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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Islam, Migration and the Political Economy of Meaning: Fergo Nioro from Senegal River Valley, 1862-1890
Author:Hanson, John H.
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:Mali
Religion and Witchcraft
Urbanization and Migration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Abstract:The Muslim social movement known as the 'fergo Nioro' (migration to Nioro, the capital of Karta, in western Mali) provides a case of popular elaboration of the message of a leader of jihad. Umar Tal's call to holy war led to the conquest of Karta in the mid-1850s, and his call to 'hijra' (emigration) resulted in the migration of perhaps 20,000 Senegal-valley Fulbe to form a Muslim settler community. In the years after Umar's departure from Karta in 1859, military leaders and others in the Fulbe settler community sent envoys to recruit additional settlers from the Senegal valley. At least 16,000 and perhaps as many as 30,000 Fulbe responded to this recruitment effort and left Bundu, Futa Toro and the lower Senegal valley between 1862 and 1890. Two periods of more massive migration coincided with the residence at Nioro of Amadu Sheku, Umar's son and designated successor. During the late 1860s and early 1870s, a cholera epidemic swept up the Senegal valley, claimed thousands of victims, and encouraged Fulbe to leave the region for Karta. During the mid-1880s, French policies in the Senegal valley, notably the emancipation of slaves and moves to halt Fulbe raids in the lower Senegal valley, influenced the social movement. This paper reconstructs both the socioeconomic context and ideological dimensions of the 'fergo Nioro' on the basis of an analysis of Arabic letters from the era. Notes, ref., sum.