Hausa States

Hausa States


feudal states in the western Sudan, in what is now northern Nigeria and the southern part of the Republic of Niger. Formed by the Hausa people not later than the eighth to tenth centuries, the Hausa states included Kano, Gobir. Biram, Katsina, Zaria (Zazzau), Daura, Kebbi, and Zamfara.

By the 15th and 16th centuries the Hausa states had developed a society based on the exploitation of serfs and of slave labor provided by prisoners of war and their descendants. Land cultivation and handicrafts were highly developed. The Hausa states took part in trans-Saharan trade and had large cities. In the 14th century the nobility and the commercial elite adopted Islam, but the rural population remained faithful to the traditional cults.

The Hausa states were generally independent of one another. Between the 16th and 18th centuries they were dominated first by Songhai and then by Bornu (seeKANEM-BORNU EMPIRE). In the early 19th century Usman dan Fodio led an uprising of the Fulani that brought about a transfer of power in most of the Hausa states to the hereditary Fulani nobility. The conquered Hausa states became part of the Sokoto sultanate. After British troops captured Sokoto in 1903, the Hausa states were incorporated into the British protectorate of Northern Nigeria.


Ol’derogge, D. A. Zapadnyi Sudan v XV–XIX vv: Ocherki po istorii i i storiikul’tury. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Sledzevskii, I. V. Khausanskie emiraty Severnoi Nigerii. Moscow, 1974.
Smith, M. Government in Zazzau, 1800–1950. London, 1960.
Hogben, S. J., and A. H. M. Kirk-Greene. The Emirates of Northern Nigeria. London, 1966.


References in periodicals archive ?
The northern part of Nigeria is symbolic to the history of Islam in Africa south of the Sahara and Nigeria in particular, as it penetrated the area through the Kanem-Borno Empire in the 11th century before spreading to other Hausa states.
Long before the arrival of French influence and control in the area, Niger was an important economic crossroads, and the empires of Songhai, Mali, Gao, Kanem, and Bornu, as well as a number of Hausa states, claimed control over portions of the area.
During recent centuries, the nomadic Tuareg formed large confederations, pushed southward, and, siding with various Hausa states, clashed with the Fulani Empire of Sokoto, which had gained control of much of the Hausa territory in the late 18th century.
In 1810 the Fulani, another Islamic African ethnic group that spanned across West Africa, invaded the Hausa states.
Commercially, while trade along the northwest route declined following the conquest of Songhai by the Moroccans in the 1590s and the ensuing anarchy in the region of the Niger bend, the trade with the Hausa states became particularly brisk.