Usman Dan Fodio

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Usman Dan Fodio

 

Born 1744; died 1817. Leader of the Fulbe uprising of 1804–08 against the rulers of the states of the Hausa people in western Sudan. African Muslim preacher. Tutor of the son of the sultan of the Hausa state of Gobir.

Usman dan Fodio headed the opposition of the Fulbe aristocracy, who were dissatisfied with the political hegemony of the Hausa aristocracy. In February 1804, he and his brother Abdullahi called upon the Fulbe to wage a “holy war” against the “infidels,” the rulers of the Hausa. He was at once proclaimed “leader of the faithful.” By 1809, Usman Dan Fodio’s troops had captured virtually the entire country of the Hausa. The conquered territory was divided between Abdullahi, who received the sultanate of Gwandu, and Usman’s son, Muhammad Bello, who received the sultanate of Sokoto in present-day Nigeria.

Usman dan Fodio’s religious treatises are a valuable source of information on the history of northern Nigeria and adjacent regions.