Mandingo is the name of an African people, the nation of the Wangarawa-according to Barth, comprising some 6,000,000 or more. Strictly speaking, however, Mandingoes should be termed only the inhabitants of the most south- westerly territories belonging to the great West African race of the Wangarawa (sing. Wangara), and inhabiting a district extending in lat. from 8 to 12o N., and between the west coasts and the head waters of the Senegal and Niger. Their original seat is said to be Manding, a small mountain country on the eastern sources of the Senegal, whence, partly by conquest and partly by emigration, they have spread themselves over a most extensive tract of country, and now consist of a variety of tribes. They are black in color, tall and well shaped, with regular features, and are, generally speaking, a fine race, capable of a high degree of civilization and organization, great travelers, fond of trading, and remarkable for their industry and energy. The language of the Mandingo prevails from the Senegal coast up to Sago on the Niger. A grammar of the language was compiled by R. Maxwell Macbrair (Lond. 1837).
Religious Belief, etc. — Of the neighboring nations, the Mandingoes were the first who embraced Islamism. The greater portion of them are now Moslems, and are zealous propagators of their religion. Those of the Mandlingoes adhering to their primitive religion have a very peculiar idea of marriage. With them it is merely a form of regulated slavery, and there is no marriage ceremony observed to evince union (Caille, Travels, 1:350). Most generally the female partner is carried from her home by force (Gray, Travels in W. Africa, p. 56). They have also, according to Park Travels, 1:267), a very peculiar idea of the Deity, whom they regard as "so remote, and of so exalted a nature, that it is idle to imagine the feeble supplications of wretched mortals can reverse the decrees and change the purposes of unerring wisdom." Neither do they have any confidence in any belief in the hereafter, of which they assert that "no man knows anything about it."