Word in some South American city names

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Possible Answers:

SAO.

Last seen on: NY Times Crossword 20 Nov 21, Saturday

Random information on the term “SAO”:

The Sao civilization (also called So) flourished in Central Africa from ca. the fourth or sixth century BC to as late as the sixteenth century AD. The Sao lived by the Chari River basin in territory that later became part of Cameroon and Chad. They are the earliest civilization to have left clear traces of their presence in the territory of modern Cameroon. Sometime around the 16th century, conversion to Islam changed the cultural identity of the former Sao. Today, several ethnic groups of northern Cameroon and southern Chad, but particularly the Sara, Kotoko, claim descent from the civilization of the Sao.

The Sao civilisation began as early as the sixth or fourth century BC, and by the end of the first millennium BC, their presence was well established around Lake Chad and near the Chari River. The city states of the Sao reached their apex sometime between the ninth and fifteenth centuries AD.

Although some scholars estimate that the Sao civilization south of Lake Chad lasted until the fourteenth or fifteenth century, the majority opinion is that it ceased to exist as a separate culture sometime in the 16th century subsequently to the expansion of the Bornu Empire. The Kotoko are the inheritors of the former city states of the Sao.

SAO on Wikipedia