World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fouta Djalon

Article Id: WHEBN0001587042
Reproduction Date:

Title: Fouta Djalon  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Sierra Leone, Aminata Traoré, Bedick people
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Fouta Djalon

Fouta Djallon is a highland region in the centre of Guinea, West Africa. The indigenous name in the Pular language is Fuuta Jaloo.Template:Efn The origin of the name is from the Fula word for the region plus the name of the original inhabitants, the Yalunka or Jalonke (French: Djallonké), a Mande people closely related to the Susu.Template:Efn.


Fouta Djallonke consists mainly of rolling grasslands, at an average elevation of about 900 m (3,000 ft). The highest point, Mount Loura, rises to 1,515 m (4,970 ft). The plateau consists of thick sandstone formations which overlie granitic basement rock. Erosion by rain and rivers has carved deep jungle canyons and valleys into the sandstone. The word Djallonke originated from the people who originally occupied the region.

It receives a great deal of rainfall, and the headwaters of three major rivers, the Tinkisso River (major upriver tributary of the Niger), the Gambia River and the Senegal River, have their sources on it. It is thus sometimes called the watertower (chateau d'eau in French literature) of West Africa. Some authors also refer to Fouta Jallon as the Switzerland of West Africa.


The population consists predominantly of Fula or Fulani people (who call themselves Fulɓe [sing. Pullo] and are known in French as Peul). In Fuuta Jaloo their language is called Pular, which is a dialect of Fula like Pulaar in Senegambia and Fulfulde further east in West Africa, but with some particular characteristics.


Since the 17th century it has been a stronghold of Islam.[1] The revolutionaries led by Karamokho Alfa and Ibrahim Sori set up a federation divided into nine provinces. Several succession crises weakened the central power located in Timbo until 1896, when the last Almamy, Bubakar Biro, was defeated by the French army in the battle of Poredaka.

The Fulɓe of Fouta Djallonke spearheaded the expansion of Islam in Guinea. Fulɓe Muslim scholars developed an indigenous literature using the Arabic alphabet. Known as Ajamiyya, this literary achievement is represented by such great poet-theologians as Tierno Muhammadu Samba Mombeya, Tierno Saadu Dalen, Tierno Aliou Boubha Ndyan, Tierno Jaawo Pellel etc. In its heyday, Fuuta-Jaloo was
a magnet of learning, attracting students from Kankan to the Gambia, and featuring Jakhanke clerics at Tuba as well as Fulbhe teachers. It acted as the nerve centre for trading caravans heading in every direction. The more enterprising commercial lineages, of whatever ethnic origin, established colonies in the Futanke hills and along the principal routes. It served their interests to send their sons to Futanke schools, to support the graduates who came out to teach, and in general to extend the vast pattern of influence that radiated from Futa Jalon.[2]

Amadou Hampâté Bâ has called Fuuta-Jaloo "the Tibet of West Africa" in homage to the spiritual and mystic (Sufi) tradition of its clerics.



The Fulɓe in Fouta Djallonke are sedentary. Animal husbandry is important, and cattle, sheep, and goats graze in open areas.

The main field crop is fonio, although rice is grown in richer soils. Most soils degrade quickly and are highly acidic with aluminum toxicity, which limits the kind of crops that can be grown without significant soil management. A traditional system of gardening, notably women's or kitchen gardens called cuntuuje (sing. suntuure) in the Pular language or tapades in French, involves addition of various organic inputs (kitchen scraps, harvest residues, mulching, manure). These produce a significant quantity and variety of agricultural products. The gardens are always fenced in to protect against free-grazing animals.

The region's main cash crops are bananas and other fruits.


The largest town in the region is Labé.


Fouta Djallon has historically had a high degree of emigration, usually short-term, and mainly to Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Notes and References





  • Joseph Earl Harris (1965) The Kingdom of Fouta-Diallon
  • Thierno Diallo (1972) Les institutions politiques du Fouta-Djallon au XIXè siècle
  • Boubacar Barry Bokar Biro, le dernier grand almamy du Fouta-Djallon
  • Thierno Diallo Alfa Yaya : roi du Labé (Fouta Djalon)
  • David Robinson (1985) The Holy War of Umar Tal: the Western Sudan in the mid-nineteenth century
  • Paul Marty L'Islam en Guinée. Fouta-Diallon
  • Terry Alford Abdul-Rahman. Prince Among Slaves
  • Kevin Shillington Fuuta-Jalon: Nineteenth Century
  • Shaikou Baldé L'élevage au Fouta-Djallon (régions de Timbo et de Labé
  • Gustav Deveneaux. Buxtonianism and Sierra Leone: The 1841 Timbo Expedition
  • A. Demougeot Notes sur l'organisation politique et administrative du Labé avant et après l'occupation française
  • J. Suret-Canale The Fouta-Djallon chieftaincy
  • J. Suret-Canale La fin de la chefferie en Guinée
  • J. Suret-Canale Essai sur la signification sociale et historique des hégémonies peules (XVII-XIXèmes siècles)
  • Louis Tauxier Moeurs et Histoire des Peuls, Livre III. Les Peuls du Fouta-Djallon
  • D. P. Cantrelle, M. Dupire L'endogamie des Peuls du Fouta-Djallon
  • Marguerite Verdat. Le Ouali de Gomba. Essai Historique
  • Christopher Harrison French Islamic policy in the Fuuta-Jalon 1909-1912
  • Hanson, John H. (1996) Migration, Jihad and Muslim Authority in West Africa: the Futanke colonies in Karta Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, ISBN 0-253-33088-2

Further reading

  • De Sanderval, La conquête du Fouta-Djallon (Paris, 1899)
  • Dölter, Ueber die Capverden nach dem Rio Grande und Futa Dschallon (Leipzig, 1884)
  • Noirot, A travers le Fouta-Djallon et le Bamboue (Paris, 1885)
  • Marchat, Les rivières du sud et le Fouta-Djallon (Paris, 1906)

External links

  • webFuuta

Coordinates: 11°19′03″N 12°17′23″W / 11.31750°N 12.28972°W / 11.31750; -12.28972

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.