Makouria , Makkourai , Makuria

Makouria , Makkourai , Makuria (c 569-1400) was a Nubian Christian Kingdom located between the third and fifth cataract. Dongola was the capital of Makouria.


According to one source, Makouria converted to Monophysite Christianity in 569 or 579, but recent scholarship place doubt on the date. After conquering Egypt, Arabs in 642 tried to conquer Christian Makouria but were thwarted. In 652, they attempted another attack. Out of this attack came the Baqt Treaty ,which removed Nubia from the dar al-harb or states at war with Islam. In return, Nubia sent 300 slaves per year to Egypt. 

In 1276, Makouria was invaded by Mamluk Egypt. King Shekenda was forced to accept Mamluk Egypt's overlordship. The Baqt Treaty was strictly enforced and the paying of the Jizyah or poll tax. At this time, we see some commoners and the members of the royal family convert to Islam. After 1276, Mamluk Egypt would invade Makouria seven times, interfering with dynastic dispute, supporting individuals that upheld the Baqt Treaty. In 1323, Banu Alkanz, an Arab tribe took over the throne of Makouria in Dongola. The bulk of Makouria's population continued to be Christian, at least for a century.

Having a muslim leader did not bring dynastic stability. Much dynastic intrigue continued within the kingdom. Nomadic Juhayna Arabs, having been expelled from Egypt moved southward and overrun Nubia, further hurling Makouria into chaos. The kingdom eventually dissolved as a political unit. Juhayna Arabs marrying Nubian women were able to transfer land to their sons--inheritance was matrilineal. By 1406, Makouria was non-existent.

Political organization

The kingdom was run by individuals with the Byzantium titles domestikos, protodomestikos, meizon, protomeizoteros, and primikerius, but function is not known. The king owned all commerce. Makouria never printed coins. Vassal kingdoms existed and ruled by the king. In the Eigth Century, Nobatia became part of Makouria. Nobatia was ruled separately by an eparch assigned by the king. Initially, sons inherited the throne of their father(patrilineal), but later, during the 11th Century, the line of descent switch to Nubian traditional matrilineal descent or king to nephew (king's sister's son).

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