Joos Maternal Dynasty

Joos Maternal Dynasty

The Star of Yoonir. Symbol of the Universe in Serer religion and cosmogony. It also symbolizes the Serer people of Sine.
(O xoor paÿ).
Country Kingdom of Sine, part of present-day  Senegal
Parent house Descendance of the Serer princess Lingeer Fatim Beye of Sine.
Titles Brak and Lingeer
Founded c. 1367 (in Waalo)[1] but much old in Serer country (Lamanic-Era).[2]
Founder Lingeer Fatim Beye of Sine, established in Waalo by Lingeer Ndoye Demba of Sine.
Final ruler Brak Kharfi Khari Daaro (reigned 1837–1840)[3][4]
Dissolution 1855 – dissolution of Waalo after Brak Mö Mboj Maalik Mboj (last Brak), and the defeath of Lingeer Ndateh Yalla Mbooj and her husband Morosso Tasse Jobe by the French.

The Joos Maternal Dynasty (Serer: Joos Fadiou/Fadioudj, other variations: Dioss Fahou/Fadiou,[5] Dyoss,[6] Dieuss, Dihosou, Diouss,[7][8] Dyoos[9] or Djeus[10]) was a Serer maternal dynasty which originated from the Serer pre-colonial Kingdom of Sine in the 14th century and spread to the Wolof Kingdom of Waalo.[1][6][9] The matriarch or founder of this maternal dynasty was Lingeer Fatim Beye, a princess and queen originally from the Kingdom of Sine.[6][11][12] In Waalo, it was founded by the princess Lingeer Ndoye Demba of Sine.[10] Lingeer Ndoye Demba was the maternal granddaughter of Lingeer Fatim Beye. They both came from the Serer ethnic group.[11] Although the pre-colonial Kingdoms of Sine and Waalo now form part of modern-day Senegal, in pre-colonial Senegambia, present-day Gambia had open-borders with Senegal and share the same historical and cultural heritage. The demarcation of the two countries is purely geographical due to their colonial past, with Britain colonizing the Gambia and France colonizing Senegal. For a background to these events see the History of Senegal, History of the Gambia, Senegambia and Timeline of Serer history.

From c. 1367,[1] this maternal dynasty provided many kings of Waalo who rule by the royal title "Brak". The Braks were the successors of the Lamanes in Waalo,[13][14] and ruled the country from the 14th century to 1855, the year Waalo fell to the French which resulted to the abolition of the monarchy.


The origins of the Joos as a matriclan is uncertain. What is known is that, it is just one of the many Serer matriclans[15] which were in existence at the time of the Lamanes.[2] The Lamanes were the old Serer kings. The exact period within the Serer calendar that this matriclan first acquired notoriety in Serer country is a matter of conjecture. Other than being in existence at the time of the Lamanes little is known about which part of the Lamanic period it first gained prominence. According to some sources, it was prominent by the first half of the 14th century. This corresponds to the collapse of the Lamanic Era (see also Lamane Jegan Joof, the Joof family and Guelowar).[16][17] The name of their clan (Joos Fadiou) means the Joos of Fadiou (Fadiouth).


The Joos Maternal Dynasty was one of the Serer and Senegambian dynasties in pre-colonial Senegambia. The princess Lingeer Ndoye Demba (founder of this dynasty in Waalo) descended from the maternal line of Lingeer Fatim Beye,[11] the matriarch of this dynasty, both originally from the Kingdom of Sine and members of the Serer ethnic group.[5][6] Lingeer Fatim Beye is the maternal grandmother of Ndoye Demba[5][6] and ancestor of all the Joos that came after her.[6][18] In some sources, she is cited as the founder of the Joos Dynasty.[18][19]

That Fatim Bey [Beye] is called the founder of Dioss [Joos] does not conflict with the view that Ndoye Demba is Dioss' ancestor. Fatim/Fatimata Beye was an earlier ancestor.[18]

Lingeer Fatim Beye who was a contemporary of Ndiadiane Ndiaye[18] the possibly mythical founder of the Jolof Empire, is also reported to have been married to Maad a Sinig Maysa Wali Jaxateh Manneh (var: Manyeasa Wali Dione[6]) at one point.[6] Maysa Wali was the first member of the Guelowar Dynasty to rule in Sine or any of the Serer kingdoms after a severe defeat inflicted on his family (the Guelowars) by the Ñaancos. The Ñaancos were for several centuries until 1865 (the Battle of Kansala) the reigning and powerful maternal dynasty of Kaabu (in present-day Guinea-Bissau). They defeated the Guelowars at the Battle of Troubang, an alleged dynastic war between the royal houses of Guelowar and Ñaancos. In fact there was no "Battle of Troubang". In reporting this tradition, Henry Gravrand did not notice that this is actually a description of the 1867 (or 1865) Battle of Kansala although the departure of the Guelowar can probably be explained by a war or a conflict of succession.[20] Having escaped Kaabu, the country of their birth, they were granted asylum by the Serer nobility[21] to which Lingeer Fatim Beye's family were a member of.[6] The marriages between the upper echelons of Serer and Guelowar society sealed the union between Serer-Guelowar.[21] In 1350, Maysa Wali was nominated and elected Maad a Sinig (king of Sine) by the people of Sine, having served as legal advisor to the nobles that granted him and his family asylum.[17][21] He ruled from 1350 to 1370.[17]

The penetration of the Joos matriclan of Sine in the Wolof Kingdom of Waalo came via Lingeer Ndoye Demba. The Kingdom of Waalo was ruled by the Mbooj paternal family[22] who went by the royal title Brak (title for the kings of Waalo). As well as this patrilineal mode of succession, a Brak had to belong to one of the main three royal matriclans before being eligible to succeed to the throne. These three maternal clans were the reigning maternal dynasties of Waalo and included: the Joos Maternal Dynasty (of Serer origin[9]), Tedyek[23] (of Fula origin[9] although other sources suggests a Mende origin[24]) and Loggar (of Moor origin[9]). In Wolof, matriclans are called meen or mène,[6] in Serer, they are called tim.[15] Succession was patrilineal (kurcala in Serer, meaning paternal inheritance[25] or simanGol meaning paternal lineage[26]) as well as matrilineal (ƭeen yaay[25] or den yaay[15] in Serer). Lingeer Ndoye Demba (princess of Sine) was given in marriage to the king of Waalo (Brak Caaka Mbooj) when he visited the Sine. The royal wedding took place in Sine, and after the marriage, the princess accompanied her husband to his country (Waalo). The Joos Maternal Dynasty although long established in Sine, and just one of the many Serer matriclans,[15] it was the newest addition to the medieval maternal dynasties of Waalo. The other maternal dynasties of Waalo (Tedyek and Loggar) were already established. The mother of Brak Caaka Mbodj was a Loggar and his first wife (Lingeer Isa Tanor) a Tedyek. Isa Tanor descended from the maternal line of Guet May Beut (the matriarch of the Tedyeks).[10] For the next six hundred years since its foundation to the dissolution of Waalo in 1855, royal princes from these three maternal dynasties engaged in dynastic civil wars in order to secure their succession to the throne. In the 18th century, the prince Mö Mbôdy Kumba Khedy Mbooj (later – Brak Mö Mbôdy Kumba Khedy Mbooj, reigned c. 1734 – 1735, according to Amadou Wade[27]), who was then the head of the Joos Dynasty galvanised the support of his maternal clan and led a massacre of the other maternal dynasties of Waalo, particularly the Tedyeks, the biggest rivals to the Joos. Many prominent members of the Tedyek clan were killed by the Joos including the reigning king at the time Brak Yerim Ndateh Boubou (Tedyek),[28] as well as his family.[29] This historical event precipitated the Battle of Nder more commonly referred to as Talaata-i-Ndeer by the Senegambian people. The phrase "Talaata-i-Ndeer" (or Talaata i Ndeer / Nder) means "Tuesday of Ndeer", signifying the fact the event took place on a Tuesday at the then capital of Waalo (Ndeer or Nder).[28][29][30]

Other sources seems to indicate that, either the Joos family did not cause the Battle of Nder (Talaata Ñ'Deer among some[30]) or there were two historical battles of Nder (one during the reigns of Brak Yerim Ndateh Boubou and Brak Mö Mbôdy Kumba Khedy[28] or during the reign of Brak Njaak Kumba Xuri Yaay[30]). According to some, the battle was caused by the Fulani Almamy of Futa Toro who led a surprised attack at Nder after Brak Njaak Kumba Xuri Yaay (the king of Waalo)[31] had left his capital (Nder) on a visit to Ndar (St. Louis, in Senegal).[30] However, the general consensus is that, there was only one historical "Talaata-i-Ndeer" ("The Battle of Nder") – the battle which took place between the Joos and Tedyek family.[28][29] This confusion is due to a chronological error in Amadou Wade's Chronique du Walo where the year of reign for the kings of Waalo (Brak) were listed in error.[32] Another reason for this confusion is that, the original battle instigated by the Joos,[28] created a civil war which lasted for several years (20 years according to some[29] or 29 years[28][33]) That civil war may have continued right up to the reign of Brak Njaak Kumba Xuri Yaay who reigned long after Brak Yerim Ndateh Boubou and Brak Mö Mbôdy Kumba Khedy.[34] The surprise attack launched in Waalo against Brak Njaak Kumba Xuri Yaay's capital (Nder) by the Almamy of Futa, was just one of many of his jihadic expeditions especially in Jolof and Cayor. He was finally defeated by the Damel of Cayor (Amari Ngoneh Ndela or Amari Ngoné Ndella, reigned 1790–1809[35]).

Following the "Joos Wars" led by their leader Mö Mbôdy Kumba Khedy, the throne of Waalo was secured by the Joos family who spend a long time waging wars to retain it.[29] However, long after the death of Brak Mö Mbôdy Kumba Khedy, the throne was peacefully handed over to the rightfully elected king (a Tedyek) by the Council of Electors (the Sek ak Baor[36] or Seb ak Baor[37][38]). Although Brak Mö Mboj Maalik Mboj (a Loggar) was the last Brak of Waalo just before the collapsed of the monarchy in 1855[39] under Lingeer Ndateh Yalla Mbooj (a Tedyek) and her husband Morosso Tasse Jobe (prince of Cayor), the political scene of Waalo was dominated by the Joos and Tedyek Dynasty for nearly 600 years.[40] The greatest threat to the Joos were the Tedyeks, who provided more kings of Waalo.[33] The Loggars were prominent during early part of the Mbooj paternal dynasty, but lost their dominance later on. In the 18th century, they tried to allied themselves with the Joos in order to gain power and succeed to the throne. The Joos – Loggar alliances dominated the political scene of Waalo in this period. It also exacerbated the political situation of the country and the civil war. In this period where every maternal family tried to advance their own cause, alliances were formed and broken (see list of kings below, "Brak Yerim Kode Fara Mbune").[41]

The powers of these maternal dynasties were very real.[6] They were able to raise an army as in the Battle of Nder; had the financial capacity and backing to ensure the accession of their clan members. The enthroned Lingeer - Njombot Mbooj,[42] the full blood sister of Ndateh Yalla and daughter of Brak Amar Fatim Borso Mbooj (a Joos), is reported to have bribed a prominent member of the Council of Electors by the name of Jawdin Sharlu[43] (var. Dyawdin Sharlu[37][38]) with a total sum of 1500 French Francs and gold just to secure the election of her preferred candidate.[37][38] This bribery, is reported to have been carried out in the three days she had her randevu with the Council member (500 French Francs a day including gold).[37][38] Njombot Mbooj (born 1800,[44] died September 1846[45]) and her younger sister (Ndateh Yalla) were two of the most powerful women in Senegambia in the first half of the 19th century.[44][46][47] They were preceded by Lingeer Yassin (early 19th century) and Lingeer Mbarika Mbooj (17th century), two of the most powerful and influential women of Senegambian dynastic history. Both were from the Joos matriclan. Lingeer Mbarika Mbooj (var. Mborika or Mbarika Mbodje[29]) was the mother of Brak Yerim Kode Ngone, the head of the 17 princes of Joos.[29] Although the Jolof Empire collapsed in 1549 following the Battle of Danki, some kings of Jolof (Bourba) tried to rejuvenate the old Empire. As a council member of her son's court, Brak Yerim Kode Ngone spent many years of his reign trying to repulse the Jolof advance and liberate Waalo from the yoke of Jolof. He is reported to have died fighting his last war with Jolof. He is one of the most revered kings of Waalo for his part in achieving Waalo's independence, free from Jolof control. Waalo was totally liberated from the influence of Jolof few years after his death.[48]

List of kings

The following is a list of some of the Braks of Waalo who partains to the Joos Maternal Dynasty. Their surname is Mbooj :

List of queens

This list gives some of the prominent queens or queen mothers who belong to this maternal dynasty. They go by the royal title Lingeer (var. linger[38]) :

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 The reign of Caaka Mbaar (var. Tyaaka Mbar) [in] Barry (1985), p 328 (French) . See page 327 for the most probable date of his son – Yerim Mbanyik Ndoye Demba's reign (var. Yérim Mbanyik Ndoy Demba) (French) (Retrieved 21 July 2012)
  2. 1 2 BIFAN (1955), pp 313–326
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Barry (1985) pp 312–30
  4. 1 2 3 4 Zaghi, Carlo, "L'Africa nella coscienza europea e l'imperialismo italiano", Guida (1973), p 288
  5. 1 2 3 (English) Bulletin. Serie B: Sciences humaines / Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire, Volume 41. p 234, (1979)
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 (French) Institut français d'Afrique noire, Bulletin de l'Institut français d'Afrique noire: Sciences humaines, Volume 17. IFAN, (1955), p 317
  7. Monteil, p 36,
  8. (English) Bulletin. Serie B: Sciences humaines / Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire, Volume 41. p 225 (1979)
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 (French) Barry, Boubacar, "Le Royaume du Waalo: le Sénégal avant la conquête", KARTHALA Editions (1985), p 73, ISBN 2865371417
  10. 1 2 3 (French) Brigaud, Félix, "Histoire du Sénégal: Des origines aux traités de protectorat", Clair-afrique (1964), p 16
  11. 1 2 3 Many variations: Fatimata Beye (see BIFAN, 1979, pp 225, 233), Fatim/Fatimata Beye (see BIFAN, 1979, p 234), Fatime Bey (BIFAN, 1979, p 234), etc. The Serer surname Beye or Bèye, following its French spelling in Senegal is also a Serer matriclan. Fatim (proper: Fa tim) in Serer language means "the maternal clan of..." For more on Serer matrilineality, see (French) Jean-Marc Gastellu « 'Petit traité de matrilinarité. L'accumulation dans deux sociétés rurales d'Afrique de l'Ouest', Cahiers ORSTOM, série Sciences Humaines (1985) », [in] (English) Jean-Marc Gastellu, "Matrilineages, Economic Groups and Differentiation in West Africa": A Note (O.R.S.TO.M)
  12. Bulletin de l'Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire: Sciences humaines, Volume 41 (1979), p 225
  13. (French) Boulègue, Jean, "Le Grand Jolof", (XVIIIe – XVIe Siècle). (Paris, Edition Façades), Karthala (1987), p 30
  14. (French) Dyao, Yoro, "Légendes et coutumes sénégalaises", Cahiers de Yoro Dyao: publiés et commentés par Henri Gaden. (E. Leroux, 1912)
  15. 1 2 3 4 (French) Dupire, Marguerite, Sagesse sereer: Essais sur la pensée sereer ndut, KARTHALA Editions (1994). For tim and den yaay (see p. 116). The book also deals in depth about the Serer matriclans and means of succession through the matrilineal line. See also pages 38, 95-99, 104, 119–20, 123, 160, 172–4 ISBN 2865374874 (Retrieved 9 July 2012)
  16. Diouf, "Chronique du Royaume du Sine", p 705 (p 3)
  17. 1 2 3 (French) Sarr, Alioune, Histoire du Sine-Saloum (Sénégal). Introduction, bibliographie et notes par Charles Becker. Version légèrement remaniée par rapport à celle qui est parue en 1986-87. p 19
  18. 1 2 3 4 BIFAN (1979), p 234
  19. Dyao, Yoro (1912)
  20. Sarr, Alioune, Histoire du Sine-Saloum (Sénégal) Introduction, bibliographie et notes par Charles Becker. 1986–87, p 19
  21. 1 2 3 (French) « Babacar Sédikh Diouf » [in] : Ngom, Biram La question Gelwaar et l’histoire du Siin, Dakar, Université de Dakar (1987), p 69
  22. Variations: Mbodj, Mboj, etc.
  23. Many variations: Tédiek (see Brigaud) or Teedyekk (see Barry)
  24. « Amadou Wade, Chronique, commenté par Vincent Monteil, 1966 » [in] Sall, Ibrahima Abou, Mauritanie du Sud: conquêtes et administration coloniales françaises, 1890-1945, KARTHALA Editions (2007), p 49, note 20. ISBN 2845868650 :
    "Logar (mot qui serait d'origine berbére), Joos (mot qui serait d'origine seereer) et Teejëk (mot qui serait d'origine mannde)"
    Translation: Logar (a word of Berber origin [i.e. the Moors]), Joos (a word of Serer origin) and Teejëk (a word of Mande origine). (French) (Retrieved 9 July 2012)
  25. 1 2 (French) Becker, Charles: "Vestiges historiques, trémoins matériels du passé clans les pays sereer", Dakar (1993), CNRS – ORS TO M. (Retrieved 9 July 2012)
  26. (French) Kalis, Simone, "Médecine traditionnelle religion et divination chez les Seereer Sine du Senegal", La connaissance de la nuit, L'Harmattan (1997), p 299, ISBN 2-7384-5196-9
  27. 1 2 3 According to Amadou Wade, Mö Mbôdy Kumba Khedy reigned from 1734 to 1735 and was assassinated on the day of his coronation. see « Amadou Wade, "Chronique du Walo", in Barry (1985), p 312
  28. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Variations: Brak Yêrim Ndatè Bubu; also for Talaata-i-Ndeer see BIFAN 1964: "Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire", Bulletin, Volumes 26-27, IFAN (1964); & Monteil, Esquisses sénégalaises)
  29. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (French) « Dyaw, Yoro» [in] Barry (1985), pp 184–6 (French) (Retrieved 21 July)
  30. 1 2 3 4 (English) Université de Dakar. Département de langues et civilisations germaniques, Études germano-africaines: revue annuelle du Département de langues et civilisations germaniques de la Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines de l'Université de Dakar (Sénégal), Issue 6, Le Département (1988), p 51
  31. Variation: Brak Ndaak Kumba Xuri Yaay (see Université de Dakar. Département de langues et civilisations germaniques, Études germano-africaines: revue annuelle du Département de langues et civilisations germaniques de la Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines de l'Université de Dakar (Sénégal), Issue 6, Le Département (1988), p 51)
  32. In Amadou Wade's Chronique du Waalo, Ndiadiane Ndiaye (the maternal half brother of Brak Barka Mbooj / Mbodj – ancestor of the Mbooj paternal dynasty and the first Brak from this family) is listed as reigning from the late 12th century (1186, also [in] Barry 1985, pp 311–12). However, this was an error, based on the previous and wrongly held belief that Ndiadiane Ndiaye (var. Ndyaadyaan Ndyay, see Barry, 1985, p. 41) was the son of the 11th century Almoravid leader (Abu Bakr ibn Umar) who died in November 1087 (a contemporary of Amar Godomat or Ama Gôdô Maat, not Ndiadiane). However, that previously held assumption has been discarded. The general consensus is that, Ndiadiane Ndiaye's reign (and thus his contemporary maternal half brother) is placed within the later half of the 14th century (1360), which was 10 years after the reign of Maysa Wali king of Sine. For a review and analysis of Amadou Waad's Chronique du Waalo, see Barry (1985, especially pages 41, 147) and 1972. For Ndiadiane's reign, see (English) Fage, John, D., & Oliver, Roland, The Cambridge history of Africa: From c. 1600 to c. 1790, p 486, ISBN 0521209811. For Maysa Wali's reign, see his article, see also (French) Sarr, Alioune, 'Histoire du Sine-Saloum (Sénégal) (introduction, bibliographie et notes par Charles Becker)', in Bulletin de l'IFAN, vol. 46, series B, nos 3-4, 1986–1987. p 19.
    Also see Lingeer Ndoye Demba which contains the genealogy of this family.
  33. 1 2 Ogot, Bethwell A., Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century, (Editors: Bethwell A. Ogot, Unesco. International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa; contributors: Bethwell A. Ogot, Unesco. International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa, University of California Press (1992), p 281, ISBN 0435948113 (English) The "Joos" (Retrieved 11 July 2012)
  34. For the kings of Waalo, see Barry (1985)
  35. (French) Diop, Papa Samba, Glossaire du roman sénégalais, L'Harmattan, Paris (2010), pp 142–143, ISBN 978-2-296-11508-8
  36. The Seb ak Baor or proper: Seb ak Baor was the noble council responsible for electing the kings (Brak) from the royal family of Waalo
  37. 1 2 3 4 (French) Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire, Bulletin de l'Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire: Sciences humaines, Volume 31, IFAN (1969), pp 409–410
  38. 1 2 3 4 5 (French) Barry, Boubacar, Le royaume du waalo, le Sénégal avant la conquête, F. Maspéro (1972), p 286
  39. Barry, (1985), p 41
  40. See Barry (1972 & 1985); and Wade
  41. 1 2 Barry, (1985), pp 185–6
  42. Many variations: Ndieumbeutt Mbodj, see Barry (1985), or Ndyômbôt, see BIFAN 1969, other var. Jombot.
  43. There are many variations in the spelling of Jawdin (following its English spelling in the Gambia), e.g. Dyawdin (French spelling in Senegal), etc. Jawdin Sharlu was a member of the Council of Electors (Sek ak Baor, or "seb ak baor" see Barry 1972, p 286; and BIFAN 1969, p 409). His name is Sharlu. The name Jawdin is a title of nobility in Waalo. The noble Council was composed of three groups of nobles: Jawdin (Serer and Fula origin), Maalo or Malo (usually Serer) and Jogomay or Dyogomay (usually Fula). This Council elected the kings of Waalo according to a pre-defined criteria. For more on this, see the Coronation of Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof, see also Wade; and Barry 1972 & 1985
  44. 1 2 (English) Sheldon, Kathleen E., Historical dictionary of women in Sub-Saharan Africa, vol. 1, Scarecrow Press (2005), p 148 ISBN 0810853310
  45. Spelt Ndieumbeutt Mbodj, see (English) Sheldon, Kathleen E., Historical dictionary of women in Sub-Saharan Africa, vol. 1, Scarecrow Press (2005) p 148, ISBN 0810853310
  46. (English) Sonko-Godwin, Patience, Ethnic groups of the Senegambia: a brief history, Sunrise Publishers (1988), pp. 29–31 ISBN 9983860007
  47. (French) Wade, Amadou, « Chronique du Walo Sénégalais (1186–1855) », B. Cissé trans., V. Monteil, editor, Bulletin de l'IFAN, série B, vol. 26, numéros 3/4 (1941, 1964)
  48. 1 2 3 « Gaden, Henry, 1912, p 6 » [in] Barry (1985), p 50
  49. 1 2 (French) Barry (1985) p 327 (Retrieved 21 July 2012)
  50. Monteil, pp 39-40
  51. « Azan, (1861), list of Braks, provided by Fara Penda. » [in] Barry (1985), p 315
  52. « Azan, (1861), list of Braks, provided by Demba N'Diaye. » [in] Barry (1985), p 315
  53. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Barr, (1985), pp 320–28
  54. For more on this see Wade, see also Barry 1985
  55. Barry (1985), p 185
  56. Barry (1985) pp 185–7
  57. Barry, (1972), p 261


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