Online Encyclopedia

HAUSA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 69 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HAUSA, sometimes incorrectly written HAUSSA, H01SSA or HAOUSSA, a people inhabiting about half a million square miles in the western and central Sudan from the river Niger in the west to Bornu in the east. Heinrich Barth identifies them with the Atarantians of Herodotus. According to their own traditions the earliest home of the race was the divide between the Sokoto and Chad basins, and more particularly the eastern watershed, whence they spread gradually westward. In the middle ages, to which period the first authentic records refer, the Hausa, though never a conquering race, attained great political power. They were then divided into seven states known as " Hausa bokoy " (" the seven Hausa ") and named Biram, Daura, Gober, Kano, Rano, Katsena and Zegzeg, after the sons of their legendary ancestor. This confederation extended its authority over many of the neighbouring countries, and remained paramount till the Fula under Sheikh Dan Fodio in 1810 conquered the Hausa states and founded the Fula empire of Sokoto (see Fur,A). The Hausa, who number upwards of 5,000,000, form the most important nation of the central Sudan. They are undoubtedly nigritic, though in places with a strong crossing of Fula and Arab blood. Morally and intellectually they are, however, far superior to the typical Negro. They are a powerful, heavily built race, with skin as black as most Negroes, but with lips not so thick nor hair so woolly. They excel in physical strength. The average Hausa will carry on his head a load of ninety or a hundred pounds without showing the slightest signs of fatigue during a long day's march. When carrying their own goods it is by no means uncommon for them to take double this weight. They are a peaceful and industrious people, living partly in farmsteads amid their crops, partly in large trading centres such as Kano, Katsena and Yakoba (Bauchi). They are extremely intelligent and even cultured, and have exercised a civilizing effect upon their Fula conquerors to whose oppressive rule they submitted. They are excellent agriculturists, and, almost unaided by foreign influence, they have developed a variety of industries, such as the making of cloth, mats, leather and glass. In Sierra Leone and the Gold Coast territory they form the backbone of the military police, and under English leadership have again and again shown themselves to be admirable fighters and capable of a high degree of discipline and good conduct. Their food consists chiefly of guinea corn (sorghum vulgare), which is ground up and eaten as a sort of porridge mixed with large quantities of red pepper. The Hausa attribute their superiority in strength to the fact that they live on guinea corn instead of yams and bananas, which form the staple food of the tribes on the river Niger. The Hausa carried on agriculture chiefly by slave labour; they are themselves born traders, and as such are to be met with in almost every part of Africa north of the equator. Small colonies of them are to be found -m towns as far distant from one another as Lagos, Tunis, Tripoli, Alexandria and Suakin. Language.—The I-Iausa language has a wider range over Africa north of the equator, south of Barbary and west of the valley of the Nile, than any other tongue. It is a rich sonorous language, with a vocabulary containing perhaps 10,000 words. As an example of the richness of the vocabulary Bishop Crowther mentions that there are eight names for different parts of the clay from cockcrow till after sunset. About a third of the words are connected with Arabic roots, nor are these such as the llausa could well have borrowed in anything like recent times from the Arabs. Many words representing 69 with great success. In 1842 Hauptmann obtained the position of cantor at the Thomas-school of Leipzig (long previously occupied by the great Johann Sebastian Bach) together with that of professor at the conservatoire, and it was in this capacity that his unique gift as a teacher developed itself and was acknowledged by a crowd of enthusiastic and more or less distinguished pupils. He died on the 3rd of January 1868, and the universal regret felt at his death at Leipzig is said to have been all but equal to that caused by the loss of his friend Medelssohn many years before. Hauptmann's compositions are marked by symmetry and perfection of workmanship rather than by spontaneous invention. Amongst his vocal compositions by far the most important portion of his work—may be mentioned two masses, choral songs for mixed voices (Op. 32, 47), and numerous part songs. The results of his scientific research were embodied in his book Die Natur der Harmonik and Metrik (1853), a standard work of its kind, in which a philosophic explanation of the forms of music is attempted.
End of Article: HAUSA
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