History of West Africa


A.) Usman dan Fodio and the Fulani Jihad

In 1804, USMAN DAN FODIO, a devout Muslim, called on his followers to fight a holy war against pagans and unjust rulers - those who permitted non-Muslim religion or did not adhere to pure Islam. The FULANI, pastoral nomads hitherto oppressed, followed his call, and in a number of campaigns he brought the interior of modern Nigeria under his control; the ADAMAWA emirate in modern norrthern Cameroon was part of his Empire, founded by one of his commanders. Usman's military headquarter, SOKOTO, grew into the capital of a Caliphate. Usman retired from political life in 1811. He died in 1817.

B.) The Caliphate of Sokoto

In 1811, Usman dan Fodio's Empire was split in 3 parts, MUHAMMAD BELLO inheriting the eastern emirates. He took up residence at Sokoto. As Usman dan Fodio was buried here in 1817, the city became the cultural center of the Fulani.
In the 1880es, George Goldie's ROYAL NIGER COMPANY acquired treaties transferring rights of sovereignty; the company practised indirect rule.
In the 1880es, the area of Sokoto is given as c. 440,000 square km, the population of the capital Wurno at 22,000 (Meyers).
In 1900, the company's charter was revoked, and FREDERICK LUGARD, appointed High Commissioner of NORTHERN NIGERIA, enforced the recognition of British sovereignty; his forces took Sokoto in 1903. Ever since, Sokoto is a part of Northern Nigeria respectively Nigeria. The British continued to practise indirect rule; the provinces created by splitting up the Caliphate of Sokoto continue to enjoy political autonomy within the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

History of Nigeria, from Infoplease
Armed Conflict Events Data : Sokoto 1800-1999, from OnWar.com
H.A.S. Johnston, the Fulani Empire of Sokoto (1967), posted by Amana Online, online book
Sokoto State, from Online Nigeria
Paul E. Lovejoy and Sydney Kanya-Forstner, Collaborative Research in the Recovery of Documentation on the Conquest of the Sokoto Caliphate
Richard Cavendish, The fall of Kano: February 3rd 1903, posted by History Today
Yusuf Bala Usman, The Sokoto Caliphate and Nation-building in the 19th and 20th Centuries , posted by Dawodu.com
John N. Paden, The Sokoto Caliphate and its Legacies (1804-2004), posted by Dawodu.com
DOCUMENTS Article Sokoto, from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888-1890 edition, in German
Article Sokoto, from EB 1911

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 6th 2004

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