El Hadj Omar
Omar, El Hadj
(also al-Hajj Umar). Born 1797 in Aloar, in what is now Senegal; died 1864 in Jigimberé, in what is now Mali. Founder of the state of the Tukulors (a Fulani people) in West Africa.
Omar’s campaigns of conquest, which began in the 1850’s, gave rise to a vast state that extended from Médine to Timbuktu. With the help of Muslims living in the basin of the Sénégal River, Omar fought the French colonialists. In the 1850’s he slowed the advance of French troops eastward from Médine. In 1864, after he was defeated in a battle against the Fulani state of Macina, Omar was killed, and his state disintegrated.