The Fulbe of Mauritania are part of the larger Fulbe population that inhabits scattered areas across the African savanna from Senegal to Sudan. They are thought to have originated in Senegal and to have slowly migrated eastward to their present locations over the last 800 years. Known by a variety of names, including "Peul" in Senegal and "Fulani" in Nigeria, they call themselves "Pullo" (sing.) or "Fulbe" (pl.) in Mauritania. Their Fulfulde dialect belongs to the West Atlantic subfamily of the Niger-Congo language family. It is a rich and flexible language with a well-developed body of oral literature. The Fulbe are Muslims, but the manner in which they observe Islam varies.
Pastoral Fulbe are famed for their herds of cattle and dairy produce. Much of their culture centers on their pastoral lifestyle . The basic social unit is the nuclear family; the nuclear families are organized into lineages and clans. Descent is patrilineal, and the household unit is usually the patrilocal extended family. Marriage is legitimized by the payment of a bride-price, and great value and prestige are placed upon childbearing.
|Country Studies main page | Mauritania Country Studies main page|