Fulani and Hausa: What’s the Difference?

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Although found throughout the grassland belt of West Africa, the bulk of the Hausa/Fulani population is concentrated in Northern Nigeria.

The Hausa and Fulani are two ethnic groups which were formerly distinct but are now intermixed to the extent of being regarded as one inseparable ethnic nation.

Although found throughout the grassland belt of West Africa, the bulk of the Hausa/Fulani population is concentrated in Northern Nigeria especially in and around the centres of Sokoto, Kano and Katsina which were important market centres on the southern section of the trans-Saharan caravan trade routes in the past.

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Before the advent of the Fulani, the Hausa had established well-organised city states. These states included Katsina, Daura, Kano Zazzau (Zaria), Biram, Gobir and Borno .

Some of these were however conquered and re-established by the Fulani. A few other kingdoms such as Katagum, Hadejia and Gombe were then founded.

The coming of the Fulani into Hausa land brought the full force of Islam which became a great factor in social life and culture. In education, dress, taste and outlook, the Hausa and their Fulani conquerors became part of the Islamic culture world. This influence remains till today.

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Traditionally, they neither look alike nor do they practise the same culture. Fulanis are mostly light-skinned, lanky with long hairs. They practise the whipping of a suitor before his bride as parts of their marriage requirement, this aided monogamy amongst them.

Fulanis are also nomads. This nomadic lifestyle spread them into virtually all of West Africa. They are extremely tolerant of the languages of other people around them leading to the suppression of theirs especially in northern Nigeria by Hausa.

Hausas, on the other hand, are good merchants. This helped spread them to some countries around Nigeria. They are not known for bravery except for their women who can at times be daring e.g Queen Amina of Zazzau.

They are typically intolerant to the languages of others around them and are highly conservative. Their marriage is less demanding hence, they are given to polygamy with high divorce rate.

Sometimes, the Fulanis see themselves as superiors since they produce most of the emirs in the and are the vanguards of Islam in Nigeria.

 

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