The 10 Largest Tribes in Africa - Think Africa (2023)


The 10 Largest Tribes in Africa

Africa has over a billion people in 54 countries. It also has around 3000 tribes from different regions with different numbers of people. 30% of Africa's population comes from ten ethnic groups, or "tribes" if you will. In almost all cases, these tribes were pre-colonial states with their own language and independent institutions. Here are the 10 largest tribes by population in Africa.

10. The mouth of the Hutus

The Hutu tribe has a population of around 20 to 25 million people, mostly settled in two countries. The Hutus are the smallest of the 10 main tribes in Africa. In Rwanda and Burundi, around 85% of the population is Hutu and there are a total of 21 million Hutus living in these two countries.

The origins of the Hutus lie in the great Bantu expansion when they migrated into the Great Lakes region of Africa around the 1st century. The Hutus speak Ruanda-Rundi, a Bantu language shared with the Tutsi and the Twa. A small part of the Hutus also speak French.Hutus and TutsisThe tribes lived together in relative peace until the colonial invasion by Europeans, which worsened relations between the two tribes and eventually led to the Rwandan genocide. There are many famous Hutus, many of whom have been Presidents of Rwanda, along with a few Prime Ministers of Burundi.

The Hutus were famous for their pottery and crafts, while music and dance remain an important cultural part of the Hutu tribe.

9. Somali

The Somali tribe has a population of around 20 million people and can be found in the country of Somalia (where they make up the majority of the population), Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya.

That oneOrigin of SomalisThe tribe dates back about 7,000 years. Recent archaeological and linguistic studies have confirmed that the Somali tribe is the indigenous people of the Horn of Africa. They lived there for over 7,000 years. Most people speak the Somali language which is a Cushitic language. About 12.5 million Somali speakers speak it worldwide. Besides Somali, Arabic is another language spoken by many Somali tribes.

Somali culture is famous for its cuisine, hospitality and also for being what Margaret Lawrence, a Canadian scholar, calls a “nation of poets”. There are many famous figures from Somali tribes such as renowned economist Abdusalam, Ilhan Omar (US Politician) as well as many Somali Prime Ministers and Presidents.


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Ilhan Omar, U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, Elected 2019

8. will

The Akan tribe numbers around 20 million people and can be found in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, mainly in the southern region of both countries. They also speak their own language, the Akan language, which is part of the central branch of the Tano language.

According to their oral traditions, the origins of the Akan are in Ghana. They settled in their current region in 11To dieCentury after having crossed Egypt in the s.To dieCentury and finally settled in Nubia. However, after the invasion of Nubia, they went to Ghana.

The Akan have an interesting history and formed theAshanti Empire, which was the dominant Akan state and existed for almost 200 years. The Akans had many subgroups that also formed their own kingdoms.

Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of the Pan-African movement, was of Akan descent. So was Kofi Annan, who was head of the United Nations and also received the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Kofi Annan (1938 – 2018), former Secretary-General of the United Nations

7. Amhara

The Amhara tribe numbers about 20 million and is concentrated mainly in Ethiopia, where they represent 26.9% of the total population. The Amharas are the indigenous people of Ethiopia who have historically lived in the northern, central and western parts of the country. The first mention in the history of the Amhara dates back to the 12th centuryTo dieCentury when they came into conflict with the Werjih. This proved that they had been in this area for much longer than the previously assumed 13th century date. In fact, analysis has shown that they have been living in Ethiopia for over two thousand years and have lived in the central Ethiopian highlands ever since.

The Amhara speak the Amharic language, which is spoken by 23.9% of the total population of Ethiopia. There were many famous Amhari who were emperors or prime ministers in Ethiopia.

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6. Fulani

That oneFulaniWith over 40 million people, they are one of the largest ethnic groups and tribes in Africa. They mostly live in West African countries such as Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal and Chad. They have their own language known as Fula. Its origin is unclear, but there are many theories about its origin. Fulani oral traditions claim they began in present-day Jordan. What we know for sure is that for 5To diecentury they were in West Africa. The oldest evidence from archaeological excavations indicates that they began around 6 AD.To diecentury B.C. at the latest.

They are one of the few African tribes that have embraced Islam, with 98% of the Fulani being Muslim. Prominent Fulani include Cameroon's first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo, and Major General Mohamed Buhari, the current president of Nigeria.

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5. Oromo

The Oromo rank fifth on the list of the 10 largest tribes in Africa. The Oromo number about 40 million. They mainly settled in Ethiopia and make up 34.5% of the Ethiopian population. They have their own language known as the Oromo language. They even have their own religion, which some follow to this day, known as Waaqefanna.

The origins of Oromo date back to the 16th centuryTo dieCentury, when scholars noticed that the Oromo were migrating to find more pastures. They were a pastoral people and had no kings, but they chose the Lubas. The Oromo still govern themselves throughThe exitand are one of the oldest examples of African democracy in action.

Some prominent Oromo figures are the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed Ali and also the current President.

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Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

4. Amazing

The Amazigh consist of around 40 million people. They are mainly found in Morocco and Algeria, but also in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Mauritius and Niger. Most Amazigh speak the Amazigh language, although they also speak Arabic.

They inhabited the Maghreb region of northwest Africa for over 12,000 years. There are cave paintings from around 10,000 BC. C. Attributable to Amazigh. Numidia was an ancient Amazigh kingdom that was very prosperous at the height of its success.

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Prominent Amazigh characters include Juba II (King of MauritaniaCaesariensis), Jugurtha (um rei deNumidian) and Ahmed Ouyahia, four times Prime Minister of Algeria. Outstanding athletes like Zidane and Benzema also come from the Amazigh people.

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Royal Mausoleum of King Juba II

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Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest football players of all time

3. Yoruba

The Yoruba rank third on the list of the top 10 largest tribes in Africa. The Yoruba are a tribe made up of approximately 47 million people. They are mostly found in West Africa, particularly Nigeria (43.4 million) and Benin (1.4 million). Most Yoruba speak the Yoruba language, which is part of the Niger-Congo language family.

The history of the Yoruba is very interesting. The Yoruba people have lived since 9000 BC. in southwest Nigeria. C. (11,000 years ago). This is based on skeletal remains found at Iwo-Eleru in what is now Ondo State in southwestern Nigeria.

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LEFT: Reconstructed Iwo Eleru skull, CENTER: Location of Iwo Eleru on a map of Nigeria, RIGHT: Multidimensional images of the Iwo Eleru skull(WHAT: Public Domain)

The Yoruba, who lived in Yoruba lands, were in the 1stS tCentury BC, although before that they lived there for thousands of years. They are a dominant cultural force in Nigeria, and their cities have always been among the most populous, not just in Africa but in the world.

to capital ofThe Yoruba Empire of OyoIt is said to have housed nearly 100,000 people at any one time. They had their own calendar and their own culture. They also have their own unique fabric known as Aṣo-oke. Prominent Yoruba includes many actresses in Nollywood, politicians and former heads of state such as Olusegun Obasanjo.

(Video) Top 10 Most Powerful African Tribes. Most Notable , Distinctive, Influential

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President Olusegun Obasanjo (1976–1979 and later 1999–2007) wore Aṣo-Oke with US President Jimmy Carter in 1977 at the White House

2. Ibo

The Igbo are another large tribe, made up of around 45 million people. They mainly live in present-day Nigeria, where they make up over 18% of the population, although they are also found in Guinea. They have their own language known as Igbo language which they mostly speak.

The origins of the Igbo are a mystery, with the best guesses going back to around 3000 BC. Go back. C., based on some pottery finds that show similarities with what the Igbo later made. Evidence of early iron smelting was found during excavations in the Nsukka region of Igboland. Traditionally they had a democratic republican system of government. They have their own calendar and their own banking system. The Igbo had vast trade routes before the arrival of European settlers.

Notable Igbo are famous football playersNwanko KanujJay-Jay Okocha, and also the first President of Nigeria.

1. In search

The Hausa are a huge tribe and the largest of the top 10 largest tribes in Africa, with an estimated population of 74 million living primarily in Nigeria, of which 64 million live there. However, they also occur in significant numbers in Niger, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Sudan, Ghana, Chad, Togo, Burkina Faso and Algeria. They are a diverse people who speak their own Hausa language.

The origins of the Hausa date back to at least the 7th centuryTo dieCentury and the Hausa Kingdoms. The Hausa people were divided into many kingdoms united by a common ancestor, and each of theKingdoms of the Hausathey became specialized trading centers in Africa. Its main exports were leather, gold and clothing. The Hausa were famous for their textile weaving. Its architecture is also beautiful and complex, while its cuisine is popular across Africa.

Notable Hausa include many Sultans of Sokoto as well as current footballer Ahmed Musa who plays for Nigeria.

Africa has a myriad of tribes, each with their own culture and languages. They are the torchbearers of some of the oldest surviving tribes in history. The 10 largest tribes in Africa make up 30% of the continent's population and this article introduces the 3,000 tribes in Africa. To learn more about these civilizations, check out our articlesThe Civilizations of Africa.


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