webFuuta / Histoire

Walter Rodney

“Jihad and social revolution
in Futa-Djalon in the eighteenth century”

Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria. 1968 4(2): 269-84

In Fouta-Djallon there were Susu who had incorporated semi-Bantu speakers and also Mandinga and Fulani elements. On the eve of the jihad there were no large-scale political units. Fouta-Djallon society was drawn together before the jihad by economic factors, particulary long distance trade. As trade expanded the pastoral Fulani became wealthy, and this upset the social equilibrium, giving rise to the jihad. Bu the Muslims in this area were not exclusively traders.
Victory in the jihad presented an opportunity for the complete reorganisation of Fouta-Djallon society. The Fulani from being subject to tribute became the possessing class. New social relations in the area were built over several decades. Important Fulani families became entrenched in the state sutructure, providing a potential source of conflict. Throughout the second half of the 18th cent. trading interests dominated the scene and wars in the interior had slave rading as one of their objectives. There was a constant ferment of revolt during the last two decades of the century.
J.S. Boston. History of the Upper Guinea Coast 1545-1800. New York. Monthly Review Press. 1982. 283 p.