The Kanuri are thought to be the descendants of the Kanem empire’s Sayfawa dynasty. When Bulala invaded their state in the 14th century, they were forced to relocate southwest of Lake Chad.
The Kanuri, also known as the Bornu, are found in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad. They are known collectively as the Sau, and are said to be a race of giants.
Many Kanuri can be found in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno province. According to Pulse Nigeria, the Kanuri are one of the province’s most powerful ethnic groups. Prior to the dynasty’s demise, the Kanuri were one of the most powerful states in Sudan’s enclave. They controlled the trans-Saharan trade route to Libya via the Bilma oasis.
The Kanuri reached the pinnacle of their power in the 16th century. The Kanuri are Muslims who adhere to the Malikite code of Islamic law. To sustain their economy, they traded primarily in millet. According to Britannica, many Kanuri farmers now grow peanuts, which have become an important part of their cash crop mix.
One distinguishing feature of the Kanuri is that they frequently live in settled villages and towns while farming on sandy soil in the countryside. Kanuri, by definition entrepreneurs, export large quantities of cowhide and goatskin.
Another distinguishing feature of the Kanuri is their highly segmented social structure. The Shehu is the Kanuri society’s political and religious leader. He comes from a royal family. The commoners are closely following the Shehu. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the Kanuri had a class of slaves who could rise to befitting status in the court, despite their social standing.
They are followed by kin groups, which are found among the majority of African peoples. Kanuri women are polygynous. A family is made up of the husband, wife, and children, or a polygynous family who lives in a compound. Their structures are made of mud bricks and are square or round in shape, with flat or thatched roofs.