Nupe is an ethnic group located primarily in the middle belt and northern Nigeriais. Nupe, traditionally called the Tapa by the neighbouring Yoruba and Nufawa by the neighbouring Hausa. They are the dominant group in Niger and an important minority in Kwara State. Although a version of their history claim that they originally lived in Egypt, the more common tradition traces their origin to Tsoede who flect the court of Idah and established a loose confederation of towns along the Niger in the 15th century. The proximity of Nupe to the Yoruba Igbomina people in the south and to the Yoruba Oyo people in the southwest led to cross-fertilization of cultural influences through trade and conflicts over the centuries. It is said that the famous Yoruba oba or king, Shango (also spelt Sango, and also known across the world as 'Xango, Chango, Nago Shango and Jakuta) who was once an Alaafin of Oyo before being deified following his death, was the son of a Nupe (Tapa) woman. Many Nupe were converted to Islam at the end of the eighteenth century by Mallam Dendo, a wandering preacher, and were incorporated into the Fulani Empire established by the Jihad led by Usman dan Fodio after 1806. However, the traditions of Nupe were retained, hence the ruler of Nupe is the Etsu Nupe rather than being called Emir. The city of Bida fell to the colonialist British forces in 1897, the Etsu Abubakar was deposed and replaced by the more pliable Muhammadu (Vandeleur 1898). During the reign of Muhammadu, a Prince named Jimada moved to Patigi, northeast of Bida (not to be confused with near-identically spelt Pategi, southwest of Bida, on the southern and opposite bank of the Niger River) protesting against being ruled by a Fulani (Vandeleur 1898). Now Jimada’s descendants are fighting for the post of Etsu Nupe claiming to be the only existing pure Nupe ruling family. The present Etsu Nupe is Yahaya Abubakar. More detail on the history of the Nupe kingdoms can be...
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