Bornoo, Or Bornu(called by the natives Ka-nowra), a country of central Africa, between lat. 9° and 14° N., and Ion. 8° and 15° E., bounded N. by the Great Desert, E. by Lake Tchad and Baghirmi, S. by Mandara, and W. by Houssa. The country is level and wholly destitute of minerals. The chief rivers are the Komadugu and the Shary, which with numerous small streams flow into Lake Tchad. During the wet season large tracts are overflowed by the waters of the lake and rivers. The fertility caused by this inundation produces only a rank growth of grass from 10 to 12 ft. in height, and almost impenetrable thickets of underwood. Nearly all the wild animals, reptiles, birds, and insects common to central Africa infest this region in great abundance, and are driven to the inhabited districts during the inundations. Domestic animals are also plentiful. The climate of Bornoo, especially from March to the end of-June, is excessively hot. During the rainy season, from May to October, fevers are prevalent. The soil is fertile, and, though but imperfectly cultivated, produces large crops. A species of millet forms the staple food of the people; rice and grain of an inferior kind are raised in small quantity. There are no fruits.
The mass of the inhabitants, called Bornoose or Kanowry, are genuine negroes, peaceable and lazy, and wholly subject to the Arabs, who form the dominant race. The Arabs are described as arrogant, deceitful, and dishonest, and carry on the trade of the country, dealing chiefly in slaves. They are bigoted Mohammedans, but fetishism is still common among the negroes. The government of Bornoo is nominally vested in a sultan, but all the power really resides in an Arab sheik. The sultan is surrounded by a body guard of nobles and chiefs, clad in a grotesque and unwieldy garb. The military force of this monarch amounts to about 30,000, mostly cavalry. The principal towns are Kuka, the royal residence, Ngornoo, Dikoa, and Old and New Birnee. Most of them are populous, well built, and walled.
Body Guard of the Sultan of Bornoo.