Fulani Girl from Sokoto, Nigeria
But the Fulanis are sometimes loathe to be grouped together with the Hausas because of pride in their own distinct and distinguished history.
Fulani Father and Child from Kaduna, Nigeria
The fact that it was the Fulanis (also known as Fulbe, Puel or Fula) who brought Islam by force to the pagan/animist Hausa states in Nigeria centuries ago also gives them a sense of religious superiority. Also, the Fulanis throughout history have held leadership roles in the various Hausa communities they settled into, working as judges, teachers, emirs and clerics.
These leadership positions continue today as most Northern presidents and heads of state in Nigeria including Umaru Yar'Adua (President from 2007 - 2010), Sir Abubakara Tafewa Balewa (Nigeria's first Prime Minister), Shehu Shagari (President 1979 - 1983) and Aliko Dangote (Richest Black Man in the World) are of Fulani descent.
The Fulani's traditional nomadic lifestyle of roaming the countryside in search of pasture also distinguishes them from the 'settled' Hausas who live in towns, although most Fulanis are now settled in towns. Fulanis also derive much of their foods like Fura da Nono (Millet cakes and yoghurt) and Main Shanu (savoury butter) from their cattle, unlike the Hausas.
Both Fulanis and Hausa women wear henna dye on their hands and men and women from both tribes in rural areas often have dark facial tattoos, but Fulani men traditionally wear wide-brimmed straw hats with a pointed top, loose kaftan and shorts/trousers and carry sticks when herding; whilst the women's traditional costume is a white midriff-exposing top and matching wrapper with pastel coloured patterns. But like Hausa women, they ordinarily dress modestly in headscarves, covered tops and wrappers made using African print material.
A Fulani herdsman wearing a pointed straw hat, loose kaftan and stick
Fulanis also have their own language, Fulfude, which is very different from Hausa. However the Hausa language is commonly spoken by many Fulanis in Nigeria, and for some Hausa has replaced Fulfude as their mother-tongue.
Also, the two tribes have different histories.
The origin of the Fulanis, the largest nomad/pastoralist group in Africa, is obscure, but many link them back to Mauritania due to their similarities in appearance, existence of a Fulfude speaking minority there and the possibility of a North-Western origin of Fulani migration. From the 14th century they spread from Senegal into over 20 countries in Western Africa including Guinea, Gambia and Sudan.
Hausa Woman from Kebbi, Nigeria
Hausa Father and Son from Kebbi, Nigeria
The Hausa kingdoms were later defeated by the Fulani Muslims who had arrived into Nigeria and, forming a kinship with the Hausas, settled amongst them. But dissatisfied with the pagan Hausa leaders that ruled them, the educated and radical Fulanis undertook various religious wars or jihads in order to install an Islamic leadership.
One such jihad was led by Usman dan Fodio in 1804 and resulted in the formation of Sokoto Caliphate which became a powerful empire in Northern Nigeria. The Fulanis ruled over this booming economic, military and scholarly kingdom that traded successfully with the rest of the world.
After the fall of the Sokoto Caliphate as a result of British invasion, the Fulanis continued to intermarry and live together with the Hausas. But they often maintained a cultural distinction noted in their stricter adherence to Islam and leadership positions as part of the elite of Northern Nigeria, as well as physical distinctions noted in their lighter skin and slimmer features. This together with an awareness of their history of conquest and rulership often gives rise to feelings of superiority by the Fulanis over the Hausas.