The Tukulor ethnic group (or Tokolor as they are sometimes known) make up less than 1% of the
population of Gambia. They are
Muslim sedentary farmers, cattle
herders and fisherman. Today they are fairly widespread in Upper
Volta, Mali and Ivory Coast. Their name is from the Arabic word Takrur which
was a kingdom an
11th century central Senegal River valley. They are closely related to
Traditional Social Class Structure
The Tuklor tribe traditionally had 3 distinct groups made up
of 'castes' which have largely remained untouched by their religious
faith. First there is the ruling class or Torodbe. Then there are the
free-born made up of agriculturalists, artisans, traders and clerical
workers. At the bottom are the 'slaves' (in name only). Marriage is
confined to the 'caste' in which you belong and there system of
governing their villages is carried out by a council of elders from
the ruling class.
The Tukulor are thought to have their origins in
Futa Toro in present-day
theory is that they are a branch of the Fula called the Torodbe.
Much of their language (Haalpullar), customs, history and geographical
dispersion is similar to the Fula.
Another theory is that they are the offspring of unions between the
Serer and Wolof tribe.
Up to 1776 the Brakna
Moors collected yearly taxes in the form of grain called muddu hormma
Futa Toro. Partly because of this resentment and the desire to
spread Islam a militant Jihadist movement emerged
Bal, a Torodbe. In the 1760s and 1770s he won a number of military
victories in the valley of the middle Senegal River against the pagan
Fulani ruling dynasty, the Denianke, under Suleyman-Bubu. Futa Toro
eventually became a
Muslim theocracy in 1776 ruled by the almamys and
a Muslim council.
It was their desire to spread
resulted in them migrating to the north bank of Gambia as well as other West African countries such as
Mali and Hausaland in Northern Nigeria. In Gambia, under the
leadership of Maba Jakhou Bah, they established a theocratic state in Baddibu. These migrations into Gambia
continued through to the early
1900s. Indeed they claim that it was their ruler, the War Jabi, who
was the first black African ruler to convert to Islam and that the Tekrur Empire was was founded by their people.
The French had
however, through a number of treaties taken over control of Futa Toro
in 1891 after the murder of the Almamy named Abdul Bokar Khan. By the
end of the 19th century all Tukulor states in
Senegambia had lost
their independence to the French.