Factual (Historical) Accounts of Dogon Origins and History
The precise origins and descendants of the Dogons are not known for sure. Historians base most of their information on oral traditions and the minimal archaeological excavations that have been done.
There are a number of different theories explaining how the Dogon got from their ancestral homelands to the Bandiagara region in Western Africa (modern day Mali).
One theory suggests that the tribe is of ancient Egyptian descent. From Libya, they are believed to have migrated to somewhere in the region of Burkina Faso, Guinea or Mauritania (different sources and histories give different places for this period).
Since their migration to central Mali, the Dogon have successfully survived, withstanding constant slave raiding parties of the successive empires of Ghana, the Sonrai, the Mossi, the Sao, the Fulani, and the Muslims from the north. They have remained a small, self-sufficient culture.
Today, there are approximately 700 Dogon villages of roughly 400-500 inhabitants each. These villages are mainly clustered in a 200 km strip of land along the Bandiagara cliffs. These are sandstone cliffs that run along the Niger River attaining heights in excess of 600 m. Dogon villages are often built into the sides of these cliffs.