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The Agadez Chronicles and Y Tarichi: A Reinterpretation

  • Benedetta Rossi

Abstract:

This article focuses on the texts known as the “Agadez Chronicles” and “Y Tarichi,” which have been used by historians of the Central Sahara and Sahel to reconstruct the history of the Sultanate of Agadez and the Ader Kingdom in today’s Republic of Niger. The most frequently cited of these texts are published translations of copies of Arabic manuscripts that were made available to French and British colonial administrators by members of the elites of Agadez, Ader, and Sokoto in the first decade of the twentieth century. This article suggests that the copies handed over to the representatives of European empires had been altered to promote the interests of the local elites who circulated these sources. The article compares texts in the Agadez corpus with independent sources on the history of this region in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries; it discusses the political context in which the Agadez Chronicles were circulated at the beginning of the twentieth century; and it considers the implications of the proposed reinterpretations for the historiography of the Aïr and Ader regions.

Cet article se penche sur les textes connus en tant que “Chroniques d’Agadez” et “Y Tarichi” utilisés par les historiens du Soudan central et du Sahel pour reconstruire l’histoire du sultanat d’Agadez et du royaume d’Ader dans la république actuelle du Niger. Les textes cités le plus souvent sont des traductions publiées de manuscrits mis à disposition des administrations coloniales française et britannique par les membres de l’élite d’Agadez, Ader et Sokoto dans les années 1900. Cet article suggère que les exemplaires remis aux représentants des empires européens ont été modifiés afin de promouvoir les intérêts des élites locales qui diffusaient ces documents. Cet article compare les textes du corpus d’Agadez avec des sources indépendantes de la région datant des XVe, XVIe et XVIIe siècles et analyse le contexte politique dans lequel les chroniques d’Agadez ont été diffusées au début du XXe siècle. Cet article propose pour finir une réinterprétation de l’historiographie des régions de l’Aïr et de l’Ader.

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The Agadez Chronicles and Y Tarichi: A Reinterpretation

  • Benedetta Rossi

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