No Islam on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by legumes, May 15, 2019.

  1. legumes Member

    Dec 24, 2018
    Hey all, looking back I'm glad my first thread on this topic went well. Anyways, now I'll ask how a 'No Islam scenario would affect Africa', immensely I imagine.

    For a POD, once again Mohammed either never begins his teachings, or he just dies early. Whatever works.

    So here are some of my predictions off the bat.
    • Catholicism spreading to the Sahel and West African Kingdoms like Mali and Ghana. (Via Berbers)
    • Ethiopia/Axum being a regional power in the Indian Ocean.
    • The Swahili coast adapting Syriac/Coptic Christianity from Axum and whatever (likely) Christian Arabian state/s emerge. Along with most of East Africa getting absorbed as a new fringe in the greater Christian world.
    Now, some questions.
    • Any chance for Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, or another religion to exist as a minority on the east coast?
    • Could Christianity spread a little deeper into Madagascar, and the southern and lake kingdoms of Africa?
    • How connected culturally, technologically, and politically will these alternate African states be with everyone else?
    • Is there still a massive slave trade from East Africa, the Sahara, and Atlantic? (If the Americas are still discovered by Europeans wishing to trade more easily, and if they still establish New World cash crop plantations) If so, how does this affect African, Middle Eastern, and European relations and views of each other?
    Thanks again!
    Miguel Lanius likes this.
  2. Malone Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2013
    Many parts of Africa are going through struggles related to Islamists and related terror attacks, so that's something that wouldn't exist now.
    elkarlo likes this.
  3. Miguel Lanius Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2012
    I remember someone had a No Islam TL, and it included Persian Colonies on the Swahili Coast and Persian Zanzibar, so if a reborn Persian Empire goes that way, I can definitively see some cross-polinization and persian communities. Buddhism would have the advantage of being more interested in proselytation. Jews got into the region in OTL, could see them there too.

    Definitively. And probably a lot of syncretic cults too.

    Don't know, a lot of the problem is simply geography/technololgy a play.
    It will also depend a lot if slavery goes on. If not, then there will be far more stimulus for nation-building than raiding and enslaving.

    That's a good question.
    AFAIK the roots of the african slave trade come from Islam and the Berbers.

    A lot of factors involved.

    If Africa christianizes, this might not happen - less drive to enslave, more drive to conquer and convert. Every African king wanting to become equal to the Christian Kings of Europe
    legumes likes this.
  4. Samsara123 Well-Known Member

    Apr 5, 2017
    Lets try another slightly more plausible scenario, Hmm it the native Berber tribes who were nominally Roman citizens and client states manage to beat the arab invasions back the old african Roman provinces could become independent ans combine with the Berbers with them developing in nearly the same way as the eastern Romans having an actual border with the Caliphate meaning these two states manage to insulate muslim expansion into Europe meaning the Visigoth spain which will retain its roman inspired culture for far longer with the old city of Carthage becoming the Southern Roman capital
    elkarlo likes this.
  5. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Tennessee, North American Union
    Christianity I can see, but it might not necessarily be Catholic. Mauretania (a key point for the origin of West African Islam) was relatively untouched by Roman culture and Christianity unlike the rest of North Africa. OTL the area had a unique fusion of Berber paganism, Judaism, and Islam at one point. I wouldn't be surprised if similar events happen here, which would affect how West African Christianity develops. There's also the secondary concern of communications. Yes, it wasn't so bad for the Church of the East to communicate to its many distant followers, but the harsh coast of West Africa combined with the Sahara will deeply affect how the Church evolves in that area.
    Axum collapsed due to climate IIRC, so it's heyday might only be a few centuries before it's replaced by another regional power (i.e. whoever controls Yemen). Yemen might end up Christian thanks to Axumite influence, which would have a major impact on East Africa and South India.
    Probably. It would be interesting to see their alphabet (Ge'ez or Aramaic based?). I'd argue that Southern India will be a major influence too, since stronger Christian influence in the Indian Ocean likely means stronger St. Thomas Christians and perhaps even a Christian state there (easiest might be the Maldives).
    Depends what goes on in India here.
    Madagascar I can see since it was influenced by Arab culture (their precolonial writing system for instance) and Islam in parts. Maybe an ambitious ruler could begin the process of Christianizing the island through conquest. I doubt the Bantu kingdoms in the Great Lakes or southern Africa would be Christian for a while.
    More than OTL but I doubt too much more (at least with Europe/North Africa). It's just too remote given the rough seas and the Sahara. Ethiopia on the other hand will be much more connected since they aren't a Christian outpost (well, along with the Nubian states--I'd really hope for a second "Kushite" rule of Egypt to get the province out from under Roman domination) in a sea of Muslim states. A lot of the same economic conditions from OTL still apply, we've just changed the religious/political aspects of it.

    Aside from the global financing some of those groups get, if Africa is still as messed up as OTL you'd still see a lot of problems with terrorism.
    The logical border with the Caliphate is the desert coast of the Gulf of Syrte. This is a difficult frontier to invade through, and the Gulf of Syrte itself is known for rough sailing conditions (and you will need naval support here). So the threat is of a different nature (in terms of how it would be dealt with) then what the ERE faced. Then there's the nature of North Africa itself in the early 7th century which was an utter mess politically, basically Romano-Berber states (of varying degrees acculturated to Roman culture, including Christianity) nominally ruled by the ERE Exarch. The logical development for North Africa would look more like France, Italy, and Western Europe, with Carthage serving as the main cultural and economic center which might raise up a powerful king to conquer/subdue most of the territory. This leaves out the very interesting case of what might happen to Mauretania south of Tingitania, which will be integral to relations between sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean world. It isn't likely to permanently be subdued by Carthage, nor is it likely to be conquered by the Visigoths in the meantime (whose state was a political mess).

    Given the huge influence of the Berbers and the fact that various heresies gained a following at times in both Christian and Islamic Berbers and the attestation of Berber Jews and pagan syncretism into Late Antiquity, it's highly possible that a new Christian heresy emerges (if not another branch of the Abrahamic faiths) which will influence sub-Saharan Africa and any Christianity there.
    legumes likes this.