O’er the pale sands the sable warriors crowd,
— Luís Vaz de Camões, Lusiads (Bk 1, trans Burton)
Weak but fast-moving ranged mercenary unit, useful especially if used to outrun and flank archers.
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Western Africa is dominated by a green but broken coastal land dominated by mountains and crevasses to the north, separating the Medtiterranean from a vast expanse of burning sand, ending in a belt of scrub known as the Sahel. It is thus unsurprising that the challenging conditions of this land have frequently bred men geared for war, such as the famous Numidians and Garamantoi.
It is the descendents of such men as well as those hailing from other areas further south who form the African Skirmisher corps of the Moorish army. Although they are somewhat deficient in body armour and professionalism, these men who are bought into your forces as mercenaries can sometimes be of vital use, and are vastly more reliable than skirmisher levies or archers. Additionally, like most mercenaries, they benefit from a more simplified cost structure as well as quicker training time, making them a useful asset whether in furnishing massive armies or acting in defence of your cities.
- Ready for War — Unlike Peasant Levies, African Skirmishers can be used to escort your troops on campaign without suffering an Attrition penalty.
The Moroccan-based Murabitun (known as Almoravides to Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking communities) were of African descent and used their connections to the tribal aristocracies of faraway Western Africa to raise contingents of volunteers and levies to fight for them in both Africa and Europe alike, either through diplomacy and commerce with the Muslim tribes there, or outright slavery. Murabitun sources state that the men of Ghana were proficient raiders adept in the use of swords, spears and javelins, and provided the Murabitun and their Almohad successors ample manpower for use against their Christian foes in the north so long as there was ample coin to pass around.