Histoire Des Rois Bamoun

New Museum of Palais Des Rois Bamoun

THE BAMOUN SULTANATE

GEOGRAPHY

The sultanate is located in the western province of the Republic of Cameroon, Central Africa. The sultanate sits 1,200 meters above sea level in the rich volcanic highlands of the Adamawa plateau region. It is bounded by four rivers on he north by Mapé ; on the south by the Njâ ; on the east by the Ripa , and on the by the NOUN.

The mountainous relief, moderate average temperature of 21°C (70°F), and the lush vegetation, make the sultanate one of Cameroon’s most pleasant habitats.

There are two main seasons in the region: the dry season from mid-November to mid-March, and the rainy season, from mid March to mid November. Some of the country’s most fertile soils are found within the sultanate. The land is composed of 20% permanent crops, 20% meadows/pastures, 10% forest/woods, 45% arable land, and 5% land for various uses. The capital city of the sultanate; Foumban, is the trade hub for locally produced handicrafts and in the shipping and processing center for the grown in the area.

The sultanate has a total area of 7.625 Km².


One of many panoramic views of the sultanate

Accessibility

The Bamun sultanate in easily accessible by air and by road. By air it is 35 minutes from Douala , the largest city in Cameroon , and 40 minutes from Yaoundé , the capital city .The Koutaba airfield is just 20 Km from Foumban !.by road, the sultanate in 354Km from Douala and 404 Km from Yaoundé. The roads are paved and are kept up in fairly good condition.

People

Of the 950,000 inhabitants of the sultanate, the indigenous Bamun people make up 92% of the population and various other ethnic groups make up the remaining 8%. Agricultural activities, the production of handicrafts, and livestock rising are the main occupation of the people.

Languages

English and French are the two official languages of the Republic of Cameroon. Bamoun is widely spoken in the sultanate by more than 90% of the population.

18th Century Palace Built By Sultan Ibrahim Njoya (Foumban)

Old Palace of Foumban

Founded around 1394 by NSHARE YEN, Tikari Prince from RIFUM (Tikari plain, Adamoua Province – Cameroon), the Bamoun Kingdom has known a succession of 19 kings till today among whom two women. This kingdom has considerably been enlarged under the reign of King MBUEMBUE, the eleventh of the dynasty who extended the boundaries of his Kingdom to the rivers Noun, Mapé , Njâ, Ripâ, after submitting around fifty chiefdoms.

King NJOYA, the 17th introduced various innovations and inventions in the Kingdom such as the invention of a script in 1896, the invention of a corn-mill in 1913, the construction of a munificent Palace in FOUMBAN and MANTOUM etc…

Remaining animism until 1896, the beginning of the introduction of monotheists religions Islam and Christianity, the Bamoun Kingdom has nowadays a population made of 80% Muslims and 20% Christians and other religious denominations.

It will be very interesting to know how this people conservative of his rich culture, traditions and ancestral values finally went from animism to Islam and Christianity.

A few hundred metres south of the palace is the Musée des Arts et des Traditions Bamoun. This extensive collection has exhibits on Bamoun history and art, including cooking implements, musical instruments, pipes, statues, masks, gongs and an ornately carved xylophone.

Natural Resources / Economy

The economy of the sultanate is dependent primarily on its agriculture and timber resources. The principal commercial crops are coffee, corn, peanuts, and string beans. Arabica and Robusta coffee being the leading agricultural export commodities. Subsistence crops grown in the area include plantains, bananas, cassavas, and yams.
The unit of currency of Cameroon is the CFA Franc, consisting of 100 centimes ($1USD = 620 frs CFA ). France, the United States, and the Netherlands are leading partners for exports; France and Germany are leading partners for imports.



Late Sultan Ibrahim NJOYA 17th Ruler of the Bamun Kingdom


Sultan Ibrahim NJOYA 17th Ruler of the Bamun Kingdom introduced Islam to his people in the early 1900’s. Sultan NJOYA was able to foresee the importance and force of written language and thus created an alphabet for the Bamun language. He was praised by his fellow African people as true leader and true source of wisdom. Sultan NJOYA built the Royal Palace in Foumban that today houses a “living museum”



Catholic Mission Foumban

Catholic Mission Foumban


They decided to abandon Christianity in favour of Islam which also asked him to stop drinking wine and alcohol because it is forbidden by the Coran. King NJOYA exclaimed himself: « who are these men? The first one asked me to repudiate my wives. The second is now asking me to stop drinking my good wine. From today I am neither a Muslim nor a Christian ».

What is interesting is that after rejecting these two religions, NJOYA did not go back to animism. This happened at the end of the year 1916, end of the First World War, GERMAN were vanquished and were to be replaced in FOUMBAN by French or British. NJOYA asked himself about the religion of newcomers. The told him that they were also Christians. King NJOYA, who believed that the power of a people comes from its God, could not understand why French, Christians, vanquished German, Christians too. For him, they supposed to have and equal power. Few times after, NJOYA was informed that the First World War has been worn by the Allied, among who were Muslims soldiers from Asia. NJOYA then deducted that the power of French in this war comes from the alliance of the God of Muslims and the God of Christian.

He finally decided to create his own religion. He went into the Bible and selected all what was favourable for him and did same with Coran. It was a syncretism. He used his alphabet and wrote his own Bible called “Nwet-Nkwete” (Follow and meet). Finally in-between 1917 and 1978 he adopted Islam for himself and a free choice between Islam and Christianity for his people. He opened Coranic School in FOUMBAN. His children NJIMOLUH Séidou, Nji YERIMA Jean, Nji Aboubakar SINE and others were the first students. It should be recalled that Catholicism got into Bamoun Kingdom in 1917, with the arrival of French.

Central Mosque in Foumban



Peacefull Cohabitation of Religions in Bamoun People

The Bamoun Kingdom has ever been opened for all religions. That is why today in this Kingdom, we notice the presence of various religions. Islam and its tendencies, Christianity also. All these religions and their tendencies have a peaceful cohabitation in The Kingdom. What is in favour of this cohabitation?

The pride of being Bamoun, pride which gives a lot of grieve to a Bamoun to be separated from certain fundamentals values of his tradition. Among these values, the family is more important. All bamoun families are mixed up with Christians and Muslims. There is almost no bamoun family in which you can not fine a Christian or a Muslim. The primacy of family over religion is one of the greatest assets to this peaceful cohabitation. It is important to note that NJOYA‘s mother was a Christian bearing the name of Elisabeth. And never did they have any dissension. . The maternal family of the current King Ibrahim MBOMBO NJOYA is Christian. It is the same for almost all the Bamoun families.

Religions came into the Kingdom as a light. Bamoun people had that vision of brushing up some aspects of the tradition while conserving its fundamentals values which are common to all the Bamouns, be them Christians or Muslims. These values fostered tolerance in Bamoun Kingdom.

Presentation of the Bible translated into Bamoun Language by Rev Pastor Peshandon to Sultan El Hadj Seidou Njimoluh Njoya

Bible in Foumban



About the Bamoun Kindom

Bamoun Kingdom is leaded by a person called Sultan, King of the Bamoun. Why, two titles for one person. Exactly because Sultan is a religious title giving to the chief of a Muslim Community. The leader of the Bamoun Kingdom, El-hadj Ibrahim MBOMBO NJOYA is the supreme chief of Islam in his Kingdom. that is why he bears the title of Sultan. This kingdom has a population of 80% Muslim and 20 % Christian and others. He is the leader of everyone. That is why he also bears the title of King which pleased to his subjects Christians.

What does this leader do to improve and preserving this peaceful cohabitation of religion in his Kingdom?

Every December 24th of the year, he is at the Catholic mission for the mess of mid-night with his subjects Catholics. The next day December 25th, he is at the Protestant Temple with is subjects Protestants. Every Friday and Muslims feast he is with his coreligionists. This is to tell his People that God is neither Muslim nor Christians and there is no need to hate each other for the cause of God. His actions do not end only to the moral and spiritual assistance. He also encourage materially the improve Gospel and Islam in his Kingdom.

If we see all what is happening nowadays in the world, peoples murdering others for the reason of religions, we can think that the situation in Bamoun Kingdom is a full School. For the Bamoun, what is important is mankind which occupies the first plan in everything.

The life in society is no possible if Men are not tolerant each other. So, for the Bamoun the good worship for God is the worship for love no matter our discrepancies.

Government

The Republic of Cameroon is governed by his Excellency, Paul BIYA, president of the Republic, Chief of State and Commander of the Armed Forces. Paul BIYA, Head of State since 1982, was re-elected in 1997 for another seven-year term A 1996 amendment to the constitution extended the president’s term from five years to seven years, and introduced a two-term limit).

The Bamun Sultanate is an integral part of the Republic of Cameroon .The present Sultan, El-Hadj Ibrahim MBOMBO NJOYA, held several ministerial positions in the Republic from 1957 until 1992 when he was chosen to succeed his father, the late Sultan Seidou NJIMOLUH NJOYA. Sultan Ibrahim MBOMBO NJOYA is very close to President BIYA, with whom he maintains a very good political relationship. Today, the Sultan is one of the most influential members of the political bureau of the Cameroon ruling party, the C.P.D.M (Cameroon People Democratic Movement).




Introduction of Religions in Bamoun Kingdom

From 1394 to 1889, sixteen Kings ruled the Bamoun KINGDOM. Around 1889, following the death of its 16th King NSANGOU, the son NJOYA has been enthroned at a very low age. His age was estimated at 9 or 12 years old. His mother NJAPNDOUNKE was entrusted with the duty of the regency, when in between time, one of the greatest Notable GBETNKOM NDOMBOUO started a war against the young King in odder to usurp the throne. The war was very hard for the young King who finally decided to call for the help of the « Emir » of YOLA (Nigeria) . It should be recalled that he knew him since the reign of his father NSANGOU trough the commercial link between them and knew that the people of YOLA was made of very strong horsemen who could be useful for him.

The Lamido of BANYO who was under the « Emirate » of YOLA sent a cavalry in help to NJOYA. Together with the loyalists of NJOYA, they overcome the enemy in a short time. Very surprised, NJOYA asked them to reveal to him the secret of their power. They told NJOYA that their power comes from their believing in ALLAH the God of Islam in whom when you believe, you become always stronger. NJOYA then decided to abandon animism and convert to Islam. It was the first introduction of Islam in Bamoun Kingdom around 1896.

Later in 1902, the first Germans got into the Kingdom. In 1906, King NJOYA decided to go for a war against the Banso people (North West Cameroon). This time, the people from Banyo went away and He decided to ask for the help of Germans. During this war, NJOYA discovered that Germans were stronger than the people of BANYO. He will say: « the God of German is stronger than the one of BANYO people”. When he asked German about their God, they said their God is Jesus Christ. NJOYA then decided to abandon Islam and convert to Christianity in search of more power. He beards the name of Abraham. That was the introduction Christianity (Protestantism) in Bamoun Kingdom. Somme years later, NJOYA asked to be baptised but the Pastor told him that a good Christian can only have one wife. NJOYA who was a polygamous with almost a hundred wives was embarrassed, his Notables also.

Protestant Church of Foumban (Ndambansie)





About The Current King

Sultan Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya

Sultan Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya was born on October 27, 1937 in Foumban, by His majesty NJIMOLUH SEIDOU and Noh Lantana. Between 1970 and 1974 he was Ambassador of Cameroon in Equatorial Guinea, then held the same position in Egypt. After 1980, he held several ministerial posts in Cameroon until he was enthroned after his father's death on 10 August 1992 as a Sultan and King of Bamoun.

The young prince actually starts during the first decade after independence, when he was twenty. He held the post of first secretary of state to 1960 information to 1961. Subsequently, he was Director of the Office of the Minister of Armed Forces (1961-1964), then General Commissioner for Youth, sports and education (1964-1965). From 1965-1970, Deputy Minister of Education, Culture Youth and Sports.

In 1970, fate IBRAHIM MBOMBO NJOYA lead in diplomacy where he will stay for about ten years. It is in turn appointed ambassador in Equatorial Guinea (1970-1974), then to Egypt (1974-1980).In 1980, he returned to government as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, but for a fleeting stay.

In January 1982, he was transferred to the post and telecommunications. It was during this year that President Ahidjo decided to step down in favor of his constitutional successor SE PAUL BIYA who in 1983 renewed its confidence to the young prince IBRAHIM MBOMBO NJOYA by appointing him Minister of Youth and Sports. NJI MBOUOMBOUO like Bamoun loved so well call it will gain popularity with the performance of the Indomitable Lions (National Football Team of Cameroon) during the African Cup of Nations in 1984 in Abidjan, announcing their future epic victory in the World Cup in 1990. He will manage this ministry for three good years.

1986 to 1988 he was Minister of Information and Culture and that of Territorial Administration (1988-1990). In 1990 he returned to the post of Minister of Youth and Sports, exercise control and proper management of the thing. When his father, His Majesty NJIMOLUH SEIDOU died July 27, 1992, the Prince went from NJI MBOUOMBOUO Minister Prince Sultan King of Bamoum that is the administration of a Minister, to that of an entire kingdom. For more informations about Sultan Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya click on the link below...












About Foumban Palace

The Royal Palace of Foumban in Cameroon is one of the oldest palace in the history of Africa in ancient times dating back from many centuries back. The Palace is located in the town of Foumban in the North-East of the Western Regional capital city of Bafoussam in the Republic of Cameroon.

The Royal Palace of Foumban is currently inhabited by the sultan (King), who is the 19th ruler of the Bamoun dynasty which dates back from the 14th century in history. The Palace was renovated and completed in 1917 after which the belongings of previous Sultans were arranged and kept for tourist attraction.

Foumban city is one of Cameroon’s major attractions and an important center of traditional African art. Some of the major important things found in the palace include a multitude of royal gowns, arms, musical instruments, statues, jewelry, masks and colorful bead-covered thrones carved in the shapes of the men who sat on them and seat of power for the Bamoun people.

Cameroon is noted on the African Continent of being sound and free for both travelers and tourist who will like to see new things satisfy their curiosity.

If you are planning of taking a tour to Cameroon, your ideal destination should be to see these wonderful things in the Palace of the Royals.

By Nji Oumarou NCHARE

ANY INFORMATION

Contact the following person’s below for any information regarding Sultanat Bamoun

Nji Oumarou NCHARE
Nji Oumarou NCHARE
Sultanat Bamoun
Dr. Fatimatou Poumie
Dr. Fatimatou Poumie
Ngoun 2016
MBOUOMBOUO ISSOFOU
Mbouombouo Issofou
Nouveau Musée



Don't miss any new event coming up