Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Songhay (SONRHAY), an historical people of West Central Sudan, whose empire, overthrown by the Moroccans in 1591, at one time comprised a great part of West Sudan and the Sahara, with Timbukbu and many other great cities. They still number about 2,000,000 along both banks of the Middle Niger from Lake Debo round to the Sokoto confluence, and at some points stretching as far as the Hombori Hills within the great bend of the Niger. The Songhay language, which is of Sudanese type, but in other respects fundamentally distinct from all the surrounding forms of speech, is even still current in the Asben district, a proof of the former great extent of their empire towards the east. But nearly all are now subject either to the Tuaregs or to the Fulahs of Sokoto and Gando, or to the French since the occupation (1894) of Timbuktu. The culture is purely Mohammedan, but the type Negroid, that is Negro much modified by Arab and Tuareg (Berber) interminglings. (Barth, Travels, vol. v.)