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However, unlike the Kanuri, no ruler among these states ever became powerful enough to impose his will over the others.Although the Hausa had common languages, culture, and Islamic religion, they had no common king.Bolstered by trade with the Nile region and Trans-Saharan routes, the empire prospered.In the next centuries, complex political and social systems were developed, particularly after the Bulala invasion in the 14th Century.Near the coast, the seasons are less sharply defined.Temperatures of over 90°F are common in the north, but near the coast, where the humidity is higher, temperatures seldom climb above that mark.Yoruba: In the west, the Yoruba developed complex, powerful city-states.The first of these important states was Ile-Ife, which according to Yoruba mythology was the center of the universe.
Naturalistic terracotta, bronze heads and other artifacts dating as far back as the 10th Century show just how early the Yoruba developed an advanced civilization.Kano, the most powerful of these states, controlled much of the Hausa land in the 16th and 17th Centuries, but conflicts with the surrounding states ended this dominance.Because of these conflicts, the Fulanis, led by Usman Dan Fodio in 1804, successfully challenged the Hausa States and set up the Hausa-Fulani Caliphate with headquarters in Sokoto, commanding a broad area from Katsina in the far north to Ilorin, across the River Niger.Of these, the Igbo are probably the most remarkable because of the size of their territory and the density of population.Igbo societies were organized in self-contained villages, or federations of village communities, with a society of elders and age-grade associations sharing various governmental functions.
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Later, other Yoruba cities challenged Ife for supremacy, and Oyo became the most powerful West African kingdom in the 16th and 17th Centuries.