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GOBIR


Festivals: na
State: Niger
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Gobir was a city-state in what is now Nigeria. Founded by the Hausa in the eleventh century, Gobir was one of the seven original kingdoms of Hausaland, and continued under Hausa rule for nearly seven hundred years.

Gobir is particularly remembered as the chief opponent of Fulani Islamic reformer Usman dan Fodio. Bawa, a ruler of Gobir, appears to have invited dan Fodio to the area in 1774; dan Fodio made his home in the small town of Degel, and began preaching. Dan Fodio was given some role in the education of Bawa's nephew and later successor, Yunfa (r.1803-8), but also publicly attacked what he saw as the abuses of the Hausa elite, particularly the burden they placed on the poor.

Sultan Nafata (r.179798) reversed Bawa's tolerant policy, and feared the increase of arms amongst dan Fodio's followers. The next two rulers vacilated between repressive measures and their relaxation.

When Yunfa took the throne in 1803, he soon found himself in conflict with dan Fodio, and after failing to assassinate him, exiled dan Fodio and his followers from Degel. Dan Fodio responded by assembling the nomadic Fulani tribes into a jihadist army, beginning the Fulani War. Despite some initial successes by the forces of Gobir and the other Hausaland states (most notably at the Battle of Tsuntua), dan Fodio continued to take surrounding territory. His forces seized the Gobir capital, Alkalawa, in October of 1808, killing Yunfa. The state was then partially absorbed into the Fulani Empire.

Resistance against the Jihadists was continued in the north-east by Ali dan Yakubu and Mayaki. With the help of the Hausa ruler of Katsina the latter built a new capital of Gobir in Tsibiri, 10 km north of Maradi in 1836. Here in present Niger the old dynasty of the Hausa rulers of Gobir is still continued today. A rival branch of the dynasty has its seat in Sabon Birni north of Sokoto in Nigeria.

The former Emir of Gobir Muhammadu Bawa ruled in Sabon Birni from 1975 to 2004.





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