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The Hausa-Fulani and BritainThe Hausa-Fulani tribe, located in West Africa, did not come into contact with European forces until the early 20th century, when they were forcefully colonized by the British. In the initial fighting between the Sokoto caliphate and the British troops, several city-states were sacked and hundreds of people were killed. Although the British employed less harsh methods of indirect rule on the Hausa-Fulani in comparison to other European countries, they still disrupted local governing policies and combined ethnically different groups, causing animosity between those tribes. While the British believed they were benefiting the Hausa-Fulani tribe through colonization, they were actually permanently damaging the culture and society, leaving severe repercussions for the people to deal with.The Sokoto caliphate, also known as the Fulani Empire, was one of the most powerful and influential empires in West African history. Its founder, Usman dan Fodio, was born into a Fulani family in 1754 in the city-state of Gobir. After studying the Islamic religion for 20 years, he began traveling around Hausaland preaching for a more puritanical Islam, as he believed the Hausa kings who were in charge at the time were not observing Islam correctly. In 1802, Yunfa became the king of Gobir. He allowed dan Fodio to return home and preach to the people of Gobir, but saw him as a threat and tried to have him assassinated in 1804. Dan Fodio survived the attempt and promptly called upon the people, whose support he had garnered over the years, to help him launch a jihad, an Islamic holy war, against the Hausa states. Four years later in 1808, Gobir was captured by Fulani forces and Yunfa was killed. By the next year, dan Fodio controlled all of the Hausa states and the jihad ended.During the scramble for Africa, Britain began expanding further into West Africa, and established contact with the Hausa-Fulani in the early 20th century. At the time, the caliphate was already on the decline, with threats of invasion from the French and the British. In 1900, Sir Frederick Lugard, a British colonial administrator, started negotiations with the emirs (rulers) of some city-states. However, the majority of Hausa-Fulani people resisted and the caliphate went to war with British troops. Hundreds of people were killed in the fighting and buildings were destroyed. Eventually, the Hausa-Fulani had to surrender because even if they defeated the British in battle, the French would then invade them. In February of 1903, the mud-walled city-state of Kano fell, and a month later in March of 1903, the capital of Sokoto was captured, bringing the end of the caliphate.One of the largest problems caused by the arrival of the British was the grouping of several ethnically different people into one large colony. In methods of indirect rule, the British tended to favor one group and use that against the other tribes to exercise control. Because indirect rule worked with the Hausa-Fulani but not with other groups such as the Igbo and the Yoruba, the British chose to favor the Fulani (not the Hausa), which caused high tensions between the people in West Africa. The Fulani emirs that were selected by the British tended to be corrupt, and the people they ruled over did not respect them. This led to violent competitions for power, and when Nigeria gained independence, coups and civil wars. Several massacres of minority ethnic nations happened in Nigeria under British colonialism. Even today, the minority fear that they will be dominated and exploited by the tribes that are better off (Boateng, Minorities). Another issue the British failed to address was the damage they were doing to the economy. With their arrival, European products dominated the economy and African industries were unable to compete. Additionally, the British encouraged the growth and export of cash crops, which made the African economy reliant on foreign countries. Resources were drained and exploited by the British, which resulted in riots and battles for basic supplies among the Hausa-Fulani and also with other tribes. Although the British did bring some benefits such as medical centers to the Hausa-Fulani, they were largely put in major cities, and people who lived in rural areas were excluded. Schools and other educational institutions were run on Christian beliefs, and concepts of land ownership and labor were changed, which as a result led to loss of land and in some cases forced labor.However, the British were conscious of the problems they were creating. They chose to ignore the situation because if there was conflict between the groups, they would be less likely to band together and resist British rule or demand independence. Their reasoning for indirect rule of the Hausa-Fulani was not, as they stated, to preserve culture, but instead to make it cheaper for them to control the people and exploit resources. Additionally, most did not understand the intricacy of African political and economic systems and believed they were benefiting the Hausa-Fulani, like Lugard, who in 1922 said: “For two or three generations we may show the Negro what we are: then we shall be asked to go away. Then we shall leave the land to those it belongs to, with the feeling that they have better business friends in us.” (Cavendish, Fall of Kano). Europeans were also biased in their view of African tribes, as evidenced by a newspaper article published in 2003 by David Muffett, who was born in 1919 and served as part of the Colonial Administrative Service: “How and why, under British rule, did matters progress from mediaeval barbarity to emergent modern statehood in one 50-year timespan, only to regress so soon after independence into mediaeval barbarity again during the next?” (Muffett, Glory that was Empire).

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