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The Fulani People

The Fulani people call themselves Fulve* (Pullo, in singuler).They were originally nomadic herders, traders and farming people living throughout West Africa. Today the majority of fulani people live urban centers.
While their origins are disputed, Arab writers recorded their existence over 1000 years ago. However experts believe that they originated from a region that occupied the present day Northern Senegal. Over the centuries, they migrated with their cattle to occupy vast areas in the Sahel and Savannah regions of West Africa and evolved into many subgroups with a variety of designations including Fulve, Jelgove, Gurma, Gorgave, Fellata, Fula, Fulakunda, Bororos, Wodaabe, Peul, Pulaar, Halpulaar, Liptaako, Toucouleur, and Tukolor. Presently, they live in communities throughout much of the West-Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon and as far east as Sudan and Ethiopia.The fulani range covers an area larger than continental United States and western Europe.

Historically, the Fulani played a significant role in the rise and fall of ancient African empires such as Ghana, Mali, Songhai and the Mossi states.
They greatly contributed to the spread of Islam throughout Western Africa. More recently, slavery and colonialism dispersed Fulani throughout the Middle East, the Americas and Europe. American history books are full of individuals of Fulani origin who have distinguished themselves in North and South America and the Caribbean.
Fulve have rich traditions and fascinating way of life. They have had a significant social, religious and political impact in West Africa. As minorities in most of the West African countries where they reside, the Fulani are steadily mixing with local dominant cultures. The phenomenon of local integration, combined with the impact of colonization and westernization, has slowly eroded the Fulani language and traditions.

If nothing is done to maintain their culture and language, the Fulani will simply vanish in a few generations. Without an awareness of the unique richness and formidable contribution of the Fulani traditions and without a serious effort to conserve and sustain the Fulani heritage, their culture may be lost forever. It is increasingly important to preserve this ancient culture. Jamtan.Com will explore the history, traditions and many aspects of Fulani culture to promote a better understanding of the Fulani people.
*Note; The letter V is read as a sound close to Bh which does exist neither in English nor in French.