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The Fulani Jihad refers primarily to the Usman dan Fodio Jihad, launched in present-day Nigeria from 1804 to 1810. This, however, was just the fourth in the series of Fulani Jihads. Others were those of Bondu, Futa Jalon, Futa Tooro, Massina, and Toucouleur. Usman dan Fodio, himself, was of the Fulani people, also variously known as Peul, Fulbe, Fula, and Fellata. Traditionally, the Fulani are nomads, but over the years, some of them have settled into urban and agricultural life. They are scattered in the West African countries of Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon.

The word jihad is from the Arabic language and literally means “struggle.” In its ordinary sense, it could mean struggle of any kind. In its ...

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