The Mandinka or Malinke are a West African ethnic group with an estimated global population of 32 million. The Mandinka are one ethnic group within the larger linguistic family of the Mandé peoples, who account for more than 87 million people.. The Mandinka are the descendants of the Mali Empire, which rose to power in the 13th century under the rule of king Sundiata Keita who founded an empire which would go on to span the large part of West Africa, they migrated west from the Niger River in search of better agricultural lands and more opportunities for conquest. The Mandinka people live in West Africa in Mali, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Ivory Coast. Although widespread, in most countries the Mandinka are not the largest ethnic group, except in The Gambia and Guinea where they constitute the largest ethnic group. Most Mandinka live in family-related compounds in traditional rural villages, their traditional society has featured stratified castes. Mandinka communities have been autonomous and self-ruled, being led by a chief and group of elders.
Mandinka has been an oral society where mythologies and knowledge are verbally transmitted from one generation to next. More than 99% of Mandinka in contemporary Africa are Muslim. Between the 16th and 19th century, many Muslim and non-Muslim Mandinka people, along with numerous other African ethnic groups, were captured and shipped to the Americas, they intermixed with workers of other ethnicities, creating a Creole culture. The Mandinka people influenced the African heritage of descended peoples now found in the Caribbean and the southern United States; the Mandés were a part of many fragmented kingdoms that formed after the collapse of Ghana empire in the 11th century. During the rule of Sundiata Keita, these kingdoms were consolidated, the Mandinka expanded west from the Niger River basin under Sundiata's general Tiramakhan Traore; this expansion was a part of creating a region of conquest, according to the oral tradition of the Mandinka people. This migration began in the part of the 13th century.
Another group of Mandinka people, under Faran Kamara – the son of the king of Tabou – expanded southeast of Mali, while a third group expanded with Fakoli Kourouma. With the migration, many gold artisans and metal working Mandinka smiths settled along the coast and in the hilly Fouta Djallon and plateau areas of West Africa, their presence and products attracted Mandika merchants and brought trading caravans from north Africa and the eastern Sahel, states Toby Green – a professor of African History and Culture. It brought conflicts with other ethnic groups, such as the Wolof people the Jolof Empire; the caravan trade to North Africa and Middle East brought Islamic people into Mandinka people's original and expanded home region. The Muslim traders sought presence in the host Mandinka community, this initiated proselytizing efforts to convert the Mandinka from their traditional religious beliefs into Islam. In Ghana, for example, the Almoravids had divided its capital into two parts by 1077, one part was Muslim and other non-Muslim.
The Muslim influence from North Africa had arrived in the Mandinka region before this, via Islamic trading diasporas. In 1324, Sultan Mansa Musa who ruled Mali, went on Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca with a caravan carrying gold. Shihab al-Umari, the Arabic historian, described his visit and stated that Musa built mosques in his kingdom, established Islamic prayers and took back Maliki school of Sunni jurists with him. According to Richard Turner – a professor of African American Religious History, Musa was influential in attracting North African and Middle Eastern Muslims to West Africa; the Mandinka people of Mali converted early, but those who migrated to the west did not convert and retained their traditional religious rites. One of the legends among the Mandingo of western Africa is that the general Tiramakhan Traore led the migration, because people in Mali had converted to Islam and he did not want to. Another legend gives a contrasting account, states that Traore himself had converted and married Muhammad's grand daughter.
The Traore's marriage with a Muhammad's granddaughter, states Toby Green, is fanciful, but these conflicting oral histories suggest that Islam had arrived well before the 13th century and had a complex interaction with the Mandinka people. Through a series of conflicts with the Fula-led jihads under Imamate of Futa Jallon, many Mandinka converted to Islam. In contemporary West Africa, Mandinka are predominantly Muslim, with a few regions, such as Guinea Bissau, where a significant minority of the Mandinka people is not Islamic; the history of slave raiding and trading in the Mandinka regions, in significant numbers may have been in existence before the European colonial era, as is evidenced in the memoirs of the 14th century Moroccan traveller and Islamic historian Ibn Battuta. Slaves were part of the stratified Mandinka people, several Mandinka language words, such as Jong or Jongo refer to slaves. There were fourteen Mandinke kingdoms along the Gambia River in early 19th century Senegambia region, for example, where slaves were a part of the social strata in all these kingdoms.
According to Toby Green, selling slaves along with gold was a significant part of the trans-Saharan caravan trade across the Sahel between West Africa and the Middle East after the 13th century. With the arrival of Por
The Wolof people are a West African ethnic group found in northwestern Senegal, The Gambia and southwestern coastal Mauritania. In Senegal, the Wolof are the largest ethnic group, they refer to themselves as Wolof and speak the Wolof language – a West Atlantic branch of the Niger–Congo family of languages. Their early history is unclear and based on oral traditions; the earliest documented mention of the Wolof is found in the records of 15th-century Portuguese financed Italian traveller Alvise Cadamosto, who mentioned well established Islamic Wolof chiefs advised by Muslim counselors and divines. The Wolof belonged to the medieval era Wolof Empire of Senegambia region. Details of the pre-Islamic religious traditions of Wolof are unknown, their oral traditions state them to have been adherents of Islam since the founding king of Jolof. However, historical evidence left by Islamic scholars and European travelers suggest that Wolof warriors and rulers did not convert to Islam, while accepting and relying on Muslim clerics as counselors and administrators.
In and after the 18th century, the Wolofs were impacted by the violent jihads in West Africa, which triggered internal disagreements among the Wolof on Islam. In the 19th century, as the colonial French forces launched a war against the Wolof kingdoms, the Wolof people resisted the French and converted to Islam. Contemporary Wolofs are predominantly Sufi Muslims belonging to Mouride and Tijaniyyah Islamic brotherhoods; the Wolof people, like other West African ethnic groups, have maintained a rigid, endogamous social stratification that included nobility, clerics and slaves. The Wolof were close to the French colonial rulers, became integrated into the colonial administration, have dominated the Senegal culture and economy since its independence, they are referred to as Chelofes, Lolof, Olof, Volof and Yolof. The term Wolof refers to the Wolof language and to their states and traditions. Older French publications employ the spelling "Ouolof". In English and Woloff are found in reference to the Gambian Wolof.
The spelling Jolof is used, but in particular reference to the Wolof empire and kingdom in central Senegal that existed from the 14th to the 19th centuries. A West African rice dish is known in English as jollof rice; the origins of the Wolof people are obscure, states David Gamble – a professor of Anthropology specializing on Senegambia and Africa studies. Archeological artifacts have been discovered in Senegal and The Gambia, such as pre-historic pottery, the 8th century stones, 14th century burial mounds, states Gamble, these provide no evidence that link them to the Wolof ethnic group, their name as the Wolof first appears in the records of 15th century Portuguese travelers. With the Arab conquests of West Africa in last centuries of the 1st millennium CE, one theory states that the Wolof people were forced to move into north and east Senegal where over time villages developed into autonomous states such as Baol, Saloum, Dimar and Sine the overall ruling state being that of Jolof who came together voluntarily to form the Jolof Empire.
According to Gamble, this migration occurred at the end of 11th century when the Ghana Empire fell to the Muslim armies from Sudan. Another oral tradition tells of a legend in Walo, which starts with two villages near a lake in a dispute. A mysterious person arose from the lake to settle the dispute; the villagers detained him, he settled among them and became the one who settled disputes and a sovereign authority. He was called Ndyadyane Ndyaye, his descendants were called Ndiayes or Njie, these led to ruling families of Wolof and Morocco, according to this mythical legend; the documented history, from 15th-century onwards is a complex story of rivalry between powerful families, wars and conquests in Wolof society. The Jolof or Wolof Empire was a medieval West African state that ruled parts of Senegal and the Gambia from 1350 to 1890. While only consolidated into a single state structure for part of this time, the tradition of governance and culture of the Wolof dominate the history of north-central Senegal for much of the last 800 years.
Its final demise at the hands of French colonial forces in the 1870s-1890s marks the beginning of the formation of Senegal as a unified state. By the end of the 15th century, the Wolof states of Jolof, Kayor and Walo had become united in a federation with Jolof as the metropolitan power; the position of king was held by the Burba Wolof and the rulers of the other component states owed loyalty and tribute payments to him. Before the Wolof people became involved in goods and slave trading with the Portuguese merchants on the coast, they had a long tradition of established trading of goods and slaves with the Western Sudanese empires and with Imamate of Futa Toro and other ethnic groups in North Africa. Slavery has been a part of the Wolof people since their earliest known history. In the pre-colonial era, slaves were either acquired through purchase or capture; the Portuguese had begun purchasing slaves from Senegambia ports and caravan traders coming through the Wolof people lands before the 18th century.
A major source of slaves sold by Wolof elites, of Wolof slaves, were the war captives taken during the wars between the ethnic groups in West Africa. Slave raiding, just to obtain slaves for sale, were another significant source of slaves in Wolof territories; the transatlantic demand for slaves in Bri
The Toucouleur people called Tukulor or Haalpulaar are a West African ethnic group native to Futa Tooro region of Senegal. There are smaller communities in Mauritania; the Toucouleur were islamized in the 11th century. They have been influential in the spread of Islam to West Africa in the medieval era founded the vast Toucouleur Empire in the 19th century under El Hadj Umar Tall that led a religious war against their neighboring ethnic groups and the French colonial forces, they speak the Pulaar language, are distinct from but related to the Fula and Serer people. The Toucouleur are traditionally sedentary, settled in the Senegal River valley, with farming and raising cattle as their main activities; the Toucouleur society has been patrilineal and with high social stratification that included slavery and caste system. There are an estimated 1 million Toucouleur people in West Africa, they are found in the northern regions of Senegal where they constitute 15% of the population. This region is irrigated by overlaps southern Mauritania.
During the colonial era, in the modern times, some of the Toucouleurs resettled in western Mali. They are about a million Toucouleur people in Senegal River valley area, about 100,000 in Mali; the Pulaar language called the Fula or Fulani language, is their first language. It is an Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo language family of languages. Locally, they are variously referred to as Pulaar: Futanke, or Haalpulaar; the name Toucouleur is of unclear origin, with some sources stating it as a French derivation meaning "of color", which may be a folk etymology. Other sources citing it as a deformation of tekruri a pre-colonial term meaning "people from Tekrur", considering them the descendants of the West African kingdom of Takrur that thrived between the 5th and 13th centuries. According to the oral traditions of the Toucouleurs and Serer people, the Toucouleurs are descendants of Serer and Fula ancestors; this tradition is supported by many scholars including Phillips. A mutually acceptable bantering-style interaction, called the joking relationship by anthropologists, exists between the Serers and Toucouleurs.
The Toucouleur people have long inhabited the Senegal River area, with roots of an organized Tekrur kingdom tracing back to the 5th century. They were part of the 10th to the 18th century kingdom, but led by non-Toucouleur rulers from other ethnic groups. In the 18th century, a Toucouleur empire emerged which reached its peak influence in the 19th century under the Islamic leader El Hadj Umar Tall. Umar was born in a Toucouleur clerical family in 1797. During his visit to Mecca in 1827, he was designated as the Caliph of Black Africa, he returned to West Africa in 1833, learnt political and state building strategies from his father-in-law in Sokoto Caliphate. Umar Tall returned to Senegal in 1845. Umar Tall obtained weapons from Europe mobilized the Toucouleur to pursue an Islamic holy war in 1854 against the pagan ethnic groups and those Muslims who have strayed; the Toucouleur armies succeeded. The Toucouleur Empire extended from Senegal to much of Mali over the next ten years, his son Mustafa reigned this empire and Teucouleur people between 1864 and 1870, followed by Umar Tall's second son named Ahmadu Seku.
The rule of Ahmadu Seku, state Gallieni and Joffre was a "Toucouleur-Muslim despot" over the Mandinka people and Bambara people. The empire collapsed in the 1880s as the Fulani and the Moors attacked the Toucouleurs, a civil war between local Toucouleur leaders engulfed the region; the empire ended in 1891. The Toucouleurs speak the Futa Tooro dialect of Pulaar, they call themselves Haalpulaar’en, which means "those who speak Pulaar". They are Muslims. Culturally, the Toucouleur differ from other Fula people by the sedentary nature of their society. Toucouleur society is divided into strict and rigid caste hierarchies; the highest status among the five Toucouleur castes is of the aristocratic leaders and Islamic scholars called Torobe. Below them are the Rimbe, or the administrators and farmers; the Nyenbe are the artisan castes of the Toucouleur society. The fourth caste strata is called the Gallunkobe or the slaves or descendants of slaves "who have been freed"; the bottom strata among the Toucouleurs are slaves.
The slaves were acquired by raiding pagan ethnic groups or purchased in slave markets, or the status was inherited. The hierarchical social stratification has been an economically closed system, which has meant a marked inequality. Property and land has been owned by the upper caste members. Occupations and caste memberships are inherited; the Toucouleur castes have been endogamous and intermarriage has been rare. The clerics among Toucouleur like the Wolof people formed a separate group; the religious leaders were not endogamous nor an inherited post in Toucouleur people's long history, but it has been rare for lower caste people to become religious specialist, states Rüdiger Seesemann, as they were viewed as not sufficiently adhering to the "clerical standards of piety". Marriage among the Toucouleurs requires a bride price payable to the bride's family. A girl from high social status family such as of noble lineage expects higher payment than one of lower status such as artisan castes or with slave lineage.
The marriage is validated by a mosque. The bride comes to live with her husband's joint family. Traditionally, before th
The Bambara are a Mandé ethnic group native to much of West Africa southern Mali, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Today they make up the largest Mandé ethnic group in Mali, with 80% of the population speaking the Bambara language, regardless of ethnicity. According to the Encyclopedia of Africa, "Bambara means "unbeliever" or "infidel"; the Bamana originated as a royal section of the Mandinka people. They are founders of the Mali Empire in the 13th Century. Both Manding and Bambara are part of the Mandé ethnic group, whose earliest known history can be traced back to sites near Tichitt, where urban centers began to emerge by as early as 2500 BC. By 250 BC, a Mandé subgroup, the Bozo, founded the city of Djenne. Between 300 AD and 1100 AD, the Soninke Mandé dominated the Western Mali; when the Mandé Songhai Empire dissolved after 1600 AD, many Mandé-speaking groups along the upper Niger river basin turned inward. The Bamana appeared again in this milieu with the rise of a Bamana Empire in the 1740s, when the Mali Empire started to crumble around 1559.
While there is little consensus among modern historians and ethnologists as to the origins or meaning of the ethno-linguistic term, references to the name Bambara can be found from the early 18th century. In addition to its general use as a reference to an ethno-linguistic group, Bambara was used to identify captive Africans who originated in the interior of Africa from the upper Senegal-Niger region and transported to the Americas via ports on the Senegambian coast; as early as 1730 at the slave-trading post of Gorée, the term Bambara referred to slaves who were in the service of the local elites or French. Growing from farming communities in Ouassoulou, between Sikasso and Ivory Coast, Bamana-age co-fraternities began to develop a state structure which became the Bambara Empire and Mali Empire. In stark contrast to their Muslim neighbors, the Bamana state practised and formalised traditional polytheistic religion, though Muslim communities remained locally powerful, if excluded from the central state at Ségou.
The Bamana became the dominant cultural community in western Mali. The Bambara language, mutually intelligible with the Manding and Dyula languages, has become the principal inter-ethnic language in Mali and one of the official languages of the state alongside French. Although most Bamana today adhere to Islam, many still practise the traditional rituals in honoring ancestors; this form of syncretic Islam remains rare allowing for conversions that in many cases happened in the mid to late 19th century. This recent history, contributes to the richness and fame of Bamana ritual arts. Bamana share many aspects of broader Mandé social structure. Society is patrilineal and patriarchal, though no women wear a veil. Mandé culture is known for its strong fraternal orders and sororities and the history of the Bambara Empire strengthened and preserved these orders; the first state was born as a refashioning of youth Tons into a warrior caste. As conquests of their neighbors were successful, the state created the Jonton, or slave warrior caste, replenished by warriors captured in battle.
While slaves were excluded from inheritance, the Jonton leaders forged a strong corporate identity. Their raids fed the Segu economy with goods and slaves for trade, bonded agricultural laborers who were resettled by the state. Traditionally, Mandé society is caste-based, with nobility and vassals. Bamana political order created a small free nobility, set in the midst of endogamous caste and ethnic variation. Both castes and ethnic groups performed vocational roles in the Bamana state, this differentiation increased with time. For instance, the Maraka merchants developed towns focused first on desert side trade, latter on large-scale agricultural production using slaves captured by the state; the Jula specialised in long-distance trade, as did Fula communities within the state, who added this to cattle herding. The Bozo ethnicity were created out of war captives, turned by the state to fishing and ferrying communities. In addition to this, the Bamana maintained internal castes, like other Mandé peoples, with Griot historian/praise-singers, priests and other specialist vocations remaining endogamous and living in designated areas.
Like most other African societies, they held slaves war prisoners from lands surrounding their territory. With time, the collapse of the Bamana state, these caste differences have eroded, though vocations have strong family and ethnic correlations; the Bamana have continued in many places their tradition of caste and age group inauguration societies, known as Ton. While this is common to most Mandé societies, the Ton tradition is strong in Bamana history. Tons can be by age, or vocation. While these societies continue as ways of socialising and passing on traditions, their power and importance faded in the 20th century; the Bamana people adapted many artistic traditions. Artworks were created both to define cultural and religious difference. Bamana artistic traditions include pottery, weaving, iron figures, masks. While the tourist and art market is the main destination of modern Bamana a
Chad the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in north-central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south and Nigeria to the southwest, Niger to the west, it is the second-largest in Central Africa in terms of area. Chad has several regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanian Savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second-largest in Africa; the capital N'Djamena is the largest city. Chad's official languages are French. Chad is home to over 200 different linguistic groups; the most popular religion of Chad is Islam, followed by Christianity. Beginning in the 7th millennium BC, human populations moved into the Chadian basin in great numbers. By the end of the 1st millennium AD, a series of states and empires had risen and fallen in Chad's Sahelian strip, each focused on controlling the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region.
France incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. In 1960, Chad obtained independence under the leadership of François Tombalbaye. Resentment towards his policies in the Muslim north culminated in the eruption of a long-lasting civil war in 1965. In 1979 the rebels put an end to the south's hegemony. However, the rebel commanders fought amongst themselves, he was overthrown in 1990 by his general Idriss Déby. Since 2003 the Darfur crisis in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and around camps in eastern Chad. An uneven inclusion into the global political economy as a site for colonial resource extraction, a global economic system that does not promote nor encourage the development of Chadian industrialization, the failure to support local agricultural production has meant that the majority of Chadians live in daily uncertainty and hunger. While many political parties are active, power lies in the hands of President Déby and his political party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement.
Chad remains plagued by recurrent attempted coups d'état. Since 2003, crude oil has become the country's primary source of export earnings, superseding the traditional cotton industry. In the 7th millennium BC, ecological conditions in the northern half of Chadian territory favored human settlement, the region experienced a strong population increase; some of the most important African archaeological sites are found in Chad in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region. For more than 2,000 years, the Chadian Basin has been inhabited by agricultural and sedentary people; the region became a crossroads of civilizations. The earliest of these were the legendary Sao, descendants of the Hyksos who conquered Ancient Egypt known for skills in designing weapons and artifacts, they are known for their oral histories. After a century of rule, the Sao fell to the Kanem Empire, the first and longest-lasting of the empires that developed in Chad's Sahelian strip by the end of the 1st millennium AD. Two other states in the region, Sultanate of Bagirmi and Wadai Empire emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The power of Kanem and its successors was based on control of the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region. These states, at least tacitly Muslim, never extended their control to the southern grasslands except to raid for slaves. In Kanem, about a third of the population were slaves. French colonial expansion led to the creation of the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad in 1900. By 1920, France had secured full control of the colony and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. French rule in Chad was characterised by an absence of policies to unify the territory and sluggish modernisation compared to other French colonies; the French viewed the colony as an unimportant source of untrained labour and raw cotton. The colonial administration in Chad was critically understaffed and had to rely on the dregs of the French civil service. Only the Sara of the south was governed effectively; the educational system was affected by this neglect. After World War II, France granted Chad the status of overseas territory and its inhabitants the right to elect representatives to the National Assembly and a Chadian assembly.
The largest political party was the Chadian Progressive Party, based in the southern half of the colony. Chad was granted independence on 11 August 1960 with the PPT's leader, Sara François Tombalbaye, as its first president. Two years Tombalbaye banned opposition parties and established a one-party system. Tombalbaye's autocratic rule and insensitive mismanagement exacerbated inter-ethnic tensions. In 1965, Muslims in the north, led by the National Liberation Front of Chad, began a civil war. Tombalbaye was overthrown and killed in 1975. In 1979 the rebel factions led by Hissène Habré took the capital, all central authority in the country collapsed. Armed factions, many from the north's rebellion, contended for power; the disintegration of Chad caused the collapse of France's position in the country. Libya moved to fill the power vacuum and became involved in Chad
Mali the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa, a region geologically identified with the West African Craton. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres; the population of Mali is 18 million. Its capital is Bamako; the sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on mining; some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, salt. Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa.
In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan joined with Senegal in 1959. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, in which Tuareg rebels took control of a territory in the north, in April declared the secession of a new state, Azawad; the conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March and fighting between Tuareg and rebels. In response to territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second-round run-off held on 11 August, legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.
The name Mali is taken from the name of the Mali Empire. The name was derived from the Mandinka or Bambara word mali, meaning "hippopotamus", but it came to mean "the place where the king lives"; the word carries the connotation of strength. Guinean writer Djibril Niane suggests in Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali that it is not impossible that Mali was the name given to one of the capitals of the emperors. 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta reported that the capital of the Mali Empire was called Mali. One Mandinka tradition tells that the legendary first emperor Sundiata Keita changed himself into a hippopotamus upon his death in the Sankarani River, that it's possible to find villages in the area of this river, termed "old Mali", which have Mali for a name; this name could have been that of a city. In old Mali, there is one village called Malika which means "New Mali."Another theory suggests that Mali is a Fulani pronunciation of the name of the Mande peoples. It is suggested that a sound shift led to the change, whereby in Fulani the alveolar segment /nd/ shifts to /l/ and the terminal vowel denasalises and raises, thus "Manden" shifts to /Mali/.
Mali was once part of three famed West African empires which controlled trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt and other precious commodities. These Sahelian kingdoms had rigid ethnic identities; the earliest of these empires was the Ghana Empire, dominated by the Soninke, a Mande-speaking people. The empire expanded throughout West Africa from the 8th century until 1078, when it was conquered by the Almoravids; the Mali Empire formed on the upper Niger River, reached the height of power in the 14th century. Under the Mali Empire, the ancient cities of Djenné and Timbuktu were centers of both trade and Islamic learning; the empire declined as a result of internal intrigue being supplanted by the Songhai Empire. The Songhai people originated in current northwestern Nigeria; the Songhai had long been a major power in West Africa subject to the Mali Empire's rule. In the late 14th century, the Songhai gained independence from the Mali Empire and expanded subsuming the entire eastern portion of the Mali Empire.
The Songhai Empire's eventual collapse was the result of a Moroccan invasion in 1591, under the command of Judar Pasha. The fall of the Songhai Empire marked the end of the region's role as a trading crossroads. Following the establishment of sea routes by the European powers, the trans-Saharan trade routes lost significance. One of the worst famines in the region's recorded history occurred in the 18th century. According to John Iliffe, "The worst crises were in the 1680s, when famine extended from the Senegambian coast to the Upper Nile and'many sold themselves for slaves, only to get a sustenance', in 1738–1756, when West Africa's greatest recorded subsistence crisis, due to drought and locusts killed half the population of Timbuktu." Mali fell under the control of France during the late 19th century. By 1905, most of the area was under firm French control as a part of French Sudan. In early 1959, French Sudan and Senegal united to become the Mali Federation; the Mali Federation gained independence from France on 20 June 1960.
Senegal withdrew from the federation in August 1960, which allowed the Sudanes
The Fula people or Fulani or Fulɓe, numbering between 38 and 40 million people in total, are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa dispersed across the region. Inhabiting many countries, they live in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa but in, South Sudan and regions near the Red Sea coast. A significant proportion of the Fula – a third, or an estimated 12 to 13 million – are pastoralists, making them the ethnic group with the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world; the majority of the Fula ethnic group consisted of semi-sedentary people as well as sedentary settled farmers, artisans and nobility. As an ethnic group, they are bound together by their history and their culture. More than 90% of the Fula are Muslims; the Fulas are leaders in many West African countries. These include the president of Muhammadu Buhari, they are leaders in International Institutions such as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed. There are many names used in other languages to refer to the Fulɓe.
Fulani in English is borrowed from the Hausa term. Fula, from Manding languages, is used in English, sometimes spelled Fulah or Fullah. Fula and Fulani are used in English, including within Africa; the French borrowed the Wolof term Pël, variously spelled: Peul and Peuhl. More the Fulfulde / Pulaar term Fulɓe, a plural noun has been Anglicised as Fulbe, gaining popularity in use. In Portuguese, the terms Fula or Futafula are used; the terms Fallata Fallatah or Fellata are of Kanuri origins, are the ethnonyms by which Fulani people are identified by in parts of Chad and in Sudan. The Fula people are distributed, across the Sahel from the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea in West Africa; the countries where they are present include Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Chad, South Sudan the Central African Republic, as far east as the Red Sea in Sudan and Egypt. With the exception of Guinea, where the Fula make up the largest ethnic group, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, Fulas are either a significant or a minority ethnic group in nearly all other countries they live in.
Alongside, many speak other languages of the countries they inhabit, making many Fulani bilingual or trilingual in nature. Such languages include French, Bambara and Arabic. Major concentrations of Fulani people exist in the Fouta Djallon highlands of central Guinea and south into the northernmost reaches of Sierra Leone; this is the area known as the Fombina meaning "The South" in Adamawa Fulfulde, because it represented the most southern and eastern reaches of Fulɓe hegemonic dominance in West Africa. In this area, Fulfulde is the local lingua franca, language of cross cultural communication. Further east of this area, Fulani communities become predominantly nomadic, exist at less organized social systems; these are the areas of the Chari-Baguirmi Region and its river systems, in Chad and the Central African Republic, the Ouaddaï highlands of Eastern Chad, the areas around Kordofan and the Blue Nile, Kassala regions of Sudan, as well as the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan. The Fulani on their way to or back from the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, settled in many parts of eastern Sudan, today representing a distinct community of over 2 million people referred to as the Fellata.
While their early settlements in West Africa were in the vicinity of the tri-border point of present-day Mali and Mauritania, they are now, after centuries of gradual migrations and conquests, spread throughout a wide band of West and Central Africa. The Fulani People occupy a vast geographical expanse located in a longitudinal East-West band south of the Sahara, just north of the coastal rain forest and swamps. There are an estimated 20-25 million Fulani people. There are three different types of Fulani based on settlement patterns, viz: the Nomadic/Pastoral or Mbororo, The Semi-Nomadic and the Settled or "Town Fulani"; the pastoral Fulani move around with their cattle throughout the year. They do not stay around, for long stretches; the semi-nomadic Fulani can either be Fulɓe families who happen to settle down temporarily at particular times of the year, or Fulɓe families who do not "browse" around past their immediate surroundings, though they possess livestock, they do not wander away from a fixed or settled homestead not too far away, they are "In-betweeners".
Settled Fulani live in villages and cities permanently and have given u