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The Grassfields of Cameroon

 
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The Kings and Queens of the Bamum

Eighteen fon (FOHN), or kings and queens, have ruled the Bamum kingdom since it was founded in the late 1600s.

 Find out what some of the artists of the Bamum have thought about 6 of these fon.

 Nshare (hn-SHAH-ray) Ruled in the 1600s

"To become king of the Bamum people, Nshare had to wage successful wars against several neighboring kingdoms. As a military leader, he was intrepid and outstanding. Very generous, he also enjoyed dancing and drinking palm wine." 

  Nguepu (hn-GAY-poo) Ruled in the 1600s

"Nguepu became queen after Nshare's assassination. She lived a very long life and preserved Nshare's accomplishments. "

  Kuetu (KAY-too) Ruled in the 1800s

"Kuetu was short and fat. He was kind and had 400 children. He did not like wars, so his reign was calm and peaceful."

Mbuembue (hm-BOM-bo) Ruled from about 1810 to 1845

"Mbuembue waged successful wars against many neighboring Grassfields kingdoms. Under his reign, all Bamum people, regardless of their social origins, became wealthy. No other Bamum king, except for Nshare, can compare with Mbuembue. Everyone, even children, just loved him."

Nsangu (hn-SAH-hn-goo) Ruled from about 1865 to 1886

"Nsangu said: 'If, after my death, you recognize my son Njoya as your king, you all will prosper. . . . But if you choose someone else, an elephant will cross this nation and destroy it.'"

Ibrahim Njoya (hn-JOY-ah) Ruled from about 1886 to 1930

"Njoya said: 'All kings who resisted the white men were defeated. . . . Bamum, you see, if I had foolishly accepted your decision to resist them, they would have destroyed us all.'"

 

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