Friday, February 10, 2006

Between 1804 and 1808, Usman Dan Fodio defeated most of the rulers of the Hausa states and established a new capital in Sokoto in (1809). From there, the caliphate evolved over time. With UsmanÂ’s death (1817), he was succeeded by his son, Muhammad Bello (d.1837) his brother, Abdullahi Dan Fodio, was given authority over the western territories, based in Gwandu.

The Sokoto Caliphate was a loose confederation of emirates that recognized the leadership of Usman Dan Fodio as "Commander of the Faithful." By mid-19th century there were about 30 emirates linked to Sokoto, including the large market state of Kano. The caliphate stretched from present-day Burkina Faso in the west, to Cameronn in the east. Emirates tended to their own political affairs, although succession disputes were often referred to Sokoto. (In 1893, a Kano "civil war" emerged between two candidates for emir, with the "anti-Sokoto" candidate prevailing).

We learned about the Sokoto Caliphate today in African History class, as an example of Islam in Africa. Here's a bit more about it:

Usman dan Fodio's jihad created the largest empire in Africa since the fall of Songhai in 1591. By the middle of the nineteenth century, when the Sokoto Caliphate was at its greatest extent, it stretched 1,500 kilometers from Dori in modern Burkina Faso to southern Adamawa in Cameroon and included Nupe lands, Ilorin in northern Yorubaland, and much of the Benue River valley. In addition, Usman dan Fodio's jihad provided the inspiration for a series of related holy wars in other parts of the savanna and Sahel far beyond Nigeria's borders that led to the foundation of Islamic states in Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Chad, Central African Republic, and Sudan. An analogy has been drawn between Usman dan Fodio's jihad and the French Revolution in terms of its widespread impact. Just as the French Revolution affected the course of European history in the nineteenth century, the Sokoto jihad affected the course of history throughout the savanna from Senegal to the Red Sea.

This has been your black history moment for today.

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