The Fulani State

People say that the Fulani are descended from the white-skinned people of North Africa who settled in old Ghana . The Berber tribe, a race of white invaders from north Africa, started crossing the Sahara and settling in West Africa between A.D 500 and A.D 1500.

Many of them settled among the native Negroes and in 10th century formed the BORNU STATE and seven Hausa states which are Daura, Zaria, Gobir, Kano, Kastina, Rano and Biram. Later on seven more states were added which are Zamfara, Nupe, Kebbie, Gwari, Yauri, Kwararafa and Ilorin.

The Fulani continued to move eastward from Ghana. Some of them settled among the Hausa's in the 13th century, and inter-married with them. These were the Fulani Gidda or town Fulani. They became Muslim. The other group of Fulani, the cow Fulani were herdsmen and lived apart from the Hausas. They were pagans.

Usman Dan Fodio

Usman Dan Fodio was a Muslim and a town Fulani. He was a great teacher. About 1800, Usman Dan Fodio began preaching against the Hausa rulers. He said that they were not practicing Islam correctly. Many of his friends, the town Fulani followed him.

The Emir or prince of Gobir became afraid and tried to stop their preaching. Usman then, formed an army and declared a jihad or holy war against the Hausa rulers. People addressed Usman as "the commander of the faithful".

By 1810, Usman and his Fulani followers had conquered all the Hausa states. He put Fulani emirs or princes in place of Hausa Emirs. All these Fulani emirs came to Sokoto where Usman Dan Fodio had his headquarters, to pay tribute.

The present emirs of northern Nigeria are descended from these Fulani emirs. By the end of 19th century, the emirs had stopped paying tribute to Sokoto, and from that time the Sultan Of Sokoto was simply the religious head of the Fulani empire.

After the conquest of Hausa land, the Fulani started fighting their Southern pagan neighbors. They sold these people to the slave traders from Europe or North Africa. They also crossed the Niger and attacked the northern part of Oyo state and conquered Ilorin. Ilorin thus, came under Fulani Emirs.

The End Of Fulani Empire

But the Fulani could not keep under their control the areas they conquered. The chief Emirs, the Emirs of Sokoto and Gwandu, could not control the other emirs. There was disorder in the empire, and at last it broke up.