 1320 - 1323
Kure Gana- 1323 - 1325
Kure Kura- 1326 - 1327
Mohammed I- 1327 - 1329
Idris I-1329 - 1353
Daoud -1353 - 1356
Othman I-1356 - 1369

1370 - 1389 Internal struggles and external attacks tear Kanem apart. Six mais reign in this period, but Bulala invaders (from the area around Lake Fitri to the east) kill five of them. This proliferation of mais results in numerous claimants to the throne and leads to a series of internecine wars.

Othman II- 1369 - 1371
Abu Bakr Lagatu-1371 - 1372
Idris Dunama III / Umar Idrismi-1372 - 1380 Moved the capital to Bornu.

c.1380 the Bulala force Mai Umar Idrismi to abandon Njimi and move the Kanembu people to Bornu on the western edge of Lake Chad.

Omar I-1380 - 1388
Sa'id-1388
Kade Alunu-1388 - 1389


Bornu Empire


Biri II- 1389 - 1421
Othman Kalinuama -1421 - 1422
Dunama IV 1422 - 1424
Abdullah II 1424 - 1432
Ibrahim II 1432 - 1440
Kadai 1440 - 1446
Dunama V 1446 - 1450
Mohammed II 1450 - 1451
Amarma 1451 - 1453
Mohammed III 1453 - 1458
Ghazi 1458 - 1463
Othman III 1463 - 1473
Omar II 1473 - 1474
Mohammed IV 1474 - 1479
'Ali Gazi 1479 - 1507
Idris II Katakarmabe 1507 - 1529
Mohammed V 1529 - 1544
'Ali I 1544 - 1548
Dunama VI 1548 - 1566
Abdullah III 1566 - 1573
Aissa Kili N'guirmamaramama 1573 - 1589 Queen.
Idris III Alaoma / Idris Aluma 1580 - 1617 The empire peaked at this time.
Mohammed VI Bukalmarami 1617- 1632
Ibrahim III 1632 - 1639
Hadj Omar 1639 - 1657

Mid-1600s, sustained by the reforms of Idris III (1580-1617), the empire now begins to fade.

'Ali II - 1657 - 1694
Idris IV - 1694 - 1711
Dunama VII - 1711 - 1726
Hadj Hamdan - 1726 - 1738
Mohammed VII -1738 - 1751
Dunama VIII Gana -1751 - 1753
'Ali III -1753 - 1793

late 1700s, Bornu's rule now extends only westwards, into the land of the Hausa of modern Nigeria.

Ahmad -1793 - 1808
Dunama IX Lefiami- 1808 - 1811
Mohammed VIII -1811 - 1814

1814 - 1846 When the semi-nomadic alliance of Muslim tribesmen take over the empire under Mohammed, the Sayfawas return to the old capital of Kanem under Dunama IX to remain titular monarchs.

Mohammed el Amin I 1814 - 1835 Non-Sayfawa dynasty ruler.
Dunama IX Lefiami 1814 - 1817  Sayfawa ruler restored at Kanem.
Ibrahim IV 1817 - 1846 Sayfawa ruler at Kanem.
Omar / Umar 1835 - 1853 Son of Mohammed.
'Ali IV Dalatumi 1846 Sayfawa ruler at Kanem. The last of the Sayfawas.

1846 Ali V takes part in a civil war in league with Ouaddai tribesmen. He is defeated by Omar and one of the longest ruling dynasties is ended. The title of mai is dropped for a more modest one.

Abdul Rahman 1853 - 1854
Omar 1854 - 1880
Bukara Kura 1880 - 1884
Ibrahim 1884 - 1885
Hashimi 1885 - 1893

1890 - 1893 The empire is conquered by Great Britain.

Muhammad el Amin II 1893
Sanda Limananbe Wuduroma 1893

1893 The Bornu empire is conquered following an invasion from eastern Sudan by a warlord.

Works Cited

The History Files. African Kingdoms. Chad. <http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsAfrica/AfricaChad.htm retrieved 19-Feb-2012>