Mankon museum
Permanent exhibition
Mankon Kingdom or Ala’Mankon
History
Art and Power
Art and Society
Patronage, Clientèle, Exchanges and Artistic Relations
Creativity, Artists and Craftsmen
Mankon, itineraries of collective memory.
Informations

History

The Bamenda region including Mankon has been continuously occupied for at least 6,000 years. The history of the kingdom related by oral tradition (often more mythical than historical and also contradictory) can be divided into a first obscure period which ended in the 16th/17th centuries and a second better-known period going from the 17th century to the present. About fifteen human groups have contributed to the formation of the Mankon. They came from all different parts, in particular from the Mbam valley (especially for the royal clan and the associated elements passing successively through the Nkambe plateau, Bamumkumbit in the Ndop plain, the Bamileke and Bangwa region, Ntarinkon and Ala’nkyi) and the Widekum region, according to one of the many traditions collected.

In the 17th century, seven main political clans divided into several lineages were already settled in the region. Previously they had conquered and assimilated other pre-established populations, then formed the great « Ala’mankon » community, organized into small « chefferies/chieftaincies/fondoms » and autonomous clans before their unification under the leadership of a council of notables and a single fon (around the royal clan having imposed itself on the others) at a date which is for the time being difficult to establish. The 18th and 19th centuries (until the arrival of the Europeans) are marked by wars of expansion and consolidation of the power of the fon of Mankon; the enrichment of the kings and notables building up great treasures thanks to the development of regional trade; the fight against several neighbours, including the Nkwen, Bafut, Meta and Bali-Nyonga; the fairly frequent changes of the royal residence (Ala’nkyi, Fumdju, Fo zan, present location); the establishment of a solid confederation under the command of the king of Mankon; the integration at times by force of new foreign lineages.
  A view of the Ala'nkyi shrine, site of the first royal palace of the Mankon kingdom

In 1891, Mankon (allied with Bafut) opposed German penetration. This meant war. The battle of Mankon involved some fifteen thousand fighters for the two opposing sides.

The German troops were commanded by the explorer Zintgraff and German officers, with the support of their allies Bali-Nyonga and associated “chefferies/chieftaincies/fondoms”.

Thanks to the remarkable military strategy of King Angwafo II, the Mankon inflicted a scorching defeat on the attackers who lost almost 2000 men, including 4 German soldiers.

A new attack against Mankon in 1895 was not successful and it was not until the third war in 1901 that Mankon was finally defeated and peace re-established.

Road passing through the plaza of the second palace of the Mankon kingdom  

During World War I (1914-1918), Germany lost Cameroon, which was divided into two. The eastern part of the Grassland was placed under French administration while the western part (North-West Grassland including Mankon) went to the British. On independence, the young Cameroon integrated the two parts of the territory, respectively in 1960 and 1961. The Mankon and their kings played an active role in the emancipation of Cameroon and the Grassland. Throughout history, the kings and notables of Mankon built up considerable treasures, including works produced locally and others of different origins. But colonial wars, fires and looting have destroyed many pieces of these collections.

  Fon Angwafo III at the Unity Palace with Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, 1994

     
     
     
     
   
     

Raffia staff with turacco feather (fumban)

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