The Nubians (History and Evidence of Marginalization)

The Nubians are one of the oldest communities in the country having entered Kenya as early as 1884. They were brought by the British from the Sudan to secure the British imperial colonial rule in Kenya from being taken away by the Germans.They settled into El-dama Ravine, Kibra,Machakos, Kibigori,

Mombasa, Kibos, Isiolo, Mumias, Bungoma, Meru and Oyugis and Kisii after service as soldiers to the British colonial government but to date are still a community with no clear direction, identification, recognition and integration within the current Kenyan government and society at large. This marginalized community has been underdeveloped with lack of exposure and access to skills, resources and opportunities.

The Nubians’ economic, social and cultural heritage has disappeared and the once proud and respectable community is vast becoming an endangered minority in Kenya. The Nubians were a once proud community who owned and ran businesses within Kibra. It is our hope that with clear emphasis and proper investment in this community, it will go back to its tranquil of yester years and flourish to glory days ahead. We are primarily focused in developing and protecting our community, hoping to restore its pride through molding the future generation by exposing them to such ideals that warrant responsibility, accountability and development from the onset.

The Nubian community has faced a lot of challenges in the past years and this trend is getting worse as each day passes. They hence have long suffered through victimization and marginalization through land issues, citizenship, development, profiling and stereo typing just to mention a few. This has impeded the community’s active participation in leadership and by extent development despite being one of the oldest communities in Kenya. This has made them vulnerable to exploitation by politicians who use them as pawns to secure and land key leadership positions, which has in turn hindered their participation in governance and created sublime divisions among Nubians in not only their homeland but the country as a whole.

Nubians have been viewed to be at cross roads with the government with most of them not particularly pleased with some of its efforts with examples in lack of issuance of title deeds for their ancestral land although the government issued them with a leasehold of 100 years which still remains to be a big challenge as the future generation will still be facing these challenges of access to title deed in Kibra due to the title issued being a leasehold and not a freehold which gives you a full mandate of owning the Land fully, the strict vetting process in application of identity cards and passports, this has seen Nubians alienate themselves from governance and the government as failing to find favor.

It is through this background that we aim to challenge the Nubians to participate in these forums in order to understand that their land rights have not been recognized in all the areas this community settled in.

Nubians - History

Nubia was a region along the Nile River. Its history can be traced from c. 2000 BCE to modern day. It was culturally close to ancient Egypt, and the two regions had periods of both peace and war.

Learning Objectives

Describe the Nubian kingdoms, emphasizing their relationship with Egypt .

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Nubia consisted of two major regions along the Nile River, from Aswan to Khartoum.
  • Nubian history can be traced from c. 2000 BCE onward to 1504 AD, when Nubia was divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate and became Arabized.
  • Nubia and Ancient Egypt had periods of both peace and war.
  • Around 3500 BCE, the “A-Group” of Nubians arose, existing side-by-side with the Naqada of Upper Egypt.
  • Nubia was first mentioned by ancient Egyptian trading accounts in 2300 BCE.
  • During the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c. 2040-1640 BCE), Egypt began expanding into Nubian territory in order to control trade routes, and to build a series of forts along the Nile.
  • The “Medjay” were people from the Nubia region who worked in the Egyptian military.
  • Some Egyptian pharaohs were of Nubian origin, especially during the Kushite Period, although they closely followed the usual Egyptian methods of governing.

Key Terms

Nubia consisted of two major regions along the Nile River, from Aswan to Khartoum. Upper Nubia sat between the Second and Sixth Cataracts of the Nile (modern-day central Sudan), and Lower Nubia sat between the First and Second Cataracts (modern-day southern Egypt and northern Sudan).

The Nubian Region: This map shows the modern-day location of Nubia.

Nubian history can be traced from c. 2000 BCE onward to 1504 AD, when Nubia was divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate and became Arabized. It was later united within the Ottoman Egypt in the 19th century, and the Kingdom of Egypt from 1899 to 1956.

Depiction of Nubians Worshipping: This painting shows Nubians at worship.

Nubia and Egypt

Nubia and Ancient Egypt had periods of both peace and war. It is believed, based on rock art, that Nubian rulers and early Egyptian pharaohs used similar royal symbols. There was often peaceful cultural exchange and cooperation, and marriages between the two did occur. Egyptians did, however, conquer Nubian territory at various times. Nubians conquered Egypt in the 25th Dynasty.

Egyptians called the Nubian region “Ta-Seti,” which means “The Land of the Bow,” a reference to Nubian archery skills. Around 3500 BCE, the “A-Group” of Nubians arose, existing side-by-side with the Naqada of Upper Egypt. These two groups traded gold, copper tools, faience, stone vessels, pots, and more. Egyptian unification in 3300 BCE may have been helped along by Nubian culture, which was conquered by Upper Egypt.

Nubia was first mentioned by ancient Egyptian trading accounts in 2300 BCE. Nubia was a gateway to the riches of Africa, and goods like gold, incense, ebony, copper, ivory, and animals flowed through it. By the Sixth Dynasty, Nubia was fractured into a group of small kingdoms the population (called “C-Group”) may have been made up of Saharan nomads.

During the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (c. 2040-1640 BCE), Egypt began expanding into Nubian territory in order to control trade routes, and to build a series of forts along the Nile.

Depiction of Battle with the Nubians: This painting shows Ramses II battling Nubians from his war chariot.

The Egyptians called a certain region of northern modern-day Sudan, where ancient Nubians lived, “Medjay.” This name gradually began to reference people, not the region. Those who lived in this region worked in the Egyptian military as scouts, later as garrison troops, and finally as elite paramilitary police.

Some Egyptian pharaohs were of Nubian origin, especially during the Kushite Period, although they closely followed the usual Egyptian methods of governing. In fact, they were seen, and saw themselves, as culturally Egyptian. The two cultures were so close that some scholars see them as indistinguishable. Nubians appear to have been assimilated into Egyptian culture.

Nubians - History

My 1st year showing "Fawna" at the county fair. We placed 2nd in showmanship and 3rd in the kid class. Fawna, aka Wyvern Royal Mosaic 3*M, was a leap day doeling from a family friend, Mary Ringo of Wellington, CO. The Wyvern herd had some very strong milking lines with sound confirmation. With the use of bucks from my 4-H Leader, Luella Kral of Kral Nubians in Hillrose, CO, I bred Fawna several times before getting my own bucks a few years later.

Back at the county fair Fawna was a 1st freshening 2 year old and won GCH! She and her daughters would continue this winning streak until I was 18 and too old to continue showing in 4-H classes. In addition to winning in the Dairy Goat classes Fawna's daughter "Rosebud" and I won Master Showmanship (also know as Round Robin a competition where contestants are judged on their showmanship skills with Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle, Horses, Swine, Sheep and Dairy Goats) 3 years and won Reserve 2 other years.

This year marked the arrival of the 1st AI sired kids on our farm. This picture shows the doelings that were born. My dad had AIed hogs for many years as well as beef cattle, so we decided to give it a try. I had ready about a French method where the does were tipped onto their front legs by one person while another AIed them. We tried this method on Fawna and Rosebud and had great results- a set of triplets and a set of quads. I have had good luck over the years AIing does, including another set of quads sired by of GCH ++*B C/F Pan. I was especially excited about those kids as the straw was nearly 20 years old, but it worked fine. I still use the "tipping" method on does that are more difficult to AI.

This was also the year that I attended my 1st ADGA National show. My mom and I loaded up a few does and headed to Lincoln, NE. I had been waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the show to arrive. I had an amazing week! It was great to finally see all the goats and meet all of the people I had read about for so many years in ADGA publications, UCN, and semen catalogs. I still vividly remember walking up to the wash stalls where GCH C/F Nashota 6*M was standing- she was one of the biggest, smoothest, most striking does I have ever seen. I could tell she was an old pro at the show circuit as she was contentedly chewing her cud waiting for her turn to get washed. GCH Faith-Farm ESJ Eve *M is another doe that stands out in my mind. I was over looking at their animals one evening when Chuck Pedersen let Eve out so someone to get a better look at her. As soon as he opened the gate she walked out into the middle of the isle, turned broadside, squared her feet, and looked over at them as to say "I'm ready- Look at me!" And last but certainly not least was GCH Royal Cedars Sugar Candy 3*M I was fairly new to "nationally competitive show goats", but I could still see the extreme structural correctness, smoothness of blending, and laid back attitude that she had. I competed in the youth events and placed in the Jr. Judging Competition- 6th I think, but I am not sure. After this trip I was hooked and get to National Shows whenever I can.

I attended the ADGA Convention in Syracuse, NY and had a very fun week. I won high point individual in the weeks youth activities.

I attended the ADGA National Show in Saint Paul, MN and participated in the youth events. I was very excited when I was awarded 1st place in the Senior division of the Judging and Management Competition. I spent a long time preparing, so it was a very rewarding experience. It was a fun show as I got to meet many people and handle some wonderful goats, including a 1st place Saanen kid and an Alpine milker that placed 2nd in her class. I also helped handle a few animals for the Colorama Sale.

I had the great experience to travel to the Canadian Goat Society West National Show with my friend Rob Bourassa of Shadowvale Nubians in Kelowna, B.C. It was a great trip and a fun show, with lots of really nice animals. I was lucky enough to get to handle GCH Golden Haze Moonlight Illusion *M as she won National GCH w/ Best Udder. She would go on to win these awards for 3 consecutive years.

I attended the ADGA National Show in Raleigh, NC after a long cross country drive, via MS. I helped my friend Carroll Pierce with his does, who placed very well. It was also great to see Maureen & John Dolan win National GCH with their doe CH Manges-Colony Breakaway Beauty. I had purchased a few does and bucks from them over the years, many of which are behind the animals I have in the herd today.

The ADGA National Show was held in Pueblo, CO and I was part of the host group. It was a lot of work, but things came together well. There were many really nice animals shown, I got to meet a lot of new people, and got to know others better over the week. The highlight of the Nubian show for me was CH Dayspring IMA SanPanna winning 1st placed Aged doe with 2nd udder. The competition was tough, so I was very happy with the win. SanPanna and I are shown in the line-up for National Champion selection. SanPanna had a good summer, as she scored FS 89 VVVE at linear appraisal a few weeks before the National Show. Linear Appraisal was also good for my other does, as GCH Sweet Marie scored FS 90 and all 3 mature does scored "E" in mammary. I had been in college at Colorado State University and graduated in May with my B.S. in Animal Science with a minor in Anatomy & Neurobiology. I decided to attend graduate school at the University of Idaho so after the National Show I trimmed the herd down to the bare minimum left most with my parents, a few with my cousin Bonnie Graham (Windflower Farm Nubians in Fountain, CO), and leased a couple. This was very tough as I only got the see my animals once or twice per year, but it was only for a few years.

No your eyes are not playing tricks on you, this is a Saanen. Not just any Saanen, GCH Washoe-Zephyr 24 Karat *M "24" belonged to my friend Meg DeWitt of CryBaby Farm Saanens. It was a huge thrill to see "24" win Reserve National Champion with Reserve Best Udder at the National Show in Iowa- I swear I must have spent 10 hours grooming that doe in the days leading up to the show and then "camped out" with her and the other does the night before the show. I was especially proud as I had picked her out of a pen of kids when I made a whirl wind trip to WA and OR in 2000 to pick up Elite and a Saanen buck for Meg. "24" repeated her wins of
Reserve National Champion with Reserve Best Udder in 2004 and was also Supreme Champion at the California Sate Fair that fall! Linear Appraisal was also very exciting in 2004 as "24" and her herd mate CryBaby Farm Taj Mahal *M (a doe resulting from an AI breeding I had performed using the "tipping" method mentioned above) both scored FS 92 .

Some of you may know me as an "Embryo Transfer guy" well, that would be right. I ran several E.T. projects under the guidence of Dr. Brian McOnie of Creekside Animal Clinic in Vernon, B.C. Photos above are of Brian locating the uterus of GCH Sweet Marie prior to flushing. On her 2nd flush, to Faith Farm GS Samaritan, Marie responded very well and produced enough high quality embryos that many were frozen. The photo on the right shows the resulting E.T. kids from Marie's frozen embryos and a flush of CH SanPanna to *B Mosaic Echo of Illusion. These E.T. kids found homes in herds from coast to coast and early indications are that they are doing well for their new owners.

I graduated from the University of Idaho with a Masters of Science and took a job as a researcher at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT. It is a very interesting job that I really enjoy. I work in a lab that is part of the Center for Structural and Functional Neurosciene. Despite my drastic sell down in 2002 my herd in CO had managed to grow to a fairly reasonable size. With the help of my parents we decided which few animals to keep and sold down to 5 does and a few bucks. I purchased a home on a little under an acre and a half about 10 minutes east of Missoula in May of 2005. In September my parents loaded up the does, one buck, and lots of equipment and made the haul up to Montana. The other bucks went to live with my cousin Bonnie. This picture above shows the does' new pen and me getting started on the never ending job of hoof trimming. The goats have all settled in and seem to be doing well. They all appear to be bred and I am excited to have kids in the spring. I am also looking forward to being back out on the show scene with my animals and to having them appraised this summer.

2006- Summer:
I attended the ADGA National Show in IN. It was a LONG drive there, via CO, but it was great to see the all of the animals and breeders at the show. Dream placed very well in her class and Vali's dam was Res. National GCH with Best Nubian Udder!

2006- Fall:
The herd was relocated to CO with my parents and cousin Bonnie as I am enetering another graduate program in the spring.

2008- Summer:
The goats are doing great! I am back in CO for the clinical portion of my training. My graduation is set for August 2009. I had the herd appraised this summer with excellent results! (2) 92's, (2) 91's, and (2) 90's. The animals are doing well and I am looking forward to the breeding season this fall we've got lots of exciting breedings planned.

2009- Fall:
I have settled back in Colorado to stay. I have moved to a wonderful new home on 2 acres just outside of Longmont, CO. The does have moved here and are getting settled in. I am very excited about the many exciting breedings planned for this fall and look forward to being back on the show circuit next year. Below are two pictures taken by my new home.

Please check the Updates page for more current happenings.

Mosaic Nubians - Jon Welker
12368 North 75th Street
Longmont, CO 80503

Nubians kingdom of Kush ruled ancient Egypt from 700 BC

The 25th dynasty of Egypt, also known as the Nubian dynasty or kushite kingdom, was the last dynasty of Egypt’s Third Middle Era after the Nubian incursion (the XXV Dynasty or the 25th Dynasty).

The 25th dynasty was a line of pharaohs from Kush Kingdom, located in northern Sudan and Upper Egypt today.

Paintings of Nubians left in Egypt

Most of the kings of this dynasty have seen Napata as their ancestral homeland. They reigned from 744–656 BC, in part or all of Ancient Egypt.

The dynasty began with the conquest of Upper Egypt by Kashta and resulted in successful and ineffective wars with the Neo-Assyrian Empire in Mesopotamia in several years.

In Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt and Kush the 25th Dynasty reunited formed the New Kingdom ‘s largest Egyptian empire.

Map of Kush Empire | Picture: Wikimedia Common

They assimilated into civilization through the reaffirmations and adoption of distinctive elements of the Kushite culture of ancient Egyptian religious practices, temples and artistic styles.

The first widespread construction of pyramids (many of which now are the Sudan) since the Middle Kingdom took place in the Nile valley during the 25th dynasty.

Unfortunately the Nubians were conquered, defeated and expelled by their predecessors, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanippal, following the emperors Sargon II and Sennacherib’s suppression of the Nubian kings’ attempts to establish themselves in the Near East.

War with Assyria led to an end to Northern Egypt’s Kushite dominance, and the Neo-Assyrian Empire’s conquest of Egypt.

The Twenty-sixth Dynasty, originally a proxy state, was successor to Assyrian and Assyrian vassals, the first native state to rule Egypt prior to its conquest by the Achaemenid empire. The fall of the 25th Dynasty marks also the start of the Late Egyptian era.

Related stories

The Nubians have been taking to the streets of Egypt to demand their recognition and a return to their ancestral land.

About 50 years ago, the Nubians were moved away from their land to make space for the construction of the Aswan High Dam. At least 55,000 people were moved as Lake Nasser flooded their homes. When they were relocated to towns such as Alexandria, Cairo and Aswan, they thought things would be easier, but they were meet with small and cramped houses that had neither water nor electricity.

The land that remained after their relocation was up for sale by the government to investors for a major agricultural project.

Ancient Nubia is known as one of the world’s ancient civilisations. They were known for their prowess with arrows and bows that the ancient Egyptians called the land “Ta-Seti,” meaning the “land of the bow.” Over history, the land underwent different rulers including women and was even occupied by Egypt about 3500 years ago.

One of the most powerful kingdoms was the Kingdom of Kush, which was known for its writing system, an extensive bureaucracy and major urban centres.

As far back as 2007, the community has been holding various forms of protests to the project and demand rights to go back to their ancestral lands- now a very thin strip off the Nile.

Most of the protesters have never been to Nubia, but have heard stories from their parents and grandparents. The stories are often filled with tales of sprawling villages, brightly coloured homes and fertile lands. The younger Nubian generation believes that their parents and grandparents just accept what the government gives them because of the trauma of their displacement.

It is with this background that most of them are now taking activism to the streets, according to Siham Othman who spoke to AP News.

These protests have not been without consequence. At least 50 protestors were arrested recently and arraigned in court for protesting, a crime that would see them jailed for up to five years.

This is one of the tactics used by the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to silence the protestors. The government has increasingly shown zero tolerance to dissent.

Photo: Committee for Justice

In 2017, el-Sissi spoke of fulfilling the demands of the Nubians but did not talk about their return. In the same year, the government had detained at least 24 Nubians who were marching peacefully in the town of Aswan.

A number of rights organisations have come up to campaign for the preservation of the ancient Nubian lands. The Nubia Project is calling for the preservation of the culture and the archaeological sites as well as the recognition and use of Nubian language in Egypt and Sudan.

It remains to be seen how Egypt will handle these demands, which it already claims is a jab at the country’s stability.

Nubia in Biblical History

Egypt is in the Lower Nile Valley. Nubia is in the Upper Nile Valley.
The terms "upper" and "lower" refer to elevations.

Ancient Nubia plays an important role in Biblical history. Nubia appears to be the point of origin of practices that came to be associated with the Hebrews and later the Jews. These include circumcision, the order of Horite priests, animal sacrifice, two-wife marriage pattern for rulers, sent-away sons, and the Holy Name YHWY.

Nubia is described as a region rich in gold, bdellium and onyx in Genesis 2:11. This marks the southwestern boundary of Eden, a vast well-watered region that was bounded on the northeast by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

The red area is the likely extent of Biblical Eden.

The Pishon "flows through the whole land of Havilah" which was rich in gold. Havilah is also the name of one of Kush's sons (Gen. 10:7) and the "Kushites" lived in Nubia and the Sudan. Kushite kings also ruled in Egypt and were the first to unite the peoples of the Upper and Lower Nile.

Ha'vilah refers to the place where the waters part. Very likely this is a reference to the area where the White Nile and the Blue Nile merge into the Nile below the 5th Cataract (see map). The current of these rivers flows north.

The Shrine Cities of Nubia

Ancient Nubia had 3 principal shrine cities. These served as the administrative centers at different periods of history. Kerma, just below the 3rd Cataract, was the main shrine city from about 2600 to 1520 BC. Abraham would have known about Kerma.

Temple precinct of Kerma

Napata, between the 3rd and 4th Cataracts, was the main shrine city from about 1000 to 300 BC. King David and his son Solomon would have known about Napata. Meroë became the administrative center from about 300 BC to 300 AD. For the Egyptians, the Orontes marked the northern boundary of Amurru.

Meroe in Turkey was built on the precipice of Mt. Silpius. In ancient times, the Orontes (Draco) River was the chief river of the Levant and had sufficient depth for boats to sail up the river from the Mediterranean near modern Beirut in Lebanon. This was aided by the north-flowing currents. Thus Meroe became an fortress on the spur of Mount Silpius was named IO, which means “pillared place of the Sun.” The O was a solar symbol and the emblem of the Creator. On ancient maps the city across from Meroe is called Anti-Meroe. The city of Anti-O/Antioch is across from Meroe.

Heliopolis (Biblical On) was called “Iunu” (iunu) which means "place of pillars" because it was constructed with many pillars. Meroe on the Orontes was about 2185 miles from Meroe on the Nile.

The Orontes was also called the "Draco" because it flows north and that direction is identified with the north pole star (Polaris). When the fortress at Meroe was build, about 4000 years ago, the north pole star was seen near Alpha Draconis in the constellation of Draco. A relatively inconspicuous star in the night sky of the Northern Hemisphere, it is significant as having been the north pole star from the 4th to 2nd millennium BC.

With the help of skilled archers, the rulers of Nubia were able to bring all the peoples of the Nile Valley under Nubian rule. Nubia kings ruled Egypt for about a century.

Nubians served as warriors in the armies of Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome. Nubian archers also served as warriors in the imperial army of Persia in the first millennium BC. According to 2 Samuel 18 and 2 Chronicles 14, they also fought on behalf of Israel.

The Nubians were famous for boxing, wrestling, stick fighting and archery. The Greeks learned these skills from the ancient Egyptian and Nubian warriors. They refined these skills through martial sports called Pankrashan.

Ainu warriors of Northern Japan were called Yaunguru. They are related to the Anu of the Upper Nile. The Sanskrit word guru is a variant of the ancient Egyptian word geru, which means self-mastered or silent while enduring pain. Plato wrote about the self-mastery of these warriors in his book the Republic. He called this balanced judgement "thymos."

DNA studies of Nubian mummies indicate that the population of ancient Nubia was mixed. Analysis of the mtDNA in ancient Nubians indicates gene flow between sub-Sahara and North Africa through the Nile Valley.

Egypt's Nubians refuse to allow heritage to fall through cracks of history

It has been 51 years since the Nubians were displaced by the 1964 building of the Aswan High Dam in southern Egypt. Back then, waters flooded their homes and ancient Nubia disappeared into the depths of Lake Nasser. Yet, the Nubian people refused to allow their heritage and culture to be forever lost under the water that flows behind the High Dam.

In the town of Kom Ombo in the Aswan governorate there is the village of Balana (meaning “beautiful queen” in Nubian), the inhabitants of which were the first to be displaced as the High Dam rose. Amina Ibrahim, a village woman in her 60s, still carries vivid memories of the old country that thrived on the banks of the Nile — memories that form the essence of stories about her family’s heritage and past, which she never hesitates to recount to neighbors, sons and grandsons.

Al-Monitor met with Ibrahim at her home, which consists of four rooms overlooking a large central courtyard on the walls of which she tried to replicate and draw Nubian decorations and carvings that once adorned the ancient Nubian mud-brick dwellings of the village, with their distinctive domed roofs designed to dissipate some of the overbearing heat.

Nubian is the language of choice for Ibrahim, her children and her grandchildren. “Language is our life and the only legacy that remains of our ancestors. Preserving our language and teaching it to my children and grandchildren who never lived on their forbearers’ land became my main mission in life after our deportation, on my quest to safeguard and maintain our generational legacy. I always tell my grandchildren that losing our Nubian language would mean losing our identity and roots.”

The question of preserving the Nubian language is atop the priorities of most Nubians in their attempts to safeguard their heritage and identity. However, they do mesh with Egyptian society and utilize Arabic in their daily dealings, with new generations failing to practice this language that is barred from schools and public institutions.

What distinguishes Nubians is their organizational ability and keenness to coalesce into Nubian communities in the provinces and countries of their diaspora. The General Nubian Club operates offices in Cairo and Alexandria in addition to other Nubian associations in a number of Arab and European countries and in the United States.

The Nubia project is an organization established in 2008 by the Nubian diaspora in Washington. They aim to educate people about the dangers of damming, Arabizing Nubia, cultural cleansing and marginalizing the Nubian culture. The project has already appealed to the African Union, the United Nations and the international community to protect Nubian heritage.

The director general of Aswan Antiquities at the Ministry of Antiquities, Ahmed Saleh, told Al-Monitor in that regard, “The Egyptian state should have taken it upon itself to protect Nubian heritage. However, Nubian communities find themselves solely responsible for preserving [their] language, customs and heritage.”

Despite the fact that Nubian is a language that predates the Coptic era, it nevertheless is not a written language but is passed on, in the modern age, through oral storytelling alone.

“There are now wide-ranging initiatives to revive the Nubian language through the General Nubian Club in Egypt, as well as to intensify studies to document and teach the language to Nubians and interested Egyptians. The Egyptians disallowing the use of Nubian in all social and educational institutions is cause for concern and fear that the Nubian identity may be lost, particularly in the absence of incentives encouraging younger generations to practice said language, as Arabic is the dominant and primary language in Egyptian schools and society. This is leading all Nubian families to pressure their children into speaking Nubian, at least inside the home,” Saleh said.

Al-Monitor also spoke with Hani Kabara, a Nubian man in his 30s from the village of Abu Simbel he organizes courses to teach Nubian language basics at the General Nubian Club. He said, “Nubians who go to Cairo or elsewhere forget their mother tongue after a few years of disuse. This is what we are trying to prevent as we rekindle their bond with the language and allow them to practice it anew through these courses.”

Kabara employs many methods to overcome the problem of teaching a language that has no written tradition, through listening to old Nubian songs, translating their lyrics and teaching the meaning of the most commonly used Nubian words and writing them in Arabic script.

“We believe that every Nubian is obligated to learn and spread their language, as this is an essential step in preventing its demise. Some Nubians think that holding on to their language will hinder their ability to interact with Egyptian society, particularly in light of the rejection of pluralism and the prevalence of fanaticism by some toward the Egyptian-Arab identity,” Kabara added.

Nubian songs continue to be the customary and most effective method by which Nubians preserve their language and music, traditionally sung to the beat of drums resembling, to a great extent, African music.

Kabara said, “We use songs to preserve our linguistic legacy, particularly in light of the fact that Nubians retain their love for ancestral tunes, which they prefer over Arabic and Egyptian melodies, whereby Nubian songs are the most commonly heard during Nubian festivities and social events.”

In that regard, a few Nubian artists succeeded in enriching the Nubian repertoire with a number of musical pieces that conveyed stories about the lives and suffering of the Nubian people after their displacement. Most prominent among those artists was Hamza Ala’uddin, also known as “the Nubian Flutist,” whose most famous song, Awish, spoke of the splendor of ancient Nubia, the land of magic and beauty.

Despite the absence thus far of any formal recognition of the Nubian cause by the government, Nubian heritage remains entrenched in the psyche of Nubians living in exile inside Egypt and abroad Nubians whose primary concern is the preservation of their identity, especially among those who experienced life in ancient Nubia.

Ancient Nubia (ca. 5000 BC-500 AD)

The ancient land of Nubia stretched from the Middle and Upper Nile River Valley, from the First cataract of the Nile River down to the merging of the White and Blue Nile Rivers. Many cultures populated and fought over this region resulting in dynamic trade relations, political shifts and military conflicts. Egyptian sources refer to Nubia as Ta-Seti or the “Land of the Bow,” which describes the skilled archers of the region.

According to archeologists, Nubia emerged as a farming region around 3500 BC. Excavations from over 75 villages and cemeteries in Nubia provide evidence of a culture centered on agriculture, animal husbandry and commerce. Towards the end of the fourth millennium BC, a centralized state had emerged at the capital, Qustul, which controlled the trade routes between Egypt and the African interior. This culture flourished until about 3000 BC when the First Dynasty of Egyptian kings conquered the region. Additionally, shifts in the Nile River forced many Nubian settlements to relocate for survival.

By 2600 BC, a new culture dominated the Middle Nile River Valley. Scholars debate whether this culture evolved from the earlier inhabitants or represented immigrants moving into Lower Nubia. Artifacts from this culture reveal a more sophisticated ceramic industry known for its distinctive black pottery decorated with incised and white-painted designs. Pottery, basketry, and beadwork as well as elaborate burial sites reflect a growing sophistication of the population. Remains of rectangular houses of stone and mud-brick indicate that new building materials and construction techniques were being used.

The people of Lower Nubia by 2500 BC found themselves between two powerful rivals, Egypt in the north and the Kingdom of Kush in the south. Kushite rulers established capitals at Kerma and later Napata along the Nile. The Kushite kings vied with Egyptians for control of trade routes from the interior of Africa to the coast for Mediterranean trade. Because of the fragmentation of central authority in Egypt, Kushite kings ruled Egypt for almost a century as the 25th Dynasty. Nubia was controlled briefly by Kush but it was a province of various Egyptian kings for nearly 3,000 years. At the end of the sixth century AD, Byzantine missionaries travelled through Nubia and converted the Nubians to Christianity. This conversion marks the shift into the medieval period of Nubian history.

… and the History of the American Dairy Goat Association

The American Milch Goat Record Association (AMGRA) was established in 1904. In 1964, the name was changed to the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA).

The First Dairy Goats in North America

Milking goats were brought to the United States by settlers both at Jamestown, VA, and at Plymouth Rock, MA. Spanish mission settlements had already distributed milking goats throughout the Southwest and California during the 16 th century. These animals were not of distinct breed type and descendants became known as common American milking goats. A USDA census in 1900 estimated them to number some 1.2 million. At that time, this goat population was largest in the rural south and southwest.

Dairy Goats Following the Civil War

Interest in improved milking goats began in the reconstruction era following the Civil War. One of the first leading advocates was the Right Honorable Daniel Freeman Tompkins, who graduated in the 1849 class of the Harvard Law School. In 1879, he assembled a group of milking goats and began selective breeding to improve progeny. No purebred sires were available. The Bureau of Animal Industry (a subdivision of the USDA established in 1883) was tasked to promote multi-specie breed registration activity. Tompkins became the go-to-liaison for milking goats. The early goal was to develop does capable of producing two quarts per day. In the early 1890’s, he donated three such goats to the USDA, thereby establishing its experimental herd at Beltsville.

Early USDA Dairy Goat Involvement

The USDA actively promoted an association to encourage the establishment of a milk goat industry, and in 1895 Tompkins accepted the provisional chairmanship of the committee. In 1904, he would also function as superintendent of the dairy goat division at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition/St. Louis World’s Fair. In 1918, posthumous recognition of his pioneering achievements on behalf of the US dairy industry was acknowledged with the first honorary award given by the AMGRA Board of Directors.

The First Purebred Dairy Goats

On July 11, 1893, William A. Shafor, Hamilton, OH, who was secretary of the American Oxford Down Record Association, imported four Toggenburgs from England. These were the first purebred imports a doe kid born from the mating of two of these in 1898 would become Registration #1 when the AMGRA books were eventually opened in 1904. Formal organization of the American Milch Goat Record Association occurred on November 12, 1903.

The specific impetus was the need for verifiable registrations on potential entries at the St. Louis fair. On May 25, 1904, sixteen Toggenburgs and ten Saanens arrived from Switzerland. The importer was F.S. Peer, Ithaca, NY, acting as agent for four buyers in MD, NJ, NY and MA. A few of the Toggenburgs owned by William J. Cohill, Hancock, MD, would be the only entries at the St. Louis event.

(William J. Cohill and his imported Swiss dairy goats in 1904.)

The Beginnings of the American Dairy Goat Association

A prime mover in the 1903 organization of AMGRA would have been Mrs. Edward J. Roby of Chicago, IL. Starting in 1895, she had assembled a sizeable group of common American milking goats. Registrations on six of these were specifically noted in Vol. I as to be for exhibition at St. Louis. However, a last minute interpretation of rules indicated that entries were restricted to imported pure breeds. There are no extant minutes of that 1903 meeting legend has it that only three persons were present in that “smoke filled” backroom during the Fat Stock Show in Chicago: Mrs. Roby, Shafor, who became secretary, and the goat editor from the USDA, George Fayette Thompson, who became president.

The primary registration requirement for those designated as “American” was to produce two quarts per day. Since so few purebred milking goats were available, it was understood that sires from those few available would be used to gradually upgrade the “American” population. Legal incorporation under Illinois law was filed May 31, 1905.

A Rough Association Start

Late in 1905, Thompson had gone to Malta and purchased sixty goats which he accompanied on a steamer back to a Maryland quarantine station. He contracted “Brucella mellentensis” (Malta fever) from drinking raw milk on the voyage and would die early in 1906. Mrs. Roby assumed the presidency, while Shafor continued as secretary. By 1907 when Mrs. Roby declined to continue, Shafor single handedly functioned as the entire executive branch. A mere 207 goats had entered the registration records and he was ready to throw it all in. That same year, the Bureau of Animal Industry would refer to Shafor a potential purchaser, J.C. Darst of nearby Dayton, OH. Darst not only purchased his first goat, but also agreed to take on the burden of secretary, a position he would hold until 1919. Shafor would continue as president until 1913. Darst’s appearance at this dark moment in early AMGRA history and his subsequent enthusiasm would eventually garner him the accolade, “The Father of US Capriculture”.

Changes That Reflect ADGA Today

In 1942, major revisions were made to the constitution to allow for direct voting by membership on directors nominated by district, as well as re-incorporation under Missouri law. While amended through the years, this same constitution is still in effect and incorporation remains in Missouri. Up until 1964, the address of the Association was wherever the acting secretary resided and varied from Ohio to Indiana, next to Massachusetts, then back to Ohio, and finally on to North Carolina. In 1964, the still used permanent office was purchased in Spindale, North Carolina. That same year, the name of the association was changed to American Dairy Goat Association.

National Show, Dairy Goat Auctions and other Firsts

The first officially recognized National Dairy Goat Show was at the Illinois State Fair in 1946. The first Spotlight Sale was part of the 50 th Anniversary Annual Meeting at Gaithersburg, MD, in 1954. The current judges licensing procedures were instituted in 1958. The first Colorama Sale as part of the National Show was at Columbus, OH, in 1977. That same year the first animals were scored by the Descriptive Classification Program. It was modified to the still used Linear Appraisal Program under which the first animals were scored in 1988. The first AR certificate was issued in 1919 to Maria de Las Cabritas. AR Herd Sire #1 was Las Cabritas Ben Yda based upon records of fourteen daughters made in the Agawam Herd of Charles Stevens, Delevan, WI. The first permanent champions were designated in 1948 based upon rules adopted the previous year.

As mentioned earlier, the first Toggenburgs were imported in 1893 and the first Saanens in 1904. The first Nubians were imported in 1906 the first Alpines in 1922 and the first Swiss Alpines which would be bred pure in 1936. The American LaMancha herd book was opened in 1958. The Oberhasli herd book was opened in 1980. The Nigerian Dwarf and Sables were first recognized in 2005.