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date: 23 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Once Muslims took over from Copts the trade to the regions around Lake Chad c.1000 ad, the process of Islamization could begin in Kanem and Borno. The state of Borno by the sixteenth century had become dominant in the Lake Chad basin, and Borno’s ruler had been given the title of Caliph. To the west of Borno, under its suzerainty were the savanna trading cities of Hausaland, where the two main merchant networks, one from Birni Ngazargamu in Borno, the other (“Wangara”) from Jenne and Gao (on the River Niger), combined trade with scholarship. By the late eighteenth century, a shaikh of the Qadiriyya brotherhood, ‘Uthman dan Fodio, demanded local rulers be strictly Islamic; this gave rise to four years of jihad and its ultimate success in 1808 led to the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate, the largest precolonial state in Africa (much larger than today’s northern Nigeria).

Keywords: Borno, Hausaland, northern Nigeria, Sokoto Caliphate, identity, names, Islam, ethnicity

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