BAMBOUK (sometimes BAMBUK or BAMBUHU) is a traditional name for the
territory in eastern
Senegal and western
Mali , encompassing the
Bambouk Mountains on its eastern edge, the valley of the Faleme River
and the hilly country to the east of the river valley. It was a
formally described district in
French Sudan , but in 1895, the border
between Sudan and
Senegal was moved to the
Faleme River , placing the
western portion of the district within Senegal. The term is still used
to designate the region, but there is no formal administrative area
with that name.
According to Levtzion there were, "...three principal goldfields,
besides others of lesser importance: BAMBUK, between the
the Faleme rivers; BURE on the
Upper Niger ; and the AKAN goldfields
near the forest of the present republics of Ghana and the Ivory
Coast." He further states it may have been the "island of gold or
Wangara ...where alluvial gold was collected." "Wasteful methods
reduced the productivity of the goldfields...in the eleventh or
twelfth century, the Sudanese traders ventured southwards and opened
up the new goldfields of Bure on the Upper Niger, in the region of
The Diakhanke established Diakha-ba and became Muslim clerics for the
Malinke chiefs after Bambuk was conquered by the
Mali Empire in the
thirteenth century. According to Levtzion, "From their centre in
Bambuk, the Diakhanke spread to
Bondu , Kedougou , and Futa Djallon
and established new communities such as Niokhol and Dantilia - in
order to secure a monopoly over the trade with the Europeans."
The area was renowned as a major centre for gold mining from the 12th
until the 19th century, and some gold mining still takes place on the
Malian side of the border. It served as the home of the
in the 18th and 19th centuries before becoming a part of French Sudan
Bambouk is primarily home to the
Malinké people, and a distinctive
dialect of the
Maninkakan language is spoken there.
* ^ A B Levtzion, Nehemia (1973). Ancient Ghana and Mali. New York:
Methuen & Co Ltd. p. 155,168–169. ISBN 0841904316 .
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