Hausa (people)

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The Hausa (alternative spellings and subgroups Haussa, Haoussa, Adarawa, Adarawa Hausa, Arawa, Arewa, Fellata, Hausa Ajami, Hausa Fulani, Hausawa, Kurfei, Kurfeyawa, Kurfey Hausa, Maguzawa, Soudie and Tazarawa ) are an ethnic group that is broad Parts of North, West and Central Africa. The focus of the settlement is the north of Nigeria and the southeast of Niger . Your language is Hausa .

Spread of the Hausa

Moroc'i ( Griot der Hausa) with the long-necked spit lute molo (type ngoni ) in Nigeria

In Nigeria alone (states: Kano , Katsina , Sokoto and Kaduna ) this ethnic group had approx. 18,525,000 inhabitants (in 1991 SIL). In Niger live 5,000,000 (in 1998) Hausa, which is about half the total population of Niger. Other members of the Hausa can be found in groups of various sizes in many countries in northern, western and central Africa. To be mentioned here are further

The total number of this ethnic group is measured in all countries on a population of approx. 24,162,000. Due to immigration, there are also Hausa population groups in some European countries, particularly in France and Germany .


Wealthy Hausa during the German colonial era (photo before 1910)

A founding myth of the Hausa says that the founder of the people, Bayajidda , came from the east after running away from his father. Bayajidda came to the town of Gaya, where he hired a blacksmith to make a knife for him. According to the founding myth, Bayajidda used this knife to go to the village of Daura, where he freed the people from the rule of a sacred serpent that kept the people away from the water six days a week. Magajiya , the queen in Daura, married the liberator Bayajidda and bore him seven healthy sons. Each of these sons was given part of the land to rule and they founded the seven house states .

Between 500 AD and 700 AD, the seven Hausa states (Hausa Bakwai, the real Hausa) slowly rose to become a major power in the region. During the period of the rise there were also clashes between the individual house states in the struggle for supremacy in the region. It was not until the 12th century that the Hausa had become the dominant power in the region. In a series of holy wars, the Hausa states in the north of what is now Nigeria were defeated by the Fulbe in the early 18th century . The Fulbe founded the Sokoto Caliphate , which in turn was divided into 15 parts ( Emirates ). Each emirate was ruled by a ruling Fulbe dynasty.

The ruling in the Hausa States Zaria , Katsina and another founded new kingdoms elsewhere. These empires were Abuja, Maradi and Arguna and subsequently remained untouched by further Fulbe invasions. The Fulbe, especially the ruling class, gradually took over the language and cultural peculiarities of the Hausa, also due to mixed marriages, which were entered into with the descendants of the former ruling families to consolidate their rule. The two peoples were mixed relatively quickly, and they now also fall under the name Hausa .

The Fulbe in the former areas of the Hausa were deposed by the British through colonization and the state structure was integrated into today's Nigeria. In the north of the country the Hausa play the dominant political role.

Political system

The former Hausa states were organized aristocratically. The families who could trace their origins back to the founding father Bayajidda belonged to the royal family. The Fulbe took over the aristocratic leadership role with their own leaders in the early 18th century.

The seven states of the Hausa in the north of today's Nigeria were called Biram , Daura , Kano , Katsina , Gobir , Rano and Zaria (also: Zazzau).


Distribution of the Hausa language in Niger (yellow)
Distribution of the Hausa language in Nigeria (yellow)

Since the founding of the seven Hausa states, the tribes distributed the economic tasks according to the location of the national territory and the available resources. Kano and Rano are known as the "Chiefs of Indigo". Cotton was heavily cultivated by the Hausa so that the Hausa produced clothes and traded them with caravans on trade routes in West Africa. Biram was the seat of government and Zaria became known as the “Chief of Slaves” through the organization of labor. Katsina and Daura were the "Chiefs of the Market", because their geographical location on the trade routes from the Sahara optimally linked these cities to national trade. Gobir in the west of the Hausa area was known as the "Chief of War". Gobir was also instrumental in protecting the empire from invaders from Ghana and the Songhai .


Kano is known as the center of Hausa culture and trade. Due to the historical events, the Hausa have a bond with the Fulbe , Songhai , Mandé and Tuareg . Overall, the Hausa are one of the dominant peoples in West Africa. Especially in Niger, but also in northern Nigeria, the Hausa are still an important element of modern states.

The music of the Hausa is essentially based on a song tradition, which is usually performed by a singer with a drum accompaniment. There are prize songs for rulers and other wealthy clients, as well as songs that deal with everyday issues. The tonal language of the Hausa can be imitated with hourglass drums such as the particularly popular kalangu , as can the double-headed cylinder drum ganga . The large kettle drum tambari (which goes back to the Arabic tabl via the North African t'bol ) is a symbol of the old rulers and has been played together with the metal trumpet kakaki at state ceremonies since the 16th century . The single-string fiddle goge is used to accompany entertainment songs and is considered un-Islamic by strict Muslims. The kuntigi is a one-stringed, the garaya a two-stringed pluck of the ngoni type . One of the most famous award song singers was Muhamman Shata (1923–1999).


The Hausa are predominantly Sunnis in the entire distribution area . Few of them still belong to the traditional religions ( Maguzawa ), some were converted to Christianity by the colonial powers . The Bible was also translated into Hausa for this ethnic group in the 20th century.

The Islam was accepted by the Hausa in the early 11th century. According to tradition, this religion was brought to the Hausa by Muhammad al-Maghili . He was an Islamic clergyman, teacher and missionary who came from Bornu at the end of the 15th century and influenced the missionary work of the Hausa. The beginning of Islamization was peaceful, presumably through trade-related cultural exchange and pilgrims who traveled through the land of the Hausa as travelers. The early Islamization went hand in hand with a mixture of Islam with the traditional religions of the Hausa. Only with the victory of the Fulbe over the Hausa states was Islamization increasingly promoted.

The obsession cults Bori and Dodo date from pre-Islamic times .

Known Hausa

See also


Web links

Commons : Hausa  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Hausa  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. a b c d e f Ethnologue Report for Language Code: hau., accessed February 23, 2009 .
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k People Listings: Hausa. Joshua Project, accessed February 23, 2009 .
  3. ^ Hausa information. (No longer available online.) University of Iowa, archived from the original January 6, 2007 ; Retrieved February 23, 2009 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Anthony King: Hausa Music . In: Stanley Sadie (Ed.): The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Vol. 9. Macmillan Publishers, London 2001, pp. 141-146