Ouadane, or Wādān, was a desert town located close to the Adrar Plateau in Mauritania. It became part of Al-Murooj, the Promised Land, upon its creation in the late 19th Century.
Information on the founding and early years of Ouadane is scarce. Modern historians have extrapolated from Arabic geographer Abu Abdullah al-Bakri’s Book of Roads of Kingdoms, written in the mid-11th Century, that one of the towns on a trans-Saharan gold trading route he described may be Ouadane. It is also speculated from al-Bakri’s account that the town was a staging post on a salt trading route, with known mines at nearby Idjil.
The other significant historical source for early Ouadane is the diary kept by Roosmarijn Doolaard, later First Duchess of Chiltern, which dates from the mid-1130s. Doolaard arrived in the town on the trail of Tanoute of Damanhur, a Nyridia who had established a Hycathic temple there and successfully recruited her to the cause of the English Hycathae under Maud Beauclerc, Empress Matilda of Anjou. Doolaard’s description of the town is not extensive – she spent only a short time there – but does corroborate some of al-Bakri’s observations, updated to reflect the considerable mercantile growth that the town had experienced over the best part of a century.
Both sources are alluded to by Dr. Victoria Flood in her book An Odyssey of Fire, an account of Roosmarijn Doolaard’s quest. Flood has spoken several times, including on Dr. Annette Lynton’s The Clash of the Cousins podcast, of how her research into the trans-Saharan gold trade and the work of al-Bakri led her to discover the Hycathic quest and spurred her to change course and write this book.
The End of Ouadane
In the late 1890s, a large band of Hycathae, fleeing defeat in the Second Hycath War in Europe, found their way to the Adrar Plateau. They were in possession of the Phoenix Stones, holds of the three principal Blomgren sisters, who had instigated the war and been reckoned for their crimes. Using the Green Phoenix Stone – the hold of Ylva Blomgren – they fertilised the desert land around the Plateau, creating an oasis around which was founded a new Hycathic city, Al-Murooj, which has lasted to this day as the spiritual centre of Hycathism.
The pull of the new city drew many away from Ouadane, especially local Hycathae and Hycathi, and the original town gradually fell into ruin.