Information about the Mossi

Mossi is the name of a people living in central Burkina Faso. There are approximately 3.5 million and they speak the More language.


The Mossi states were created around 1500 A.D., when bands of horsemen rode north from what is now northern Ghana into the basin of the Volta River and conquered several less powerful peoples, including Dogon, Lela, Nuna, and Kurumba. These were integrated into a new society call Mossi, with the invaders as chiefs and the conquered as commoners. The emperor of the Mossi is the Moro Naba, who lives in the capital, Ouagadougou, and has the status of a Divine King. In the centuries between 1500 and 1900 the Mossi were a major political and military force in the bend of the Niger River and were effective in resisting the movements of Muslim Fulani armies across the Sudan area of west Africa. Though the Mossi ruling elite were Muslims, indigenous cultures were tolerated.

In 1897 the first French military explorers arrived in the area and staked French colonial claims. During the sixty years of French colonial rule the Mossi population was exploited as a source of human labor for French plantations in Côte d'Ivoire. In 1960 Burkina Faso gained its independence from the French. The first elected president Ouezzin Coulibaly was succeeded by Maurice Yameogo, a Mossi. In 1967 a coup-d'état put in place a military government that has ruled with infrequent change ever since.

Contemporary Mossi

Today the Mossi are the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso. Most live in villages in the Volta River Basin, and make a subsistence living from agriculture in an arid land, raising millet, sorghum, maize, sesame, peanuts, and indigo; the latter three are cash crops. Cattle are cared for by Fulani who receive a share of the farm crops in exchange.

Mossi continue to practice traditional ancestor worship and fertility rituals. Customs include pubescent circumcision, after which the oldest son leaves to live independently from the family. Wives have little status until the birth of their first child. Islam is also practiced.

The above includes excerpts from Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia:

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