African Senufo Copper and Brass Amulet Ring with crocodile. West Africa 1890s

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African Senufo Copper and Brass Amulet Ring with crocodile. West Africa 1890s

Size 8.5

The Senufo people, also known as Siena, Senefo, Sene, Senoufo, and Syénambélé, are a West African ethnolinguistic group. They consist of diverse subgroups living in a region spanning the northern Ivory Coast, the southeastern Mali and the western Burkina Faso. One sub-group, the Nafana, is found in north-western Ghana.

The Senufo people emerged as a group sometime within the 15th or 16th century. They were a significant part of the 17th to 19th-century Kénédougou Kingdom (literally "country of the plain") with the capital of Sikasso. This region saw many wars including the rule of Daoula Ba Traoré, a cruel despot who reigned between 1840 and 1877. The Islamisation of the Senufo people began during this historical period of the Kénédougou Kingdom, but it was the kings & chiefs who converted, while the general Senufo population refused. Daoula Ba Traoré attempted to convert his kingdom to Islam, destroying many villages within the kingdom such as Guiembe and Nielle in 1875 because they resisted his views. The Kénédougou dynastic rulers attacked their neighbors as well, such as the Zarma people and they in turn counterattacked many times between 1883 and 1898.

The pre-colonial wars and violence led to their migration into Burkina Faso in regions that became towns such as Tiembara in Kiembara Department. The Kénédougou kingdom and the Traoré dynasty were dissolved in 1898 with the arrival of French colonial rule.