Jihad of Usman dan Fodio 1804-1810

(Fulani War)

[ 1804 - 1810 ]


Sokoto was only a small village when selected to be the military headquarters (1804-05) of the Fulani jihad (holy war) led by Shehu (Sheikh) Usman dan Fodio, the first sarkin musulmi ("commander of the faithful"). It became a permanent capital of the Fulani empire in 1809, when Usman divided the empire into two sectors and made his son Muhammad Bello overlord of the eastern emirates.
*****
Throughout Islamic history, wars against non-Muslims, even though with political overtones, were termed jihads to reflect their religious flavour. This was especially true in the 18th and 19th centuries in Muslim Africa south of Sahara, where religiopolitical conquests were seen as jihads, most notably the jihad of Usman dan Fodio, which established the Sokoto caliphate (1804) in what is now northern Nigeria.
*****
In 1802 Yunfa succeeded Nafata as sultan, but, whatever his previous ties with the Shaykh may have been, he did not improve the status of Usman's community. The breakdown, when it eventually occurred, turned on a confused incident in which some of the Shaykh's supporters forcibly freed Muslim prisoners taken by a Gobir military expedition. Usman, who seems to have wished to avoid a final breach, nevertheless agreed that Degel was threatened. Like the Prophet Muhammad, whose biography he frequently noted as having close parallels with his own, the Shaykh carried out a hegira (migration) to Gudu, 30 miles (48 km) to the northwest, in February 1804. Despite his own apparent reluctance, he was elected imam (leader) of the community, and the new caliphate was formally established.
The jihad... During the next five years the Shaykh's primary interests were necessarily the conduct of the jihad and the organization of the caliphate. He did not himself take part in military expeditions, but he appointed commanders, encouraged the army, handled diplomatic questions, and wrote widely on problems relating to the jihad and its theoretical justification. On this his basic position was clear and rigorous: the sultan of Gobir had attacked the Muslims; therefore he was an unbeliever and as such must be fought; and anyone helping an unbeliever was also an unbeliever. (This last proposition was later used to justify the conflict with Bornu.)
Initially the military situation was far from favourable. Food supplies were a continuing problem; the requisitioning of local food antagonized the peasantry; increasing dependence on the great Fulani clan leaders, who alone could put substantial forces into the field, alienated the non-Fulani. At the Battle of Tsuntua in December 1804, the Shaykh's forces suffered a major defeat and were said to have lost 2,000 men, of whom 200 knew the Qur'an by heart. But, after a successful campaign against Kebbi in the spring of 1805, they established a permanent base at Gwandu in the west. By 1805-06 the Shaykh's caliphal authority was recognized by leaders of the Muslim communities in Katsina, Kano, Daura, and Zamfara. When Alkalawa, the Gobir capital, finally fell at the fourth assault on October 1808, the main military objectives of the jihad had been achieved.

<table class='table table-bordered col-lg-12 col-md-12 col-sm-12 col-xs-12 margin20 row-30' border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%" style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><tbody><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">State</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Entry</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Exit</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Combat Forces</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Population</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Casualties</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Bornu</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1804</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1810</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">75000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">10000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">25000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Fulani</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1804</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1810</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">100000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">10000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">25000</font></td></tr><tr><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">Hausa</font></td><td width="16%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1804</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">1810</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">100000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">10000000</font></td><td width="17%"><font face="Arial" size="2">35000</font></td></tr></tbody></table>

Total Casualties 85000 Killed and Wounded
Casualties Killed 85000 / Wounded
Military Casualties Killed 85000 /Wounded
Civilian Casualties Killed / Wounded
Note
Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Hausa Kingdoms and Sokoto 1804 1810 View
Bornu Empire and Sokoto 1804 1810 View
Hausa Kingdoms and Bornu Empire 1804 1810 View

Related Conflicts

No Releted Conflicts